Offroading like a BOSS.
Going on your first off-road adventure can be an exciting prospect. It can also be utterly terrifying, especially if you’re unprepared. Every year countless people get lost, injured, or endure difficult conditions because they weren’t adequately prepared for an off-road journey. Before you start your first trip, make sure you read and are prepared to follow this advice.
First, under no circumstances should you ever go out off-roading alone. Bring someone, preferably a group of people, with you. To that end, it’s critical that you communicate not just with the other people with whom you’re traveling, but with others as well. Make sure someone staying behind knows where you’re going, how long you plan to be gone, and how to reach each other if there’s an emergency. Set up a time or location to check-in, so that others know that your trip is proceeding as planned.
Prepare for the worst
Whether you’re going out on your first trip or your thousandth, the last thing you want is to find yourself in a desperate situation without adequate emergency supplies. Always make sure you have enough supplies so that if you have to rough it for hours or even days, you can survive. That means packing:
- A flashlight
- Plenty of extra clothing or other layers
- Road flares
- Water (ideally a gallon per person)
That’s an incomplete list, but it gives you a good sense of what to prepare for.
Stay on the path
It’s tempting to go exploring new terrain, but doing so can put you in serious danger, and it makes rescue services harder to find you in extreme circumstances. Aside from the potential harm to yourself, your vehicle may not be able to handle the new path. You and your vehicle can also end up doing irreparable harm to the surrounding environment, and make the area less desirable for future off-roaders.
Know Your Vehicle
This should go without saying, but make sure your vehicle is fully prepared and in sufficient condition to make the journey. Even the strongest Rocky Road Trucks need maintenance and care. Know you’re your truck is capable of handling, along with any idiosyncrasies or quirks unique to your truck. Before heading out, make sure you have enough gas, oil, and other fluids. Check your tire pressure, and bring along all the necessary gear in the event you have to change a tire. You should always have an emergency kit in the truck no matter what, but make sure you also have gear specific to where you’re going. For example, make sure you have the proper snow chains and tires if heading to the mountains, or a sufficient winch to pull you out if you get stuck.
Everyone wants to enjoy themselves on an off-road experience, but part of that means following proper safety procedures. By following this advice, you can make sure your first off-road experience is exciting for all the right reasons. If, on the other hand, you’re not sure you’re ready for this kind of adventure, you can always start by finding someone more seasoned to take you on a ride.
About the Author: Michael Newsham goes off road whenever possible – and usually on purpose.