Taking your vehicle off-road is a thrill that’s hard to explain. Full of mud, crazy slopes and unusual obstacles, off-roading can be a blast — but it can also turn badly really quickly. So if you’re thinking about gettin’ out and learning how to wheel, here’re some tips from the Saskatchewan Off-road Vehicle Association to make sure you maximize the fun and minimize the hassle.

Never leave home without your recovery gear.

You’re probably going to get stuck somewhere, so make sure to pack all sorts of recovery gear. Winches, shovels and kinetic straps are just a few of your options. As grandpa always says, it’s better to be prepared than sorry.

While you’re at it, plan for the worst case scenario. Bring blankets and extra food in case you have to spend a longer time out there than planned.

Never wheel alone.

Always go with someone else in a second vehicle.

Let’s say it again: Always go with someone else in a second vehicle.

This way, if you get really stuck, you can still get out of the bush to get extra help or get to safety.

Different kinds of trails require different levels of skill.

If this is your first time out, don’t be a show-off. Sand dunes are going to be harder than mud and gravel trails. It’s best to get used to wheeling before you push your boundaries.

Don’t off-road on private land. Just don’t.

Wheeling on private land can cause costly damage to someone’s property, and can ruin the fun for other people later on.

Saskatchewan crown land near Gronlid or at Diefenbaker Park near Elbow offer great trails, and they’re legal to use. You may also want to consider joining a club or association — often memberships come with perks, such as access to more private trails, and they’ll help you find the best legal trails to go to based on your skill level.

Respect the world around you

Sometimes you may come across ATVers, hikers or cyclists — give them the space and time to get by. You’ll be in a muddy monster compared to them, so share the space respectfully. While you at it, don’t go off off-road. Stay on the trails to limit the amount of environmental damage you’re doing to the area.