Renting a four-wheeler or side-by-side is the perfect way to get your adrenaline pumping without having to buy your own off-road vehicle. With a rented ATV or UTV, you can spend the day riding along rocky terrain, sandy beaches, or muddy trails. If this is your first time renting an off-roader, ATV Trader is here to help you out with five tips for renting an ATV or UTV.
1. Determine Your Experience Level
Before planning your off-road adventure, determine your skill level riding and operating ATVs and UTVs. Can you perform basic functions such as applying the throttle, braking, and evenly distributing your weight while riding? If this is your first time, or you aren’t as experienced, ask if the rental company offers pre-ride instruction. This is a great way to become more comfortable with operating a unit before you hit the trails.
2. Understand the Types of Off-Road Vehicles
When booking a rental, you’ll have to choose what kind of off-road vehicle you’d like. There are five main types of recreational vehicles that rental companies and websites offer:
- Four-Wheelers are single-rider ATVs. These are the most popular type of unit to rent since they are perfect for fast-paced racing and exploring rough terrain.
- Side-by-Sides are UTVs with two seats for a driver and a passenger. Most have rollover protection and some have a fully enclosed cab, making them an excellent choice for riding with friends or children 12 or older.
- Sport Vehicles are designed specifically for more intensive and competitive riding. Sport four-wheelers and side-by-sides are recommended for more experienced riders.
- Youth Four-Wheelers are a great alternative for younger riders, as some states require ATV riders to be at least 16 years old. These vehicles are intended to be ridden by children ages 6 to 16, with adult supervision.
- Golf Carts may not be as thrilling as the other recreational vehicles, but these are still excellent to rent while golfing or traveling at low speeds on paved streets with beach gear in the back.
If you want to learn more, read our previous article about the most popular types of recreational ATVs.
3. Figure Out How Long You Want to Rent
Once you’re out on the trails, you’ll probably want to spend the whole day lifting dirt as you tear through the terrain. However, ATV rental companies place a limit on how long you can use their vehicles. These rentals vary by time—the longer you rent, the more money you’ll spend. The standard rental time is hourly, half day, or full day. Many long-time renters recommend two to four hours, depending on the size of the trail or riding area.
4. Know the Types of Trails
ATV and UTV riding is full of heart-pumping action. Depending on where you ride, the terrain and scenery can vary. The West Coast is known for towering sand dunes and trails through vast canyons, while the East Coast has countless trails along twisting forests and wooded terrain. Wherever you ride, you’re sure to enjoy scenic overlooks and an unforgettable experience.
Wherever you are, trails can be broken down into public and private riding areas.
- Public Riding Areas/Trails include open land, such as beaches, and designated trails in public parks. The Bureau of Land Management operates several public lands designated for off-highway vehicles (OHV). Most public trails and riding areas will require you to transport your rented unit yourself since on-site rentals are not available. If you do consider using a public trail, find out if there are any registrations or fees necessary to ride.
- Private Riding Areas/Trails are accessible when you rent from most companies. ATV rental companies have agreements with private properties and off-road resorts that allow riders to explore the land. Many private riding areas and trails are in close proximity to the rental office, so you won’t have to tow your four-wheeler or side-by-side to a far location.
If you’re riding without a guide, and are unfamiliar with the trails, be sure to use GPS to keep track of your location. The GPS can be built into the off-roader or you can use your smartphone.
5. Find Out What’s Included with Your Rental
ATV rental companies and websites offer different options and packages that range from a simple unit rental to guided tours. When browsing companies to rent an ATV or UTV from, make sure they have choices to fit your needs.
If you don’t have a trailer to transport your off-road vehicle, ask if the rental company can haul the unit to the riding area and how much that would cost. Guided tours can be the most inclusive, offering vehicle rental, gear, tours of the private riding areas and trails, and even food and drink. This comes at a higher cost, so keep your budget in mind when selecting additional amenities.
Other questions to ask when renting an ATV or UTV include:
- How much is the security deposit?
- Is riding gear included?
- What happens if the vehicle breaks down while you’re renting it?
- Is insurance required?
These are all important questions to ask before putting any money down to ensure you know exactly what is included in your rental.
Conclusion: Off-roading is a fun and exciting experience, but it’s important to prepare yourself if you’re new to the rental process. Understanding the types of units and riding areas available, along with rental times and procedures, can help take the guesswork out of renting so you can focus on having the best time on the trails. You never know, your experience renting an ATV or UTV may inspire you to buy one of your own. When that time comes, begin your search on the nationwide marketplace at ATVTrader.com.