The Top 5 Things to Know When Transporting Your ATV to Hunting Camp
AllOutdoor Staff 12.19.19
An ATV, also known as a four-wheeler, is an absolutely invaluable vehicle to bring on a hunt. If you’re going to be heading out deep into the backwoods, you can use an ATV to drive into areas where your truck can’t get to, or to help you haul out your wild game.
For first time owners, transporting your ATV with your vehicle may seem like a major challenge. That’s why we’re going to go over the top five tips for transporting your ATV safely and easily over to camp.
Confirm the Surface Is Flat and Level
Using ramps to load an ATV into your pickup truck’s bed,
make certain the surface your vehicle is on is flat and completely level. This means that all four tires of your pickup truck or trailer need to be even. If just one is at a different height, you should not load the ATV.
Also, do not load your ATV if it is parked on uneven ground, such as a graded incline or decline, Bottom line: Look for an area with a flat surface for both your truck and ATV.
Transporting in Your Truck Bed Using Ramps
When transporting your ATV using traditional ramps, place the ramps so that the tires are held as close together at the center as possible. Place the ATV into the lowest forward gear, enabling it to move forward with the least amount of throttle. If you use the four-wheel drive mode, the wheels should theoretically grip the ramps better.
Then, proceed to apply enough throttle as the ATV climbs the ramps. Avoid using too much throttle, so the wheels don’t spin. Apply the brakes once you have gone over the ramp to stop the ATV, and then place into park before stopping the engine. Proceed to tie down the ATV.
Transporting Using A Trailer
The best kind of trailer to use for transporting an ATV has a lower deck and foldaway ramp on the back. Higher walls on the sides, similar to the bed of your pickup truck, are also beneficial. Make sure that the ramp has been loaded for a minimum of one thousand pounds. Otherwise, the trailer can suffer major structural damage during the loading process.
Loading your ATV into a trailer like one described above should be fairly simple. Just lower the ramp and slowly drive the ATV into the back of the trailer.
FYI: Ford has an available upgrade for the F-150 line called Pro Trailer Backup Assist. This feature allows you to steer your truck using a more intuitive knob on the dashboard rather than using the steering wheel. PTBA makes backing up a trailer a breeze.
Tie Down the ATV Properly
Whether you load the ATV into the back of your pickup truck with a ramp or tow it in a trailer, you will need to tie it down properly using tow straps. The straps you use should be rated for a minimum of two thousand pounds and have adjustable ratchets to ensure that the ATV is kept as snug and secure as possible.
When tying down the ATV, take the long end of the strap and loop it through the frame or the rear bar. Avoid the common mistake of looping the straps around the ATV’s axels: doing so will cause them to bend. Also, do not attach the straps to the vehicle’s bumper or luggage rack.
Once you have the straps secured to the ATV and to the pickup’s bed or trailer, proceed to ratchet them until they’re tight. There should be absolutely no play or wiggling from the ATV.
Bring Extra Gasoline
Even if you fill your ATV’s fuel tank before you head off into the woods (as you should), bring along extra gasoline for it. There are no gas stations out in the woods and you may need extra fuel for your truck as well.
Gasoline should be transported in red gasoline cans (yellow is for diesel and blue is for kerosene), and the cans should be tied down and secured in the pickup’s bed or the inside of the trailer. Use bungee cords with hooks at both ends for this purpose. When you arrive at hunting camp, remember to keep the cans out of the sun and in the shade.
An ATV is an invaluable vehicle to have with you on any hunting trip. And now that you’re armed with the helpful hints above, transporting it to your hunting camp isn’t quite the challenge you thought it was.