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With these warm temperatures making the beginning of March feel more like the end of April, you may already be thinking about where you’ll be planning to go camping this year. For those of you hoping to bring along your ATV for a chance to go off-road and really enjoy getting out in nature — or if you’re looking to go hunting or fishing while you’re staying at your campsite — you may be wondering how to ensure that your ATV-friendly camping trip is stress-free.
We have a short beginner’s guide to camping with an ATV in South Carolina, with just three quick and easy tips to help you make the most of a trip to the great outdoors.
1. First, Decide What Your Goal for This Camping Trip Is
I know, I know — that sounds like seriously overthinking a fun weekend getaway.
Still, you can’t exactly pack properly for a camping trip unless you know what you’re going to be doing the whole time. If you’re the type to prefer an extreme sort of camping where you only cook over a campfire you built yourself and it’ll just be you or one or two other people, you can get away with packing quite a bit less in the way of supplies.
On the other hand, if the whole family is headed out into the wilderness, you’ll definitely need to make different choices as to what you’ll be taking.
So, first write down your goal for this camping trip, whether it’s just to spend time outdoors, to bond with your family, to hunt or fish, or to go hiking in places you’ve never visited before.
2. Next, Decide What to Pack
We recommend the following generalized camping checklist for packing:
- A high-quality tent large enough to hold everyone who will be going with you — or more than one tent. Test it out before your purchase to ensure that everyone really can fit comfortably inside for sleep.
- Enough sleeping bags for everyone to have their own separate sleeping space. If you have very small children, you may want to pack an extra sleeping bag, as kids are pretty adept at finding a way to spill something on important supplies.
- Bug spray that doesn’t just prevent mosquito bites but also repels ticks, if possible. With this early spring, pests are going to be a bigger problem than usual this year, so you’ll want to be totally prepared.
- Sunscreen that is broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher, especially if you have kids. Make sure you reapply every two hours or as directed on the bottle. Even in the woods, sun damage or sunburns are possible.
- Citronella candles you can put around the edge of your campsite to help further repel pests.
- Secure storage for any food items you are bringing along — remember to never ever leave food out in the open! If you’re concerned about how to store food while camping for safety reasons, check out this guide from the outdoor retailer REI for helpful tips.
- A GPS device and also a compass to ensure you don’t get lost. Even in woods you think you know pretty well, it’s easy to step a few feet off the trail and find yourself having a hard time getting back to it. Your cell phone may lack signal and not be able to provide proper navigation, so don’t rely on it.
- Enough clothes to get through the weekend, plus one extra set just in case.
- Enough food to have both meals and snacks. Especially if you’re doing some hiking or taking your ATV out for a spin, you’ll be surprised by how hungry you get between meals!
- Enough potable water to remain hydrated. This is especially important once the temperatures start to climb.
That’s your general list. Next up, add the items to your list that are specific to what sort of camping trip you’re taking:
- Hunting gear — you’ll need different gear depending on your favorite style of hunting and what game is in season. We recommend checking out this list from Gander Mountain for a good look at what to take.
- Fishing supplies — Make sure you have plenty of fishing supplies (this list gives a good overview of what you’ll need.
- Hiking gear — For a hiking-specific trip where you don’t think you’ll be using your ATV all that often, make sure you have sturdy, high-quality hiking boots that you’ve worn before.
- Don’t break in brand-new boots on a long hiking trip unless you really feel like getting some bad blisters while you’re out there.
- Make sure the clothing you pack can be worn comfortably while hiking long distances or if you get sweaty or rained on. We’re big fans of Duluth Trading Company’s Dry on the Fly Gear.
Finally, let’s take a look at the ATV-specific gear you’ll want to take along, especially if the main goal for your trip is to enjoy getting out in one of South Carolina’s gorgeous ATV-friendly state parks.
- Fuel for your ATV. Plan to take about 1.5 to 2 times more fuel than you think you’ll need, to ensure that you won’t run out of fuel in an inconvenient time or place. If fuel supplies start to run low, head back for your vehicle or ask for help immediately so you don’t end up stranded.
- Copy of your ATV insurance, your own health insurance card(s), and important identification like a Drivers’ License or state ID.
- Whatever clothing you find is most protective and comfortable while riding your ATV. Many people wear thicker pants, like heavy-weight denim jeans, as well as long-sleeves and leather or thick-cloth jacket designed just for this purpose.
- Heavy boots. Your hiking boots should be just fine.
- Never ride an ATV without a helmet. Not only will the campsite you’re staying in likely have regulations that enforce wearing helmets, it’s also an essential safety feature that will help keep you from serious injury.
3. Got Your Packing List Ready? Time to Pick Your Campsite!
Once you have a list ready for everything you’re likely to need during your trip, research your chosen campsite (or speak with the owner of the land you’ll be staying on, if it’s private land. You’ll need their permission to camp and you should ask them if there’s anything you need to know while you’re there).
Make sure your supply list matches what the campsite has available for use and what you’ll really need. Some areas have camp showers available, while others do not and you’d need to bring your own camp shower for longer trips (or get comfortable with smelling pretty bad by the time you head home).
Call and ask if the campsite requires advance reservations or if there are any particular supplies you might be bringing along that would be prohibited — some campsites allow alcohol and some do not.
Once your reservation is in hand, your bags are packed, your tent is ready, and your ATV is on the trailer ready to go — go have fun! Whether you’re hunting during deer season, heading out fly-fishing, or you’re just looking for a great off-road ride on your Bad Boy Off Road Stampede, once all that packing is done you won’t have to worry about a thing.
Bad Boy Off Road ATVs are the Best — and Garrett’s Has Got You Covered
We’re not ashamed to admit it — we’re definitely a little biased when it comes to ATVs!
Textron’s Bad Boy brands (including Bad Boy Off Road) provide ATVs that are high-quality and come off the line ready to take on the uneven terrain, rough landscape, and challenges that South Carolina’s beautiful natural landscape has to offer.
The Stampede 900 is our personal favorite, and we’re ready to help you customize and outfit your ATV to make it suit your personal taste and lifestyle. For more information on service and repair, to request to test drive a Stampede before you buy, customization options, or even just to learn a bit more about what’s in our inventory, give us a call at (864) 862 7709 for Greenville, (843) 881 8894 for Charleston, (803) 407 2687 for Columbia, or, contact us online at any time!