Riding ATVs and UTVs can be a super fun way to spend the day. Some people have trails right near their property or even a track or riding pit. If you’re not lucky enough to have a place to ride nearby, or you want to try some new trails, you’re going to have to transport your quads.
There are a few ways to go about hauling your ATV or UTV, and what you’re hauling will determine the best option for you. For example, if you have only a small quad to bring, you should be fine with a truck, some ramps, and some ratchet straps. But if you’re hauling a large UTV and a couple quads, you’ll need more than just the bed of your truck.
Loading A Truck
Lets start by looking at just a truck bed and some of the things you’ll need to haul your ATV or UTV. This method is great if you own a truck and have only one machine you want to haul. Simply load it into the bed of your truck. You’ll need some ramps and some tie downs like ratchet straps or something similar.
The ramps I recommend are these Black Widow ATV Ramps (link to Amazon). These ramps hold up to 1500 lbs and fold up for easy storage. The thing I like the most about these ramps though, is that they stay connected to my truck while loading and unloading. I’ve seen people have accidents while loading their quads before because the ramp slipped out from the truck while the ATV was on it. The Black Widow ramps have rubber grips where it rests on the tailgate, and straps you can hook from the ramp to your truck. The ramp doesn’t go anywhere while loading or unloading the ATV.
If the bed of your truck isn’t big enough for your ATV, or you just want more room. You could buy these Ramp Extenders On Amazon. They double as ramps for loading and unloading, and they will extend the bed of your truck about 2 feet. They do cost more than the Black Widow ramps, or most regular ramps for that matter. But if you need the extra space, it’s an option to look at. They do look good for adding space for extra fuel and stuff like that.
As for securing the ATV or UTV in the bed of the truck during transport, any heavy duty ratchet straps will do the trick. I use these Rhino Ratchet Straps (link to Amazon) because they come with soft loops to protect the ATV handle bars. It’s not really necessary, any way you can tie down your machine so it doesn’t move will work. I just like the ease of it, and to keep my toys looking nice.
There are things you can do to your truck to allow more space for your toys. One of them is rizerback from rizerback.com, or something similar to this. You do have to modify your truck to mount it. So if you don’t like drilling holes in your truck bed, then skip this one.
It basically mounts to the front of the bed of your truck and allows you to drive the front tires of your ATV up onto it. It’s a neat way to add more space to your truck for other things like gas cans, or even another smaller machine depending on how big your truck is.
Another option to consider is getting a rigid truck cover or a trail rack. You may have seen these before, it goes on top of your truck bed and you can drive the ATVs or UTVs right on top of them. They mount to your trucks bed rails, and act like a heavy duty tonneau cover. They allow you to load the ATVs side ways to the bed, so you can fit two full size ATVs on one truck bed.
You can find them at diamondbackcovers.com or discountramps.com. They are pretty cool, but very expensive. You could just get a trailer for that kind of money. But if you don’t want a trailer or don’t have room for one, these hard covers are a good option to consider.
If you’re hauling more than two ATVs or UTVs, then getting a trailer is a must. One well known trailer company is Aluma Trailers found at alumaklm.com. They specialize in making trailers specifically for hauling ATVs, UTVs, dirtbikes, and other machines like that. They come in different sizes so you can get the one to fit you, depending on how many toys you’re hauling.
The biggest ones they make can carry two full size, 4 seater, UTVs easily. They use lightweight aluminum for a durable trailer that’s relatively low maintenance. Not everyone can afford to go out and buy a brand new trailer though. If you’re like me, and want to get the job done on a budget, I suggest looking around on craigslist, offerup, and other online marketplaces like that. You’d be surprised what you can find people selling trailers for. If you have the time, spend a few weeks looking, and you’re bound to find a good deal.
Strap Down And Secure
When transporting your toys on a trailer it’s very important to make sure everything is strapped down and secured. There’s a few ways to go about doing this. The cheapest, but least secure, is to just Ratchet Strap the machine into place on the trailer. I’ve been fine doing this for short trips, but if you have a long haul, or you’re going through bumpy areas, I suggest something a little more secure.
Things move around and shift during transport, and you want to make sure you don’t have an expensive accident. So take the extra time to secure everything nicely, and you’ll be glad you did in the long run.
I recommend using these Wheel Chock Tie Down Kits (link to Amazon) to hold your precious toys in place. I just love how easy these are to use, and how secure the ATVs are when they’re strapped in. This tie down kit has plates you bolt to your trailer, and then you align the ATV tires right in between the two plates, and strap the wheels in using the included 2″ webbing wraps. The metal brackets prevent the wheel from moving, and the straps adjust for 10″ to 30″ tire sizes. Nothings better than strapping in your toys, shaking them back a forth a little, and saying “This baby ain’t going anywhere”.
Some people prefer the more traditional wheel chock. The kind you drive the ATV tire into and strap it down that way. An example is this Yutrax ATV/UTV Wheel Chock. You would also mount this to the trailer, but it doesn’t come with straps to hold your ATV in place. Either way you go, make sure you secure your cargo. It can get expensive not to, and is sure to ruin your day.
Quick Tip: We’ve lost pieces of our ATVs before because we didn’t strap everything down properly. It may seem like going overboard, but make sure you use bungee cords or something to hold loose seats and fenders into place.
- Tire At Front Of Bed – If you’re hauling in the back of your pick up truck, put a spare tire in the front of the bed of the truck. When you load the ATV you can push right up against the tire without your quad hitting the rear window of your truck. I’ve seen people break their rear window out, even though the ATV was strapped down. All you need is a little play in the strap, and you hit the brakes and brake a window.
- Tie Ramps To Truck – Strap in and tie the loading ramps to your truck. It seems like you could just throw them in the back and they’ll be fine. And they probably will be fine most of the time. But these newer aluminum ramps are so lightweight its possible for the wind to grab em out the back of your truck if you’re going fast enough.
- Bring A Jack And Spare Tire – If you’re hauling in your truck, you probably already have this. But if you’re hauling with a trailer, bring a jack and spare tire for the trailer. If your trailer doesn’t come with a jack, use this Eaz Lift Jack as an example of what to get. Getting a flat on your trailer could end your day real quick.
- ATV Placement – When loading more than one machine into your truck or trailer, put the smaller machine closer to the front. This just makes it easier to keep an eye on everything while your driving. Now if you can look back and see the larger machine, you’ll know the smaller one is being held in by it. You could even put a flag or something brightly colored on the furthest back quad, and just look for that while your on the road.