OHV Offroad Trails Checklist

OHV Offroad Park Checklist

OHV offroad parks in Texas offer some of the best offroad trails in Texas (since most of our land is private). If you are new to offroad parks in Texas use this checklist to understand what you should bring for a safe, successful and enjoyable trip out to the local offroad park: (click here to see the gear we use)

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Required OHV and Offroad Park Equipment:

  • Insurance
  • Confirm Off Road Park Allowed Vehicles
  • Texas OHV sticker
  • First Aid Kit
  • Tire Deflator/Pressure Gauge
  • Towel
  • Spare tire (full size)
  • Jack and tire iron
  • Water
  • Cell Phone
  • Insurance
  • Confirm Off Road Park Allowed Vehicles
Merus Adventure Park OHV in Palo Duro Canyon

Recommended OHV and Offroad Park Equipment:

  • Buddy in a separate vehicle
  • Leather gloves
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Download Trail Maps
  • Traction mat/board
  • Jerk Strap
  • Communication gear
  • D-rings / soft shackles
Northwest OHV Park in Bridgeport, TX

Optional OHV and Offroad Park Equipment:

  • Recovery gear
  • Tire repair kit
  • Mechanical failure parts
  • Tool kit
  • Shovel
  • Axe
Hidden Falls Adventure OHV in Marble Falls, TX

Required OHV and Off Road Park Equipment

  • Texas OHV sticker: Some Texas off road parks participate in the Texas Off Highway Vehicle program. They require you display a Texas OHV sticker on your vehicle. Stickers can be purchased online or at participating local stores. Some off road parks sell them at the gate (but not all).
  • First Aid Kit: Accidents happen, and when they do you want to make sure you are prepared. Bring at least a basic first aid kit to cover minor cuts, abrasions, tweezers, etc. If you are allergic to bee stings bring required medications.
  • Tire Deflator/Pressure Gauge: It is recommended you deflate your tires partially when driving aggressive terrain. This helps the tire conform over sharp rocks and edges reducing the risk of cutting the tire. Deflating your tires at off road parks also helps your suspension absorb the rough roads you’ll encounter. Most people delfate their tires to around 20psi, but you’ll need to use a tire pressure gauge to know exactly how much air you let out, since you don’t want to let out too much. Tire deflators take care of the work for you – deflating to a preset tire pressure.
  • Towel: Texas off road parks are sometimes dusty, muddy, hot, cold, and just about everything in between. A towel is useful for cleaning up or mapping sweat from your brow!
  • Spare tire (full size): All off road parks increase the chances of a flat tire in which case you’ll want to have a good spare with you, preferably a full size spare (same size as your other tires).
  • Jack and tire iron: Speaking of flat tires, if you must change your tire nothing is more bone headed or frustrating than realizing you don’t have a jack and tire iron that works with your vehicle. Many stock jacks won’t work with lifted vehicles. If you have locking lug nuts make sure you bring the key. If you’re relying on a Hi-lift jack ensure it’s in proper working order before you need it and use it with extreme caution as they can be very dangerous.
  • Water: As mentioned, it can be very hot on Texas off road trails. Even if it’s not you may get stuck for a few hours and you’ll want to ensure you have enough water for everyone to last the amount of time you might have to wait for recovery.
  • Cell Phone: It’s pretty standard but having one can help you in a bad situation. But keep in mind that some Texas off road parks are out of cell phone range so having a cell phone is a guaranteed safety net. Also make sure you have the required charging cables to charge the phone on the trail.

Recommended OHV and Offroad Park Equipment:

  • Buddy in a separate vehicle: Remember the buddy system when you learned to swim? Same for off road parks… it’s always best to travel with a buddy (in another, equally capable vehicle) who can help you on the trail. Whether it’s spotting you over tough obstacles, helping you make an on trail repair, assisting in a medical emergency, or towing you out of the park after you failed on that “full send,” having a buddy with you can be a life saver!
  • Leather gloves: If you have to make on trail repairs, change a tire, move fallen trees off the trail, or an assortment of other off road park duties you’ll want to protect your hands. Leather gloves should be standard in your vehicle and are definitely recommended for a day at the off road park.
  • Fire extinguisher: Engines can overheat and catch fire, tires can spin excessively on rocks and catch fire, a spark from your vehicle can cause a grass fire. All of the reasons (and more) are justification to bring a fire extinguisher with you on the off road trails. Some Texas off road parks even require you to have one before accessing their trails! We use this fire extinguisher from First Alert because it’s compact size fits in our Lexus GX.
  • Download Trail Maps: Smartphones have revolutionized how we access data on the go and trail maps are no different. Make sure you download any required maps BEFORE you get to the trail since you might not have sufficient cell service once at the off road park. Confirm the maps work (including in offline mode) before you need to use them. We also highly recommend that you bring backup paper maps since they never have a dead battery or cracked screen.
  • Traction mat/board: Traction boards or matts can be useful for getting out of a muddy spot where your tires have lost traction, bridging a washout, or creating a ramp on an aggressive incline or decline on the off road trail. (If you are unsure what traction boards are or how to use them check out this great article on traction boards we put together) We put together a list of the best traction boards in 2022 that you can check out – we use the XBull ones.
  • Jerk Strap: Jerk straps are semi-flexible nylon straps that can be used to pull a stuck vehicle from a mud bog or tow a broken down rig back to the trail head. Jerk straps are preferred over chains, cables or rigid straps because they allow some give and reduce the impact on equipment and vehicles. We use this off road jerk strap model from Sunferno – it’s economical and has lasted over many miles of towing.
  • Communication gear: “Watch out for that tree stump!” “Turn more driver…” “Check out that Sasquatch!” Being able to communicate with your buddy on the off road trail is extremely convenient in a number of scenarios. In 2022, most people use FRS/GMRS radios or VHF/UHF (“Ham”) radios with a dwindling few still using CB radios for off road trail communications. Make sure you have the appropriate licenses if your radio type requires them. Test your gear in advance to make sure you can effectively communicate with other radios. We use the Midland MX275 for off road GMRS and the Kenwood V71A for off road Ham radio.
  • D-rings / soft shackles: These make attaching jerk straps or winch cables to your vehicle a breeze and can really save your bacon when you need to be pulled out of a touch spot (or pull someone else out of a tough spot). Both are very effective while some advocate that soft shackles are safer as they reduce the dead weight potentially flying through the air if a shackle fails. We use these Rhino D Ring Shackles on the off road trails and they’ve never let us down!

Optional OHV and Offroad Park Equipment:

  • Recovery gear: If you get stuck on the off road trail you’ll likely need some good recovery gear. This can range from mild to wild and what you bring should match your driving style. On the low end a good jerk strap might be all you need to have your buddy pull you off that rock. Going up from there – a Hi-Lift can help you manually winch off an obstacle while a Smittybilt winch (what we use) can literally pull your vehicle up an extreme rock crawling trail. If you are going to use a winch consider getting a winch recovery kit that includes a gear bag, snatch block pulley, recovery strap, protector strap (tree saver), d-rings, line dampener and leather gloves. We use this winch recovery kit from Rugged Ridge when offroading.
  • Tire repair kit: If you do get a flat tire on the off road trail you can either replace the tire with your full size spare or you might choose (or need) to plug the tire. To do this you’ll need a tire repair kit. We use this tire repair kit from TECCPO.
  • Mechanical failure parts: We’ve carried basic auto repair parts for years now and never needed them. I recently thought about removing it from my kit… and then BAM! Blew a radiator hose on the K Trail in Oklahoma. My mechanical repair kit saved my bacon. I carry basic tools, cold weld, wire, flex-seal, radiator leak fix, tire leak fix, fuses and more.
  • Tool kit: Like your mechanical parts, having the tools your vehicle uses can be the difference between an off road trail win or fail. I bring a basic socket set, wrench, plyers, and screw drivers.
  • Shovel: One of the most useful tools on the trail, a shovel can help you remove large rocks blocking your trail, fill in washouts, remove mud or dirt from around the frame if stuck, and a host of other uses. I always carry a shovel when offroading. I use a short (about 40″ total length) fiberglass shaft spade type shovel when offroading.
  • Axe: This one has surprised me… I use it all the time and really didn’t expect to. It’s great for clearing trail limbs that would otherwise cause significant trail rash to your paint. It can be useful in camp to cut up logs for kindling, The back side of the axe blade can be used as a hammer in a pinch. I carry it on my roof rack using Quick Fist clamps.

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