While going off-road is exhilarating, excitement can quickly turn to fear when something goes wrong. Whether it’s the weather, the vehicle, or an unexpected health emergency, being stuck alone in the wilderness is the last thing you want.
There are a few basics that need to be in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure.
What To Pack For Yourself
No matter how many hours or days you’re going to be spending on the “road”, there are certain essentials that can’t be overlooked. For yourself, you need sufficient food and water – at least enough for double the length of time you’re expecting to be travelling. Several other crucial items are the right kind of cloths, sun block, a rain jacket and water purification tablets.
A first aid kit is a must, and it should include a snake bite kit, tweezers and alcohol swabs – apart from the basic medications and dressings for wounds. Of course, you will also need a communication device such as a cell phone, and whatever equipment necessary to keep it charged.
What To Pack For Your Vehicle
The list of tools and extras required for a 100% safe trip is never complete, but there are several things that could save the day in case of emergency. You will need a spare tire, jack, tire iron, tow strap, spare key, recovery straps, spare valves, tree savers and safety items like goggles and gloves.
A fire extinguisher can be a lifesaver, while it almost goes without saying that extra petrol, engine oil and brake fluid are necessities. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but merely a glance at what it takes to travel safely.
What To Bear In Mind
As with many other activities, it is vital that you never set out alone – travelling in groups of at least two vehicles is strongly recommended. As you would when going for a hike, make sure that someone at home knows where you’re going and when you expect to return. A suggestion is to set specific check-in times so that someone is aware of your location at all times. It is essential to give your vehicle and tool kit a once-over before you set off – apart from having it regularly serviced.
“Off-road” doesn’t mean seeking out dangerous or risky terrain. As with all driving, it’s sensible to take it slow and cautious. Average speed on trails is often no more than 5km/h. Basic etiquette applies – keeping you and others safe. It is advised to take breaks from driving to avoid losing focus.
In Case Of Emergency
It’s safe to assume that you will encounter significant difficulties at some point in your off-road career, and likely that you’ll face smaller issues, such as tire trouble, regularly. When it comes to serious danger there are actions you can take to get help. Stay with your vehicle at all times.
If possible, take a moment to assess the situation before reacting. This is the point when you’ll thank yourself for packing extra provisions and not being stranded alone in the bush.