Help: I am stuck in an Endless Circle of Indecision

(Rules for decision making)

Sign What you plan to do impacts your need for modifications if any.
(Click picture for a larger image.)

And I am enjoying it. I get to chew over every catalog, every Internet site and every vehicle I see. Maybe the analogy is a stretch, but it feels a bit like dating.

Four wheeling, as a rule, entails frequent changes or improvements to the vehicle and gear. You should understand that your vehicle will evolve as you develop more skills and a better understanding of the type of driving you will be doing.

Newer drivers tend to feel overwhelmed. There are just so many variables to consider. They fret: What modifications should I make? What do I need to get the vehicle ready for off-road driving? These are good questions, and are best answered when you know more about the type of driving you will be doing; how you will use the vehicle and who will ride with you.

But first, I want to assure you that these concerns and feelings are natural. All, or nearly all, new drivers go through this stage. Heck, I did. It was many years ago, and it took many years of driving to really understand how best to deck out a new vehicle to fit my needs. If fact, even today, I continue to make minor modifications over the course of a vehicle’s lifetime.

As with any hobby, money is an issue. And, yes, you can spend a boatload on your vehicle (both buying and modifying). Keep in mind that it is possible to enjoy this fascinating hobby with a modest budget. There is nothing wrong with keeping your vehicle stock. Most vehicles are pretty darn capable in their stock form. Most of us however, can’t leave it alone and decide to make some modification.

Sign This one rock is the only thing in your way to get to the camp site in the picture above.
(Click picture for a larger image.)
Rule 1: Make a decision and run with it. Too often new drivers get caught up in “paralysis by analysis,” and never take the first step. You need to assure yourself that you’re going to make a generally sound decision. The vehicle you purchase and the accessories you add to it will allow you to drive under most conditions.

Rule 2: Part of being a newbie four-wheeler is understanding that you don’t know much about four wheeling. On top of that, you don’t know what you don’t know. And you probably already know you asked 10 people what to do and you now have 11 alternatives. But you know enough—especially about your current goals—to at least get started.

Rule 3: Don’t be shy about making mistakes. We all do. The best mistakes make good fodder around the camp fire. At some point you will realize that your vehicle is just the way you need it to be. Until then, you will still enjoy countless hours of off-road driving.

Rule 4: Understand that you can’t optimize everything, if your budget only allows a gradual build up. In addition, your needs and decisions change with experience which may well cause you to redo an earlier build. The key is to get out on the trails. Remember you can sell that old stuff on eBay!

Rule 5: One of the fundamental rules of 4-wheel drive decision making is the more analysis you do the more the solution will seem like a compromise. Don’t settle for ½-way steps even if it means you do less now. If you wanted 35” tires you will never be happy with 33” tires even if you can do everything you want with your vehicle on 33’s including the Rubicon trail.

Rule 6: How much will the other decision maker in my family let me spend?

Bottom line: Assume that your vehicle will evolve over time; you’re not capable of making all those decisions right from the start. Assume, too, that you will replace your vehicle at least one time. With the second vehicle you’ll be in a much better position to know what you want and the most optimal way to get there within your budget.

How long will this process take? That varies with the person, and depends on how often the person drives and where. You might be driving for year or two before modifying. Or, you may find after just a couple off-road excursions that your vehicle needs further modification. That’s normal.

This article is a pep talk, not a cookbook. If you have a sure-fire recipe for building up a vehicle and can convince me of that fact, I will publish it! Good luck!

Ok – so maybe you can think of some more rules. We ran out of tequila before we got past Rule 6 and things got hazy.

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Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures

Did you miss the previous articles?

Some Up coming Events

(click on the link for details)

Newly Scheduled: Due to many requests, We added a Tire Repair and Hi-lift Jack minin clinic for September 29th.

You will notice we are kicking off our back to the desert season with a class in Borrego Springs on October 18th. This is a Friday and allows you to combine it with the OAUSA Borrego Fest weekend. Check thier website for details. We will have monthly clinics in Borrego Springs until April next year.

Our new stock of Winch Bandanas has arrived. We now have Red, Orange, Blue, Green, Gold, Natural.

  1. September 07 Getting Started Off-Road - LA:

  2. September 08 Advanced Beginner Clinic- LA:

  3. October 12 Getting Started Off-Road - LA:

  4. October 18 Getting Started Off-Road - San Diego:

  5. October 19 Winch Clinic - see below for more details

  6. October 25 Death Valley Adventure

  7. November 16 Getting Started Off-Road - San Diego:


Winch Clinic October 13, 2013

Winch Class Example

This one day clinic starts with the basics. If you are considering installing a powered winch on your vehicle, or have one already but need training to learn how to get the best from it and do it safely, you need to take this class. The one day course covers: safety related issues, basic operation of the winch, simple and complex riggings, stuck assessment, winch capability, and minimizing environmental impact. This is a hands on class. By the end of the day you will be safely rigging some complex recoveries. More Details...

You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Winch


Death Valley October 25-28, 2013

Death Valley

This is a 4 day trip on the back roads in Death Valley. We will drive the Panamint Mountains, drive past Badwater Basin (lowest spot in North America), visit Chloride Ghost town, Titus Canyon, check out Ubehebe Crater, Teakettle junction, The Race Track & Lippencott Mine Road, camp at the Warm Springs and leave via Steal Pass up to the high meadows, then take Dedeckera Canyon down to the Eureka Sand Dunes. All four days will see some light to moderate 4-wheeling. Much of the trip is quite remote with random or no cell service.
Check out the details and sign up on the website: http://www.4x4training.com/Adventures/Deathvalley.html

You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Deathvalley

New Stock - More Colors - Winch Recovery Bandana

Winching Recover Bandana
Click for higher resolution image
We have our new stock with many new colors (Red, Orange, Green, Blue) on hand. The Bandana is packed full of useful information and is a quick reference in the field when no DVD player is available."

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready!

Pick up or order the Winching DVD too! There is no substitute for hands on training. If you can, sign up for one of Badlands Off-Road Adventure’s Winching Clinics.

Warning – the Bandana and DVD are not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment that is used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in both the Winching Recovery Bandana and the "Basic to Advanced Winching and Recovery DVD" at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.

Winch Recovery Bandana Order Button

Order a Basic to Advanced Winching & Recovery DVD too!

Winch DVD
(Click picture for more details)

I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
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Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2013, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

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