ATV Pre-Ride Checklist

Heading out on the trails with your ATV? No matter where you go, from Wisconsin’s Buffalo River State Trail to Florida’s Withlacoochee State Forest’s Croom area, your 4-wheel destination can be the ultimate ride of your life. However, you have to be smart about your pre-ride checklist. Check out these tips to take care of once you’ve got your ATV shipping squared away.


  • Keep an extra set of keys to your ATV and keep them in a safe place. You won’t believe how easy it is to misplace those things! You don’t want to get to the trail that you traveled so far for only to discover you don’t have the keys with you.
  • Grab an actual map of the trail to refer to. While you may have a fancy iPhone app, nothing can replace the simplicity of a good old fashioned paper map. Plus, a trail map is easy to whip out when you need it. Your phone will likely be back at your car or stowed safely away in storage. Keep your family and friends apprised of where you’re going by leaving a trail itinerary with them.
  • Communication is hey, especially when it comes to emergency contacts. Bring your cell phone and radios with you, with plenty of batteries. Travel with a buddy at all times if possible.
  • Dress for any eventuality. It’s best to dress in layers, particularly if the climate is such that it’s cold in the morning but warm in the afternoon. Don’t go overboard with the packing, but don’t leave out anything essential either. You’ll need extra boots, rain gear, a helmet, goggles and gloves.
  • It’s a good idea to carry an extra quart of oil just in case.
  • Give your 4-wheeler a once-over before heading out on any ride.
  • Pack a first aid kit. This one’s a no-brainer. Fill it with bandages, antiseptic ointment, pain reliever, bug spray, sunscreen and any prescription meds you or anyone in your party may take. This includes epinephrine pens in case of allergic reaction. You never know when you might run into a bee hive!
  • Keep a simple toolkit with essentials such as a screwdriver, pair of pliers, wrench, spare lights or flares, spare spark plug, electric tape, tire repair kit, spare tire inflation can, flashlight, batteries, tow rope, knife, and small foldable shovel.
  • Kick the tires. You don’t want a nail to go unnoticed and it decides to puncture and flatten your tire while you’re in the middle of your ride. Check the air pressure as well.
  • Check the oil level and fuel gage before you head out.
  • Replace worn grips. They’re cheap, most are under $10 each, and they’re essential to getting good traction with your hands.
  • Tell someone where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone. Keep in touch with them, especially on overnight stays in parks and rec areas.
  • Bring an extra change of clothes if you are planning to hit muddy trails.

Hitting the trails with your ATV is something you likely look forward to all year long. Make sure your excursion goes off without a hitch by following these tips. If you need to ship your ATV for a one-way trip, call AA Motorcycle Shipping for a free quote.


Leave a Comment