Camping with a UTV or Side-by-Side is a great recreational activity. It often involves going through rocky trails and dusty roads while enjoying the company of your family and friends.
The bumpy ride is what makes the trip more intriguing. For a first-timer, it can be a little rough, but once you get the hang of it, you will definitely fall in love.
When camping with a UTV, be ready to interact with Mother Nature. It is so one of the best ways enjoy outdoors and everything the wilderness has to offer. Prepare adequately, and you will end up having an adventure of a lifetime.
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What is UTV camping
Before you get to know all about UTV camping, you need to know what a UTV is. A UTV (also called a Side-by-Side) is a very efficient vehicle designed to take you through rough terrain and easily maneuver through tight spaces.
It comes with durable built, high-quality tires and comfortable seats with seatbelts to keep you secure throughout the ride. They are much larger compared to ATVs and easy to control.
All you have to do is maintain the driving rules, and you will have a great time maneuvering them in the forest or near cliffs. Most come with incredible suspension meant to absorb excess shock, thus protecting you from any unnecessary impact when driving.
They’re by far the best option for anyone who is interested in taking his or her camping vacation to a completely remote locale.
UTV camping, on the other hand, is using a Side-by-Side to access the outdoors with the aim of connecting with nature. It is the best way to enjoy the wilderness and get abundant fresh air as you bond with your family.
As a matter of fact, UTV camping is a unique way of camping because you can access remote areas that a car or truck wouldn’t but still carry in plenty of gear and use motorized transportation.
Side-by-Sides give you unlimited access to numerous places that would otherwise require trekking. At some point, you will get to see plenty of animals in the comfort of your UTV and have a close examination of Mother Nature as a whole. The camping is done in a more natural setting, and this tends to enhance the experience even further. You will be completely thrilled and very ready for your next camping adventure.
Why you should go camping in a Side-by-Side
So why would you want to go for UTV camping? The answer is very simple. To have unlimited fun. UTV camping will make you get to places you never thought existed. Chances are that you will find the environment exceptional. This will enable you to relax and tell stories throughout. It is also allows you to enjoy the companionship of your friends and family without any distractions.
What kind of gear to bring
Every camping trip requires you to carry some camping gear that will ensure your comfort and safety. The only problem with Side-by-Side camping is that you tend to be limited by space. Most Side-by-Sides don’t carry much, and so you need to make sure that you only select the most crucial stuff to bring with you. Below is a list of some of the most important UTV camping gear that you will definitely need.
1. A Side-by-Side / UTV Rooftop tent (or a ground tent)
Every camper requires a tent (unless you want to sleep directly on the ground in just a sleeping bag). This will enable you to enjoy quality sleep and keep you safe from numerous elements.
A Side-by-Side rooftop tent is what some UTV campers go for. The tents are usually much better and cozier than ordinary tents. As the name suggests, a Side-by-Side rooftop tent is designed to attach on the rooftop of your UTV.
This means that you will be saved from the crawling critters. These tents are very easy to pitch and also stable enough to prevent any sudden collapse. When selecting a tent, make sure that will mount to the roof of your Side-by-Side as some are made to mount on a pickup. A good UTV tent has quality build material, ample space, and is sturdy when pitched.
While they offer a great camping experience roof top tents are not without a couple of disadvantages. One downside of a roof top tent is it size and weight. They can be large and heavy. A roof top tent mounted op top of your Side-by-Side will take up any cargo area available on the roof and the extra weight will effect the handling of the vehicle.
Hard shell roof top tents like the Hybox from Tepui are good options for UTVs because they are generally lighter and shorter than their soft shell counterparts. This makes them a better choice for mounting to the roll bar of a Side-by-Side.
2. A collapsible 5 gallon water carrier
Side-by-Side camping usually involves visiting unknown camping destinations. With that in mind, you need to carry a 5 gallon carrier filled with clean drinking water. This will ensure you don’t get dehydrated or sick due to drinking contaminated water.
Water can also be used for bathing and washing off dishes and utensils.
A collapsible container is the best choice since it can be collapsed when not in use. This will allow easy storage when its not full of water.
3. A cooler
What is camping without enjoying cold drinks while on your way to your destination? This is exactly why you need a small and fully functional cooler. It will absolutely prove its usefulness when it comes to keeping drinks cold and preserving perishable foods.
Imagine arriving at your destination with no food simply because it went bad while you were still traveling. You can carry sandwiches, canned food, and even meat that you can roast once you settle down. You should ensure the cooler doesn’t occupy too much space. That is why it is advisable to go for the small one.
Once you set out for UTV camping, you will find yourself driving aimlessly so long as you get to a completely remote location. The ability of Side-by-Sides to access most places often heightens your morale to continue. This means that you will be lucky to get cellphone coverage wherever you are going.
You should thus bring with you something that will help you to pinpoint your exact location at all times. The best option you have is to a GPS that comes with area maps and compass direction. This will ensure you don’t get lost in the wilderness. All you’ve to do is to keep it powered up at all times, and you will be more than glad to have it.
5. A Jump Start battery
A Side-by-Side just like any other vehicle can get a dead battery, and the only way to keep it going is by jump starting it. Having a jump starter battery will ensure that you don’t get stuck in the middle of the forest. These jump starters come with sufficient juice to start your UTV multiple times on a single charge.
Some even have USB ports that you can use to charge your GPS or mobile phone.
6. Spare Tire or Fix-A-Flat
Getting a flat tire on the way to an amazing camping spot will certainly ruin a trip. Mount a spare on the roof or in the rear cargo area.
If you don’t carry a spare, keep a can of Fix-A-Flat on hand. Unless the tire has a large puncture, Fix-A-Flat works wonders.
7. Miscellaneous parts and tools
Its a good idea to carry a tool set, spare belt and a few other useful pieces of gear. See our post on what tools and other helpful gear to carry along.
How to Carry Your Camping gear on or in your UTV
As mentioned above, the only problem with Side-by-Sides is that they usually come with limited space. This, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t create more room for your gear. To do so, you need to be more creative. Some of the best ways that you can carry your camping gear in or on your UTVs include:
1. Using the rear storage
You can always come up with additional rare storage to keep your gear safe. The space is usually small and can hold only a few items. Some of the things that you can store here include the cooler, drinking water, food products, toolbox, and first aid kit, among others.
SEE ALSO: Tips for Choosing the Right Side-by-Side
You can also use the rear seats if you have a 4-seater and don’t have anyone riding in the back. The two back seats can store plenty of gear if you run out of space in the small rear cargo area.
2. Roof Racks
A roof rack is the most essential storage area on a UTV. This is because you can use it to store bulky items like a ground tent (not a roof top tent since it would mount in the same place as the roof rack) spare tire, large cooler and even spare parts.
With the roof rack, you will have an very easy time carrying your gear without the fear of running out of space.
3. Tow a Trailer
The other way to add space is by fixing a trailer on your UTV. Towing a small trailer will allow room for much more cargo. Trailers are good for carrying extra gas because you can keep fuel containers away from you and your passengers.
Camping with a UTV is a thrilling adventure that requires planning and careful execution. The more remote the camping spot is, the most exciting your camping will be.
A UTV will ensure you access the place safely and fast. That is what makes it more exciting than other camping vehicles. The list above shows the most essential gear to carry when going for UTV camping. Use the tips above to have the best UTV camping experience ever.