Tour­ing es­sen­tials

Australian Geographic - - Travel With Us -

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.

All-ter­rain tyres:

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:

A no-brainer!

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.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions:

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.

Wa­ter:

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.

Re­cov­ery equip­ment:

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.

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