Driving down a scenic highway is not too shabby, but have you ever tried driving off that road onto the beach or to see a remote mountain waterfall? Off-roading is more than just a hobby or motorsport – it’s a true adventure. Tackling rugged terrain can be daunting though if you’ve never tried it before. Many of today’s 4×4’s aren’t really designed for true off-roading, so you need to be sure that you choose a car that fits the demands of your chosen trek. As you start planning your off-roading excursion, you can use the following tips to help you make the most of it.
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Stock up on supplies.
No matter how easy and established your first track is, there are some essential supplies that you should plan on bringing. Fill your car up with a full tank of gas and have it serviced before you depart. You’ll also need a spare tire, portable air compressor, and tow rope. Bring a first aid kit, mobile phone, and extra batteries. Shovels can be handy to get your car out of tight situations, as can high lift jacks. Finally, don’t forget to bring a buddy! It’s not a good idea to try your hand at off-roading alone as a beginner.
Get to know your vehicle.
The right vehicle for the terrain is essential. Many cars now have 4WD and are suitable for off-roading, but you can learn more about suitability from review sites. Read this Subaru Forester review or take a look at a Jeep review to find out if these vehicles might be right for your excursion. Researching the vehicle in advance will ensure that you know the car’s limits before you depart. Learn about how the 4×4 system works, where the spare tire is located, and what the specific dimensions are. The lowest point of clearance is particularly important to know, as is the departure and ramp angle. Practice driving your vehicle before you get off the road and you’ll feel more comfortable out in the wild.
Distribute weight evenly.
Be aware of how your car is loaded, and how this impacts the centre of gravity. It’s best to distribute all weight evenly. If you weigh down the rear portion of the car, this will limit your departure angle. If you need to add a roof rack to carry all your gear, be aware of how this will add extra height to your vehicle.
Keep the terrain in mind.
A track may look short on a map, but it could potentially take an hour to travel 10 miles. Read reviews and gather information ahead of time to find out what the track is actually like before you plan your itinerary. You will need to employ different driving techniques for different types of terrain. Yet whether you are driving on sand, rocks, or water, you’ll want to take it slow and drive carefully.
Stay on established tracks.
If you’re driving a hardy vehicle it’s tempting to blaze your own trail in the wilderness, but this isn’t recommended. You could potentially get lost, damage your car, or damage sensitive plant and animal life. A heavy SUV could also damage the ground and lead to premature erosion.
A little bit of research and preparation goes a long way for first-time adventurers. By accepting the limitations of your vehicle and taking it slow, you can get off the beaten track and enjoy your off-road journey.