We’ve all been caught unprepared on our off-road trips: sometimes the problem is nothing a shovel or a winch can’t fix, but sometimes situations turn into brown-pants moments. Here’s a few tricks and tips we’ve picked up over the years:
Always go with a mate
This is probably the most basic and essential rule of going off-road. Not only is 4WDing more fun when you’re with your mates, there’s so many reasons to bring a friend: access to cool tools that you may not have packed; extra vehicle to go home in if yours gets decommissioned; help with spotting or recoveries; someone to take photos of you if you’re terrible at taking selfies.
You may not be a boy scout, but the great Aussie outback isn’t the best place to find out if you can be the next Bear Grylls or MacGyver. There are oodles of must-bring lists out there, but the most commonly-mentioned items are food, water, full tank of gas, first aid kit, toilet paper, fire extinguisher, spare tyre and recovery gear e.g. winch, shovel, jack.
Do your homework
Check the weather and read up on the area and its tracks; nothing like being caught off guard by a biblical thunderstorm which turns your easy creek crossing into an impassable rushing river.
Take a trash bag
Tread lightly when you go off the beaten path and help keep our big backyard clean. Not only is this considerate to other users of the area, it’s also your responsibility as part of the 4WDing community to avoid giving landowners and National Parks reason to lock up the gates.
Pack some gloves
Stash a pair of work gloves in your 4WD – not only are they essential if you need to look at something under the hood while your car is still hot, you can also use them to keep your hands warm in winter if you forget your regular pair.
Air up and down
We talk about tyre pressures a lot, and that’s because it makes a huge difference in the handling and comfort of your ride! Air down when you go off-road and reinflate when you go back onto the bitumen; to do this, you’ll need an air compressor and a pressure gauge or deflator.
Strap and stow
The very phrase ‘off-road’ makes it’s obvious that you shouldn’t be expecting a smooth ride – make sure all your stuff is safely strapped or stowed away to avoid turning loose items into mini missiles when the going gets rough.
Bring a spare key
The outdoors is a big place. Bring your vehicle’s spare keys and avoid the embarrassment of having to be towed because you dropped them in the mud/river/sand and can’t find them!
Pick the right tyres for the job
Believe us when we say we’re not just listing this because we work at Mickey Thompson Tires! Just like you wouldn’t use a screwdriver to dig yourself out of a hole, you need tyres suited to the terrain that you’re travelling. Get a mud tyre if you’re going to do serious off-roading in the sticky places of the world, take an all-terrain if you’re more of a weekend warrior that still needs on-road benefits. Taking a passenger construction highway tyre onto the Canning Stock Route is only a good idea if you love changing tyres.
If you are new to off-roading and need some help choosing your tyres, call us on 1300 MICKEY or drop us a note. If you have a great tip that we haven’t included, leave a comment so other 4WDers can read about it!