#1 Skills – take some tips from an expert
Plenty of people own 4WD’s, but how many do you want to gamble know little to nothing about getting the most out of their vehicles when they head off road? In our experience, there is a lot of misinformation on the internet, and even a belief that if you have a 4WD you can just drive it like normal offroad without adjusting driving style, tyre pressures, driving techniques, or even shifting your transfer case into 4WD or low range gears.
If you read the last sentence and saw the words “Transfer Case”, “Low Range” or wondered how or why you would need to “Adjust your tyre pressures” then this essential tip is for you.
Despite what vehicle manufacturers advertise on their tv ads with 4WDs racing through dirt tracks and leaving enormous dust clouds behind on construction sites, 4WDing has a lot of subtleties with technique and methodology that will not only prevent you from getting bogged, and starring in any number of “fail vids” on youtube, but will make sure you and your family get home safely.
One of the best things you can do when you own a 4WD is to take a lesson or two from an accredited driving course, this can be through a 4WD club or a driving school, but it will equip you with many of the basics to get your 4WD further offroad. There are many free video’s online which will slowly describe some of the intricate methods to drive your 4WD with more potency offroad so start learning and get some experience to make your offroad experience more fun.
#2 Prepare – Pack your 4WD Ready for escaping
Your head probably instantly turned to making sure you and your mates have enough beer to last the weekend, whilst this is important, being prepared runs a lot deeper and involves ensuring that no matter what happens offroad you can get yourself out.
Packing your 4WD with the appropriate recovery gear for your setup is probably one of the most critical things when you head off the blacktop. When leaving the pavement many things can go wrong with regards to getting bogged, and without a reliable recovery kit getting your 4WD out of trouble will be a struggle. Bringing a fully stocked recovery kit like the Hercules Complete Recovery Kit, a complete kit like this includes everything you need to perform winch recoveries, as well as snatch strap recoveries, meaning with the right plan you can get out of trouble.
Another trick is to bring along essential spare parts, this includes; fan belts, hose clamps, fencing wire, cable ties and even a tool kit like the Adventure Kings Bush Mechanic Tool Kit which gives you a range of essential spanners, sockets, files, pliers and even a hammer and hacksaw!
#3 Plan – Plan your route!
Planning your path, seems obvious, but it definitely takes a back seat to the excitement of an idealic destination, but you need to seriously consider planning a route to camp, then also come up with a backup plan. You may use google maps to find the quickest direction, however weather events can result in impassable roads, this could require a rerouting of your path and if you are off the grid your google maps app may not be able to update a new path to your chosen campsite, this is why it is important to bring a purpose made GPS navigator like the VMS Touring 700HDX this device can operate with turn by turn directions to your destination and will easily adjust for blockages in the path to get you safely to camp and home without any sweat!
#4 Inform – Watch for weather, and let someone know where you are going!
When you are exploring the great blue yonder, you certainly face many challenges, and if you watch the outdoor Facebook pages, over the last 12 months there have been reports from local and independent news sources of people getting lost, stranded or isolated in remote areas. In one notable situation a couple were stuck in a remote area crossing a creek on a less travelled beach where their 4WD got stuck.
Without being in range of other 4WDers UHF radios or within phone reception, the alarm was raised because the couple had told their family the details of the area that they were travelling through and a rough timeline for their return, this meant that their family alerted authorities when the coupler were late arriving home and the search parties had an excellent idea of where the couple were, combined with the clever thinking of placing sticks and rocks on the beach saying S.O.S. a good trick taught to cub scouts, they were found quickly and safe and well close to their vehicle.
This kind of preparation can be life-saving, and if you happen to get seriously stuck and are unable to get yourself free, having these things pre-planned make a massive difference to making it home!
#5 Stay on track – Don’t bush bash!
Bush bashing destroys the bush for everyone else it may seem like the shortest route to where you want to go but by cutting a path directly through the bush. We’ve seen it many times before, where a chicken track is already there, but some genius decides that they will create their own track. there are some serious issues to doing this, firstly driving straight through the bush you not only destroy animals habitats, but you also risk things like puncturing your tyres on sticks and sharp rocks, you also risk getting dry leaf litter and other flammable objects near your exhaust pipe, this has potential for fires and other issues.
The tracks are there for a reason, by heading off track you open yourself up to not only encountering mechanical failures, but for getting the tracks shut down.
Don’t be that guy or girl, stay on the well-cut path!
#6 Challenge yourself – Find a track that will let you progress and learn more skills!
4WDing is an excellent pastime and is becoming exceptionally popular with Aussies all over the country, by taking some precautions and placing a little bit of preparation and clever packing can make a simple trip into one that will stick with you for a lifetime.
On top of your preparation you will find that setting yourself challenges, will be one of the most rewarding experiences you may have inside your vehicle, and the feeling of pride when you overcome a difficult obstacle is unparalleled!
To find out more about how you can improve your experience, you can visit one of our 4WD camping stores, visit us online at www.4WDSupacentre.com.au or even call us up on 1800 88 39 64 to get the best possible advice on getting your 4WD further offroad!