Way back in June 2010, we detailed the top-10 must-have products to carry in your UTV. Well, a lot has happened since then, with huge strides in UTV technology, aftermarket innovations and OEM fitment. Now, our UTVs perform at much higher levels and are so sophisticated that working on them requires special tools. Some of these must-have lifesavers are now incorporated in our smartphones (GPS, camera, flashlight, etc.), but you may need backups if your Samsung Note 7 suddenly catches fire. So, we’ve listed 12 items that we call the dirty dozen of off-roading. These are on top of the standard safety equipment (helmet, goggles, gloves, long-sleeved shirt, long pants and over-the-ankle boots) that should be worn on every ride. Also, if you ride in the dunes, LED whips and lights are must-have items in case some unforeseen problem keeps you out after sunset.
1) FIRE EXTINGUISHER & MOUNT
While most people’s first purchase for their UTV is new tires, it should be a quality fire extinguisher and mount. We really like the Assault Industries kit with quick-release billet mount (see our product evaluation on page 64) for $170, because it can be removed very quickly. Maco Custom Metal Works ( 434-6800) had custom cam-release mounts for First Alert fire extinguishers on sale at Brimstone’s Paragon. Pure Polaris has Pro Armor Fire Extinguisher Mount Kits for $79.99. The RV-class 5-B:C-rated extinguisher is held in a bag with Velcro tube-mount closures. Quadboss and Moose have a similar holder for your extinguisher for $20. No matter which you buy, consider it cheap insurance for your UTV.
2) TIRE-FIX KIT/AIR COMPRESSOR
Most people buy new tires for their UTVs, and upgrading to 8-ply or run-flat tires cuts down on flats. Besides, carrying a spare tire adds highly placed weight and also requires a jack. It’s generally faster to fix flats and re-inflate tires on the trail. Slime makes several flat-fix and air-compressor kits that cost around $70. Walmart carries Slime products at a great price. At the 2014 Rally on the Rocks, we ripped a sidewall so badly that it took beadlock-ring removal, safety-wire stitches and 27 plugs to fix it. Aerostich has a cool Mini Compressor for $50 that fits in a small bag and has three cables for 12-volt power—jumpers, a cigarette-lighter-style 12-volt plug and battery-post eyelets. It has a 36-inch, latch-on hose, carabiner for hanging and 6-foot power cord with on/off switch. We have also used a Dynaplug Pro Inflator ($90) and Pro Tire Repair Kit ($54) with good results.
3) PORTABLE POWER SOURCE
Some UTVs have the battery mounted in an out-of-the-way place, so it’s hard to get at the battery posts with jumper cables if your battery goes dead. A portable power source (PPS) is the answer, and Antigravity has several kits. We have had great luck with our XP-10 kit ($199.99). When our Ace 570 went dead, we used the accessory power strip under the front rack to jump-start it to life. Antigravity’s newest PPS is the Micro-Start Sport ($99.99), which is stout enough to jump-start a 5-liter V-8, and it also has several cords to charge GoPros, phones and all USB devices. Antigravity also has lithium replacement batteries for UTVs and ATVs ($109.99–$399.99).
4) GPS/MAP & COMPASS
At Dove Springs over Thanksgiving, Kern County sheriffs were handing out trail maps, but that’s pretty old school. Garmin and other GPS producers have most areas and trails in their Global Positioning System databases, and Polaris has a cool trail-map app for phones. Garmin even makes watches and video cameras (see the Garmin VIRB XE product test in the January 2017 issue) with route-tracking capabilities. Trail leaders should be so equipped. They should also stop at each turn or intersection until the next UTV sees them so nobody gets lost.
The new RZR XP 1000 Ride Command LE has a backup camera with video display. All other UTVs should have some sort of mirror for safety while in reverse. In Utah, side mirrors are required for UTVs to be street-legal. Even UTVs with center rear-view mirrors need side mirrors if a cooler or spare tire obstructs the view.
6) TOW STRAP/WINCH
A tow strap has many uses, and we’ve used straps as jacks more than once. Strap high on the cage and lift the wounded UTV up on two wheels. Rock crawlers also strap for safety when on really off-camber obstacles or to prevent endos on steep inclines. A winch is even better, and we’ve used both to put UTVs back on all fours.
7) COOLER/WATER JUG
Long-distance explorers need to carry extra water to keep humans and machines hydrated. PRP has optional hydration-system holders for its seats, and Daystar makes cool Fluid Cam-Cans that hold 2 gallons each ($119.99 with mount). Or, simply carry as many water bottles as will fit in your Yeti, Northstar or other ice chest.
8) FIRST-AID KIT
You can be the most skilled and careful driver in the world, but accidents can and do happen, in or out of the UTV. Chinook Medical Gear has all sorts of first-aid kits, and we reviewed the Chinook Home and Vehicle Kit ($169.95–$254.95) in the September 2016 issue, but Chinook also has Bleeding and CPR ($39.95), Minimalist Kits ($41.95), Traveler Kits ($89.95–$129.95) and much more that cover wounds, burns, bites and stings all the way up to splints and tourniquets. Call Chinook at (800) 766-1365 or visit www.chinookmed.com.
9) SPARE CVT BELT/TIRE/TOOLS
Yamaha YXZ and Honda Pioneer owners don’t have to worry about broken CVT belts, but everyone else does. Having at least one spare CVT belt, all the tools needed to change a belt and other spares and tools become more essential every mile you drive further from camp or your garage.
If you’ve ever high-centered your UTV in mud, sand or snow, you know the value of having a jack and shovel handy for lifting or digging out. We’ve had to dig out on the beach, where there are no anchors to attach a winch lead and pull the UTV out. The same with sand dunes; the only way out is to dig, and using your hands is no fun. UTV Action editor Lumpy has two folding shovels in his F250, and at least one goes into the UTV on rides.
11) USB PORT/CHARGERS
The more devices you use and come to rely on, the more you need chargers for them. Antigravity Micro-Starts have several cords for charging devices, and Blue Water has a cool new plug that converts 12-volt DC to 5-volt 1-amp and 5-volt 2.1-amp with a rubber cover.
12) SAFETY HARNESSES
Unless you have a Fox Edition or new Gold Matte LE RZR XP, you only have a seat belt with a shoulder harness. All racing organizations and the Rally on the Rocks require safety harnesses for competition and technical trails. Whether you go four-, five- or six-point is up to you, but you don’t want two or more tires leaving the ground without harnesses.