When it comes to off-road caravan adventures with the family, thorough preparation is paramount before embarking on the next trip. This will ensure the family, 4WD and caravan will all return home safely – along with that much needed holiday glow!
With over 20 years’ experience specialising in 4WD vehicle tuning, combined with his famous off-road driving skills, ZONE RV spokesperson, Glen Hadden, is Australia’s favourite 4WD guru. Glen, the brains behind Australia’s most successful 4WD workshop, Roo Systems, will be the first to warn it’s much easier and cheaper to fix something in a workshop than on the side of a dusty road!
Here are his expert 10 tips for keeping the vehicle and caravan in-check:
- The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is your attitude, so always try to maintain a positive mindset!
- If you are driving in constant dust behind someone, you’re travelling too close. This will clog up your engine’s air filters very quickly. Drop your vehicle back a few 100m to cleaner air and reduce the load on your engine’s air filters. Keep the windows up and use ‘flow through’ (not ‘recirculated’) air-conditioning. This will pressurise the vehicle cabin and reduce the entry of dust. If you have a ZONE RV or any other dust-proof off-caravan, the inside of your caravan is protected.
- Carry a full recovery kit and know how to use the equipment. Furthermore, a traction aid like MAXTRAX with a simple long-handled shovel are key tools for vehicle recovery.
- Let someone know where you are going. Also, notify someone when you expect to arrive at designated locations or waypoints.
- Have your 4WD serviced before the trip and get a pre-trip inspection done. Remember, the more touring and towing done, the more servicing the 4WD will need.
- Keep a basic tool kit for the vehicle and caravan.
- Pack a medical kit. If you are heading to remote locations, I recommend a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB).
- Electronic GPS units are great, but always store a physical map.
- Always pack clothing for all weather conditions. You can get four seasons in one day out in the bush. Don’t forget the sunscreen, mozzie repellent and personal toiletries – all simple, but really important for keeping comfortable
- Tyre pressures are key to getting through off-road tracks safely and comfortably. Reduce the pressure to 28-30 psi for a loaded vehicle on a dirt road, 20-22 psi on rocky-terrain and 12 psi on sand and really ‘boggy’ situations – the tyres will take it, just don’t do extreme sharp turning manoeuvres. A 4WD can drive on with 15 psi on tarmac comfortably up to 60km/h without damage. Sometimes a 4-6 psi difference can mean remaining stuck or driving out of the situation. Once your 4WD has the correct pressures for the terrain, drop the pressures on your caravan too.