Preparing for Off-Road Driving
Before heading out on your next off-roading adventure, be it a new trail or a place you’ve hit the dirt for years, it is important to be prepared and stocked up on the essentials. Getting well acquainted with the basics is crucial to becoming an expert off-roader and can make you feel all the better prepared, especially if your trip is somewhere without services for miles. Being well-equipped and properly set up will only enhance the experience and get you back on the trail faster if an issue does arise.
No matter if you are an expert or just starting out, this guide will help you understand the most helpful preparatory measures you need for your next off-roading trip.
Before You Off-Road: A Prep Guide
Be sure to follow these steps before you head off on your next excursion to make sure you have a great time and a safe trip.
1. Plan Your Trip Ahead of Time
Make sure to plan your trip well. Map it out, have alternative routes and game plans prepared in case of inclement weather or other potential obstacles. Always let others know where you are going in case communications get cut off. Make a map for yourself and everyone in your group if you have more than one vehicle in your party, and make sure you have communication links, such as walkie talkies (in case cell phones don’t work) so you can still communicate with your group.
2. Check Weather Conditions
Before your trip, check the weather on a few different apps to make sure you are getting accurate readings and know well what you are heading into. Figure out alternative routes if the weather gets too bad. Always make sure to pack proper clothing and supplies for the weather you are going to be driving in and extra gear for unexpected downpours or snowfall.
If you’re driving in snow, make sure to carry tire chains and tensioners, which you will need to check for cracks if you’ve had them for a while. The proper clothing and attire is essential for your trip so you are prepared for any inclement weather such as rain, sleet, snow or excessive heat, as each carries its own list of needed protective gear.
3. Check Your Tires
The condition of your tires is one of the most important checks you will need to make, as well as looking into how many spares you have available and their condition. Depending on the terrain you will be driving on, one spare is the minimum you should bring, but if the trails are particularly rough or rocky, a spare for your spare is never a bad idea.
Tire pressure should be higher when driving on the highway and lower when out on rocky terrain. Check your tire tread as well before venturing out. Ball joints, tie rods and wheel bearings should be secure and stable.
4. GPS and Proper Tech
Communication is key no matter how well you know the trails you will be off-roading on. Make sure to pack a fully charged cell phone and power bank so you have extra charging power. A car charger adapter is great so you can also use your vehicle as a charger as well.
GPS units are invaluable and having a separate one other than your phone will help ensure you keep your phone battery for emergency use and provide redundancy out on the trail. Your charged power bank can also charge your GPS so make sure to have the proper cords packed and ready to go as well.
5. Food, Water, First Aid
While it may seem like a no-brainer, packing enough water and food for your trip may slip your mind while you are packing everything else. And while there will be places for you to stop on the way to refill, make sure you initially have more than enough for your journey, no matter what.
When packing food, it is important to choose items that won’t spoil easily and don’t need refrigeration, like energy bars, beef jerky and chips. Pack more water than you think you’ll need. You’ll thank yourself later, especially if you are in a hotter climate.
First aid kits should be stocked and packed alongside the food, as it is an important component of any off-roading trip. Get a quality first aid kit with all the essentials such as bandages, gauze, antibacterial wipes and ointment as well as tweezers and ankle/wrist braces.
6. Double Check the Basics
Now that you’ve gotten everything packed, let’s go over the basics. Checking your vehicle’s fluids, such as coolant, motor oil, washer fluid, brake and steering fluid are all essential. Taking your vehicle to your local motorsport specialist for a once over is always a great idea for that extra piece of mind. Something you may overlook, a trained mechanic will not. Have any necessary repairs handled and get the thumbs up before you hit the trails.
While transporting extra fuel is essential if you are going for long stretches without available gas stations, make sure to have fuel carriers and storage on the outside of your vehicle in approved containers, as gasoline is both highly flammable and toxic, and should never be stored inside the vehicle.
Additional Helpful Items
- Jumper cables
- Blocks of wood
- Car jack
- Extra belts/hoses
- Recovery straps
Let Mach1 Help You Get Ready for Your Next Adventure
Whether you’re new to off-roading or an experienced mudder, Mach1 Motorsports has the knowledge to supply you with aftermarket parts and the latest diagnostics equipment. We are focused on providing high-quality service and customer satisfaction, meeting and exceeding your expectations.
Customer service is job number one for us. We promise to be honest and not push you to purchase something you don’t need. We want you to tell your friends about us and come back whenever you need parts, service, or diagnostics.
We will keep your off-road vehicle running like new and ensure that it is repaired correctly so you never get stuck out on the trail. Contact us today to learn what we can do to help you get out on the trails, enjoying the fresh air and challenge of mudding, climbing, or just taking a trail ride.
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