The world of accessories has grown exponentially with the booming success of UTVs. George Hamblin, who is familiar with my ATV articles, recently sent me an email asking my opinion on must-have add-ons for a side-by-side.
Armed with that question, I made a call to Young Powersports of Layton and found Jeramie Pulsipher from the service department and Manager Nick Faulkner together. After posing the question, I learned what items are in demand by their customers.
Combining that information with what I have learned in my 28 years on the trail, here is a discussion on some accessories designed to improve your trail-riding experience:
I have owned two UTVs — the first one didn’t have a roof, but my current one does and I prefer having one. Roofs come in aluminum, molded polycarbonate and fabric, with fabric being the least expensive. I like carrying my own shade.
They have their place, but they are not made for dusty trails. They create a wind vortex that sucks dust into the cab. A rear windshield will help but won’t stop the dust. Carry plenty of water and wipes, because you will be cleaning it every time you stop, inside and out. Also, the inside of the cab will have a coating of dust on everything, including you.
Windshields work best on cold rainy days or when riding on winter days in the snow. Still, you will have the job of cleaning off the mud when you stop.
If a windshield is important to you, get one that will fold down for dusty trails. I think glass is more resistant to scratching than the poly styles
I prefer to wear a helmet with goggles as the best protection against the elements. I don’t have a windshield because I like to feel the wind when I ride. And although I have been caught out on the trail in the rain, I try to avoid bad weather.
While I don’t like to ride on highways, I do like the option of running to the store in perfect weather, so three of my machines are registered to drive on the streets. That means that I have side mirrors and a rearview mirror, turn signals and a license plate with a light.
Personal preference plays a role in the selection of these articles as well. I have seen some custom side mirrors that are small and impractical. I prefer large ones that show me what is or is not behind me. I can adjust my mirrors in my car, but not on my UTV. I occasionally ask the passenger riding with me to adjust the right-hand side mirror. On second thought, maybe that is a good purpose for a passenger. The rearview mirror is the one I refer to most of the time.
While UTVs have some storage space, cargo boxes are a popular item. They vary in size, but they are custom-made to fit on your particular machine. They are often lockable and will protect your valuables from dust and other unwantables.
A good GPS makes the ride more enjoyable for me. It gives me a measure of assurance that no matter what trails I take, I will always be able to get back to the starting point. When I get back home, I upload the track to my computer to see where I have been
I save those tracks for future reference. Sometimes, I use them to take friends to see some of the amazing things I have found in the backcountry. Often, people will request copies of a track I have stored to plan their own riding itineraries.
I have seen some UTVs lit up like Christmas trees with light bars and programmable light whips. It is fun to see the setups people choose. When I put a light bar on my UTV, I found myself planning night rides.
A winch is one of those insurance accessories. You may not need it, but if you do, you have it. I have found plenty of reasons to have one mounted on my machine. I prefer a minimum rating of 4,500 pounds for a UTV. I take pride in being able to lift a 4,500-pound winch.
These are some of the most popular accessories — space doesn’t permit getting into tires and wheels. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and have fun dolling up your machine.