One of the great things about an ATV is its versatility. One day you may be racing your buddy, and the next you can be riding off on an all day trip. If you want to do a long ATV ride though, you have to make sure you’re prepared.

Before you head off on a road trip, you always check your car for any signs of trouble, and get a tune up if necessary. You don’t want to break down on a highway somewhere far from home. The same goes for your quad. Breaking down on a trail can ruin a weekend real quick.

To get your ride in shape, go through some basic procedures. Check your fluid levels, including brake, oil, and coolant when applicable. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, and that they aren’t showing signs of wear. Test your brakes, including the cables, and do the same for your clutch and throttle. Be certain your battery is fully charged and connected, and that your lights (if you have them) work. Double check the tension on your ATV shocks to ensure a comfortable ride.

You also need to be sure you and your riding buddies are prepared for the ride. A good ride can be tough, so make sure you’re physically prepared for it. If you aren’t feeling well you are asking for a long and miserable trip. Mental preparedness is also important. The fact is something could go wrong. Be prepared to deal with unexpected situations. Panic can turn a little bad luck into an emergency.

Be sure to bring all the basic supplies you need. Food and water of course; you should have enough for the planned trip plus extra in case you get lost or stranded. Your basic toolkit, including a tire repair kit and pump, should always be with your 4-wheeler. First aid kits are extremely important. Minor injuries that aren’t tended to properly can have terrible consequences.

There are also some things you should bring along on a long ride that you may not have to think about most of the time. Long rides usually mean scenic views and good activities, so pack your camera. You should have a GPS—or at least a map and compass—and know how to use it. A change of clothes will make a big difference if the weather changes, you ride through a lot of mud or water, or you just get too dirty. Throw in a flashlight, tow rope, and of course a bag to put it all in. Keep the things you need most frequently on top for easy access.

Before you head out, plan your trip carefully. Know where you’re going to make stops and a basic time frame for the trip, and make sure someone else knows your itinerary. Either carry enough fuel for the trip (plus some extra) or plan out fuel stops. Remember, nobody wants to be the one begging for change to fuel up at the gas station, so bring money and your id. If you deviate from your plan, let your outside contact know so no one gets worried unnecessarily.

If your trip is planned and prepared for, it can be the most fun you’ve ever had. On the other hand, if you run out of water, blow an ATV shock, or get hurt, your fun can quickly turn into a nightmare. Good or bad, this kind of trip will make memories that you won’t forget; but if you aren’t prepared, you may want to.