Four wheeling and camping are naturally somewhat rustic.
You are, after all, away from home and all the creature comforts that surround you there.
Even so, you can still add a touch of class and style to your trip in the form of a good bottle of wine.
Wine? While camping? Sure!
Many people enjoy a glass of wine with their meals while savoring the fresh air and scenery of the great outdoors. In fact, I’ve found that a glass of wine with a home-cooked meal prepared in a Dutch oven while sitting around the campfire with friends is one of the nicest pleasures of life.
So, you’re probably thinking: OK, I’ll take along some wine next time. Anything I need to know? I’m glad you asked.
First, remember never to mix alcohol and driving.
Some people feel that because they’re off road there are few dangers to driving while intoxicated.
In fact, it can actually be more dangerous.
You may not confront other drivers out there, but the terrain can be much more demanding and treacherous than you’ll encounter while in the city.
Wait until you’ve parked for the day before uncorking the wine.
Transporting any kind of glass bottle is tricky. Wine bottles, because they are also rather tall, can be especially challenging. They need to be secured and protected from the bumps and vibration your vehicle experiences while off road.
I like to wrap the bottle in a bed roll or a Therm-a-Rest®.
They hold the bottle securely and offer a lot of padding.
My wife does not think this is an acceptable risk. If the bottles break they will spill all over my bed roll!
So you might be better off rolling them up in a heavy towel and packing them in your dish box.
Another possibility is a bracket arrangement similar to those used for fire extinguishers and flashlights.
The Quick Fist™ rubber brackets look like they would work quite well.
Retailers that cater to 4WD enthusiasts often carry these types of brackets.
Since I first released this article, I discovered a host of other bags and boxes available to transport wine.
One I like is the two bottle neoprene bag. The bag both pad and insulate the bottles. Most are designed so that
you can pour the wine without removing the bottle - just roll down the top. The only improvement I would like,
is a zippered top or other way to seal the bag. In the event of a bottle breaking, it would slow down or contain the wine in the bag.
If you have a lot of people or consume a fair amount, you might look into this 10 liter
French Wine Jerry Can
(Update 3-2010: They are out of stock
but looking for new source)
As you’re packing your vehicle; store the bottle(s) upright, because they’re less likely to get broken. Bottles lying on their sides, especially on top of each other, tend to get rattled and break.
You also need to consider the wine glasses.
Plastic ones, although they may seem a little hokey, make a lot of sense out in the country.
I prefer glass, and pack some cheap wine glasses I acquired sometime ago.
If you choose glass, make sure to pack those properly, as well.
Otherwise, you’ll be slurping wine from your coffee mug.
Speaking of mugs, I’ve found that a large soda cup from McDonald’s or other establishments holds a standard wine glass very well.
Its wide base is more stable, so you can safely set the cup on the ground or in the sand with little worry it’ll tip over.
A cooler is a natural choice for carrying chilled goods, and that applies to alcoholic beverages, as well. However, if your cooler is too short for a wine bottle—and you have some spare change—consider buying a 12v refrigerator/freezer. These nifty units are tall enough for a wine bottle and plenty of other items since no space is used for ice. ARB recently introduced a new model loaded with innovation.
Like any packaged item, wine leaves behind a bottle—sometimes a big one—when it is gone.
Be a good steward of the land and bring out your empty beer and wine bottles with all your other trash.
Another solution to the "wine bottle" issue is "wine in a box".
There are some excellent vintages out there in a box.
I know someone who has a friend who transfers the wine into one of those Platypus bladders.
The bladder can be rinsed and used for water later in the trip. In fact Platypus has a special design for wine.
It is called the Platy Preserve.
I’m no wine specialist, but I’m pretty sure the jostling your vehicle takes has no effect on the sub $20 wine we take. It’ll get shaken up a bit, but that’s fine. My friends and I have enjoyed wine with many meals after a day of hearty off-road driving.
Finally, don’t forget your corkscrew! Otherwise, you and your loved one will be staring longingly at that bottle of merlot while you munch on your finely crafted dinner.
Take along a bottle of your favorite wine on your next off-road adventure.
It will add a nice touch to your meal and your evening.
Tread Lightly! -- Reminder
As implied in the main article, a great way to eliminate trash on the trail is to leave it at home by repackaging food before the trip.
Another technique that is very effective is to prepare the meals at home and freeze them. Besides eliminating the tomato paste can
and the noodles box, the frozen disk helps keep your ice chest cold.
2009 October Schedule
Our October Schedule had plenty of opportunties to get out on an adventure or improve your skills.
A new clinic was just added and is coming up quick. There are two slots left for the 4-wheel Drive Instructor Training School.
Even if you do not plan to get formally certified as a 4-Wheel Drive Instructor you are welcome to attend. This is a special
Class. I do not know when we will offer it again.
- Spotting Clinic.........................................October 04th
- 4-Wheel Drive Instructor Training...............October 06th to 8th
- Rock Crawling Clinic.................................October 10th
- Ruts & Ridges AKA Picking Lines................October 11th
- Mojave Road Adventure............................October 17th to 19th
- Death Valley Adventure............................October 23rd to 26th
See below for more details on these clinics and adventures.
4-Wheel Drive Instructor Training School
October 6, 7, & 8
If you want to become a certified 4-Wheel Drive Instructor or
if you are an advanced 4x4 Driver who wants to challenge yourself to a higher level, we offer a 3 day Instructors clinic.
The class reviews the fundamentals to make sure everyone is on the "same page" with understanding and terminology.
During the 3 days you will cover driving skills, recovery techniques, vehicle components, vehicle concepts and dynamics, safety, navigation, environmental
concerns, and training issues.
This clinic is not sufficient for you to pass the I4WDTA Certification and is not a guarantee of passing.
You need years of prior experience and a wide range of knowledge to draw on for the certification process.
It does give you a tune up of your skills, validate your knowledge, and help you assess your current readiness -
Perhaps pointing out areas requiring more study and experience. It provides you with a multitude of ideas and tips.
We currently plan to camp as a group each night!
You can register directly at
2009 October Schedule
It is time to get back into the Desert!
We have two mini Expeditions planned for October that you do not want to miss.
- The Old Mojave Road...October 17th thru 19th (3 Days - 2 nights)
- Death Valley...............October 23rd thru 26th (4 Days - 3 nights)
Register for the expeditions using one of these links.
Mojave Road: http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Mojave
Death Valley: http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Deathvalley
Spotting Clinic October 4
When do you need to spot another vehicle? Whenever the driver asks you.
Whenever there is high risk of vehicle damage, personal injury, loss of vehicle control, or potential roll over, you need to spot.
On a long difficult trip, fatigue sets in and the ability to pick lines quickly fades along with confidence.
At these times, less experienced drivers need to be spotted.
After a close call, a driver may need to be spotted on subsequent obstacles.
Are your skills up to the challenge? The Spotting Clinic provides practical experience and instruction.
You will learn spotting etiquette, hand signals and when to spot.
You will learn what to watch and how to communicate with the driver.
You will learn your role and responsibility. The clinic allows time to practice and fine tune your spotting skills.
You can register directly at
Rocks Clinic October 10
The October Class will be in Johnson Valley. This is an introduction to Rock crawling but it is not on "baby" rocks. We take out time and stress careful wheel placement.
We use spotters for difficult sections. You learn by inspecting the obstacle and predicting the line; by watching others try their line;
by experiencing it yourself; and by the coaching. We recommend you repeat the training several times.
You will be much more relaxed the second time over the same obstacles and you will pick up on little details missed the first time.
You can register directly at
Ham Radio Test Session
Start studying to get your amateur radio ticket. You have lots of time to get ready.
The next Outdoor Adventure USA (OAUSA) ham radio test session is scheduled for October 10th at the Bass Pro Shop in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
Testing will start at 10:00AM and run until noon. Tests will be available for all license classes.
The standard ARRL testing fee of $15 will apply.
It is worth the trip just to visit the Bass Pro Store. There is no other store like it in southern California.
The store is just off I-15 at Foothill Blvd.
In addition, OAUSA will have a meet and greet in the parking lot with plenty of built up off-road vehicles on display.
If you have any questions please contact John (KN6VL) at email@example.com
This is a link to the OAUSA forum that will be keep up-to-date on the test session.
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc
4-Wheel Drive School
Make it Fun. Make it Safe.
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Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult
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Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.
Copyright 2009, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.