Getting away from town can be the best way to spend the long weekend. Packing your 4x4 right and not forgetting the essential will make the trip memorable for all the right and not the wrong reasons.
Here are a few tips thanks to Yakima.
1. Try and only pack the essentials. Throwing in more things just in case could increase your risk of getting bogged if you’re heading to the beach. Remember every kilo you save reduces your chances of getting stuck and if that does happen, start by unpacking the vehicle to lighten the load.
2. Think safety. Sensible packing starts with the essential items like vehicle spares, tools and recovery equipment. After that, consider navigational supports like maps (packed in water proof bags or containers), a compass, GPS and EPIRB beacon. Always remember to pack enough water for each person on board plus the tank.
3. Keep all of your recovery gear out and pack them at the last minute so they are accessible if you need them. Pack things like chains, ropes, tracks and a shovel on top so you can grab them if or when you get into trouble and need help to get out.
4. Make sure you pack essentials. Lighters and fire starters are vital to making a camp comfortable – to provide heat, light and cook dinner. A decent sized tarp and rope are also fundamentals because they have multiple uses. A tent and sleeping bag, as well as the few outfits you’re taking. Pack your clothes in a soft bag that can not only double as a pillow, but is also easier to pack into the car - squeezing into awkward, spaces to fill.
5. Always carry some reserves of food and make sure liquids are packed inside containers that won't leak or break. Wrap glass in tea towels or wedge between toilet rolls.
6. A first aid kit, a fire-extinguisher, suntan lotion, a hat and insect repellent are vital! Make sure you put them in an easy spot to access quickly and easily. At your feet, in the centre console or inside the glove box are good ideas.
7. Have fun and return home safely!
Roof racks are good for things you don't want inside your car like gas bottles, firewood, camping and smelly rubbish. Loading and unloading roof luggage is a real task, so it is important to pack things up there that you don't need to access often. It’s like the computer game Tetris – it takes skill and practice to efficiently fill the space.
Keep it centred – to make any swaying less noticeable. If your load is too far forward or too far back, either way it will affect steering and make a 4WD journey a real challenge for the driver and can make passengers anxious.
Remember that your car is now taller, so don't go into undercover car parks without checking the height of the vehicle or you might get a nasty surprise. Watch for low-lying branches and inclines when your vehicle is taller and has a higher centre of gravity.
Also remember that everything packed outside your car can or will get weather affected. Consider rain and dirt and keep valuables inside the car or wrap them really well, covering them up in tarps or Yakima’s luggage bags.