Buying a your first ATV or UTV is one of the most exciting things you will ever do, but if you are not a seasoned rider or didn’t grow up with quads, there are a number of things you will want to get with your ATV to ensure you can ride safely and enjoyably for many years. Not all of these are absolutely essential and a lot are going to depend on how you use your ATV, but we are including in this guide everything that we think warrants serious consideration.
The Essential ATV Accessories
A helmet should be a no brainer. While not all states require you to where a helmet, it would be silly to not wear one if you are doing any measure of aggressive riding. There are hundreds of great options out there, but you want to make sure to get a reputable helmet with quality materials, adequate padding, good ventilation and replaceable parts. We discuss these factors and much more you should consider in our Recommended Gear, along with a great helmet we recommend for most riders.
Right after a helmet, you will want a good pair of goggles. It is incredibly annoying trying to see clearly with wind shooting into your eyeballs at fast speeds, not to mention dirt, dust and mud likely to kicked up in the air. Unsurprisingly, we have a lot of advice for picking out the right pair of goggles in our Recommended Gear, but you can save yourself some reading and just get these awesome goggles from Oakley that are only $40 (model for those that wear glasses).
You are going to get a lot more out of your quad and save some money if learn some simple maintenance. There are a few simple tools you should always have when you own an ATV, such as a low pressure gauge and torque wrench. Check out the best tools we recommend for use on an ATV in our Recommended Gear.
Tire Repair Kit.
It is kind of hard to carry a spare tire on an ATV so you will want a way to repair a flat if you get stuck. In our Recommended Gear, we have a great tire plug kit you should always keep on your quad and an excellent tire pump to keep in your truck for every outing. You will not regret having these when you get your first flat out on the trail.
When you are out riding your new quad, there are a number of small basic things you will always want to carry with you like plenty of water and snacks. Dehydration can be a serious issue with a hot engine between your legs, be sure to read up on how to handle riding in hot weather. You will also want some basic things in case your ATV acts up. We like to carry extra spark plugs and a tow strap.
Two Water Bottles.
While we mentioned the important have having plenty of water when you ride, there are two water bottles we almost never go without. The first is a vacuum-insulated bottle. These are the bottles that will keep your water or other beverage cold or hot all day long. I am addicted to these bottles as I hate warm water and there is nothing better than cold ice water to rejuvenate you during a hot ride. I have tried half a dozen different brands and my favorite by far is Atlasware. Their bottles come in big sizes and they keep the water colder for significantly longer than any other brand I have tried. They are a bit more expensive, but definitely worth it.
The second kind of water bottle we almost always take riding is a filtration bottle. This is our emergency bottle in case we get stranded or if we are riding somewhere with water, it makes it so we don’t have to carry as much water as we can drink from the source. There is no water better than fresh mountain stream water if its available. Of course it will make you sick as a dog without a filtration system. One teenager I was with saw me drinking out of a stream once and followed suit, not realizing I had a filtration bottle. He was expelling everything from his body within an hour. The filtration bottles I have been using for over 20 years are from Seychelle. I have used them in dozens of lakes, rivers and other sources of water all over North America, Asia and Europe without an issue.
With a new ATV, you need a way to get it into your truck or trailer, unless your trailer came equipped with a loading ramp. We recommend getting a quality set of open-rung aluminum ramps that fold up nicely. The best ramps are a little longer and have a more gradual angle near the top. This is especially true for new riders that might be less skilled at driving the ATV up the ramps. We give some more guidelines and a link to our favorite ramps in our Recommended Gear. You will definitely want to check them out if you are buying ramps anytime soon.
You will want to invest in a good set of ratchet straps to keep your ATV from moving while you are hauling it. Avoid getting really cheap ones as they won’t be strong enough to hold your ATV and are a pain to use. A good set will only set you back $40, but they will be more convenient to use and will hold anything down that you want. This is a great set on Amazon that has plenty of load capacity and has the convenient ratchet systems that are easy to use, all without being too bulky. In a pinch, you can also use these to tie stuff down to your ATV if you don’t have a cargo net or rear storage.
You probably think you don’t need a safety course, and you may be right, but if you bought a new ATV, most manufacturers offer a free course through the ATV Safety Institute. If you aren’t sure whether your new ATV qualifies, call the ATV Safety Institute (ASI) (800-887-2887) and they will check your ATV’s VIN to see if it qualifies.
Your battery is going to die at some point, especially if your quad sits during the winter. Dealing with a dead battery, especially when you are getting ready for a trip, can be a major headache. However, it is easily solved if you keep a charger with your ATV and simply let it charge while you are engaging your time doing other stuff, then the battery is ready to go and you can get riding without any hassle.
We highly recommend this smart charger that will make the job so easy for you and also help keep you from frying your battery.
The Highly Desirable ATV Accessories
Winches are relatively cheap, but so useful to have mounted on your ATV. They are an easy way to pull your quad out of whatever conditions you get stuck in. You’ll likely need to get a special mounting plate and brackets to match your ATV, but it shouldn’t be a hassle. We give you all the information you will need to get the perfect winch and recommend our favorite in Recommended Gear.
While bungee cords are adequate for stapping loose things down to your quad, but a cargo net is a much better option as you can easily and securely strap all your items down at once. You can pick up a really cheap, but more than adequate, cargo net on Amazon for less than $10.
Rear storage is one of the most convenient add-ons you can get. Check to make sure you find one that fits your model, but it shouldn’t be too hard. The rear storage will give you an easy place to store all the little things you need that we are discussing in this guide. Rear storage is not something you want to skimp on or it will not fit well and will break apart from everyday riding. We love this storage from Plano that will fit most ATVs.
You would be surprised how useful gloves are for four wheeling. Your hands can get beat up quite a bit if you are riding through brush. Gloves also go a long way to keeping your comfortable riding in the cold. Gloveless hands get bitter cold and painful. A good set of warm gloves goes a long ways to making a good winter ride. Check out all our recommended gloves for the best value for quality riding gloves and an awesome set of cold-weather gloves too.
While you can get away with riding your quad in most footwear, boots are super helpful if you are going to do any kind of aggressive riding. There is a wide array of boot styles for your riding style. Check out our boots guide to find the perfect boot for your style and budget.
If your ATV doesn’t have a dry box for rear storage, you will want to add one that either mounts on your ATV or that you can strap down. A dry box is essential even if you aren’t going through mud or water because it will protect your phone, wallet, camera and so forth from all that dirt and dust that gets kicked up. If you don’t want to drop a bunch of money one one designed for your quad, there are very inexpensive options on Amazon like this dry box that will definitely get the job done.
Spare Fuel Tank.
You never want to run out of gas out on a trail so it makes a lot of sense to carry an extra tank with you. You can’t go wrong with Rotopax. They fit great and are high quality. I prefer the 3.5 gallon tank, but you can get a smaller size too
Insurance is going to be a good idea for many ATV owners. You likely just invested a lot into your quad so it makes sense to protect it.
First Aid Kit.
You will want a first aid kid on your ATV for any riding you do. Especially if you are a beginner, it is too easy to get thrown or to even get smacked with a branch or thrown rock. I like to have a small, lightweight first aid kit that holds all the essentials. My go to kit for several years has been the Hiker Kit from Adventure Medical.
GPS and Satellite Phone.
If you are going to be riding in the back country, both a GPS system and a satellite phone (or a satellite phone with a gps) will be hugely beneficial in the event you get lost, injured or stuck with a broken ride.
Most ATVs don’t come with mirrors, and you don’t realize how nice they are until you actually ride one that has mirrors on it. You get used to riding with your head on a swivel, looking behind you whenever you need to. It really isn’t bad, but then you get mirrors and riding becomes a whole lot easier and safer. Mirrors can be had pretty cheap and they easily mount on your handlebars, so why not pick up a pair.
ATV Hand Guards.
Hand guards are great to attach to a new ATV. They are cheap (like $10) and easy to install. Hand guards are especially useful if you are in cold weather since they keep that bitter wind off your hands. They are also great if you are riding in forested trails since your hands can get hit by tree branches at high speeds.
While I usually just thrown a water bottle in the storage, a cup holder is nice during a long, more leisurely ride when you want access to your drink without having to stop your ATV. You can buy a really simple cup holder that easily mounts onto your handle bars. This cup holder is easily adjustable for almost any ATV and is only $12 on Amazon. At that price, it is worth being able to easily get your drink while you ride.
Along with a cup holder, a phone mount is pretty sweet to have on your handlebars. Hopefully, you are having too much fun riding to worry about your phone, but there are some nice times to have it mounted in front of you. Of course, it is great if you are using the GPS on your phone. It is also nice if you are using Bluetooth headphones and streaming music from your phone. Finally, it is super convenient to screen calls and text messages while on the ride so you don’t have to stop and pull your phone out every time it vibrates.
Most riders just pick up a bike mount and they work great. I like to have one that secures all four corners of the phone so it isn’t going to jostle free. This one from Mongoora is great and such a good value under $10.
The ATV Accessories Necessary for Some
If you aren’t going to be able to haul your ATV in a truck bed, you will need to get a trailer if you are going to be riding it anywhere off your property. There are a lot of considerations that go into picking out a trailer. There are open or enclosed trailers, different heights and all kinds of different sizes and loading styles. Instead of rehashing it here, we will just point you to this guide to picking the right size trailer, which also includes pointers on all the other important things you will want to consider.
A snow plow is an awesome attachment for your ATV if you live somewhere with snow. Of course, I have no need of a snow plow here in Las Vegas, but my family in the Idaho mountains couldn’t live without it. You can get a great snow plow on Amazon for $400. We really like this snow plow because it attaches to the ATV frame behind the wheels so the force is transferred to the whole ATV instead of just the front.
Unless your ATV always stays in your garage or an enclosed trailer, you will want an ATV cover. Other than wrecking your ATV, the quickest way to wear it out is leaving it out in the elements unprotected. Here in Las Vegas, the sun ruins everything that isn’t protected. In other places, rain or snow are even worse. You can pick up a really good quality rain cover for under $40 and it will be well worth the investment. We recommend this really good ATV cover that is a good price on Amazon.
If you’re like me, your wife won’t let you keep the ATV in the garage. She said it smells like gas. I think it smells like freedom! Either way, if you have to keep it outside in the elements, you need to at least keep it protected. The three things you need to worry about most are sun, rain and snow. Depending on where you live, the order of these dangers may change. The sun beating on your plastics all day long will cause them to fade. Rain and snow can cause electrical problems and mold to form. A quality ATV cover is the easiest fix to this problem, and only sets you back between $25-$50. You can read more about the Best ATV Covers in my review or see our favorites on Amazon below.
Many people buy an ATV just for hunting. If that is you, it would be silly not to get a gun rack to go with it. Gun racks will keep your gun safe instead of bouncing around storage, give you easy access when you need it, and free up room for other essentials. This double rack on Amazon is a great deal at under $40, gives you a secure way to carry one or two guns and can easily be removed when not in use.
Many ATVs these days come with speedometers built in, but not all of them, and not if you buy an older used quad. If you don’t have a speedometer, I highly recommend getting one. It will help you follow speed limits of course, but it is also great to learn how you quad performs at different speeds, when it changes gears and so forth.
There are a few different types of speedometers, but I prefer a GPS speedometer. This speedometer is great because it should fit most ATVs pretty easily, is easy to read even at night, and is waterproof.