There’s nothing more exciting than reaching the end of the bitumen road and gearing down into what will ultimately be the ride of your lifetime.
But before you head off – you might be wondering if you’ve packed right. After all, some of Australia’s off-road tracks can be formidable to say the least – it’s high-risk, high-reward. With unruly terrain, wild beaches and sinking sands, danger lurks around every corner – but so do untouched landscapes, unique camping spots and a million photo opportunities.
Here’s your definitive guide to everything you need to take on your next 4×4 trip.
1. A spare tyre (or two)
Going off-road without a spare type is like jumping off a plane without a backup parachute. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but it could well be as deadly if you’re caught in the middle of nowhere without reception or an easy way out. Even innocent beach driving can prove disastrous for the wheels of your car – and it’s always good to be prepared. If you’re part of a group – make sure you’ve got enough spare tyres to go around – there’s nothing worse than towing a car back knowing you could’ve kept going had you packed right.
2. A winch
A winch is another essential item you shouldn’t leave without. If you get stuck and all else fails, a winch is your ticket to freedom. Whether you’re using a second car or simply hooking up to a tree or other natural object – knowing you’re able to get yourself out of sticky situations is all part of the game.
3. First aid kit
You should already have this one sorted – but in case you don’t, always include an up-to-date first aid kit with all the necessary items. You never know what awaits you out in the wilderness – so it’s good to make sure you’re covered in case of the worst.
4. Shovel and recovery tracks
The worst part of 4×4 driving is when you get stuck in the mud or bogged down in the sand. It really can take the wind out of your sails, but with the right equipment – i.e. a shovel and recovery tracks – you can be on your way in no time. If you don’t have space for recovery tracks then you can always try to find a natural alternative like a branch, or piece of wood (if you’re lucky).
5. Spare fuel and oil
Bringing emergency fuel and oil on a long trip is a no-brainer, especially if you’re going out for a few days without any access to towns or service stations. Always calculate how much fuel you’ll need for a particular leg of a trip – bearing in mind that offroading burns through fuel much faster than your average commute. Always remember to fill up before you head out.
6. Emergency water and food
Keep an emergency supply of water handy on longer trips – especially if you’re going into the outback or desert. There’s nothing worse than having to turn back because you’re out of water or you’re left without food. Always have a backup plan when you’re on trial.
7. A good map
It seems outdated, but a good map of your surroundings is essential if you’re going off-roading in the outback. You shouldn’t rely on Google maps, partly because it won’t work out there, but also because there aren’t any good indicators about where there might be rough terrain or other obstacles of concern. Keep a good map in your car at all times just to be safe.
8. Tyre deflator (and inflator)
If you’re planning on hitting the beach or any sandy track you’re going to want to deflate your tyres to about 16psi or just above. Depending on how soft the sand is you may be able to get away with about 20 to 25 psi – just don’t go any lower than 16. Without the extra traction provided by the deflated tyre, chances are you’re going to sink into the sand, and no shovel or recovery kit will be able to help you then.
A small toolkit is always a smart idea – particularly if you’re running a second-hand car that you know is prone to a few hiccups here and there. Bring the essentials so you can make repairs if necessary.
Last but not least – you’re going to want an esky to keep the beers cool. It almost goes without saying, but even being stuck in the mud is ok if you know there’s a cold one waiting in the boot.
Ready to start planning your next offroading adventure? Then why not get the perfect car for the job – the Subaru Outback is ready to take you further, all you need to do is see for yourself. Test drive the new 2022 Subaru Outback today.