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ProMark Offroad Blog

Stay Safe on Your ATV: Best Practices

While ATV-related injuries are on the decline, many ATV accidents still occur every year. Avoid becoming a statistic and enjoy safe and fun riding by practicing these basic ATV safety precautions.

Get in Gear

Protective gear is a critical part of safe riding. Because many ATV accidents result in head injuries, helmets are a necessity. Be sure your helmet fits properly: it should feel snug and fasten securely. Additionally, goggles, gloves, boots, long-sleeved shirts and pants not only help protect your skin, but can also promote a more comfortable, stable ride.

Know Your ATV

Not all ATVs are created equally. Depending on the model, ATVs can differ in a variety of ways, such as brake variations; transmission, clutch and throttle types; occupancy requirements; and minimum age recommendations. Consult the vehicle’s manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that you are in compliance with the guidelines. This also promotes optimal handling by familiarizing you with all switches and controls.

Maintain Your Machine

Routinely inspect your ATV to ensure that it’s road-worthy: brakes, tires, controls, shifters and lights and switches should all be in decent working condition; also check oil and fuel levels before each outing. A tool kit can be a lifesaver, while adding a winch and its accessories is another valuable safety measure — particularly when sticky situations arise.

Consider Your Surroundings

It is important to consider how your ATV handles in different situations — from inclement weather to hilly terrain. While ATVs are designed for a variety of environments, different situations demand different best practices. Following these not only benefits your personal safety, but also extends the lifespan of your vehicle.

ATVs can be unpredictable and hard to control on on paved roads; in fact, paved roads are a factor in a significant number of ATV accidents and fatalities. Refrain from driving your ATV on paved roads to avoid rollovers, crashes with cars and other threats.

Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

ATVs are not toys; they are motorized vehicles which move at extremely high speeds and  require 100 percent of your full attention. Driving an ATV while impaired by drugs or alcohol can have disastrous consequences.

Go Back to School

One of the best ways to ensure best ATV safety practices is to take a hands-on safety training course. This can help you learn how to control your ATV in both typical and atypical conditions, as well as gain invaluable experience with the comprehensive range of off-road riding situations.

Four Key Accessories for your next Camping, Hunting or Fishing Trip

When it comes to preparation for a camping, hunting or fishing trip, we all know the essentials — items such as guns, fishing poles, tents and food. But there are other, less obvious items that are also important, especially if you’re headed off road.

Let’s look at four useful hunting, fishing and camping accessories for your next trip down the trail.

Trail Bag

Space is usually at a premium when you’re preparing for a hunting or camping trip. You have to walk a fine line between having enough equipment and lugging too much stuff around. A good trail bag allows you to store your gear on the outside of your vehicle, freeing up much-needed room for extra equipment and supplies. It also doubles as a convenient receptacle for trash, allowing you to keep trails and hunting and camping grounds as clean as you found them.

ATV Covers

If you’re riding to your favorite hunting or fishing place, a rugged and durable ATV cover is a must have item. A good cover provides protection from rain, snow and mud. It also helps keep your presence hidden when you’re ready to hunt. Camouflage covers are particularly helpful when it comes to stealthily concealing your vehicle.

ATV Locks

Your favorite hunting or fishing spot might be as remote as they come, but it’s never a good idea to leave your vehicle behind without protection. A well-made ATV cable lock gives you added peace of mind, allowing you to relax and enjoy your trip without worrying about theft.

Bags and Coolers

For most ATV riders, a good rack bag is an absolute necessity. A good bag has enough space for tools, first-aid supplies and personal items. A great bag has all of that plus a cooler for food and beverages. You can ride with confidence, knowing you’ve got all your essential cargo at hand — plus enough food and drink to keep you going for hours.

Good preparation and the right equipment lays the groundwork for a successful hunting, fishing or camping trip. Consider these four items the next time you get ready to hit the trail.

Why Your Jeep Should Have a Winch

As the most popular aftermarket Jeep part, the winch is a versatile tool that can save lives and property.  Unexpected opportunities to assist other motorists and perform important work tasks will arise and you will be prepared.  Consider these uses for your Jeep winch.

  • Lift the hard top – Jeeps equipped with a winch can transform the vehicle from covered to open-air without assistance.  The winch can manage the weight of the hard top safely and quickly.  Without the winch, a friend or family member would have to help the owner to lift the Jeep hard top.
  • Clear heavy debris – Following high winds, trees and other debris can be moved to a safe location using the Jeep winch.  With practice, the Jeep owner will learn to select the order in which each piece should be moved.  Moving trees from the street near the house can be beneficial for access when emergency vehicles arrive.
  • Remove stumps and shrubs – After soil removal, the remaining roots and stump of a shrub or tree can be removed using the winch.  Axes and chainsaws will not be required.  Heavy straps and chains can be attached to the stump before attaching the winch cable.
  • Lift Jeep from mud – Off-road adventures require the ability to free the Jeep from precarious positions.  Rain, snow and thawing conditions can cause the Jeep to become stuck.  A winch can provide help when no one else is available.
  • Assist other motorists – Arriving first on any scene requires preparedness for the unexpected.  Jeep winch owners can remove obstacles and provide solutions before the authorities arrive at the scene.  Pulling a vehicle from water can save lives and property.
  • Position tarps – Handling large objects, such as tarps, is easier when the winch provides lifting and holding power.  Jeep owners will find countless uses for the winch when camping or spending time with the family.
  • Drag boats – A boat trailer can have mechanical problems once the boat is out of the water. The jeep winch provides lifting and pulling power according to the Jeep owner’s needs.  The winch cable provides maneuverability for the boat owner who encounters a power problem near the dock.
  • Perform mechanical tasks – Working on vehicles requires heavy lifting to secure vehicles, motors and tools.  Certain major repairs require significant lifting force to complete.  Winch owners can use the Jeep winch to work on a car in a safe manner without assistance.
  • Clear roadway – Adventures in the back country require the ability to move large trees and rocks from the path.  The Jeep winch is capable of moving large obstacles without assistance from other people.

Prior to selecting the winch, the Jeep owner will want to determine the lifting capacity of each model.  An appropriate size is required to complete each task without damaging the winch mechanism.  The Jeep owner has many choices between powerful winches and accessories.  Every need cannot be anticipated, but ownership of ATVs and snowmobiles require significant winch power.

What You Need in Your Winching Survival Kit

When building an ATV winch accessories kit, it’s important to ensure that you have everything you’re going to need for emergencies and tough jobs. If you’re going out on a job, make sure that you don’t leave home without the following:

Extra Gloves

It’s easy to shred a pair of old gloves, and winching without protection is a great way to get cable splinters. Keep an extra pair of gloves on hand for yourself or an assistant.

Heavy Duty Flashlight

We prefer to work in the daytime, but you never know how long a job will take. Keep some lights on hand so you can get the task done no matter the time of day.

Extra Tow Chains, Hooks and Cables

A snapped cable can leave you waiting a day or longer to finish the job. Keeping spares on hand means never having to put it off until tomorrow.

First Aid Kit

No matter how careful we may be, accidents happen. Keep a first aid kit handy so that you’re prepared for whatever may come.

Emergency Cell Phone

A pre-paid cell phone means that even if the battery on your phone dies, you can still call for help if you need it.

Expect the unexpected. You can never be too prepared when it comes to towing and winching.

How Strong Should Your Winch Be?

Determining the winch strength you need in order to deliver the results you want depends on several factors. For some guidelines on how to find the best winch for your needs, read on below for a few basics to keep in mind.

Line Pull Rating
Each winch is rated with a line pull rate. This figure is typically the capacity of the first layer of the winch strength cable that is located the closest to the drum. When figuring the rated weight of a winch, it is important to take the gross weight of your ATV – that is, the curb weight, plus any accessories or gear you might have installed on it, as well as your own weight – and multiply that figure by 1.5. This gives you the added winch pulling power you will likely need if you wind up bogged down in a mud pit somewhere.

Length of Line
While you might want lots of line so you can reach further, there are distinct disadvantages to having excessive amounts. For one thing, to get the most pull from the winch, you need to release lots of line. However, the more line you have played out, the more likely it can get jammed up in the winch mechanism or snarled as you are trying to use it. One solution is to purchase a winch with less line, but to carry extra that can be spliced to the winch with a eye splice while you are on the go.

Line Speed
Most winches are quick to offload, a feature that lets you quickly get to work freeing your ATV. The speed under which it works when loaded is another matter completely. Almost all winches will slow down significantly when pulling in a load. If having a quick load speed is important to you, remember that there will be a tradeoff in that it will require a great deal of electricity in order to reach greater speeds.

Winch Motors
Winches come in two basic types of electric motors: series wound (SW) and permanent magnet (PM). SW winches are designed for heavier duty use, as well as the off roader, who is out in the field every weekend, expecting power and performance. For the person who goes off roading only occasionally or who is very careful with their winch, a PM model could be a good choice. Be aware, though, that these models tend to lose power when the temps dip. In addition, they deliver up to 15% fewer amps than SW winches.

When it comes to purchasing a winch, it is best to go with quality and pulling power over a cheaper version. If you go into the buying process with the thought that you will use the winch more than you planned, you can’t go wrong.

Why it is Important to Have a Winch- Don’t Leave Your Buddy Behind

Nothing is more frustrating than heading out on a weekend off-roading adventure, for someone to end up stranded. Whether it’s you or your buddy that is hung up in mud or stuck in another sticky situation, you’ve got to be able to handle the issue yourself. Most of the fun places to off-road are very remote and getting help out to where you are can be difficult. Most commercial towing vehicles can’t get to these remote spots, and many people don’t have a buddy with heavy-duty equipment at the ready to perform a rescue. When you are off-roading, you may also not have an exact handle on your location, and a lot of GPS systems don’t work without a strong cell signal. You may also be far from cell towers, so you can’t call someone to come help you anyway. This is why it’s imperative that you have a good winch installed on your vehicle to help you out of a jam.
Having a good winch installed on your vehicle is imperative if you or your buddy gets in a tight spot and needs a hand getting loose. There are other benefits that come with having a winch handy when you are off the beaten path. Trees may fall and get in the way. Turning around and going home is definitely no fun, and you don’t want to damage your vehicle by trying to plow through an obstacle. Your winch can help you move these obstacles and move on with your adventure.
As with any piece of equipment that you add to your vehicle, proper planning is imperative. Don’t be influenced by price; a good winch is worth every penny that you’ll spend on the purchase and installation. Make sure you have the right size winch for your vehicle. A winch that can’t handle the full weight of your vehicle, plus any mud that is bogging it down isn’t worth much. You should also ensure that your winch is installed properly. And finally, familiarize yourself with the equipment before you head out, so you know how it works. This will help you avoid a bad situation that is only exacerbated by equipment damage or failure due to an operator that is unfamiliar with the equipment or improper installation.
If you are looking for a high-quality winch for your 4×4 vehicle, we have what you need. No matter the size, or application, ProMark Offroad has something to fit your needs. We’ve also got a wide variety of related accessories to help you have the most fun possible when you are out and about in your off-road vehicle. Check out our inventory online and order through our secure website. You can also give us a call, or use our online customer service feature to place an order or get assistance with your questions.

How to Shop for Waterproof ATV Covers

Waterproof ATV covers are essential for keeping your all-terrain vehicle safe from the harsh elements. Leaving your ATV unprotected from bad weather will likely lead to cosmetic and mechanical damage prematurely. It can also decrease the value since buyers are more likely to be attracted to ATVs that have been covered when not in use. The ATV cover you select should be waterproof in order to keep any moisture from seeping into the electrical components of the vehicle.

Use of the Waterproof ATV Cover

Your first consideration will be how you plan to use the waterproof ATV cover. If your ATV is kept in a shed or garage, you may not need a heavyweight cover. Instead, an ATV cover constructed from nylon can be utilized since the cover will not be consistently exposed to extreme heat or heavy rain. If you need your quad protected from rain, a vinyl cover is a more appropriate choice. Also, manufacturers have released lines of ATV covers specially treated to protect against moisture. For instance, the DuraShield Universal ATV Cover is constructed from heavy-duty poly with a Water-Tec coating to repel water from the surface of the material. Although it’s important for an ATV cover to be water-resistant, it should also have a ventilating system in place. Proper ventilation ensures moisture does not build up while the quad is covered and causes any long-term damage.

Sizing Waterproof ATV Covers

You need to cross-reference your ATV model with the waterproof cover you decide on. Many manufacturers release universal fit covers to accommodate as many of their customers as possible. However, you must still measure your ATV prior to purchase to confirm if the cover will fit your quad properly or not. Keep in mind that even if the manufacturer lists your ATV as a supported model, any extra accessories you’ve added or modifications made to the vehicle could affect the fit. For instance, an ATV windshield may force you to order a larger size cover than suggested by the manufacturer. A snug fit will optimize protection. ATV covers with elastic sewn into the hem can help keep the cover secured on the all terrain vehicle.

Waterproof ATV covers are an inexpensive way to increase the longevity of your quad. A durable cover that fits properly will likely last the lifetime of your vehicle.

Winch Accessories for Winter Off Roading

Once you have chosen the winch that is right for you and you have properly installed it, you will want to turn your thoughts towards winch accessories. The winch is a handy, off-road addition to your vehicle especially if you will be spending time off road during the winter. The winter months provide some great opportunity for fun outdoor activity, but without the right tools and accessories, winter off-roading can actually be dangerous. There are a few items that will increase your enjoyment and ease of using your winch this winter as well has help keep you safe in the snow and ice.
Ropes
Synthetic winch ropes are an important addition to your off roading tool box. Ropes have a great little tendency to just disappear or get misplaced. This is why it is important to have a good stock of winch ropes so that you do not get caught in a bad situation. Ropes and rope accessories come in a lot of different amounts and lengths. Our synthetic winch rope kits will help you make sure you have all of your winch rope needs met before you head out.
Winch Control Kits
There are a few different ways to activate and control your winch once it has been installed. One of the easiest ways to operate your new winch is with one of Pro Mark’s remote winch control kits. These kits allow you the ability to control your winch via remote up to 75’ away. Most of these remote kits include a wireless keychain remote that can go anywhere you can go. This is a winch accessory that not only makes off roading more convenient, but could in the case of an injury; also add to your chances of getting yourself out of a bad situation.
Winching Tools
Winching tools are really a must if you plan to spend a good deal of time off roading this winter. Having the right tools at the right time can mean the difference between an awesome day off road, or getting stranded in the snow in the middle of winter. Pro Mark offers several complete winching tool kits that will include everything you need to keep your winch working properly. Many of these kits also include tree straps and snatch blocks which will complete your necessary winch accessories.
Winch Covers
Winch covers are a nice addition because a good quality Neoprene cover will protect your newly installed winch from damaging rain, debris or moisture from snow and ice. These are all hazards when off roading in the winter. Keeping the winch protected and clean will ensure its functionality for many seasons to come.
Winch Maintenance
Depending on your specific needs, Pro Mark offers several other products which will help keep your winch running smoothly and ensure that your off roading experiences this winter are both enjoyable and safe. Contactors, fairleads and line stoppers can all be purchased at Pro Mark. Our fast delivery and excellent customer service will have you off road before you know it, enjoying all that these icy winter months have to offer.

A Beginner’s Guide to Using a Winch

Knowing how to use a winch ensures you get out quickly and safely. Every beginner can use a handy guide to learn how to use a winch.

Take reasonable precautions to protect yourself and others. Everyone participating in winching, from hookup to re-spooling, should wear leather gloves. Name one person as the boss of the winch controls to reduce confusion; name another as the rope person if possible. You can reduce failures that could result in injury by setting up properly, couple with reliable accessories, and do not overload winches.

Connect the winch’s remote to its designated port. Route the winch rope in a way that avoids pinching the remote control; the route will depend on where you stand.

Unwind a couple feet of winch rope; create enough slack to disconnect the winch from the anchor point.

Select a sturdy anchor point. Natural, secure features, such as trees, large rocks, or stumps work best. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to anchor to chains wrapped around deeply buried logs or trees. Envision a line between your vehicle and the anchor point: choose a line that is straight, has relatively even terrain, and is free from large obstacles. Take your time – this could be the most important step to pulling out your Jeep, ATV, snowmobile or other vehicle.

Using the winch controls, disengage the clutch and pull the winch rope in a straight path toward the anchor point. Look for any rocks, branches, or other obstructions that could get in the way.

Wrap a winch strap or choker chain in a U-shape around the lowest part possible of the anchor point. Slide a D-shackle through the ends of the strap or choker. Secure the shackle bolt. Do not over-tighten the shackle bolt; the bolt will continue to tighten as weight is applied.

Whenever possible, leave the vehicle running with a person at the controls. This driver may be able to apply the gas and assist the winching operation.

Slide the winch hook through the D-shackle. Re-engage the winch clutch. Use the remote to reel the rope back into until there is slight tension on the line.

Toss a heavy blanket over the line to prevent the rope from whipping wildly if it breaks – use quality synthetic ropes to reduce this risk. Once you place the blanket on the rope, everyone should stand clear of the operation.

Use the remote control to spool the rope slowly back into the winch. Continue reeling in the rope until the vehicle reaches stable terrain. Stop reeling when the vehicle reaches a place where a driver could drive it out under its own power.

Apply the emergency brake in the vehicle. Disconnect the wire rope from its anchor. Apply slight tension to the line as you walk it inward, using the remote to reel in the slack. Make sure the line does not become tangled and keep hands and other body parts away from the drum or cable during re-spooling.

Practice your winching techniques with someone who has done it before. Use quality winching tools and ropes for best results.

Top 5 Snatch Block Uses

Your snatch block may be a simple enough looking piece of equipment but this handy tool can be a great lifesaver that greatly improves the effectiveness of your winch. As one of the most useful accessories for your winch, a snatch block can double your pulling power and easily help with an angled pull. Here we’ll take a look at some situations where a snatch block will come in extra handy.
Top 5 Snatch Block Uses
1. For Self-Recovery – Because of the snatch blocks simple design you can set it up to perform a double-line pull on your own vehicle. This works by redirecting the winch cable back towards the winch. For a self-recovery, you’d simple run the cable back through the snatch block then back to your vehicle, attached to an anchor spot directly in front of your vehicle.
2. Moving a Larger Vehicle – If you are in a situation where your winch is needed to help move another, larger vehicle you can attach the snatch block to this vehicle. Set up the winch cable to go through the snatch block then back to an anchor point near your vehicle. This anchor point helps take some of the strain off of your vehicle to ease some of the strain of recovering a heavier rig.
3. You’re Stuck in Deep Mud – Because your snatch block essentially acts as a pulley, it can help to pull you out of even the toughest situations. By simply redirecting your cable to a new anchor you can easily pull your ATV or other vehicle out of a sticky situation by providing an angled pull with double the pulling power.
4. More Pulling Power Needed – There may be the occasional situation when the use of more than one snatch block is needed to recover a vehicle. When you use a double-sheave snatch block combined with a traditional single-pulley block that can be found in most winch accessory kits, you can turn a potential disastrous job into a a quick and simple recovery.
5. Heavy Duty Winching – Utilizing the extra power a snatch block gives your winch can make a 16,00 pound load feel like 5,000 for your winch. This potential pulling power makes your vehicle and your winch nearly unstoppable. Your snatch block will not only make recoveries faster and easier but also help to reduce heat build up and amp draw.

Sources: http://blog.promarkoffroad.com/2013/08/20/6-must-have-winch-accessories-for-atvs/; http://www.propickupmag.com/winch-pulling-power/; http://www.gowarn.com/warn-winches/winch-tips.aspx