Camping With An ATV: Advice on Gear and Trip Planning

An ATV or UTV is the perfect companion for a wilderness adventure

Story by Rick Sosebee, Jun. 12, 2012

Whether itís a simple getaway for the weekend or an all out wild adventure that takes you across miles of trails from town to town, your ATV or UTV is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Preparing for the adventure can also take on a life of its own. The equipment you choose as well as the destination can make or break the trip.

Exploring new territory is what made this country what it is today and over the last few years there have been many adventures here at There are hundreds of products that make things go just a little bit smoother while on the trail and having a great destination in mind is also something that needs to be planned into the equation.

ATV Camping

I love to spend time in the trails with friends and my best friend is my wife. Recently we had a chance to break away and living in the southeastern United States we have found many trails that actually have great camping destinations attached to them. The mountainous areas here lend to many miles of trails from easy to some that require an experienced riderís skills. Slipping up into the mountains of Tennessee we found that the Coal Creek trail system had 72,000 acres of riding and just down the road from the trail system is the Wind Rock Campground. Wind Rock is close enough to the trails and it has a private trail to get you right into the Coal Creek property. Since you have to get a permit to ride the trails at Coal Creek, Wind Rock has set up the ability to purchase permits at the WR office. Located near the town of Oak Ridge this beautiful ride location is close enough to town for those who do not care to sleep in tents or wilderness cabins.

UTV Camping Coal Creek

This is not the only property in the Tennessee hills as there are several right in the same region and most along Hwy. 75 are no more than two hours apart. Listed below are just three of many that are close enough that an adventurous week of riding can be had without much travel between destinations. The best part is that each of these ride locations have a place to set up camp or cabins for rent. Plan this ride if you want a vacation with many different ride conditions and be sure to send us plenty of photos.

Windrock Park
555 WindRock Park Lane
Oliver Springs, TN 37840
(865) 435-1252

Brimstone Recreation
2860 Baker Highway
Huntsville, TN 37756
(423) 663-4868

Ride Royal Blue
6307 stinking creek rd
Pioneer, TN 37847
(423) 784-9445

Towing an ATV

So with some destinations in mind letís look at things that youíll want to plan into the final list to keep the trip going smoothly and even items that will get you help if problems arise. If you plan on hauling a trailer load of ATV and UTV equipment to a destination you really need to look at everything, but I think the most important question to ask yourself is ďdo I have a spare tire for the trailer and is it in good enough condition to actually work when I need it too?Ē You can find a more thorough list of towing tips here.

Depending on what kind of trip you are planning the list of things to look for may vary just a little. If you are the extreme adventure seeker than a great tent would be in order. If you have a big family or even if you just like lots of space to keep your stuff out of the weather the folks at Cabelaís have you covered. Getting the large six-person tent made the comfort of a spacious area to relax possible. The front porch of the tent gave us a place to sit without the bugs bothering us and just enjoy the more pleasant things in nature. If you plan on staying a few days and primitive camping is in order, you may want to invest in a camp shower. Cabelaís also has a really nice Camp Shower Shelter and the ladies in the group will appreciate this not so primitive place to clean up.

Cabella's Tent Cabela's Shower Shelter

Along with primitive camping gear you might want to bring some not so primitive items to cook on. The Camp Chef crew has been building very compact camp cooking gear that is easy to use, clean and store. The ovens and stoves are propane powered and with the availability of the one-pound propane cans you can pick spares up in most any town around the campground.

Camp Chef Flat Top Camp Chef Oven

If you plan to hit the bigger mountainous areas be sure to get a trail map or GPS device so you donít get lost out there. Other items you might want to think about are things like a camp saw, pocketknife, flash lights, folding chairs, drinking water and food. Remember to try and get things that are both perishable and nonperishable so that you do not have to depend on a cooler full of ice to keep everyting safe to eat. Planning is always key in any trip but the longer you plan to be away the more you will have to consider. I have even taken MREs (Meals, Ready-to-East) for food when I am with the guys. However, the wife doesnít seem to like that extreme element as much as I do.

ATV Map Checking

Getting friends and family together for a great ride is important to building great memories and relationships as well. Take time to plan at least one trip out in the outdoors and if you have any questions about locations come back to for some future adventure stories.

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