Buying a quad is a wise decision, as this vehicle will allow you to explore many places otherwise inaccessible. It also allows us to get away from the hassle of everyday life. However, quad users are subject to many rules regarding mandatory equipment when riding on ATV trails. In this section, we will elaborate on the required equipment and the essential accessories to be able to enjoy the activity in complete safety.
We have referred to Quebec’s Act Respecting Off-Highway Vehicles to make a straightforward list of equipment required to comply with regulatory standards. While these are somewhat standard equipment all across Canada, please refer to your province’s Off-Road Vehicle Act if you live in another region.
Mandatory equipment on all vehicles (ATV and UTV):
1- one white headlight;
2- one red tail light;
3- one red stop light at the rear;
4- a rearview mirror firmly attached to the left side of the vehicle;
5- an exhaust system;
6- a braking system;
7- a speedometer.
For the UTVs, the white headlight at the front is replaced by two white headlights placed at the same height, one on each side of the vertical centerline and as far apart as possible.
Additional mandatory equipment required for a UTV are:
1- a protective structure to prevent injuries in case of a roll-over, made up of at least two roll bars linked together by at least two struts;
2- doors or cargo nets for each access to the cab;
3- a grab handle for each passenger;
4- a seat belt with three or more anchor points for each occupant of the vehicle;
5- a headrest for each occupant of the vehicle;
6- an engine with a piston displacement not exceeding 1,000cc;
7- all-terrain tires that comply with the standards established by government regulation;
8- a rearview mirror inside the vehicle attached at the center of the front upper part of the protective structure. (Does not apply to the single-seat UTV.)
Reading this list, we quickly realize that the manufacturers have already complied with most of the requirements. Today, the vehicles available on the market have almost all of this equipment, except one accessory: the rearview mirror. It is an essential safety add-on that should not be neglected, as it provides a peripheral view of our environment during a ride. We also recommend adding side mirrors to improve the overall vision.
You should take note that the number of passengers allowed is indicated by the manufacturer on each vehicle. On Québec trails, it is permitted to carry an additional passenger on a single-seater ATV with two conditions: first, a compliant passenger seat is installed according to the manufacturer’s standards. Second, the ATV driver has to take a specific quad driving training course given by an instructor recognized by the FQCQ (Quebec’s Quad Club Federation). These passenger seats are available at all dealers, and they will also be able to advise you on the model that will best meet your expectations and needs.
The essential equipment
Although some accessories are not mandatory, they are essential for improving occupants’ comfort or simplifying the rides. Here are our recommendations in this regard:
The winch is a powerful device with a drum to coil a steel cable or synthetic rope, and its primary use is to haul or pull heavy loads. We highly recommend this accessory to help get your vehicle out of a difficult situation. It is also handy to move heavy objects that might get in the way on the trail. We suggest a winch with a minimum capacity of 2,500 lbs for an ATV and 3,000 lbs for a UTV.
2- Heating accessories
The installation of heated grips and thumbs will provide a significant source of heat to their users in winter. It is also possible to equip the passenger seats with heated grips to provide them with this comfort.
The same comfort is possible for a UTV, as they can also be equipped with a heated steering wheel cover, or a heated steering wheel at a more substantial cost.
The various environments in which we ride are filled with elements that can sometimes be annoying. Dust is a good example of an inconvenience we are regularly exposed to. The best way to deflect dust is to install a windshield. Both for ATVs and UTVs, several models are available and they will also improve the vehicle’s look. On a UTV, we recommend the addition of a rear backglass as well, to prevent diverted air from returning inside the cabin.
Front and rear bumpers may seem an expensive addition, but they will protect your vehicle in case of an impact. Body parts are primarily made of plastic and a collision could permanently damage them, even from a small impact, leaving you with no choice except replacing those expensive parts. Bumpers would help prevent that.
Of course, adding a roof is specific for UTVs. It protects against bad weather and offers the possibility of riding while being protected from the rain. It also provides protection from the sun on hot summer days.
6- Gasoline can holder
Gas stations are sometimes far away when riding in remote areas. It is a good idea to bring extra fuel in a suitable container, and this container can be safely carried out if you have installed a gas can holder on your vehicle. We are never too careful!
This list covers the most common situations. However, you will find that manufacturers’ accessory catalogs propose a variety of equipment, to cover as many various situations. We will leave it up to you to evaluate your needs and find which additions will cover them. For example, hunters will appreciate accessories to carry and protect their fire arms, while workers will opt for another solution to carry their tools.
While the above items will help you enjoy a ride in the wild, the following accessories will help you survive the ride. It is recommended to wear protective clothing for all types of activity and the quad is no exception.
Riding on uneven surfaces with protruding rocks will make riding even more hazardous. That’s why it is important to protect yourself from head to toe, it will prevent you from injuring yourself when something goes wrong.
It protects the most important part of our anatomy, especially when driving over rough terrain. According to statistics, helmets reduce the number of deaths by up to 42%. The helmet is mandatory in most places when riding a quad.
2- Protective glasses
Glasses are also mandatory if the helmet you wear does not have a visor. The eyes are the most fragile part of the body. They are very sensitive to dust and debris, so you should have goggles that provide protection even on the sides.
Good quality gloves will protect your hands from flying debris, rocks and branches that you might hit along the way. They also absorb a lot of vibrations and that will make driving more comfortable.
4- Long sleeve tops and pants
Covering your entire skin will protect it from abrasions, cuts and even insect bites. Most importantly, it reduces injury if you fall while riding.
Another benefit is that they protect your skin from the sun’s rays. In hot weather, wear breathable clothing with moisture-wicking characteristics to make sure you are comfortable.
5- Closed shoes or boots
Please don’t wear sandals, they will expose your toes to debris and branches. We recommend you wear closed shoes. Sneakers or athletic shoes are acceptable, but hiking shoes are the best choice; they will also protect your ankles.
Motocross boots are the best. They give you better grip and support, and provide additional protection against the heat from the machine’s engine. They also give better ankle support.
Make sure you have all the required equipment as well as the necessary protections, so you can enjoy this activity with peace of mind. These are additions that you will need to consider when purchasing a vehicle and it is in your best interest to comply with them.