A Beginner's Guide to Off-Roading in Utah
Much of Utah is designated as public land. Additionally, a majority of this space is registered for recreational use. In turn, close to three thousand miles of off-road trails are ready for four-wheeled trucks and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).
This means you can traverse the state's forests, mountains, and deserts outside of the local and interstate highway system. You'll be able to see more of its parks and monuments than those who drive across I-70.
However, preparation is a necessity before you take to off-roading. This is especially true if you've never done it before. Here's a beginner's guide to off-roading in Utah to get you started.
Know Your Vehicle
The fact you own an all-wheel vehicle or ATV doesn't mean you know how it operates off-road. Particularly if you've never done it in the past. So, you must understand how everything works.
You also need to know how to fix items when they aren't operating up to spec. If you've already learned how to become a car tuner, then you probably have some sense of what's required. However, if you don't know a thing about your vehicle's mechanics, then start searching the internet. Companies like A Touch of Business feature a collection of videos you can utilize to start studying.
Prepare Emergency and Recovery Gear
There's a difference between emergency and recovery gear. The latter is to help your vehicle get out of a messy situation. The former is used when you can't go anywhere.
Recovery gear should include traction pads to plow through loose terrain. Snatch straps are also useful to attach to another vehicle so you can be pulled from a snag. A high-lift jack helps raise your four-wheeler or ATV above the ground enough to change a tire.
As for emergency gear -- blankets, waterproof clothing, and other cold-weather items are a necessity if off-roading in cooler environments. Food and water for several days should be rationed somewhere in the vehicle. Should you have a rollover accident, having a seatbelt cutter or glass breaker on hand helps you get out.
Of course, a fully-stocked first aid kit is an absolute must. So is a method of communication that allows you to reach out for help. This might be in the form of a Ham Radio or long-range walkie-talkies. Don't assume your cell provider covers your journey into off-road areas.
Determine Where you Want to Go
Utah is a state of varying environments. Rocky deserts that are home to Zion and Bryce National Parks transform into mountainous tundra. Elsewhere, flat expanses grow into mountainous evergreen forests. Needless to say, there are several options available for off-roaders at any stage of experience.
It's why you want to determine where you want to go before you leave. One reason is to research the area. Another is to ensure others know where you'll be in case they don't hear from you. While spontaneity is something always encourage when traveling, some preparation is necessary while off-roading.
Stay Within Your Limits
Off-road beginners shouldn't go by themselves to traipse around the difficult Pritchett Canyon in the Utah town of Moab. Novice skills might not help you make necessary repairs. Let alone survive as the sun beats down and heats the area's red rocks.
Stay within your limits for your first outing. This means trying something a bit simpler to get your feet wet. Furthermore, it's best to go with someone else. They can either join you in your vehicle or drive their own. The latter tends to be better in case your off-road vehicle breaks down and you need a ride.
Take a Camera
Sure, the camera on your smartphone might do a good job of capturing your experience. However, it might not provide the depth of the beauty you encounter literally driving off the beaten path. Consider renting or purchasing a medium to a high-quality digital camera to catch the immensity of your trip.
This beginner's guide to off-roading is not meant to deter you from your adventure. On the contrary, we want you to experience a trip that Native Americans or early Westerners went through. Something that goes beyond the modern road system. If you heed the items mentioned above, you'll encounter the same feelings as they did.