Every off-road outing leads to a wide variety of unknown scenarios, and planning for the unknown with a well-rounded onboard tool kit can help get you home if the need arises. The majority of ATVs and UTVs come standard with a tool kit, which includes common tools for basic repairs. This is a great starting point, but you don’t want to rely on it solely. Review your service manual to find its location on your vehicle, familiarize yourself with the contents and build upon it within these three important areas.
Here are four suggested hard tool categories to help sort out a wide variety of potential repairs on the trail.
Classic Multi-Tool – Easily carried in a pocket or in your kit, a multi-tool features a wide variety of tools accessible in a snap when unexpected tasks come up. Some of those handy tools included are needle nose and regular pliers; adjustable crescent wrench, wire cutters; fine and serrated edge combo knife blade; scissors; cross head screw driver; large, medium and small flathead screw drivers; can opener; bottle opener; awl; file; ruler and a wire stripper.
Double Ratcheting Standard/Metric Combination Wrench Set – These are multi-end design wrenches featuring ratcheting box ends tasked to do the same work as a socket wrench, but taking up less space. The slim design fits into tight spaces where other wrenches may not and their additional leverage makes them less likely to slip when removing fasteners.
Standard/Metric Drive Sockets and Ratchet – For fasteners needing more grip and torque to loosen, you may need a variety of drive sockets and corresponding ratchet. Common use areas for these types of sockets include loosening/tightening your vehicle’s wheel lug nuts when changing a tire.
Torx, Allen and Screwdriver Heads – Specialty bits in these categories come in a variety of kits and combinations and aid in loosening and tightening smaller bodywork fasteners.
Don’t forget to think about yourself, your passengers or other riders participating in your adventure in the case an emergency arises or there’s a need to recover a vehicle. Thinking about adding these items in these last two areas can definitely turn your day around for the better.
Carrying a first aid kit is a great idea. First aid kits are available in a variety of sizes and containers. Try to find a compact design containing every item essential for first aid supplies. (Gauze pads, bandages, alcohol wipes, instant ice pack, dressings, burn sprays, allergy reactions and more). For good measure bring along a few extra bottles of water and some non-perishable food like trail mix, granola bars or beef jerky. When it comes to proper riding gear, strategically layer your clothing because trail and weather conditions can change rapidly.
Sometimes you might just have to recover a vehicle to get it back to a safe zone depending on the situation. Think about carrying a tow strap, shovel, some form of hand saw for cutting small branches or trees, a portable battery jump pack, a small fire extinguisher, or fasteners like cinch straps, bailing wire, zip ties, hose clamps and duct tape that can band together just about any form of broken component in a pinch. In the event you don’t have a spare tire, it’s a good idea to carry a tire plug kit and small air compressor. For ATVs and UTVs utilizing a four-stroke engine, carrying a spare quart of engine oil like Quicksilver® SAE 5W-50 is a convenient size to stow if levels get low.
The more you adventure, the likelihood of adventuring to the point of unknown becomes greater, and you’ll end up tailoring your tool kit to your own experiences. Remember to prepare smart, ride right and stay safe.