Knowledge is power
This article will talk a little bit about how to be prepared for the off roading life. Everyone enjoys a nice ride in the woods from time to time. It’s being prepared for what lies a head that is key.
In my opinion recovery gear is the essential first step to a successful off-roading trip. We get asked all the time “if my stock Jeep can go in the woods”. The answer in short is, YES. A lot of the time it’s all in the driver and not the vehicle. I have seen stock Jeeps make it through some pretty gnarly obstacles. I have also seen a super rig get stuck in what looked to be a simple obstacle. Again, the driver plays a huge roll. Sure, you wouldn’t send a stock Jeep into an area where a lifted Jeep on 37’s just was, but again knowing when to “go around” is key.
PBV holds beginner rides throughout the year and can explaim a bit further some of what this article says. We preach that TOW POINTS on any vehicle going offroad is mandatory. Playing in the woods and getting stuck sucks. Getting stuck and having no solid point to hook onto and pull you out sucks more.
Doing some homework on the area you are about to embark is a great idea. Today the internet has blogs and search engines to answer just about any question you may have. Joining a great Jeep club like PBVJC on Facebook helps as well. Gps is another great way to get you out and exploring that is, if you have service. A GPS app or program that records your start and finish points can be a literal life saver. Telling a family member or a friend your plans is important too. Even if you wanna do a “quick” ride to clear your head. Tell someone the stuff like where you are headed and about how long you plan to be out. We also highly recommend the buddy system anytime you are out in the woods. Having a second vehicle can be a lifesaver.
Self-recovery is a very important skill all off-roaders should learn. Knowing how to navigate an obstacle can be tricky the first time you are up against one. Knowing the tools to recover yourself is vital to off-roading. Using things like a winch or a Hi-lift offroad jack can recover you or a fellow off-roader. Traction pads are another good option when you have found yourself in a sticky situation. Using specialty items like snatch blocks can make a hard job less troublesome if used correctly. That will have to be an article in the future.
Having things like a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, and cell phone and charger should be second nature. Items like tree savers, tow straps, and shackles are also good to have on hand. Waterproof flashlight and waterproof matches are also good to have in your “off-road” kit. Bringing a snack or lunch as well as plenty to drink will always come in handy. You never know when a good day could turn bad.
Tire plug kits and a 12v air compressor are a good option as well. Some areas may require you air your tires down to allow for more tire to ground coverage. Things like foldable shovels and an axe or machete offer protection and as tools. This may sound like a ton of stuff. In reality most things are very small and collapsible and can be stored in a bag in the trunk.
Communication is key
Having a CB radio or a GMRS/FRS radio are amazing tools while on your adventures. Talking to your buddies in other vehicles while off-road is not only a fun time, it can be an excellent tool. Using your radio to alert about hazards, someone with engine trouble, or what turn is next is crucial. Making sure no man is left behind because of a missed turn in a dense area or vehicle failure is very important. GMRS/FRS radios are the popular option these days. They are relatively inexpensive and can talk to each other on the same frequency. They do not have a long-range distance like a CB but are a vital tool.
A CB radio is a “long range” communication device that cannot talk to the GMRS/FRS radios. They can only talk to other CB radios. However, CB radios are great in the woods and on the road as well. You can reach farther on average, and you can speak to emergency personal if need be. You can even tune in and talk to our amazing truckers, “breaker breaker”
To sum up our article we would like to say that knowing your Jeep is a powerful tool. This is as powerful as having items on hand to help in the event you need them. Knowing where your airbox is. Where the spare tire is and how to change it are important too. In fact, having a spare tire can prove as a recovery tool in extreme cases. Stay tuned for that write up. For now we hope you enjoyed a very small blurb about what you may need when you go off-roading. Join PBV on Facebook and come check out our beginner ride. We will post more “how to” articles and videos for more on our off-roading advice in the near future. For now, be prepared, it really is “the more you know”.