If you’re gearing up to get off-the-beaten-track and experience something a little different, making sure you’re well-equipped for the adventure takes a bit of careful planning. Yes, it means setting time aside to get everything mapped out and ready to go, but the initial stages of preparation mean you’ll avoid any trouble if it happens to pop up along the way; or you’ll be more than capable of dealing with it, at the very least.
So, as you start to pack all your necessities together, make sure you check out our ultimate checklist to getting on the right track to the perfect off-road experience.
Tick off all the essentials: No matter how basic they are, they’re the most important: make sure your fluids are topped; this includes ensuring all coolants, oil, windshield washers, power steering, ATF and brake fluids are at the brim. Additionally, triple check for any leaks and have extra fluids on hand in case you need them. Assess your air filter and make sure the box has no debris sitting around in it. Complete the process by checking for electrical problems throughout your vehicle, and get them repaired before you jet off on the road.
Check your tires and recheck them: This doesn’t just mean filling them up. Check their condition and replace if necessary. Ensure the pressure suits the terrain you’ll be exploring – will you be able to tackle a mud hole if it happens to appear?
Assess bearing and ball joints: Scan all of your ball joints, wheel bearings and tie rod ends to ensure they’re secure. If there’s excess movement when you grab the tire at the top and bottom (when you’re jacked up), have a mechanic check them carefully.
Examine your shocks: This one’s simple. If it looks like you have a leak in your shocks or they’re damaged/worn out, replace them. Stat.
Let others know about your trip: Don’t head out on the road without letting those around you know where you’ll be or when you’ll be heading back. There’s no need to worry them if they haven’t heard from you in a while, so give them contact details they can reach you on, where possible. If you have a map handy of your adventure, show them your approximate journey schedule, to give them a bit more piece of mind.
Know the weather: We all know how unpredictable Australian weather can be, so be well-prepared by examining the conditions for different locations before you leave. Pack extra clothing and protective wear just in case. Make sure you’ve got plenty of sunscreen, hats and raincoat as well.
Those little necessities: You’re always going to need toilet paper, but a good rule of thumb is to pack it in a zip-lock bag, so it doesn’t get damp. Put it somewhere accessible – you never know when you’ll need it most, and you’ll thank yourself later.
Have easy communication means: Ensure you’ve got a way of contacting the world while you’re on the road by packing a phone charger that can be plugged into your vehicle. Additionally, grab a power inverter so that you can find a signal, no matter your location, without depleting your battery too much.
Pack food and water: It goes without saying but pack plenty of bottled water, energy bars, sports drinks or dried fruit to get you through to your next proper meal. These are easy consumables to take with you, as they don’t need any form of refrigeration. Avoid salty foods that will end up in you requiring excess water – something you won’t have.
Jumper cables: These will be your best friend if you happen to stall in the middle of nowhere. Have a high-quality set of cables with heavy gauge wiring and connectors in your stash, and you’ll be glad you took the precaution before you left.
Lights, lights, lights: Make sure all of your brake, head and tail lights are functioning well. No one wants an unexpected ticket from the police while you’re trying to enjoy your adventure. Pack spare bulbs to be extra safe.