Safety Tips When Riding Solo in the Backcountry

When you’re out in the bush, you can’t call 911 for help or expect a rescue anytime soon. You’re on your own. One small injury or unexpected event could be disastrous or even fatal on backcountry trips. The following is a list of essentials to bring along if you want to be self-sufficient on ATVs. This not a full list, though. Do your own research before attempting any long trips without any support trucks or other backup.

Keep a list of emergency contact numbers (family or friends) with all your medical conditions, medications, and allergies on your person at all times. This info saved a well-prepared friend’s life last year on a backroad motorcycle trip to Sturgis. It is also a good idea to keep this information on your helmet, as well.

- Give a third party your trip itinerary.
- Cell phones don’t work. Get or rent a satellite phone.
- Dry bags. Not having a dry sleeping bag or clothes after a day of freezing rain could literally suck the life out of you.
- Extra tire plug kits.
- A hand pump (in case an electrical one peters out).
- Extra wheels and tires.
- A basic tool kit. You don’t have to pack too many tools, because if there are any major breakdowns, no tool can fix a destroyed part.
- Unless you are an excellent navigator, bring a GPS as well as quadrant maps of the area.
- A compass, and know how to use it.
- Needle and thread. Some fishing line and a needle saved a blown-out CV joint cover.
- Local currency in case you find someone who might want to be paid to help you.
- Zip ties, foil, and contractor-grade garbage bags.
- Camping gear.
- Water filter.
- Synthetic sleeping bags if you’re in a wet environment.
- Mosquito bed net.
- Bow saw and spare blade.
- Winches on every vehicle.
- Bandanas for dust blockers.