Riding in the sand can be demanding on you and your machine. With that in mind, here are 10 sand dune essentials worth bringing with you.
Gassing up and hitting the dunes can be an absolute blast. It’s a pretty simple recipe for fun. Just take a killer sand-slinging machine, add gas, throw on your safety gear and take off across the dune sea, right? Sure, you could do it that way, but why not throw in some extra stuff that will undoubtedly make the trip more enjoyable? Here are 10 sand dune essentials you should take with you on our next trip to the dunes to make the day much more enjoyable and safe.
Like the commercials say, you’re not you when you’re hungry. When you’re out trying to have a good time cruising the dunes, you can’t get by being hungry. You need to have food and beverages along for the trip – just not the adult kind of beverages. Those don’t mix with powersports. No list of sand dune essentials is complete without considering fuel for the driver.
The difference between a cheap cooler and one of the more expensive roto-molded coolers isn’t just price. The molded coolers retain temperatures better. I hear people all the time say they can buy a whole lot of ice for what these coolers cost, but when you’re out in the dunes, do you really want to have to keep running for ice? I’ve been using a Canyon cooler for a while now and they have worked great. They not only keep ice longer, they make better use of the ice by not requiring as much to begin with when you start out with cold stuff. They also have a thick, wide gasket to help seal in the cold. And when you are comparing it against other premium coolers, the price starts to look a whole lot better.
It’s hot riding in the dunes. It’s also usually very dry. You need to drink a lot of water to be safe and have a good time. I have been using a Yeti Rambler insulated stainless-steel bottle for over a year now and it works extremely well. You can fill it with water and ice in the morning and it will still have ice at the end of the day, even when it’s hot. It also works well in reverse when you’re like me, and you like to drink your morning water much warmer and filtered through ground-up coffee beans.
If you’re going to grill back at the truck when you break for sustenance, you need a portable grill that can handle both grilling the actual food, as well as work with pots and pans for cooking other stuff. That’s why a lot of us like the Camp Chef Big Gas Three-Burner Grill. The legs come off for portability and it’ll cook everything you want to and more. The grill box lets you control the temperatures on the grilling side, so you have no more excuses for burnt burgers.
Part of enjoying a day on the dunes is protecting yourself. Now, I’m not talking about riding gear. We’ve already covered that. No, these sand dune essentials are about protecting yourself when you’re not riding, and/or protecting yourself from the elements.
One more thing you need to keep in mind, fueling your body also means having the ability to get out of the sun to relax. Most instant pop-up canopies don’t last long. The frames break and that’s all she wrote. I’ve been using and abusing the Coleman swing-wall canopy for years and it is still working great. It’s a 10-foot square canopy with a 10-foot swing-up wall that can either swing up and add an additional 10-feet to your protected area, or swing down to provide cover to block the sun when it’s at an angle, or your view if the sweaty old guy in the next spot over decides to change his clothes out in the open.
It should go without saying that you should carry a good fire extinguisher along for both your “base camp” as well as on your machine. Fire can lead to serious injury, or worse, and it can really screw with a day trip to the sand. You don’t want your expensive toy burning up, do you? Get one that can handle petroleum fires and other flammable stuff. Trust us. We speak from experience.
No list of sand dune essentials would be complete without a first aid kit. Make sure you get a good one, too, that has trauma supplies because as we all know, when you’re out in the dunes, it’s go big or go home. Well, you want to make it home and some does everyone else. Have a good kit with you to ensure that happens. The prices on these kits have come down in recent years, which helps a lot. If you currently have a kit, make sure you open it up and check it out every so often. You need fresh supplies for the kit to be effective.
For Your Ride
You also need to have the right stuff along to keep your machine going. You want to spend the day riding the dunes, not being towed back to the truck. These sand dune essentials can help.
It is a proven fact that when you’re spending the day in the sand, your body has a tendency to liberally apply throttle. I know when I’m on my Banshee, my right hand twists the throttle much harder when sand is involved, and when I’m in the Side-by-Side… Gas in the dunes, if it is even available, is not going to be cheap. Bring plenty with you so you don’t have to get towed back or go home early. I am a huge fan of the LC2 fuel cans. They are sturdy and will dump five gallons of fuel very quickly with no mess. Plus, they are cheap!
Having a decent tool kit along will protect you from going crazy. I used to take off on an all-day ride with nothing more than a pair of vise grips, some duct tape, a screw driver and some zip-ties for tools. Now with today’s ATVs and UTVs, I find I need a little more. I now keep a basic mechanic’s tool set in the truck in the unlikely event of a mechanical issue. Look on the bright side. You may never need them, but you might have the opportunity to be the hero and help a fellow dune rider in distress. That’s worth it to me.
Tied Up, Tied Down
For most of us, getting our machines to the dunes means trailering there. That can lead to a whole pile of stress, but it doesn’t have to. I’ll assume you’re like me and are very particular about how the machine is tied down. I want it secure as possible. I also want to protect it. I use a heavy-duty ratcheting strap with a soft-loop for where the strap meets the machine. I like the type that have the clip built into the S-hook so the strap stays securely fastened. I hate it when the hooks slide out of the loop and falls off. Lost a few good tie downs that way. No more!
Air Down, Air Up
It’s always a good idea to have a portable air compressor of some kind in the truck. For hitting the dunes, it can be a big help. We all know to air down as much as possible in the dunes for traction, but often, you’ll find that you need to air back up again. I recall a few years back, I popped the rear tires off the bead after a jump. Getting them back on was fun enough, but luckily I had a compressor to air them back up so my day wasn’t over.
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