You drove to go hunting in the middle of nowhere, dozens of miles from a gas station or paved road, confident you made the right decision last year when you bought your all-terrain vehicle. The electric power steering was so good that you were able to move your way over large rocks and through several muddy streams.
But now you’re stuck. Your machine has broken down and the parts are acting up. Fortunately, your pre-trip research, quick wits and all the resources at your disposal will exponentially improve your chances of survival.
Photo of ATV by Marion Doss via Flickr
Preparing To Survive
It’s easy to say, “don’t panic,” when the unthinkable happens, but this is a fundamental key to survival and often begins far before ever entering the wild. Your preparation and consideration is about to pay off.
For starters, you have an ATV survival kit which includes a diverse set of tools. Serious ATV riders who have been stranded in desolate locations knows the value of an emergency kit.
Pack a survival kit including a winch, portable air compressor, wrenches, jumper cables, a tire repair kit and extra fuel, recommends CampingATV.com. Your kit may not be identical, but chances are you've packed some, if not all, of these for your outing and now they'll become vital for getting you back home in one piece. In a best-case scenario, your kit may contain “personal survival” items including:
- aluminum foil
- water container
- fire starter, lighter and waterproof matches
- first-aid kit
- magnifying lens
- multi-tool that includes a knife blade
- nylon cord
- signal whistle
- water purification tablets
In addition, Tread Lightly! recommends bringing high-energy food, 16 to 32 ounces of bottled water per person, biodegradable toilet paper, a rain jacket, a pen or pencil, paper, a portable CB radio or cell phone, and a flashlight or high-powered penlight with a spare bulb and batteries.
How long will you be stranded? Of course, it’s hard to know, but preparing for an extended stay in the woods is essential.
ATV Survival Tips
Surviving with your machine is easier than surviving without it, even if the vehicle isn’t working.
For starters, CampingATV.com recommends that you stay with the ATV because of its size and useful components, namely the headlight which can be double as a signaling device.
Position your ATV so it will block the cold and wind. However, you should not rely on your ATV as shelter. Building a small overnight shelter is preferable to building a larger one because a smaller shelter minimizes your body’s loss of heat as the temperature drops. The ground could also lower your body temperature. Thus, you should use leaves and/or pine needles as bedding rather than the grass.
Any extra fuel can also be beneficial. Obviously, starting a fire is important to keeping you warm, but starting more than one fire could increase the chances that you will be seen. Exercise caution when starting signal flames, as a forest fire could place you in more immediate danger than your current breakdown. The rubber compound in the tires may also create thick plumes of distress smoke and flag down potential rescue teams.
Furthermore, you may be able to salvage your Honda ATV parts by using the chain and engine to craft makeshift saws, perfect for cutting through wood you may need for your shelter or fire.
Survival is all about composure and ingenuity. Keep your wits about you, prioritize your strategy and get creative; when the engine fails, the horn may still work.