Desert SunThe ol’ mercury registered 96 degrees here in Central California last week and I thought I was going to fry. After a winter of cooler weather and rainy days, 96 degrees may as well have been the interior of an oven. It was hot. And unfortunately for me, the whiner who complains about anything over 80, the majority of my outdoor recreation takes place in the summer. I should really get back into skiing…

Until then, however, I find myself constantly looking for ways to keep cool while I’m out having fun.

Breathable gear makes all the difference in the world when you’re trying to keep cool. Although long sleeves are a bonus for safety while out on a quad, their effect gets canceled out if you end up with heat stroke. Shirts and pants made from breathable materials, like GoreTex, or with mesh inserts, will help keep air flowing and reduce that nasty, sticky, sweaty feeling.

Plenty of accessories companies make seat heaters for your quad. But does nobody care about how uncomfortable it is to park your rear on a seat that’s been baking in the sun for an hour or so? It’s hot. Plain hot. Especially if you happen to have a black seat. That said, throwing a light colored towel over your seat when you’ve parked in the sun will help keep your riding perch from becoming the exact same temperature as the face of the sun.

To keep my body heat in check, a few years back my mom bought me one of those neck wraps that you dip in water before tying it around your neck. I thought it was ridiculous and only people who regularly sported fanny packs would wear such a thing. Come to find out, the concept of having something around your neck that retains cool water is actually incredibly helpful in regulating body temperature. And you kind of look like Indiana Jones while you wear it, which is a total bonus.

Aside from keeping yourself cool, it’s also important to pay attention to your machine while operating in extreme heat. I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but over here it can reach into the 100’s for multiple days during the summer, and such extreme temperatures can take a toll on poorly maintained ATV’s. To avoid havoc on the trail, check your ride’s oil before hitting the trail, keep tires properly inflated and give your trusty steed breaks to cool down throughout the day.

And after each long, hot day when you return home sunburned, with dust so far up your nose that it won’t clear out until Christmas…Be thankful that at least it ain’t rainin’.

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