In the world of riding, each season has its advantages. Summer cruises can be just as fun as winter rides, but only if you have the right off-road accessories. And we’re not just talking about the equipment that makes your off-road vehicle more capable in all conditions and terrain types. The right gear can also improve your all-around ride experience simply by making you more comfortable.
Some of us enjoy our creature comforts more than most, but there’s one thing we can all agree on: Off-roading is better when you’re not freezing cold, overheating, or being jostled around in the grips of an uncomfortable seat belt.
Here’s a rundown of some products and modifications you can make if comfort is your number one priority.
If you want a more enjoyable ride, start by taking a look at your machine. Are you constantly wiping mud and water out of your face? Are you sick of branches scraping up your ankles? Does your rear end go numb if you’re in the driver’s seat for more than 30 minutes?
If so, here are some machine modifications you should look into.
A windshield is probably the most popular add-on for your side-by-side. It’s because they’re just so darn useful. A good windshield acts as a guard against all kinds of intrusions—rain, wind, mud, dust, bugs, leaves, you name it.
If you like to keep riding in the winter but aren’t a fan of biting cold wind slapping you in the face, get a windshield. If you love hitting the trails in the springtime but are sick of getting wet when it rains, get a windshield. If you’re a mud lover who’s sick of scrubbing mud off of your face at the end of every ride—you guessed it—get a windshield.
UTV windshields can also add a great deal of personalization and versatility. Look at a flip windshield, for example. It lets you switch from a full windshield for maximum coverage to a half windshield when you want a breeze. You can even use it vented to let just a small amount of air in.
No matter where, when, or how you ride, the right windshield is guaranteed to make you more comfortable.
A UTV roof is great for keeping rain and leaves out of your cab, but did you know it’s also a key component to staying comfortable? This is especially true if it’s a tinted roof. Tinted polycarbonate cuts down on glare, so you don’t have to squint when you’re looking at that hill up ahead.
A tinted roof also adds UV protection from the sun’s harmful rays. The sun’s impact will be less noticeable on sunny rides, and the tint can also keep your cab cooler.
What we love most about tinted roofs is that they leave you with a clear view of what’s ahead. You don’t have to sacrifice visibility for comfort.
Plenty of side-by-sides come with doors straight off the lot, but those doors usually leave something to be desired. Some are too short and some have big, gaping holes right next to your ankles.
So adding the right set of aftermarket doors can make a world of difference when it comes to your comfort level.
Full cab enclosure doors are perfect for winter riding because they totally block out the elements on either side. They also provide great coverage if you plan on getting muddy.
Our lower door inserts are the perfect solution if your stock doors are lacking. They fill in that gap to keep out brush, mud, and creek water. This also adds some extra protection for your ankles and calves.
Even half doors can make you more comfortable. Ours are designed with ergonomics in mind. We cut them to the perfect height for resting your elbow, and we made sure the latches won’t bump and bruise your knee.
Don’t even think about venturing out in cold temperatures without a cab heater! Chattering teeth and numb fingertips are nobody’s idea of a good time.
If comfort is your goal, it can be tempting to stay inside when the temps drop below freezing. It’s hard to choose frostbite over wrapping yourself in a blanket and hitting the couch with your dog. But what if we told you those winter rides don’t have to be miserable?
Our cab heaters draw engine heat directly from the coolant lines, quickly heating your cab just like your car heater would. It utilizes high-grade radiator hoses that are rated from -40°F to 285°F, so no matter how hot your engine gets or how freezing it is outside, you’ll stay nice and toasty while you ride. And as an added bonus, our cab heaters also defrost your windshield.
Finally, when you’re trying to make your cab a more comfortable place, you can’t forget about your tush. It’s where you’ll be sitting on all those long, bumpy rides, after all.
A comfortable driver’s seat can make or break your ride. If you’re not comfortable in the driver’s seat, there are a few things you can do to change that—and they don’t all require completely replacing the seat!
Let’s start with height. If you feel like you’re seated too low or too high, check out our Seat Risers or Seat Lowering Bases. They’re perfect for attaining the perfect driving position, whether that’s by giving you more leg room or preventing your head from smashing into the roof every time you hit a rut.
If positioning isn’t a problem and you’re just tired of your ass going numb on long rides, look for a good UTV seat cushion. Sure, your buddies might make fun of you if they notice you sitting on a grandma pillow—but we guarantee your rear end will be so happy, you won’t care.
Of course, if you really want to make an investment in the name of comfort, you could replace your stock seats entirely. Plenty of companies specialize in suspension seats that are designed with extra padding, bolstered sides, and more comfortable material. And aftermarket UTV seats aren’t just more comfortable—they also cut back on driver fatigue. If you spend a lot of time behind the wheel, upgrading to better seats isn’t a bad idea.
We’ll also take this opportunity to call out harness upgrades. Not only can aftermarket seat belts make your ride safer, but they’re also designed with comfort in mind. When compared to stock seat belts, aftermarket harnesses usually have wider straps with padding, more adjustability, and more user-friendly latches.
Now that we have your side-by-side taken care of, let’s look at some other ways to make yourself more comfortable while trail riding.
Sure, this one’s a no-brainer. But we’ll never pass on an opportunity to remind you to wear a helmet. Brain injuries aren’t very comfortable.
The road to staying comfortable starts with the right attire. Bundling up in the winter and wearing loose, breathable clothing in the summer is the easiest way to keep your body temp at a reasonable level.
But as we all know (especially those of us living in the Midwest), the weather can be unpredictable. That’s why we recommend dressing in layers that can be removed or stashing extra clothing somewhere in your side-by-side. You never know when you’ll get too hot or need to throw another layer on.
You’ll also appreciate that dry change of clothes if you’ll be around creeks or mud. A two-hour trip home in soaking wet clothes? Not very comfortable.
A quality pair of riding gloves protects your hands, but did you know gloves can also cut back on fatigue? That’s pretty handy when you’ve been gripping the steering wheel for hours on end.
And you can’t forget about your eyes. Sunglasses can cut back on glare and squinting when the sun is in full force. On really wild rides, though, you may need more than sunglasses. If your helmet doesn’t have a flip-down visor, get some riding goggles. And if sand is a factor, make sure those goggles have closed-cell foam. It’ll keep sand and dust from getting in around the edges.
You’ll be more comfortable with your hands and eyes protected. Trust us.
Our last suggestion is more safety-focused rather than comfort-focused, but one could argue that those things go hand-in-hand.
So for starters, don’t forget the sunscreen! Nothing screams “miserable” like being covered in first-degree burns after a long weekend of riding.
We also suggest keeping a First-Aid Kit in your machine at all times. Make sure your kit is fully stocked with burn cream, aloe, and maybe even calamine lotion. Having something to apply to burns (whether from the sun or something else) or poison ivy-riddled skin will keep everyone comfortable and happy.
With all of these products on hand, we guarantee your side-by-side’s cab will be a more enjoyable place. Here are a few other tips to keep it that way.
Trying to take on rugged trails without the proper equipment (think suspension upgrades and specialized tires) isn’t always the best idea. Your ride will be excessively bumpy, which certainly isn’t comfortable. But you’re also running the risk of breaking something.
So familiarize yourself with the terrain ahead of time. If you’re riding somewhere new, do a few minutes of research (even if it’s just asking around at the ride park) and be aware of what types of obstacles you’ll encounter.
Also, be aware of your machine’s limits. If a certain trail is only recommended for UTVs with a certain level of ground clearance and you’re still running a stock suspension, consider sitting that one out. Knowing your limits keeps you safe and comfortable.
We know the weatherman isn’t always right. But checking the forecast before setting out on a ride will still give you a better idea of what to expect compared to not checking it at all.
If it looks like bad weather is on the horizon, make sure you’re prepared. Look over the trail map ahead of time and make sure there aren’t any spots that get washed out easily in the rain. And like we mentioned earlier, make sure to dress appropriately.
It doesn’t matter how nice the weather is—accidents happen. And since nobody is comfortable sitting on the ground, staring at a broken-down machine and waiting for a tow, you want to be prepared.
The first step to preparation is to have a heavy-duty winch, like Black Ops. And be sure to never ride alone! Not only is it the number-one safety rule for off-roaders, but having a good buddy by your side can make any ride more fun.
Now that you’ve got comfort on lock, you can focus on other upgrades that will make your machine more capable. Check out our list of must-have aftermarket upgrades to give your ride a boost in fun and performance.
Adventure Awaits on the TransAmerica Trail
A (Somewhat Brief) History of the UTV Industry
The GPS Rundown—All You Need to Know about Off-Road Navigation
How to Install a 6" GDP Portal Gear Lift on a Can-Am Defender
How to Install a 4" GDP Portal Gear Lift on a Polaris RZR PRO XP