So you want to try ATV Camping, but don’t know where to start? Well you have come to the right place, this is what we do and love. CampingATV.com is the only site dedicated to ATV Camping Accessories, we have the Camping Gear and the ATV Accessories to help you properly equip your ATV for an exciting ATV Camping Adventure. We will walk you through with some tips and advice on how to properly equip your ATV for a problem-free ATV Camping Adventure. For more information on a topic click on the underlined links and you will be transferred to that page.
First off you will need a utility ATV, we recommend a 4×4 utility ATV because they have the suspensions to handle the extra weight and with four wheel drive, you can get to your ATV camping site with confidence. There are several 2×4 utility ATVs available that are very capable, we just prefer the added capability of four wheel drive. Most utility 4×4 ATVs have both front and rear racks for carrying gear, make sure you get an ATV with both racks, you will be glad you did. Also get a 4×4 utility ATV with sufficient load capacity for hauling your gear.
Because you will be loading your ATV with camping gear and supplies you may want to adjust the suspension for the extra weight. Some ATVs have suspension pre-load adjustments for both the front and the rear, but most only have adjustments for the rear. You may want to increase the pre-load (follow the instructions in your owners manual) to compensate for the anticipated extra weight. If more ground clearance is required an ATV lift kit and larger tires is what you need. Typically a two inch lift kit and larger tires will gain you a minimum of three extra inches of ground clearance which will help significantly in rocky terrain, crossing water and mud, or getting over obstacles on the trail.
Now that you have an ATV you need to check the ATV laws and regulations in your state to make sure you are in compliance and able to ride on public land. Most states require ATVs be registered in order to ride on public lands. If you are planning a trip to a different state check the ATV regulations in that state, some states allow ATV registrations from neighboring states. Being in compliance helps preserve this sport for years to come. In some states the fees paid to register your ATV go to trail maintenance, maps and other resources that help preserve the sport. Non-compliant operation of an ATV hurts everyone.
Next you will need to add some ATV accessories. One of the most important ATV accessories to have is ATV Insurance, this is a rough sport and accidents do happen. You will have a lot invested in your ATV and having ATV insurance helps protect you and your ATV in the event of an accident and/or theft. For added protection on your ATV add a set of ATV bumpers, they will protect your ATV from scratches and bumps on the trail and add a bold aggressive look to your ATV. And speaking about protection, make sure you protect yourself, get and use a good helmet and riding gear.
An ATV Winch is highly recommended for ATV camping in the backcountry. Having a winch and the proper winch accessories are invaluable when stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Also, with the extra weight of the camping gear and the difference in handling of the loaded ATV over technical terrain makes a winch a very convenient accessory to have. Make sure you select a winch capable pulling at least twice the weight of your ATV loaded with you and your camping gear and accessories. The winch is only as good as the way it is mounted to your ATV, make sure you get the proper winch mount for your ATV. Check out our Winch Cable vs. Winch Rope page to help you decide which is best for you. At least one ATV in your ATV camping party should be equipped with a winch and the necessary winch accessories, the more ATVs equipped with a winch the better.
Having a good set of basic tools helps dramatically when those unavoidable breakdowns happen. Use our ATV Tools and Gear Checklist for some of the basic tools to carry while still keeping things light and compact. You will be surprised what can be accomplished with these basic tools. One of the most valuable tools is a 12V portable air compressor and tire plug kit. ATV tires are subjected to some major abuse, from sharp rocks to branches. Sooner or later you will encounter a flat tire and when you are on a backcountry trail there is no AAA to come out and fix it. Learning how to fix a flat tire is just part of the territory and having a good 12V portable air compressor makes re-inflating a flat tire a snap.
Because ATV camping takes you to some deep, remote back country areas you may require extra fuel and water to get you there and back. A set of ATV fuel packs and/or a set of ATV water packs are just the trick. At just three inches thick, they are designed specifically for ATVs and are available in one, two, three and four gallon packs and multiple configurations. The flat packs fit on either the front or rear racks and are strong enough to load your camping gear on top. There are several mounting options available for almost any application. There are flat packs for first aid kits, extra storage, tools, and survival kits.
Having your camping gear and supplies organized makes loading and unloading your ATV much easier. Nothing helps keep your ATV camping gear organized better than a good set of waterproof ATV Bags or ATV Luggage. Lets face it, there is a lot of gear you will be loading and unloading for your ATV camping adventure and having a dry, dust free place to store and keep things secure and organized really helps. You can choose between hard-sided and soft-sided ATV luggage. There is ATV luggage designed for the front rack, rear rack, fenders, gas tank, and handlebars. There are even ATV bags with integrated coolers or you can have separate soft-sided coolers. ATV luggage is easy to attach and remove for added flexibility. Need more space? Consider some additional ATV Racks and Baskets.
When selecting your camping gear for ATV camping remember to keep things as lightweight and compact as possible. Use our camping checklists to help you determine what to take. If camping with a group, a good idea is to load one ATV with the camping stoves and cookware, load another ATV with the food, and another with the ATV camping tents and camping furniture. Everyone carries their own personal items and sleeping gear. Make sure your sleeping bag is rated for the anticipated climate and a good mat is invaluable after a long hard day of riding.
Now you are ready to load your ATV. Always load an ATV effectively within the manufacturers rated load capacity using the front and rear racks. Typically loading 75% of the total weight (ATV camping gear and supplies) on the rear rack and the remaining 25% on the front rack will keep the load balanced. If there is an ATV winch, this extra weight (12 – 20 lbs depending on brand & size, plus the weight of the winch accessories) needs to be included when loading an ATV with camping gear and supplies.
Example: If the ATV camping gear and supplies have a combined weight of 100 lbs and the winch weighs 20 lbs, then the total weight of the load is 120 lbs. Load the rear rack with 75% of the total load, which is 90 lbs of ATV camping gear and supplies and the remaining ATV camping gear and supplies (10 lbs) is loaded on the front rack. The front of the ATV will have 25% of the total load (winch + camping gear & supplies) or 30 lbs and the rear rack has 75% of the total load or 90 lbs for a total load of 30 lbs + 90 lbs = 120 lbs.
If you are going to be using ATV fuel packs/water packs, this extra weight (6.2 lbs/gal for gasoline & 8.3 lbs/gal for water) must be taken into account when calculating the total weight of the load. If the ATV has a storage compartment (most do) this is where as much of the ATV tools and gear should go. Make sure your load is secure and tied down well. Using a cargo net and/or bungee cords helps hold things in place. Wrapping items with the ground tarp helps keep items dry and easier to tie down. The use of ATV luggage is highly recommended because your items are kept dry, dust free, secure and organized. While camping protect your ATV from the elements with an ATV Cover.
If you do not want to load your camping gear and supplies on your ATV, you could load everything on our ATV Backpacker trailer and pull this trailer behind your ATV. The ATV Backpacker trailer is lightweight (80lbs), strong, and capable of hauling your whole groups camping gear and supplies (up to 800lbs). This frees everyone else up to ride freely and safely without the extra weight. This trailer is not a heavy, bulky trailer so it will not be a burden on your camping adventure and with over 13 inches of ground clearance, it will clear the normal obstacles to get you and your gear to the campsite.
Now that you have properly equipped and loaded your ATV, where are you going to go on your ATV camping adventure? Check out our data base of ATV Camping Areas sorted by state to find a good camping area and get an area map. Once you have planned your trip, enter the coordinates from your map into your Handheld GPS. This will help guide you to your ATV camping spot and get you back home.
Checkout our ATV Camping Survival tips and advice to help you on your journey. Remember to Tread Lightly, stay on the trail and protect our environment. At CampingATV.com we want you to have a safe and trouble-free ATV Camping Adventure, let us help you properly equip your ATV. Shop with confidence knowing our site is secure and your purchases are guaranteed.