Off the Track – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Off-roading
If you’re a fellow adrenaline junkie, then perhaps you’ve been dreaming of the ultimate freedom that comes from pitting man and machine against mother nature. Off-roading allows us to indulge our passion for machinery with a love of the outdoors. Combine the experience with camping, fishing or hunting, and you’ve got yourself an unforgettable boys’ weekend away or father-son bonding experience.
For those new to this world, here are a few tips to get you on the road to off the road:
This might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s critical to ensure that your vehicle can wear the punishment that you’ll be dishing out. 4×4 vehicles come in all shapes and sizes, and not all are built for the harshest treatment. Taking your family SUV or wagon into the extreme wild is asking for trouble, so ensure you match your destination to your vehicle.
See the Light
Those used to urban living are rarely prepared for how absolutely pitch black it gets out in the wild without the glow of city lights. Aftermarket lights are a must when you’re heading into the unknown. Good quality LED driving lights are probably your best bet in this department. LEDs have the best balance of performance, durability, and price compared to halogens or HIDs. Make sure you avoid cheap knock-offs as these can leave you stranded in the darkness.
Safety on the trail is no joke. There are any number of things that can and will go wrong, so failure to prepare adequately can leave you in a potentially dangerous position. You’ll need to ensure that you have all the necessary safety equipment for yourself and your vehicle. A jerrycan with spare fuel, a winch to pull you out of trouble, spare tires and other items are a must. For you, make sure you have a well-supplied first aid kit, spare food and water and everything else you need to stay safe on the trail. Ensure you familiarize yourself with all the rules and tips for safe off-roading before you set out.
We are incredibly blessed in this magnificent country to have such an array of breathtaking sights and landscapes. Off-roading will allow you to experience these up close and personal in a way that you never dreamed possible. From the frozen tundra of Alaska to the awe-inspiring deserts of the South West, the majestic Rockies, the Dakota Badlands and lava flats of Hawai’i, you’ll never run out of stunning backdrops for your adventures. Do your research on the best off-road trails in America and fulfill those dreams.
Pimp Your Ride
If you’re serious about adopting the 4X4 lifestyle, you’ll soon realize that your factory standard automotive equipment is not going to cut it when the going gets tough. For safety, the longevity of your vehicle and maximizing the enjoyment of the experience, you will need to invest in aftermarket equipment such as suspension, tires, bull bars, communications equipment and a host of other items. Make no mistake, these are going to set you back considerably, and few of us will be able to afford everything in one hit. However, fitting out your rig is a long-term project that can give you years of satisfaction on its own.
At Your Service
Another one that shouldn’t be necessary to state, but is too often forgotten. If your vehicle’s service record is not up to date, you’re running the risk of breaking down in the middle of nowhere. Make no mistake, nature can be an unforgiving opponent, so keeping up with your maintenance is an indispensable part of staying safe and having a great time.
Now that you’re armed with all the necessary info get out there and have a blast!