Four Things I Learned While 4WD Touring

I am normally a self-supported style of adventure guy. Carry everything you need on your back, and get there using your own steam power. Be it hiking, climbing, scrambling, mountain biking… whatever. Despite this however, in Australia at least, we live in a country which still requires you to drive a car to get to your adventure destination.

As a slight side, I could ramble on about how amazing Vancouver is with tonnes of adventures on the doorstep all accessible by public transport… but I wont get into that. Instead I will focus on my own neck of the woods.

Since coming to the realisation that I still needed a car to get to my destination, I had my mind opened up to me that there were TONNES more crazy adventures on my doorstep if I was willing to use a motorised means of transport to get there. Using a 4WD for example you suddenly can go to a million more amazing places.

Fishing Headland-Track Headland-View Not-Africa Road-Less-Travelled

At around the same time of my “awakening” I was also introduced to the team behind Dirty Weekends Away, and MAXTRAX. So when I was offered a spot being a crew member on their expedition north, I jumped at the opportunity. Thing was, I was a 4wd novice (well, relatively), having no idea what was expected, or required from my end.

I was told to pack light, and so I took a leaf out of my own book, and fit everything including tent, sleeping bag, and pillow (all of which are incredibly bulky), as well as computer, camera, and business equipment all into a prototype version of our 65L large duffle. I thought I had everything sorted, but it turns out I didn’t.

So… here are four things I learned while 4wd touring:

Tip One
It is much better to pack lots of smaller bags than one giant one.
This makes a lot of sense if you play Tetris. Remember when the blocks kept coming, and then suddenly you got this giant weird shaped one, and how much it ruined your score as you had nowhere to put it? Yeah, packing a 4WD is a lot like that. One giant bag is hard to find a spot for. Multiple smaller bags is easier.

Packing lots of smaller bags is much easier than you first think. All you need to do is segregate your gear. Laptop, and valuables go in one bag. Clean clothes in another. Tent, sleeping and camping gear in another. Food? Guess what, it too goes in another bag.


Tip Two
Always be self sufficient
Even if someone else is bringing something you should bring the same something if you need it. Your group may split up, exploring different areas, and so that thing you had access to… you no longer do.

In addition to this, tension between parties becomes exacerbated especially if you are always “borrowing” something.

Imagine you were in the situation below, and didn’t have all the tools you needed because you weren’t self sufficient. Certainly would suck…

Neil-Airbag-Repair Airbag-Repair

Tip Three
Bring something to share
I learnt this from my hiking trips, yet after doing a lot of solo trips in recent times, completely forgot about it.
This tip is simple, and so long as you do it regularly and without strings attached you will find it boosts morale, and makes you seem more approachable and friendly.

If you don’t have anything to share, share a round of beer at the next pub. The rest of the group will love you for it!


Tip Four
Always carry a map, and a radio
We had a dude on our trip without a map, and only a simple hand held radio (with not a long range). At one stage we were booting it trying to gain kilometers. We had no idea where he was in the group (in front of us, behind us, etc). We heard him ask over the radio whether to take a right or left turn. We couldn’t help him because we had no idea where he was, and he couldn’t help himself because he had no map.

Thankfully this particular guy was a Bushie through and through. 3 hours later he appeared behind us with a cheeky grin on his face. It wasn’t hard for him to deduce where to go next, but this might not always be the case. Without a map or a radio, you don’t want to end up like this rolled car below. Remote, lost, and without help on the way.


So thats my four things I learned while on my last adventure to the Tip of Cape York. Thing is, these are common sense, and apply to any situation, not just that of a remote 4wd trip. I know I probably don’t need to say it, but the most IMPORTANT thing not listed above is don’t forget to HAVE FUN and BE PREPARED TO GET DIRTY! It makes life so much easier being relaxed and ready for anything!

BullPup-Maxtrax-Mud-Bath Mud-BathDrowned-1942-WW2-Willeys-Jeep

Now for some more photos of the trip! If you get a chance to head to the Tip of Australia, DO IT! You won’t forget it in a hurry.

Nifold-Plains-Sunset-Portrait Sunrise Sunrise-Paperbark Jeep-Gunshot-Creek Dusty-Duffle BullPup-TipBeach-Shower Beach-Fresh-Water-Spring Bath-With-A-View

Categories: Our Gear, Travel Gear

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