Half a dozen things to keep in mind to ensure you pull off your next trip without a hitch.
THE MIDWEEK MIND CLEANSE
Weekend escapes are wondrous, no doubt about it. The problem, however, with close range hotspots is that they tend to be heavily visited on Saturdays and Sundays.
The best thing about going 4WDing is that you don’t need to get away for a long time to have a great time.
Why not pick a break in your schedule, lock in a midweek flexi or annual leave day, and get out and explore one of those local tracks you’ve driving past on longer trips?
KEEP IT LIGHT AND EASY
Over thinking and overloading the rig for short trips is a common issue for many of us.
When you’ve only got a weekend to work, you probably don’t need to pack every spare part in your garage. Who wants to waste half a day packing and unpacking when you could spend an extra arvo sitting around camp, or arrive early enough to score the prime site?
You’ve probably got most of your essential gear bolted to your rig as it is, so tick off a basic checklist, load up your camping gear and off you go.
TYRES & HEAT
While the need to drop your tyre pressures when leaving the highway and hitting the soft stuff is well known and documented, some drivers tend to get a little more lax when returning to the blacktop.
Leaving your tyres under-inflated for long stints of driving on sealed roads will result in uneven and increased wear, particularly towards the outside edges of the tread and ultimately reduce the lifespan of your tyres significantly.
CAMP GROUND LOCALS
When we turn a corner on winter and the spring touring season truly kicks off, campgrounds around the country will be seeing more action than ever.
Meaning that campground ‘locals’ including goannas, bush turkeys and dingos will be out on the prowl and looking for an easy feed wherever they can find it.
Remember not to leave any food unsecured around camp, and to tidy up your rubbish and food scraps and to remove them from the camp area in order to avoid unwelcome raids by local critters.
THE PRE TRIP TUNE UP
Nothing ruins a weekend getaway quicker than vehicle troubles. If it’s been a while since your last service or last time you hit the highway, spend half an hour in the driveway giving the rig a once over.
You’ll want to check your headlight, indicator and break light globes if you’re going to do any night driving, but most importantly you’ll need to pop the bonnet.
Start by checking your oil level and top up if necessary. Top up coolant if the reservoir will take any, and check hoses for cracks or signs of wear. While you’re under the bonnet, take a look at alternator, fan and power steering belts to check for signs of wear.
You’ll want to check your tyre pressures and adjust to optimum highway pressures. Make sure to check for any chips or cuts in the sidewalls and clear out any debris jammed in the tread.
PRO LEVEL PACKING
Being able to load up the rig quickly and efficiently without forgetting anything vital is what separates the best from the rest.
Whether you’re talking daytrips, overnight escapes or longer ventures, the ability to determine what you do and don’t need, while avoiding clutter and overloading, is priceless.
Try to start packing your gear a day or two before heading off, that way you can add in any odds and ends that originally slip your mind.
Load up the fourby the night before heading away when you’ve unlocked ultimate Dad-level organisation skills.