7 Essential Items for Using Your 4x4 in Snowy Conditions

Winterize your ride. 

7 Essential Items for Using Your 4x4 in Snowy Conditions
Photograph Courtesy of BOSS Snowplow

As an off-roading enthusiast, you know that your ATV can get you places where a lot of other vehicles can’t go. That being said, when you add snow to the mix, even ATVs are not impervious to the conditions, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared when you hit the trail in the winter time. Here are a few items that we think are essential for using your ATV, side-by-side, or 4x4 in snowy conditions.

Tire Chains or Tracks

If you plan on riding on snow, extra traction is crucial. And nothing gives you the grip you need like good set of tire chains. Look for chains in a diamond-shaped pattern for the best gripping action. Additional traction devices like studs will give you even better control on packed snow and ice. Or if you really love to ride in the winter, you can get rid of the wheels entirely and go all in with a track kit, like the Commander from Kimpex.

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Even with the best of traction devices, getting stuck is always a possibility in snowy conditions. But with a winch onboard, you can always self-rescue or, better yet, help a buddy who’s run their ride into a snowbank. The Super ATV Black Ops winch is rated to 3,500 pounds and can handle 50 feet of synthetic rope—plenty of power and play to pull you even from the most perilous position. If you want something even more heavy duty, opt for the Black Ops winch rated for 4,500 pounds. 

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Heated Grips

In winter, you wear gloves when you’re out in the elements, of course. But on ATVs with handlebars, the cold wind can stiffen your fingers up right through your gloves—which can be a problem when throttling. The solution? Heated grips: They’ll keep your hands warm from the inside out and make sure your fingers stay flexible even in the coldest weather. Moose Racing’s clamp-on heated grips are easy to install and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Cab Enclosure

Another way to conquer the elements in snowy conditions is to put a cab enclosure, like the one made by Guide Gear, on your ATV. It will keep the wind and the snow off of you and the important parts of your vehicle. At the same time, an enclosure will help to preserve any heat you generate while riding.

Seat Heater

No matter how well you dress for the trail, riding an ATV in the elements for prolonged periods can be cold. And your derriere is one of the places that can get the coldest most easily. A cold-bottom is a problem easily solved with an after-market seat heater kit like those sold by Can-Am. A heater will warm you to core and keep you comfortable on those longer winter rides in the snow.

Plow Attachment

If you’re going to use your ATV all winter long, anyway, why not put it to work? With a plow blade attachment, like the one from Boss Plow, you can use your ATV to clear snow from your street or driveway. A plow blade is also an excellent tool to have for grooming your own trails between snowfalls: Tire chains will get you traction, but they won’t float on top of snow.

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Weatherproof Cover

If you don’t store your ATV for the winter and don’t have a garage in which to park it, a weatherproof cover essential to keep the snow off your vehicle between rides. Cabela’s makes a cover that works on many ATV models and is sturdy enough not to shred into pieces when you trailer it.