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Discussion Starter #1
We went riding this weekend and it got me thinking - Let's say you're out in the woods, 20 miles in or so and blow a ball joint, or break an A-arm or something relatively catastrophic like that. What do you do if something that prevents you from easily being towed back by a buddy in another UTV happens? Carry spare ball joiints, spare A-arms, etc or what? I have had a quad blow a ball joint once and I could sort of piggyback it onto the rear grab bar on my quad and tow it on its rear wheels only and another friend rode double to get the rider back. That was a major pain in the terrain we were in. With the absence of an all-terrain tow truck, is a trailside repair really the only way to go? It seems like you'd need a lot of parts and tools on hand for something big - other than a spare belt, some tire plugs/Slime, a compressor and a few hand tools, what do you guys bring on a ride?
 

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1. Try not to ride alone.
2. Make sure your suspect parts (tie rod ends, ball joints and bearings) and overall machine are in top condition prior to riding areas were being stranded will pose a issue.
3. Always carry extra fuel, water and food along with first aid and a means of making fire and shelter.
4. Carry tools and spare parts as required. You can carry less parts if you have more than one machine and a base camp to store them at.
5. Do all your own maintenance so you know how to handle most issues that may arise. If you have had to replace certain parts before due to wear or breakage, consider purchasing spares to have either with you or at base camp.
6. Carry lots of big cable ties, electrical tape, duct tape, several small ratchet straps and a small hand saw.
7. If you go remote places with only one machine make sure you have a means of communication or location sending device such as a SPOT or InReach if cell signals aren't good. Adjust your trail choices and driving to the more conservative type and use extra caution.
8. Always make sure someone knows were you parked and the general area you will be riding before you go.
 

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LOL, you got that right Forde!
 

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Boaters face similar situations every time they launch, only worse. It's a lot harder to work on your motor, replace an outboard motor water pump, prop, strut, shaft etc when you're floating around in the middle of the ocean with no boats in sight. You can't even walk out like you can on land.

I suggest that along with closely inspecting your ride before you drive 20 miles out that you carry a few tools, parts, fuel and spare tire, things that can be easily changed in the field and get you going again. Much of what you take will depend upon your skill set. There is no use taking parts you don't have the expertise to replace any more than there is any sense in taking parts without necessary tools to replace them. Regardless of how many parts you carry something unexpected may break, you could still have a catastrophic engine or transmission failure that will leave you in the same situation, and you can't rebuild them in the field. Even a dead battery can leave you stuck in the woods and you can't push start a Ranger unless it is equipped with a Duraclutch and the terrain will allow it.

So, do what boaters do, leave a "float plan" before you head out. Tell relatives, friends and park rangers where you'll be, where you park your tow vehicle and trailer, general route and when to expect you back. Carry good shoes, enough water, food and any life sustaining medications to be able to walk out if you have to. If you are not in good physical condition take an emergency blanket so you can be warm while resting even if it takes two or three days to walk out. If cold weather is expected dress appropriately for expected conditions, layer and carry extra clothes including gloves and heavy socks when you walk out. You may be warm while walking but it may be very cold when you stop to rest, and if you get wet (rain, snow, stream crossing) it gets worse. An emergency backpack may be a good idea. Extra water, food radio/phone and clothing can be stored in it for the trip so it's just a matter of grab it and go if walking out becomes necessary. Take a cell phone or hand held CB radio with a prearranged frequency that someone will monitor and carry it on the trail while you are walking back. Water is heavy so if there is surface water in the area you can take a lightweight portable water purification system en lieu of some water to replenish your water supply. Clothing, water and necessary medications are probably the most important things to carry. Cold weather will make food more necessary as more calories are burned to stay warm in addition to the energy expended walking out, but generally, although you'll be uncomfortable, you can go without food for a week without a problem.

The machine is an inanimate object. It can be replaced in a worse case scenario. Your life cannot. If your machine lets you down, try to diagnose the problem so you can return later with parts to get it out even if it has to be towed, and then leave it without hesitation and come back for it with a friend another day. This is the opposite strategy from being stranded in a boat. With boats you stay with the boat, but then again, where would you go in the middle of the ocean? Believe it or not, many people have lost their lives trying to swim for land that looks like it is much closer than it is. On water visibility is about 20 miles to the horizon at sea level and land can appear closer than it is.

It is easy to become disoriented in the woods. Trails and trees all start to look the same. A compass is also a good thing to carry along if you need to walk out.
 

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I wish i could get that far away from civilization. Where i go (hunt) i am always within sight of a house
 

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if your going deep into the woods always prepare to stay there if need be or have a buggy big enough to tow you out I remember hauling parts to my bad boy buggy deep in the woods once it sucked T&S
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Luckily when boating, we are always on a lake (albeit a large one) but it is pretty easy to tow a boat out that has broken down. I was once towed in our boat by a Sea-Doo when I had a fuel pump failure. When out riding, I am always with at least one other vehicle - (this weekend was 18 other vehicles) and we are pretty much on friend's property (or the neighbor's). The terrain is sometimes brutal (rocky, steep and/or rutted), which is my concern, but I think I would always have a ride out but it might not be in my ride. I would be worried for my ride if I had to leave it - but I guess that is why I have insurance, right?

I did have to get a friend's Ranger out of the woods last year when it developed a serious sounding engine noise. I tow-strapped him out of the woods for a few miles and then did about 40 miles on the road dragging him back home in the rain. It ended up glazing a belt and some tire tread, but that's what friends are for, I guess.
 
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