Mount up and take off! It’s time for an ATV tour of Hells Canyon. In our last blog post, we outlined some of the most essential things you should pack with you on your next ATV tour. Unlike a typical road trip, taking an ATV tour requires some special considerations and specialized equipment. In addition to your standard safety equipment like helmet, gloves, and riding boots, you also want to have the tools and skills you need to ride safely and comfortably.
Here at Killgore Adventures, we know the Hells Canyon region like the back of our hand. That’s because we offer hundreds of ATV and RZR tours of Hells Canyon throughout the year. But if you’re ready to explore Hells Canyon on your own, then you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the right things on your packing list. Let’s take a look at a few more ATV tour Essentials.
TRAIL MAPS AND A GPS
Even if you’re following a fairly well worn and well-marked trail, it’s very important that you always carry with you a trail map and a GPS unit or cell phone of some kind. In the not uncommon event that you miss a turn or make the wrong turn, having these resources on hand is a great way to ensure that you can make it back to the trailhead before dark. Many Forest Service and National Recreational Area offices offer these trail maps for free, but even if you have to pay for a trail map you should always have one on hand.
Having a GPS unit and a cell phone is a great way to ensure that you can make it back to your campsite at the end of the day. A GPS unit offers you precise coordinates and can help you make the right decisions about where to go next. Should you encounter an emergency or get well and truly lost, a cell phone is a great way to make emergency calls when needed.
Of course, before you even leave for your next ATV Adventure, it’s very important that you familiarize yourself with the trail and look for any distinctive features along the way. In addition, make a travel itinerary that outlines where you’re going, what time you’re leaving, and when you expect to be back. Leave this with a friend or simply recited over the phone to a friend or family member. This way if you get lost and you don’t check in at the designated time, they’ll know text you or to contact search and rescue.
A FIRST AID KIT
Anytime you head out into the wilderness it’s important to have a first aid kit with you. You never know when a stray branch might scratch through your riding clothes or you might slip off your vehicle and twist an ankle. In moments like these, having a first aid kit is a great way to address these minor bumps and bruises. Most outdoor gear shops sell first aid kits that are ready made with everything you could need and they come in various sizes as well. If you’re traveling at the end of summer, the early fall, or even in winter, having a compact thermal blanket is a great idea. Should you get stuck in the snow and cold, these blankets do a great job of reflecting your own body heat back at you, keeping you remarkably warm.
FOOD AND WATER
Like the extra fuel we mentioned in our last blog post, these should be high on the top of your packing list. After you have a rough estimate of how long you’ll be out on the trail, you can start to pack enough food and water to meet your needs. In general, you want to bring about four to six liters of water per person, per day. If you don’t want to bring all that heavy water with you, make sure you bring a filtration system of some kind.
When you’re packing food consider packing a variety of things. You’ll want to bring some snacks that give you small bursts of energy throughout the day as well as sources of longer-lasting energy like proteins and fats. Jerky is a great trail snack that can be eaten as a meal or as a simple snack. Cheese is also a great example. Of course, you can supplement these with things like trail mix, power bars, and dried fruits. Make sure you store your food and snacks in a rugged container so that the critters throughout the Hells Canyon region don’t get their fair share of your food cache.
AN EXPERIENCED RIDER
There’s something to be said for learning by trial and error, but when it comes to riding an ATV, it can be a complicated experience to try and manage the vehicle, your supplies, and the trails. That’s why it’s a great idea to have an experienced rider with you on your first couple of ATV tours. They’ll have tips and tricks as well as the knowledge you need to safely and comfortably enjoy your tour. They may also have advanced navigation and orienteering skills that you may lack. This ensures that you can enjoy your tour without getting lost.
If nothing else, inviting an experienced rider along is a great way to make new friends and add more people to your tour. As they say, the more the merrier.
YOUR HELMET AND PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Some might argue that a helmet and protective gear is a little uncomfortable and make them look a little silly. But if your safety gear is well-fitted, you’ll feel very comfortable. This equipment is tailor-made to keep you safe should a branch hit you or should you fall off your machine. Of course, you don’t need the most specialized gear in the world to enjoy an ATV tour. At minimum you’ll want long pants, long sleeves, gloves, goggles, and boots that cover your ankles. If nothing else, make sure you have a sturdy and reliable helmet that will keep your head safe.
A WILLINGNESS TO EXPLORE
This might sound cheesy but it really is one of the most important parts of your ATV tour. As you travel through Hells Canyon, you’ll see some of the most impressive sites in the North American continent. Having a willingness to explore with a mind that’s open to the natural beauty of the area is a great way to get the most out of your ATV tour. As you travel, take some time to stop and enjoy the sights and sounds of Hells Canyon. Immersing yourself in the experience ensures that you’ll enjoy every second of your ATV tour.