Best Sand Dune Essentials for ATV and UTV Riders

Derrek Sigler
by Derrek Sigler

You should probably take these things to the dunes 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 some of our favorite sand dune essentials and accessories you should take with you on our next trip to the dunes to make the day much more enjoyable and safe.

Table of Contents

1. Editor's Choice: Canyon Cooler

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 accessories 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.

2. Best Utility Jugs: Mr. Gasket Utility Jug

When you're headed out to the dunes for any length of time, you're going to be taking plenty of liquids with you whether it be fuel or water. These utility jugs from Mr. Gasket Co. can hold 5-gallons of your liquid of choice and their square design makes them extremely stable and easy to store and transport when you need more than one. The utility jugs feature a main handle and bottom grip pocket for easy pouring and each jug comes complete with a heavy-duty cap and filler hose. These utility jugs are definitely some of our must have dune accessories.

3. Best Portable Safety Kit: Surviveware First Aid Kit

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.

4. Best LED Lights For Night Riding: Rigid Industries Radiance LED Light Bar

Adding light bars, rock lights, light pods and more is not only popular, but sensible. Stock headlights do a decent job, but adding lights can really keep the path in front of you visible. The more light you’re putting out in front of you, the more enjoyable a night ride is. It’s also safer. Make sure the output from your machine can handle the amount of lights you add and then go crazy. Every serious sand driver has multiple lights added to his or her machine.

Rigid Industries makes some of the best light bars in the off-road industry, and the fact that they're used by some of the best off-road racers proves it. Their 20" Radiance Series line of light bars feature 9 super bright LEDs that put out over 7,000 lumens that put your stock lighting to shame. Want to add some flare to your UTV? The Radiance Series light bars stand out feature is the colored back lighting that can be kept on when the main lights are turned off, making your UTV stand out from the crowd. The backlighting is available in red, blue, amber and white and the LED lights are also available in 4" pods as well as widths up to 50".

5. Best Communications for ATV or UTV: Rugged Radios Dual Band VHF/UHF Handheld Radio

One thing about being out in the dunes is that it's easy to get separated from the group that you're riding with. You are riding with more people right? The Rugged Radios Dual Band VHF/UHF Handheld Radio is easy to stuff into a pocket if you're on an ATV or in a cup holder or your glove box if you're in a UTV. These radios can provide clear communication with up to two miles of range depending on the terrain you're in, and come with everything you need to use them in the box. They're affordably priced so you can encourage all your buddies to get some as well.

6. Best Lit LED Whips: AddSafety 2pc Remote Control RGB LED Whips w/ Spring Bases

A requirement for most dune areas in the United States is a whip that's at least 6' tall or sometimes taller. If you want your ride to stand out in the night, adding one of these LED lit whips is sure to catch the attention of anyone else in the dunes at night. These whips from AddSafety are available in single or dual packs and allow you to change the color and light pattern easily from a wireless remote. They're easy to wire into your ATV or UTV wiring system, and feature spring bases to protect them from damage.

7. GSPSCN Portable Air Compressor

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.

8. Coleman Canopy

Part of enjoying a day on the dunes is protecting yourself when you're not riding - when you need a little break from the elements. A pop-up canopy can be a life saver during a day in the dunes.

Most instant pop-up canopies don’t last long. The frames break and that’s all she wrote. I’ve been using and abusing a Coleman canopy for years and it is still working great. This particular canopy is 10 x 10 feet and is covered in UVGuard material, which offers up UPF 50+ sun protection. It also comes with a one-piece frame that folds down for compact storage and a wheeled carry bag.

9. Yeti Rambler

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.

10. Camp Chef Grill

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.

11. First Alert Fire Extinguisher

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.

This particular fire extinguisher is designed to fight flammable liquid and electrical fires - exactly the kind you are most likely to deal with when you are talking about off-road vehicles.

12. Rhino USA Tie Down Straps

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!

13. Warn AXON Winch

When you get stuck, you will be happy to have a winch to get your out. Getting stuck in the sand is rough, as it is hard to get out once you’re really buried. Plus, if you have a winch, you can be the hero to others stuck in the sand.

The Warn AXON is the cream of the crop when it comes to powersports winches. For UTVs, we love the Warn AXON 35-S, which offers up 3,500 pounds of line pulling power, IP69 dust- and water-resistance rating, and Warn's own "Motactor" which combines the motor with the contactor to make installation a snap. There are cheaper options out there, but if you want to make sure you get back to your base camp, this is as good as it gets.

14. DEWALT Tool Kit

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.

Recent Updates

May 3, 2021: Updated list with new cooler, Warn AXON winch, and Rigid lightbar. Added links to additional dune riding resources.

October 27, 2021: Ranked Products, updated product links, updated product descriptions, replaced LC2 Jug with Mr. Gasket Utility Jug, added rugged radios V3 handheld and AddSafety lit whips.

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Derrek Sigler
Derrek Sigler

Derrek's love for all things ATV started when he was a mere 11 years old, growing up on his family farm. His mom gave him and his sister a choice - get a horse, or a three-wheeler. The sister wanted the horse, and Derrek wanted the ATV. Luckily he won out, and was soon burning up the trails on a Yamaha Tri-Moto 200. By the time he was 14, he had saved enough of his own money by working on the farm and in his folks restaurant to buy a new 4-wheeler. That happened the day he and his mom were driving past the dealership and saw 1987 Banshee. His mom had no idea what he was buying, and he never looked back. He's been riding ever since, and been writing professionally for many years. He has ridden all over North America and been behind the controls of just about every machine out there. And yes, he still has his 1987 Yamaha Banshee.

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