Whether you’re planning to ride a side-by-side (SxS) for a day or a week, having your off-roading essentials carefully checked off a list helps ensure a great time. Checklists are crucial for trips with tons of gear. When you want to avoid frustrations and preventable complications, having a detailed checklist is key. Be sure you’re covered no matter what may arise, from simple trail-side repairs to first-aid to survival packs, riders of all skill levels can benefit from these off-road riding tips.
Essential tools for side-by-side UTVs
It’s a good idea to start by reviewing your vehicle’s owner’s manual to learn which key service items and associated fasteners you’ll need tools for. Some may require special tools for what could be a likely repair area, so be sure to keep these in your kit.
Aside from specialty tools, your SxS UTV tool kit should be versatile enough to handle a wide range of scenarios.
Recommended SxS tools:
Common tools enable you to adjust handlebars and controls that could get knocked out of position, change a spark plug, remove a tire, or make suspension adjustments.
Zip ties, wire, and duct tape have endless uses and can be used to “repair” just about anything. With these essentials, you can deal with anything from broken control arms to cracked plastics to ripped jackets and leaky boots.
Dealing with flat or leaky tires are inevitable when off-roading, making a tire plug kit ideal for quickly repairing a puncture and getting back on the trail.
As with any good checklist system, it’s wise to continually refine your SxS tool kit. It’s always better to be the trail hero than the one stuck with a broken-down UTV, making this kit a top priority.
Off-roading safety gear
Every rider should be prepared for the unexpected with a full kit of safety equipment and supplies for riding in a SxS:
Riding gear and a helmet that are made for SxS and UTV riding both protect you in the event of a trail mishap along with keeping the elements at bay for a more comfortable ride.
Also, a small fire extinguisher provides added peace of mind, even if you never have to use it. Having maps or a preloaded GPS unit on hand can prevent getting lost or taking a more risky route.
SxS recovery kit
A well-equipped recovery kit can be invaluable in the woods or on the rocks. This kit should include:
At a minimum, you should always carry a tow strap when riding in a SxS. These can be used to either extract a vehicle or tow it back to camp.
For backcountry riding, an accessory winch empowers you to do everything from extracting a vehicle to suspending it for a tire repair. Small traction boards are a heaven-sent when you’re riding on super-muddy trails.
Spare parts to keep on hand for SxS offroading
The following spare parts and repair items should always be part of your off-road kit whether you’re out for a weekend or week long trip:
A few extra gallons of spare fuel can make a massive difference when you’re riding off-road all day. Many of the SxS manufacturers offer accessory fuel cans and attachment systems designed to fit securely within your particular UTV. Other key items include a spare drive belt, spark plugs, and a portable jump box to get your SxS started if the battery dies.
Clothing and accessories for a SxS trip
Depending on where and when you’re planning to ride, potential weather changes play a big role in determining what clothing to bring along for your SxS trip. Dressing in layers will keep you covered in comfort across the temperature extremes. Bring extra gloves, goggles, and mid-layer options, along with an all-weather shell jacket.
Be sure to bring the following items:
Food and hydration to keep closeby
Aside from staying comfortable despite the elements, keeping hydrated and fueled is equally important. Always pack plenty of water food to last you for an overnight stay on the trail in case you get stuck. The hotter the environment, the more reserves of water you should bring along.
Pack a variety of healthy, non-perishable foods like beef jerky, trail mix, granola, and protein bars to stay nourished all day. Also bring along:
Always be prepared however long or short your SxS excursion
Experience and planning are two of the best tools for ensuring your SxS UTV trail riding trip is hassle-free and safe, but most of all, fun! Staying safe and well-prepared comes down to well thought-out riding essentials, SxS riding accessories, clothing, snacks, UTV tool kits, and backcountry first-aid kits ensure every ride you go on will be more enjoyable. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced rider, these essentials are one of the best investments you can make.
Staying connected and being able to capture the fun with your phone’s camera is another consideration when planning. Keep your smartphone safe from the elements and potential drops and shocks while riding with one of Rokform’s Rugged Cases for your Galaxy S22 Ultra or iPhone 13 Pro Max.