Cold Weather ATV AccessoriesMaddy Scheinost
Get Your ATV Ready For Cold Weather Adventures
Get Your ATV Ready for Cold Weather and Winter Riding
For many, winter and cold weather seasons were the impetus for getting an ATV or UTV in the first place…exploring, trail riding, hunting, ice fishing or even working, when many people are sitting in front of the fireplace. Whatever your motivations, winter brings some great ATV riding. But it also requires a little more gear and preparation than warm weather. If you want to turn your summer ride into a snow ATV, you’ll need to be properly equipped. Obviously, safety should be a priority for you every single time you ride, but it becomes even more important during winter adventures. And staying warm as the mercury drops is also important, not only so you don’t have to cut your time spent in the Great Outdoors short, but so you can avoid hypothermia. Gearing up, yourself and your ATV, for cold weather can be a challenge so the experts here at Treadworld have put together a few tips and considerations to help you determine your cold weather ATV riding gear priorities.
Cold Weather ATV Apparel
If you’re cryophilic, that is you have an affinity for cold weather (yes, they have a word for it!), then you’re probably already aware that layering is the key to staying warm in winter. Proper layering is a 3-step process. Layer #1, the base, should be designed for warmth and especially moisture wicking, and should fit tight against your skin. Some sort of performance long underwear will do the trick. Layer #2 should be an insulation layer that can also absorb moisture to keep you dry. This layer shouldn’t be as snug as the base, but should be tight enough to retain body heat. Polyester fleece can work for this layer. Then layer #3 should be waterproof, ideally breathable, and able to shield you from chilling winds, snow and rain. Many ATV riders in cold weather swear by their uninsulated Gore-Tex parkas because they offer high performance with light weight. Jackets with zippered venting can be a plus so you can cool down if the need arises.
Think About Your ATV Helmet
It’s commonly understood that a lot of body heat is lost through the head. The best ATV helmet for you might be a snowmobile helmet, which is designed with a double-pane shield that won’t fog up, a ventilation system that removes moisture, and a breath box (aka breath shield) that covers your cheeks and nose and helps circulate warm air. You also have options other than buying a cold weather ATV helmet. You can wear your regular helmet but add accessories to the mix like a facemask, a full-coverage balaclava or a simple neck gaiter, items that fit comfortably under your helmet. Or you can get a breath box or chin curtain to fit the chin bar of your current helmet. And don’t forget safety glasses or ATV goggles, ideally with no-fog properties, because obviously being able to see is essential.
Cold Hands Are No Good
Not only do cold wet fingers make it more difficult to safely operate your machine, but they are also more prone to frostbite. You want ATV gloves with a waterproof exterior, preferably a lightweight material like Gore-Tex, with a warm inner liner (many swear by Thinsulate insulation) and cuffs that cover your wrist and prevent wind and water from sneaking in. A sure-grip palm can be helpful, and of course, your gloves need to be flexible enough so you can maintain the manual dexterity you need to control the throttle and maintain safety while you’re ATV trail riding.
Cold Feet Are No Good Either
When it comes to footwear suitable for riding your ATV in winter, you’re looking for ATV boots made from a sturdy material like leather or nylon that will provide durability, support and protection for your feet and ankles, some insulation for warmth, and water-resistance. Pair your ATV riding boots with a good pair of thick wool socks to keep the frigid temps at bay.
Heated ATV Seat and Heated ATV Grips
If you spend a lot of time on ATV riding trails in freezing temperatures, you’ll be glad you added a heated ATV seat and heated ATV grips to the mix. Both an ATV seat warmer and grips can increase your enjoyment in cold weather, but even more, they can improve your dexterity and fight off fatigue, especially if you prefer to wear lighter weight gloves. You’ll find that most heated grips and seats are relatively simple to install, essentially “plug and play,” and fit a wide variety of designs. You can also get a thumb warmer for your throttle thumb. Another option for keeping your hands warm, and for fighting off the wind, is handlebar mitts, also called gauntlets, with one end that wraps around your ATV’s handlebars, while you insert your hands in the other end.
Stock Up on Emergency-Type Gear
Expect the unexpected. Sure, it’s a cliché, but if you’ve been riding long, you know that your outdoor adventures don’t always go exactly as planned. That’s why it’s a good idea to have items in your ATV storage box that can help you out if you find yourself in a cold weather situation. Actually, the following items are a good idea any time you will be taking an extended ride away from cabin or camp.
Obviously, an ATV first aid kit is a good idea. You never know when the need for acting quickly will arrive. Pick up a compact first aid kit that will easily slip into your ATV storage area, or put your own together. In that case, be sure you have a decent supply of a variety of gauze and other bandages, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide), an emergency blanket, tweezers, aspirin, safety pins, sticky tape and scissors. Consider instant cold packs, and splints.
Make certain you have a reliable flashlight. Sure, you didn’t expect to be out after dark, but you also didn’t expect to get a little lost during one of the shortest days of the year either. You may also need it in the event you have to do some mechanical troubleshooting. Since cold weather can wear you out faster than warm weather, consider taking along some snacks and hydration, water bottles or sports drinks, plus some nutrient-rich treats like beef jerky, granola bars or trail mix. It’s a good idea to keep away from alcohol and excessive caffeinated drinks—because they do more harm than good in cold weather.
You can’t take everything and the kitchen sink, but consider whether extra socks, long underwear, gloves and blankets are worth the effort since staying warm and dry is crucial in the cold weather and snow. Of course, you’ll have the tool kit you always carry with you when you are ATV trail riding. In cold, snowy weather consider adding a folding shovel and portable traction pads in case you run into some tricky ice.
ATV Winch and Tow Strap
An ATV winch to help get you unstuck is always a good idea, but especially when you add snow to the equation, to get you unstuck or to get one of your buddies out of a jam, or to move something out of the trail. When you select a winch, pay attention to its weight rating because you need a winch that’s strong enough to pull your machine. A heavier ATV requires a higher weight rating. Winches work with two types of rope: wire and synthetic. Wire rope is stronger and tends to last better with repeated use, but synthetic rope is lighter and generally safer. Consider getting a tree saver strap that won’t damage a tree when you hook up. An ATV tow strap can also come in extremely handy when you’re dealing with a disabled machine that needs to be towed. Again, the weight rating is important here.
Tracks Kits Help You Stay on Top of the Snow
Depending on the type of weather and terrain you’ll be facing, you may want to consider getting a Tracks Kit. Essentially, tracks kits help your machine stay on top of the snow by giving it a larger footprint, and keep you moving with an aggressive tread. Typically, tracks kits are available for all types of ATVs and UTVs. Some kits are configured for all four wheels and others have a single rear track and front skis.
These are just a few of the considerations you have when you’re updating your gear and outfitting your ATV or UTV for cold weather. Of course, there are many other accessories that ATV riders and UTV riders might want to include when they’re outfitting their machine to turn it into an ice fishing ATV or a hunting ATV, items like an ATV snowplow, tire patch kits, a smart phone or other communication system, GPS systems, and possibly an ATV cover if it will be out all night.
We also haven’t mentioned tires. The right set of ATV tires can make a ton of difference for improving your machines’ off-road capabilities in snowy, cold weather conditions. Here at Treadworld, we have the ATV tires you need for all your off-roading, hunting, ice-fishing, snow-exploring adventures. Our Master ATV Tires and Master UTV Tires are the high performance tires you want to keep you moving and safe in any weather conditions. They’re made from top quality rubber compounds, triple-tested for quality before being X-rayed to be sure they’re perfect, plus they’re covered by our Ultimate Advantage Lifetime Warranty. Don’t hesitate to contact our tire experts via live chat or email with any questions you may have, and to get the ideal Master ATV tires for you.