Getting your vehicle prepared for off-roading is something that every thrill-seeker should strive to do. Whether you are learning to drive or a seasoned veteran, gaining skills and techniques along the way is only the beginning. Always keep on hand a beginner’s guide to off-roading on all you need to know, which will become a staple in your driving.
As a driver gains more experience, their techniques improve in tandem. Knowing your vehicle and how it operates should be as familiar to you as to how your own body works. The more you drive on the road, the better prepared you will be to start off-roading.
Practice Makes Perfect
Driving on the road is something entirely different from off-roading. Changing gears to four-wheel drive increases horsepower, meaning you will be able to pull heavier loads and gain traction to climb and dig into and out of rugged terrain.
If your vehicle has 4x4 gear, then you might start playing around with its capabilities. It is always a sound decision to know your truck and its turn radius and clearance to size up your environment for better mobility.
Knowing Your Terrain
There are different forms of geography you might encounter while off-roading. Knowing how to navigate these landscapes might save you time and effort. Also, make sure to check into the weather before your trips so you can stay ahead of the game.
Because there is different terrain to traverse, you will also have to learn how to navigate more complex landscape than a paved road. For instance, you would not travel across mud the same way you would traverse sand. Sand requires driving on a low gear at a higher speed, while mud requires driving on a high gear with a low speed.
Playing in the Mud
For this time of adventure-seeking, you might want to bring a spare set of mud tires that are specifically designed for this kind of activity. Along with your alternate set, be sure to decrease the PSI, which is the air pressure in the tires responsible for levels of traction to help you get through the murkiest messes.
Sand and All Its Glory
For sandy spots, you will need to downshift your vehicle to crawl along the top of the space without digging. Setting the gear to 4x4 low will help you maintain your pace, but you will have to upshift to 4x4 high gear if you are stuck. This simply means putting your truck into higher traction so it can grip better and pull with greater force.
Equipment You Will Need
- A full gas tank for those long hauls.
- Fire extinguishers because fires are bound to happen.
- Bumpers and skid plates to protect your vehicle.
- A portable air compressor to keep you up and running.
- Some tow rope, so you can pull yourself out of sticky situations.
- Spare water not just for yourself, but also for your radiator.
- A first aid kit as a first responder in an emergency.
- Spare tires for those specific terrains.
- The tools necessary to maintain your machine.
- A high-lift jack as a last resort when you are stuck.
- A phone or radio as your last resort of calling for help when there is no way out.
Everyone should always practice safety in whatever they do, but they should take off-roading seriously. When planning a trip like this, make it a habit to tell at least one person about your outing before you take off. It does not matter whether it’s a friend or a family member, as long as the connection is made, and someone is informed of your whereabouts.
Knowing about your plans will help gauge the time you have been gone and the time it should take to come back. Having someone physically with you is another grounded option, as there is always a better chance of survival in numbers. While we are talking about numbers, it might also be a great idea to travel with multiple vehicles so that you do not end up stranded and completely isolated in a remote location.
Never Go Without These
A recovery kit is the quintessential lifeblood of off-roading, and it includes things like winches, shackles, and a snatch strap to keep your vehicle from ever getting too deep into the mud or water. You might also make use of an aftermarket heavy-duty truck bumper to protect your vehicle’s frame in all your rough trekking. Traction pads are also equally as crucial as anything listed to this point, as they can help you cross some crazy environments and serve to help pull you out of tight spots. Finally, tire kits are simple but effective and should not be left out.
Any time you’re planning a long trip, be proactive about where you’ll stay. Campgrounds have been the classic go-to for outdoor enthusiasts for years. If you are more of a remote camper, bring something like a portable shower bag or a portable car shower to make those long trips tolerable and enjoyable.
When you first arrive, you’ll want to make sure to clear your campsite. This simply means to check it first for debris and things that could potentially cause you harm or discomfort while you are there. Following this practice will help you transform your campsite into a comfortable temporary home.
You should also check your environment both when setting up your campsite and when you deconstruct it. The wildlife will thank you for keeping the campground up, and you can sleep in sound conscience knowing that you did not disturb nature while visiting.
When beginning to learn a skill as technical as off-roading, we must bring it back to the basics. Having a beginner’s guide to all you need to know about off-roading and how we operate behind the wheel are all testaments to the success of learning advanced off-roading skills. Knowing the rules of off-roading and understanding what skills are required is equally as crucial as having the necessary tools and safety precautions to prevent issues and promote success.