When going rock climbing with your UTV you should take som precautions and make some adjustments to your vehicle:
- Always wear a helmet
- Install a four or five point harness
- Choose the right tires
- Install a winch, it’s good when going both up and down
- Always try to prevent a roll over
- Install a reinforced roll cage, when you roll over you do want a good roll cage
If you have a UTV and if you have not tried hill climbing, you are perhaps not making the full use of this wonderful machine. It does make lot of sense to get into some hill and rock climbing with your family members if possible. The sheer fun of ascending up the hill and then coming downhill is just awesome.
It does not matter even if the size of the hill is not too high. You will simply love the various aspects of rock climbing. It could be negotiating tricky rocks and trying to weave your way through trees and much more. You may suddenly feel that one or more of your tires are starting to slip before you have reached your summit, or when you are climbing down. The entire thing becomes even more challenging and adventurous when you find the surface slippery, wet and even muddy. Though you may be spending only a few minutes climbing up and moving down a 50 feet hill, it will be a memorable experience for you.
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UTV rock climbing has challenges and risks
However, like all expeditions, hikes and climbs, rock climbing using an UTV has its own share of challenges and problems. You must therefore be alive to it. It all starts by getting started with the right preparations. If you are able to follow some proven, time-tested and reliable ways of preparing for the rock climbing, more than half your job will be done. We are happy to share some of the most important tips and suggestions that could help in having a safe, memorable and fulfilling rock climbing expedition.
Prepare your Side By Side for rock climbing
The first and foremost step is to prepare adequately for your rock climbing expedition. You should not get into climbing in a hurry. If you are doing it for the first time, you need to be even more careful. To begin with, it would be a good idea to watch some videos and go through some lessons and instructions from experts or those who have prior experience in rock climbing. This will give you the right insights and you may be able to avoid the mistakes that you may make.
You must choose the right UTV that is suited for rock climbing. It would be better to look for UTVs or side-by-sides that is suited for trail riding. The focal points should be the type of tires, the clearance from the ground and other such things. Decent clearance from the ground will help you to navigate through reasonably large rocks and boulders. The motor power is also important especially when you are moving uphill. Also pay attention to safety accessories like headlights, rear lights, windshields, and roof and also roll cage enhancements. Look for UTVs that are customizable and of the right size to accommodate the desired number of family members.
Choosing the right tires
When climbing rocks and small hills, you should stay away from sand tires or mud tires because these are not suited for handling boulders, rocks and big stones. You should rather focus on some good quality all terrain tires or general purpose tires that are compatible with the right UTV or side-by-side vehicles. These tires generally can handle rocky and mountainous terrains. They are quite generous in their circumference and are spaced apart adequately. This allows them to grip the surface, especially when crawling over rocks and logs. They also can dig in and offer reasonably good stability when you are traversing through slippery and muddy surfaces while on your rocky trail.
Install a winch
Many people often do not give the desired importance to winch when travelling in a UTV or a side-by-side vehicle. This is not right because of a number of reasons. Though UTVs are designed to negotiate tough, rocky terrains, there are many occasions when may get stuck and could put at risk those who are in it. In such situations it is important to ensure that you are able to lift the UTV and put it back on the road so that you could move ahead. It does not cost too much to install a winch but the benefits you get out of it are quite immense. They are capable of giving the right the pull as well as push-strength that is need to put the UTV back on track.
Human brain and brawn may alone be useful in doing this job. The winches have huge pneumatic power and the leverage that they offer is something that is unmatched. Further, they also could come in handy whenever there is a need for moving uphill with a damaged UTV. It would simply be impossible to haul a heavy UTV even if you have another UTV for towing.
Winches are easy to install and they can be put into use within a few minutes. The UTV winches are extremely versatile and can be used in different circumstances and situations. They do not cost much and just investing a few hundred dollars you can get quality winches that are capable of moving heavy UTVs speedily, efficiently, safely and effortlessly. They are a big investment rather than being revenue expenditure.
You might also like our article How to Size a Winch for a UTV.
How to prevent a roll over
UTV roll overs do happen in spite of the safest driving and even after following all the driving instructions. Basically roll overs can be classified into two broad categories. They are utility roll overs or performance roll overs. Performance roll overs happen when the UTV is pushed beyond its maximum threshold limits and the vehicle rolls over at a reasonable speed. Utility roll overs are less dangerous and can happen even when you are driving cautiously and suddenly lose control because of slippery ground, slush or due to some big and rocky boulder.
The simplest way to avoid performance roll over is to ensure that the vehicles are not pushed beyond their limits. These vehicles are supposed to help you navigate through tough and rocky terrains and you should not use them as sports performance vehicles and should stay away from over speeding. In the same way you can avoid utility roll overs by understanding and following the basics of rock climbing using a UTV. This includes choosing the right tires and the right type of UTV.
How to manage if you roll over
In case a roll over happens, you should refrain from preventing the accident by putting your legs or arms outside and trying to stop the vehicle with your physical force. You will stand no chance because these vehicles are heavy with pounds of momentum, steel and other such materials. You may end up having a nasty accident with serious injuries.
Allow the vehicle to roll over and if you are well protected with the right gears you will mostly end up with a soft landing and will be able to extricate yourself and others without much of a difficulty. Once the people are out, you can use winches, shovels and human force to bring back the UTV back on its wheels. If you are not able to do it look for some outside help because those who are outside the vehicles will be in a better position to put back the vehicle back on its wheel without too much wastage of time.
Climbing a lofty hill in a UTV has its own risks and therefore you must take adequate care as far as your safety and the safety of the co-passengers are concerned. Always make sure that you are wearing a helmet. Invest in a quality helmet that also is able to protect your face also.
You also should have four to five points of harness. A standard 3 point harness may not help because it may not help you to while the vehicle is rolling over. Read more about Choosing the Right UTV Harness.
You also should not hesitate in investing in a quality and reinforced aftermarket roll cage. This is all the more important if you are climbing hills that are above 300 feet because the roll over could be steep and dangerous. The harness and the roll over cages will help you stay put in your UTV and you have better chances of escaping with minor injuries.
Further it would always be better to be proactive rather than being reactive. Driving slow and not trying to be heroic are a few things that could help a lot. If you are moving downhill, be extremely carefully about your speed and if needed use a winch to reduce the speed. Never drive when you are sleepy or tired and avoid driving the UTV on mountainous terrains during the nights.
Never take things for granted
Even if you are an experienced person in using a UTV in rocky and hilly terrains, you need to bear in mind that there is an element of risk involved in it. You have to be extremely careful and should be on the alert. Never take things for granted as far as the condition of the UTV is concerned.
Check everything more than once before you get going.
It is quite obvious that mountain climbing even on foot is a wonderful sporting expedition. It becomes all the more adventurous and fun-filled when you do it with your family members in an UTV or ATV vehicle. You must, however, be prepared for it and ensure that you are following all the protocols and safety procedures.
Never compromise on certain things like winches, safety gears, and other such things. Be extra careful when negotiating heights and rough and rocky surfaces. Be prepared for unexpected surprises.