Adventures in a 4WD are great fun. The off-road capabilities, high load capacity, robust build and excellent fuel consumption (diesel models) of these vehicles make them the only choice for outback journeys and sojourns into remote country. If you are heading ‘off the beaten path’, there are a few things you need to do – and include in your prep – before taking the long road.
An all-terrain tyre of Light Truck (LT) construction is far more puncture-resistant than a standard road tyre, and offers a tread pattern designed to ensure traction over all road/track surfaces.
Two spare tyres/wheels:
It’s quite easy to cop more than one punctured tyre on bush tracks. Pack a puncture repair kit, but also take two spares; if a tyre tears along its sidewall, the puncture repair kit won’t fix it (they are a plug-style set-up, so ideal only for holes in tyres) so you’ll need to throw that extra spare wheel on.
A 4WD course:
Modern 4WDs drive just like sedans and station wagons on-road. Off-road, however, you will still need to know the basic operations of using low-range gearing, lowering tyre pressures in sandy conditions, etc., to take advantage of the capabilities of these vehicles. A 1–2-day 4WD course is great fun and great insurance.
First aid kit:
And have someone in your group who knows how to use it. Ideally, that person(s) should have completed a First Aid
Course and Remote First Aid Course.
A UHF radio is only good for shorter distances. Satellite phones offer the most reliable communications in remote areas of Australia. You don’t have to buy one – many communications companies hire them out.
Don’t skimp on water.
Use smaller containers, not one large one. If that one large container leaks/ breaks, you’re without any water; smaller water containers ensure you are never without some water, and also make for easier fitting in your vehicle’s cargo area.
Pack a basic recovery kit (snatch strap, shackles and gloves) and know how to use it with a recovery vehicle.
Travel with another:
Ideally, for more remote travel, you should be travelling with another vehicle. If there is an accident, a recovery situation, or vehicle breakdown, this guarantees assistance.
Pre-trip vehicle check:
Before heading off on that grand adventure, ensure your vehicle has been fully checked over by a mechanic and anything that looks even slightly old or worn out is replaced. The mechanic should also suggest which spare parts to take with you – and show you how to fit them (where possible).
The right attitude:
The priorities for any outback adventure should be fun and safety. If you prepare for it properly, plan your route (and leave details with family or friends), pack the right gear and allow plenty of time, it will be that trip of a lifetime you’ve always dreamt about.
Touring essentials (clockwise from top): Be sure you take an extra spare tyre/wheel as the GRR’s surface is unforgiving; a portable gas stove is easy to operate and packs down small; this 4WD is well set up for off-road travel, with the fridge, sliding cargo drawers, recovery equipment and luggage stored neatly and safely.