When we decided to dedicate this issue of ATV Rider to the adventure crowd, I couldn’t resist a full-on ear-to-ear, tooth-sparkling smile. Not only were we to combine ATVing with my other favorite things in life—camping, hunting and fishing—but I was also called upon to build the perfect adventure machine to do them. Starting with Yamaha’s Grizzly 700 Limited Edition EPS-equipped 4x4, I ordered up and installed the bare and not-so-bare essentials to take on the ultimate adventure. This do-it-all ATV and I were then loaded up and dropped off at the lower Big Pine, California, trailhead at the Sierra Nevada mountain range. With the Sierra’s most spectacular backdrops—the peaks of Muir Crest, which culminate at 14,495-foot Mount Whitney off in the distance—I fired up the Griz and used the Garmin Montana 650t GPS as a guide from 3,000 feet in the desert to well above 12,000 feet in the mountains; this is where the adventure began. Here’s what I used, how it was installed it and how it performed along the way.
The main goal was to increase the Grizzly 700’s storage capabilities to carry camping supplies, fishing gear, a gun for fun and protection, as well as food and water. Up front, we installed a cargo box from Yamaha ($199.95). The box replaces the front rack, has a dust- and water-resistant rubber gasket seal and was big enough (37 inches long by 16 inches wide by 11 inches tall) to hold our Coleman tent, air mattress and small lantern.
For storage out back, we started with Yamaha’s rear rack extension ($149.95), which added 6 inches of vertical extension to the back and sides of the Grizzly’s rear rack. We then installed a Coleman Pro Series oversized deluxe cargo bag ($69.99) and fender bag ($19.99) to the rear rack and extension. Coleman is new to the ATV luggage game, but for 70 bucks, the deluxe bag has a massive amount of storage space and a good working buckle strap system. We fit a stove, collapsible table and a change of clothes yet still had space for a couple of flashlights and bug spray in the main compartment. Another medium-sized, middle pocket was large enough for a cute little fanny pack (wouldn’t be caught dead wearing it…), small tackle box and a utility tool. The small fender bag straps from the rack to the floorboard, and is the perfect size for a tire repair kit, couple of granola bars and some ammo for the gun.
That gun is a Remington 870 12 gauge, and it’s mounted using Kolpin’s Gun Boot IV Loop Bracket ($57.49) and Gun Boot 6.0 Transport Case ($104). The bracket is universal, and secured to the rear rack using U-bolts. Kolpin supplies soft rubber tops for the bolts, which kept the Coleman bag from getting cut up. The 6.0 Transport easily fits firearms up to 51 inches long in its soft interior case. The case has full zipper access, and we even use it to store the gun at home in the safe. The soft case slides right into the hard plastic shell that is lined with two layers of dense foam.
Kolpin also makes quicker-access gun mounts that run for less than half the price of its gun boots. We used its Ratcheting Rhino Grips ($57.49) to hold our fishing pole case. This grip is solid, and we never worried about losing our high-dollar fishing poles even at freeway speeds over 80 mph.
Our last Kolpin rack attachment comes in the form of fuel. For $51.99, the Fuel Pack Jr. with Pack Mount allowed us to bolt on an extra gallon and a half of fuel. The Grizzly gets over 60 mpg, but when you’re heading into the wilderness, reserve fuel should always be on board. We also used the Fuel Pack Jr. to run our gas stove and lantern. For longer trips, Kolpin makes a 4.5-gallon Fuel Pack and mounting accessories.
Important Adventure Tools
A winch is just as important as reserve fuel on long-distance rides, and although it may never be used, you’ll only need it when you don’t have it. Yamaha offers a 2,500-pound Warn winch kit for $423 for the complete kit. You can have the dealer install it, or do it yourself in just over an hour. This winch has a completely sealed motor and rubber-wrapped cables, so even if submerged in mud, it will work great every time. Warn’s winch mounted directly in front of the front differential using a supplied mount. We also placed the thumb-operated rocker switch onto the left brake lever using a supplied bracket.
Garmin’s latest Montana 650t GPS ($580) is a blessing on the trail! Attaching the unit to our Grizzly 700 required the use of a handlebar mount. But instead of mounting the Montana 650t to the bar, we secured the bar mount to the plastic centerpiece, which sits just below the Grizzly’s digital gauge. This way we could easily look at both the gauge and GPS at the same time. The Montana 650t features a 4-inch color touchscreen, which was easy to read even covered in dust! It has a dual-orientation display, which allows you to mount the GPS vertically or horizontally. It uses topo U.S. 100K maps, supports multiple mapping options such as BirdsEye Satellite Imagery, and it has a five-megapixel camera to boot. Other cool features include a three-axis tilt-compensated compass, a barometric altimeter, plus you can use it in your truck or on the quad with turn-by-turn navigation. You can set waypoints throughout the trail ride and never get lost again! You can lock the GPS to the handlebar mount, or remove it and use it as a handheld when you wander from your ride.
A Bit More Power
The addition of the Warn winch, luggage bags and camping, fishing and hunting accessories allowed our Grizzly 700 to tackle any adventure. However, the extra few hundred pounds of cargo required a bit more power from the stock 686cc, SOHC powerplant. HMF makes both a Swamp Series slip-on exhaust ($399.95) and required EFI Optimizer ($249.95), which we matched with a K&N air filter ($69.95). Together they boosted the horsepower 8 percent over stock and only raised the sound level 2 decibels. The stainless steel Swamp Series slip-on comes with a USFS-approved spark arrester, which is required in areas such as the Sierras and includes a two-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
Knowing we’d be navigating our Grizzly 700 to altitudes well above 10,000 feet, we called upon Yamaha’s accessory department for another key addition. Yamaha’s high-elevation clutch kit is the best $100 you can spend if you plan on a lot of high-attitude riding. The kit includes a new clutch spring and weights, and doesn’t affect the stock clutch engagement rpm. This means the clutch will feel the same below 5,000 feet, but improves acceleration and pulling power above 5,000 feet. When we switched out the clutch components, we also changed the oil and replaced the stock oil filter with K&N’s reusable unit ($13.99).