Off-roading is nothing like Jeep commercials make them out to be! You can’t just jump in your rig and head off on the spur of the moment. What if you end up on a fire trail road? One that follows along a cliff?
Staying safe should always be your No. 1 priority.
Don’t Ever Go On Trails Alone
If something should happen to you when you’re on the trail, do you have a backup plan to get back home safely? Going it alone is a dumb idea. Try for, at minimum, two rigs being together at any given point.
Plan Your Route in Advance
Whether you are planning a day trip or intend to spend a week or more out, always plan your route. It’s not uncommon these days for drivers to use off-road GPS apps that have been specifically programmed to make the most of unpaved roads.
For Apple iPad users, the Gaia GPS is a great idea because it integrates the best navigation tools, planning features, and topography maps. But it doesn’t have a built-in GPS beacon, so you’ll need to add one.
Bad Elf is a possibility. This affordable GPS receiver combined with the Gaia application will let you thoroughly plan out your adventure and then share your route with friends and family via Keyhole Markup Language. This is an XML notation that allows you to express geographic annotation inside 2D maps and 3D Earth browsers.
That’s right! Not only can you use the internet to enjoy social networking with your fellow off-roaders and wiling away some quiet time browsing NRL Premiership odds, but you can use it safeguard your off-road trip, too.
It’s also a good idea to have a paper copy of your trip. Find one that’s specific to your geographical needs and familiarise yourself with a compass in case you need to use it.
Always communicate and share the details of where you are going and when you plan to return with your friends and family.
Properly Airing Up and Down
Airing down your rig’s tires before you get on a trail allows for greater traction and a smoother ride. An air pressure psi of 12 is a good option, but yours could be different since it depends on the weight of your vehicle, the type of rim you’ve got, what kind of tires you have, and how exactly you plan to ride.
There’s a point of diminishing return if your psi is too low in terms of increasing traction and the tires’ propensity to slip off the rim. Using an ARB Tire Deflator is a good idea, since this will pull the stem from the tire, allowing for a quicker deflate time.
After you finish the trail and the time comes to get back to civilisation, you will need to air your tires back up. If you can’t get to a gas station near enough to the trail’s end, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got an air compressor on you.