As dogs age, it’s not uncommon for them to develop hip or leg issues that make getting in and out of a vehicle difficult and painful. It’s easy to continue to view your companion as he always was, young and energetic, forgetting that physical capabilities decline for our canine friends, just as they do for us. We don’t expect an older parent or friend to get in and out of a car without some assistance; why would we expect an aging pet to do it?
Certain breeds – often the larger ones – tend to be more susceptible to conditions like hip dysplasia, and those problems are intensified in pets that are inactive and overweight. A portable dog ramp is a useful and affordable solution, particularly if you have trouble lifting the dog in and out of the vehicle yourself.
But how do you know if your dog will even use a pet ramp? While it’s hard to predict with 100% certainty, here are a few considerations.
We don’t expect an older parent or friend to get in and out of a car without some assistance; why would we expect an aging pet to do it?
If your dog goes up steps without hesitation, it may be a good indicator but not definitive proof for success with a dog ramp. Observe how your pet behaves on staircases that are more open and not completely enclosed to try to replicate conditions similar to what your dog would experience while using a dog ramp for an SUV, car or pickup truck.
You may also want to create a small “test” ramp at an angle similar to the pet ramp of your choice to assess whether your dog will climb the ramp voluntarily. This initial “test” ramp should be short and stable, and a little extra encouragement may be necessary. Start with the ramp in a flat position before moving on to a slight incline. Offering your dog a treat or food works well, holding it in front of the dog’s nose as you lead him slowly up the ramp. Hopefully, the desire for the treat exceeds his fear of the ramp and eventually, it may be equated as a game or a positive event.
The ideal scenario is to teach your canine to use a ramp while still a puppy, before it even becomes a physical necessity. Young or old, once you start picking your dog up to load and unload, his expectation may well be that you will continue to do so. Start slowly, gradually increasing the length and use of the dog ramp so the behavior becomes an everyday routine and second nature for you both. Not only will this save your own back from having to lift your pet in and out of the car, it may also prevent or lessen the development of long-term hip or leg injuries that can result from years of a repeated jumping motion and landing on a hard, jarring surface.
When selecting ramps for dogs, remember that a longer ramp has a lower degree of incline. This may prove easier for your pet to climb, especially if it is a new skill for him, and improve the likelihood of your animal’s success at using it. Since many dog ramps are available that either fold in half or telescope to reduce the storage length required, you want to purchase the longest ramp possible that will store easily in your vehicle.
Ramps also come in varying widths. The general rule of thumb is the larger your dog, the wider the ramp you need. The wider ramp provides additional room for the dog if he becomes distracted and gets “off track” while loading or unloading.
Construction of pet ramps is either aluminum or composite materials. Aluminum ramps require minimal care and won’t rust or break down if exposed to UV rays. Composite ramps are lighter and less likely to scratch the paint on your van or SUV. Also, composite ramps may crack if handled improperly whereas aluminum bends.
A final consideration is the ramp surface, which includes a grit surface, rubber or carpet. Grit surfaces provide superior traction, followed by rubber and carpet. Both grit and rubber surfaces require minimal cleaning, while carpeted surfaces tend to require more attention and may retain moisture, so select the style most suited to the activities of you and your pet.
As with learning any new behavior, patience and perseverance will pay off. In the long run, your dog and your back will both appreciate it!
Deer hunting has already started in many parts of the country or is about to kick off everywhere else, and an ATV can be a useful tool to help make it a successful season. While there are lots of reasons to use an ATV in your hunt, there appear to be just as many arguments against it. Most people with an opinion on the matter fall decisively into one camp or the other.
An ATV gives you access to remote or impassable areas that are not reachable by truck or too far on foot. If you set up miles away from home base or your pickup truck, as opposed to yards, you want to have a quicker means of getting there than on foot.
Using an all-terrain vehicle allows you to haul equipment and supplies to isolated areas with lots of storage space. ATV accessories like an ATV cargo box or specialized carrier like a gun rack work great for keeping your gear clean, dry, secure and organized and are especially nice for transporting heavy or cumbersome items like tree stands.
Four wheelers are invaluable for carrying your deer back to your vehicle or cabin and a much better option than dragging a buck or doe by hand over muddy, rough or steep terrain, or across streams or creeks. However, there are also non-motorized options for this, such as a pull-behind hand cart designed specifically to traverse wooded and grassy areas.
Hunters with disabilities often benefit greatly from the use of an ATV or quad during hunting season. For some, the use of one is the difference between being able to participate in the hunt or not at all and is the only means of getting to their stand.
Most hunters using ATVs make it a point to leave some distance between their ATV and their stand, but others report taking quite the opposite approach. Some sportsmen actually park their ATV in tall grass, top the machine with a camouflage cover and sit behind It like a blind. In some areas, deer populations are already used to the sounds and smells of the local farmers’ machinery, or hunters take the time to make regular, frequent trips with their ATV to their hunting stands in order to get the deer acclimatized to its sound and smell. However, the temperament and tolerance of the herd you are hunting will dictate whether this could be a successful strategy for your area.
First and foremost, you should know the local regulations regarding ATV use or the preference of the landowner where you hunt, since many public lands prohibit the use of ATVs. It would also be a smart strategy to find out your neighbor’s viewpoint on the matter, too, to keep the peace when tensions may run high.
The obvious objections to four-wheelers in the woods during hunting season are the noise, smell and footprint left behind by an ATV when a trail is disrupted or torn up. Fumes from an ATV may carry not just in the area surrounding the machine but also on your clothes, though walking into the woods may help minimize the scent. The noise issue may be improved with an add-on, secondary muffler, which can quiet ATV exhaust noise by up to 50% and without any sacrifice in performance.
Some hunters claim that the use of ATVs in hunting areas (even out of season) keep deer away, spook them or diminish the numbers of mature deer who will occupy your territory. Others, however, have had the opposite experience, and have downed a mature buck within 100 yards of a parked ATV.
For the purists, part of the hunting experience is to get as close to nature as possible; that includes using your legs and all your senses to their fullest to take in every detail possible. Driving past nature doesn’t allow the same experience, and you may miss a lot! Sometimes, the sound of total silence can be the payoff, whether you fill your tag or not.
Reminders for Hunting with Four Wheelers
Should you decide that you want to use an all-terrain vehicle for your hunting endeavors, here a few things to keep in mind:
Learn the local laws in your hunting area regarding the use of ATVs on public land. On private land, find out the landowner’s decree for riding four-wheelers in his kingdom, as well as having at least an awareness of the neighbors’ positions on the matter.
Stay on established trails and roads, and avoid widening that trail by unnecessarily driving around obstacles that can be crossed over.
Steer clear of stands as much as possible, preferably, driving part of the distance, then walking in the last leg on foot.
Limit your ATV driving time to coincide with off-peak activity hours of the deer. Plan ahead to drive in well before sunrise, and wait until after dark to return. The less disruption, the better.
Be safe! This includes driving with unloaded, secured weapons, riding slowly while keeping an eye out for other hunters on foot and wearing the necessary protective gear. Make sure your rig is outfitted properly with tools in the event of a breakdown and a GPS if you are covering unfamiliar territory.
Be aware of how additional weight on your ATV racks or cargo boxes affects the machine’s handling and responsiveness. An overloaded ATV, combined with steep hills, can make a vehicle tippy.
A Happy Medium?
A modified approach seems to work for many. For example, consider using an ATV to retrieve downed game at the hunt’s conclusion or just off-season for utility, recreation and hunting preparations like hanging stands, raking trails or preparing food plots; hoofing it for the initial trek out to your stand creates the least amount of disturbance.
An electric golf cart could also be a possible alternative. While a golf cart won’t have the power or traction of an ATV on certain terrain or in wet or snowy conditions, it doesn’t have the noise or odor, either. Golf cart accessories for the outdoorsman, such as gun carriers or bow holders, also help to make this a more appealing option.
Sometimes getting your ATV to your destination can be half the battle, and the hunting hasn’t even started! Use the right equipment to haul your four-wheeler for a hassle-free and enjoyable outdoor adventure.
If a pickup truck is your mode of transportation, a good set of ATV loading ramps (and not some spindly 2 x 4’s) can’t be beat. Don’t just “make-do” with scraps you have on hand, and take care of your equipment. Otherwise, a hitch-mounted ATV carrier is another option, so that the bed of the truck remains available for all the other gear and equipment you need to take along on your hunt.
For the larger-scale expedition that requires the use of a trailer, trailer ATV ramps let you load your four-wheeler quickly and without blowing out your back. Save the work for climbing into your tree stand.
Have a safe and productive hunt!
Here is an item added to Discount Ramps.com
The Black Ice Extreme Protection Snowmobile Cover is designed for use in a variety of weather extremes. Made of 300 denier polyester with a 600 denier polyester center strip and polyurethane lining resists abrasion. Protects against damaging UV rays. Soft inner lining protects snowmobile’s surface. Features tie down D rings and zipper to allow access to fuel tank. One year manufacturer’s warranty.
Thanks for reading Jay Tamez – Discount Ramps LLC
Hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year or in charge of Christmas brunch?
Do you have a parent who uses a wheelchair, or a cousin with a disability that limits their mobility, who will be visiting you during the holidays?
Since most homes are not built to accommodate people with disabilities, you may want to consider some additional preparations beyond the menu planning. A few thoughtful steps on your part will make the day, weekend, or extended stay of your guest more comfortable and have them feeling welcomed with open arms.
A cargo bag is one of the most convenient and affordable ways to carry extra items that just won't fit into the trunk or cargo space of your car or SUV. Here's a video that shows how easy a roof bag is to install and pack.
When you’re headed out of town on a road trip, room for your luggage and gear can be at a premium. Cargo roof bags are a great way to gain additional space so that all of your passengers will be comfortable for the trip ahead.
Cargo bags are soft, zippered carriers that fasten to the roof of your car, SUV or van with built-in straps to hold them in place on your vehicle’s roof rack. They come in many different sizes, and most are made of PVC coated nylon to keep their contents dry and protected from rain, snow and dust.
Hard car top carriers are another option but tend to be more expensive, heavier to install and bulky to store.
The amount of gear your roof bag can hold will be determined by your vehicle’s rooftop load limit. While most vehicles can safely carry 100 lbs, we recommend consulting your owner’s manual for verification. Remember to include the weight of any cargo bars or baskets you have added when calculating your weight requirements.
In preparation for installing your roof bag, wash the roof of your vehicle to remove any dust or dirt particles. This minimizes the potential for scratches or other damage that could result from the filled carrier shifting.
In addition, you may want to consider using a non-skid pad or mat between the rooftop and the cargo bag; this also minimizes scratches in addition to helping hold the filled carrier from sliding forward or backward on the rooftop. You should never use a blanket or towel for this.
Installing the roof bag onto your vehicle can usually be handled by one person, but the job will be easier if you enlist some help.
If the cargo rails or bars are adjustable, start by opening them as wide or as long as possible. Place the bag onto the roof of the vehicle with the closed-zipper end toward the rear of the vehicle. Even though most bags are rated water-resistant, having the opening to the back reduces the chance of rain getting in.
Position the bag to fit between the rails for the best aerodynamics and to prevent the bag from flapping once you are in motion.
The same goes for the roof bars. If the bag is longer than the car rack, place the bag directly behind the front bar, and let the excess overlap on the back bar, not on the front.
When loading your items into the roof bag, start with the largest or heaviest items first, placing them in the middle. Continue to work out from there, trying to keep the cargo relatively balanced.
Finish the loading process by zipping the roof bag closed, making sure the zipper flap is completely flat against the zipper.
It is best to fill the roof bag as completely as possible in order to keep the flapping and noise to a minimum. Built-in cinch straps help secure any loose fabric, and (it) also helps to tuck in any loose strap ends.
With all your gear and equipment loaded, tighten up all the slack in each tie down strap.
When adding a substantial amount of weight to your vehicle, both inside as well as the contents of your roof bag, you may notice a difference in your car’s handling and responsiveness. Check your owner’s manual for information on the vehicle’s gross weight rating to make sure you are not overloaded, and adjust the tire pressure as necessary.
On the Road
Once you are on the road, it is important to check your tie down straps periodically. Stopping after your first 30 miles to make sure everything is still secure is a good idea, then every 100 miles after that.
When you’ve arrived at your destination, have someone help remove the roof bag for easy unpacking.
After returning from your road trip, you’ll notice a lot of bugs and dirt that have collected. Take the time now to wash and thoroughly dry the roof bag. Store the roof bag where it will remain dry and out of direct sun.
This will further the longevity of your roof bag, and it will be ready to go for your next adventure. Have a safe trip!
How much does a cargo carrier bag really hold? A 10 cu. ft. rooftop cargo bag will fit two or three average-sized suitcases; a larger roof bag of 15 or more cu. ft. will hold at least four suitcases. Can I use a rooftop cargo bag on a vehicle with a sunroof? Or on a convertible? Most sunroofs will support a roof bag if the cargo is evenly distributed and you use good judgment. If you have any doubt, we also suggest checking the manufacturer's recommendations for a sunroof's weight capacity. However, convertible car tops will NOT support a rooftop cargo bag. What if I can't reach far enough across the rooftop to get it installed or packed? A portable wheel step makes installing and packing cargo bags much easier. Simply position the wheel step over the top of one of the vehicle's rear wheels, and you've got a sturdy, slip-free surface on which to stand and reach forward, unlike perching in the frame of the door.
Several online discussion forums recently popped up in our searches that asked whether it is necessary to use a wheel chock when transporting a motorcycle. The correct answer is (of course) a resounding, Yes!
The question came across each forum remarkably similar. In each instance, some guy was moving out-of-state and had never trailered his motorcycle for any distance. Where should he start? A gamut of experts chimed in from a very supportive, well-meaning community of fellow riders, and the range of responses was wide and varied.
First were the cowboys in the group, who basically told the inquirer to get himself a few tie down straps, push the bike’s front tire up against the front of the motorcycle trailer or pickup bed, buckle the thing in, and go for it. They’d moved lots of motorcycles that way plenty of times and never had a problem, they said.
The second group was comprised of industrious and handy do-it-yourselfers who fashioned their own wheel chocks from 2x4s. They presented their plans and measurements, cost of materials, time for labor and related the ease of their journey.
Motorcycle wheel chocks are very affordable, and there really is no substitute for a quality, commercially manufactured piece of equipment
The reality is that most people: A) Don’t want to risk damaging their motorcycle, which is why they asked the question in the first place and B) Simply don’t have the patience, time or interest in building their own motorcycle chock. The final part of that equation is that C) Motorcycle wheel chocks are very affordable, and there really is no substitute for a quality, commercially manufactured piece of equipment.
A motorcycle wheel chock is designed specifically to keep the front wheel aligned and straight to prevent it from turning, the result of which could be the motorcycle becoming wobbly and tipping over. A wheel chock is the best security against that happening. They are also used on trailers that have no front rail, to stop the bike from rolling forward.
When selecting the style of motorcycle wheel chock, there are different options to consider, depending on your needs and budget. Some are basic and straightforward, a simple curved bracket that hugs the front tire and is mounted directly to the trailer or truck bed. These do the job nicely, but the key is to make sure you get the right size for your tire, ensuring that it is a snug fit.
Beyond that, chocks come with base plates, a pivoting cradle that “locks” the wheel in place, adjustments to accommodate various sizes of tire diameters or widths, or even built-in tie down loops. Some wheel chocks perform double-duty, coming in handy when doing maintenance on your bike as well.
Whatever the style, the wheel chock needs to be mounted to the deck of the pickup truck bed or trailer. You may want to consider using quick nuts for this step if you tend to move a lot of equipment (motorcycles or otherwise), since these create a permanent threaded hole you can reuse with each trip.
Finally, you’ll need four good tie down straps to secure the motorcycle to the trailer, two for the front end and two for the back; ratchet tie down straps or cam buckles are both a good bet. Some people like to use handle bar tie down clamps or soft loops to avoid any possible damage to the bodywork.
Tighten these straps bit by bit, moving from one side of the motorcycle to other, to create as much balance in the tension as possible. Pushing down slightly on the handle bars to compress the front forks as you tighten the straps helps reduce any additional bouncing, should you hit some bumpy roads, and prevents the tie downs from becoming unhooked. The second set of straps is for the rear of the motorcycle, this time, pushing down on the seat as the straps are tightened.
A final precaution is to put your motorcycle into gear once you have it tied down and secure. This extra step keeps the bike from possibly rolling backward and also takes some strain off the various tie down points.
A high quality motorcycle wheel chock is affordable, accessible, and available with lots of convenient options. It’s always a good idea, and there’s really no reason to skip it. After all, have you ever seen a more appalling sight than a motorcycle – your motorcycle, no less – tipped on its side? Do yourself this little favor and invest in a wheel chock.
Here is an item added to Discount Ramps.com
The Freshpark Half Pipe is a portable, expandable and linkable skateboard ramp. The frame is heavy duty steel that supports 2500 lbs. The ABS/Urethane surface is safer than wood, concrete and steel.
Thanks for reading! Jay Tamez – Discount Ramps LLC