Safety first! Whether you’re packing up your Polaris Ranger or CF Moto, taking time for a safety check (and getting everyone on board!) is how the trip organizer can get ready to really kick back and enjoy. A well-planned trip isn’t just a safer one, but also a more exciting and memorable one. First, make sure you and your ATV, UTV or dirt bike are in good condition. Your UTV might not retail for the same price as your daily car, but it still has similar mechanical features and functions—which means it needs just as much TLC as a car, truck or SUV. UTVs may break down. They need maintenance and regular inspections. And as for you? You also need to be at the top of your game. Riding while ill, depressed or after knocking back “just a few” is asking for trouble. Even “easy” short rides can be detrimental if you and your machine aren’t 100 percent, so be honest with yourself. All good? Now it’s time for the prep work.Prepping Your RideRely on a UTV mechanic for routine inspections, but you can also check fluid levels like coolant, brake fluid or oil. Inspect the tires for air pressure, as well as wear and tear. Take a look at the brakes, throttle cables and clutch before you hit the trails, and always check the lights (working lights are legally required almost everywhere). However, just because you get the all clear now doesn’t mean an emergency won’t pop up during your trip. Are you ready?Creating an emergency kit is a must for any rider. Pick up a comfortable backpack that won’t chafe while riding and get equipped with water, bungee cords and a first aid kit. You should also add a tool kit, flashlight and tire repair kit. An extra set of warm clothes, emergency (and waterproof) cell phone, map, GPS/compass and extra cash along with an emergency credit card are crucial. Bonus points for survival protein bars that won’t melt or go bad in a few months.Planning is EverythingWhat would you likely need first in an emergency? Pack those items at the top and make them easy to reach. Remember that tool kits don’t have to be big or bulky—and if you bought your machine new, it may have come with one. Finally, for longer rides, make sure everyone knows the pre-planned stops before taking off. If it’s a new trail, check out the map and choose stops together. Before leaving, make sure someone back home knows where you’re headed and when you plan to return. However, the safest approach is always riding with others. You never know what obstacles, even on familiar trails, you might encounter.