Rule number one when riding your Polaris Ranger is to always stick with a buddy. However, we know that there are many circumstances where you’ll be riding alone. So whether you’re conducting some of solo work, or heading out on a solitary ride to clear your mind and do a little soul searching, you should always carry an emergency survival kit when you venture out alone in your Polaris Ranger. From recovery kits and emergency tools to spare parts and survival rations, here are the most important items that every Polaris Ranger owner should keep in-vehicle to stay prepared for the worst case scenario.
Polaris Ranger Recovery Gear
The go-to solution for recovering a stuck Ranger is a UTV winch. But this alone is insufficient. In addition to your winch, your recovery kit should also include shackles, chokers, and a snatch block. With regards to the former, many Polaris Ranger owners recommend soft shackles. Not only are they super strong, but they’re way safer and easier to use than standard shackles.
Winch extension lines, tow straps, and pulling tools like the ropes by Bubba Rope are an integral part of recovery. But even with hundreds of feet of extra winch line, you may still not be able to reach the nearest tree. So if you know there’s a chance you’ll get stuck while riding in a treeless area, a Pull Pal Land Anchor is worth bringing along. Similarly, you could also pack a 4-6 foot rock bar and a T-post driver to pound the bar into the ground when you have nothing else to tie your winch to.
Gloves will protect your hands when operating a winch or using other recovery tools, and traction boards like those by Maxtrax are great for both sandy and snowy applications. Farm jacks are another versatile tool that you can mount on the exterior of your Ranger and use like a come-a-long jack for recovery if your winch goes out. And when all else fails, good old human power will always come to the rescue, so bringing tools such as shovels, machetes, axes, and picks can get you out of a bind should your other equipment fall short.
Maintaining A Rideable Ranger In The Field
Most parts of the Polaris Ranger can be temporarily rigged up and supported with basic tools and supplies to get you back to civilization in a pinch. Things like tie rod ends, replacement bolts, and extra lug nuts should be readily available in your bed or tool box, and ensuring that you can get home in the event of a tire malfunction is also pivotal.
Tire plugs and a portable pumps / 12v compressors should fix a pinch flat or a puncture. As long as it’s not a sidewall issue, patches and plugs — or even something like a can of fix-a-flat — should enable you to either keep going or limp back to camp. Many riders use a spare tire rack to store a spare Polaris Ranger tire for emergency situations. If you’re going haul a spare though, just make sure it’s the same size as either the front or back tires. And even if you don’t have a spare, you’d be surprised how tough a flat tire can be.
If you can’t get your flat tire to hold air after patching it up, it’s probably ruined beyond repair. You can ride on a flat if you have to, and if you’re tire is spent anyway, it sure beats freezing to death stuck in the woods. Preventative measures can be taken to avoid flat tires in the Polaris Ranger, such as running thicker 8-ply tires or by using something called Green Slime Tire Sealant. Regarding the latter, however, you shouldn’t put Green Slime in your tires and leave it in. After about a year or two, the slime may start eating holes in your wheels — regardless of whether they’re aluminum or steel.
Polaris Ranger Survival Kit Essentials
To be prepared for everything in your Polaris Ranger, you’ll likely need a trailer, not a tool box. But there are a few items that are common culprits for breakdowns or can be lifesaving in emergency situations. Of course first aid kits that include a CAT tourniquet should be kept in your Ranger at all times, and a couple MRE’s as well as high-protein foodstuff can give you energy if you become stranded. Water purification tablets and electrolyte tabs will help keep you hydrated, and a bit of whiskey can be used to sterilize wounds.
Spark plugs, an extra belt, a fan circuit breaker, wheel bearings, as well as ball joints with new circle clips are good spare parts to have on hand, while things like metric wrenches and socket sets can be used to fix most of the mechanical components of the Ranger. Other tools to bring along on riders include pliers, crescent wrenches, channel locks, and a multi-tool or pocket knife.
Toilet paper, paper towels, and a carb cleaner are sure to come in handy — even outside of survival situations — and you should always carry a can of starter fluid. Starter fluid can be used in many different ways, be it for popping tires back on their rims, cleaning parts, starting fires, the list goes on and on.
A few other suggested items to pack in your emergency kit include super glue, baling wire, electrical wire, and various electric connectors. You can always find a need for duct tape, and waterproof matches as well as lighters are vital for starting fires easily. Finally, bug spray for repelling insects, WD-40 for greasing your machine, and butane for cooking or fire starting are also good to have on hand.
The best way to avoid a survival situation is to ride in groups, and the second best way is to insure that you always have a way out, regardless of what happens to you or your machine in the field. However, the unpredictability of the great outdoors is impossible to anticipate. Leave your hubris at home and replace it with the right emergency survival kit in your Polaris Ranger. Do this, and your chances of surviving whatever nature throws at you will be greatly increased.