You Gotta Have Good Wood to Go 4 Wheeling

Used as chock Use the 2x6 to drive up on a tire to break the bead.
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If you watch an experienced four wheeler unpack his vehicle, you’ll notice his gear includes various pieces of wood. Whattheheck, is he some kind of carpenter?

Nope, he’s just carrying some trail tools he’s found valuable. A muddy trail might call for something to keep his knees protected or to keep his high-lift jack from sinking into the muck. Ever tried to eat dinner off a paper plate held on your lap? Tried to cut a hose on the dirt? Well, I think you’re getting the idea. Good wood is necessary for a good time… off road.

Consider adding two or three select pieces of wood. These aren’t large pieces and, as you will see, each can be used in numerous ways. As a good start on your collection of good wood, I suggest: a piece of plywood roughly 12” to 15” by about 18” long and ¾” thick; a solid block: 4x5, 4x6,or 6x6 and around 18” long; and a 2x6 that is 2 or 3 feet long.

Where to Pack your Good Wood

Used as chock Use to chock wheels when changing a tire, winching, anytime lifting on a jack
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You can pack it almost anywhere. I cut my jack board (aka the plywood) in the shape of one of the floor mats. When I am not using it to separate gear that might rub against each other, it disappears under the floor mat. The other pieces of good wood find similar homes doing double duty as packing spacers and separators.

Here are Some Ways to Use Your Plywood

Jack board Notice the rope on the jack board? In mud, the rope makes it easier to retrieve the board when finished.
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  1. Jack board (pad) for the jack to sit on to keep it from sinking into mud and sand

  2. On top of the jack (bottle jack) to spread the weight when lifting on the oil pan to avoid damage to the oil pan
  3. As a trivet for a hot pan when cooking

  4. Cutting board for food - not sure how this works after using it as a jack board in the mud. Does the 15 minute rule apply?

  5. Cutting board when repairing a hose (slide board under the hose; in the engine compartment)

  6. Work bench when you need a smooth hard surface to change a U- joint

  7. Under a tire on soft surfaces when breaking a bead to fix a tire so that you only break the top bead and not the inside bead

  8. Protect sheet metal from the Hi-lift jack by placing it between the jack up right and the door panel. Not that I have ever seen a problem!

  9. Platform on the roof rack to span several rungs for smaller items – works great to secure a solar shower.

  10. Something to kneel on when you’re working on mud or snow.
  11. Protect the top of an airbag jack.

  12. Lap table: for eating around the campfire, in your vehicle; anywhere you need a flat writing surface.

  13. Shower floor - throw a couple of 2x4's under it to raise you out of the mud that is coming.

  14. Target backdrop - of course of you are a good shot there will be one big hole in the middle.

  15. As firewood in survival situation
Target Holder Plan on replacing it when you get home. Find a cheap source of wood if your jack board is used frequently as a target.
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Tire Chains The board keeps the tire off the chains and give room to adjust them.
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Some Ways to Use A Block of Wood

Used as chock Stand on like a stool to work in the engine compartment. Open the hood - quickest way to bring the group together!
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  1. Use to chock wheels when changing a tire, winching, anytime lifting on a jack

  2. Use to fill in a hole under a tire for traction

  3. Stand on like a stool to work in the engine compartment

  4. Buffer between areas when packing the vehicle

  5. Under (or on top of) a jack to gain extra height

  6. Between the axle and frame to support vehicle with broken spring

  7. Sit on it around camp fire (forgot your chair) or as a foot rest. Watch out for splinters.

  8. As a “dead man” to start the roll when recovering a upside down vehicle

  9. Level the vehicle so you can hook up an anti-sway bar or level the vehicle for a good night’s sleep in your roof top tent

  10. Drive tire upon to lift it a bit when putting tire chains on

  11. As a dead blow when you need force without damage from a hammer – for example, while removing bearings, seals, you need to push sheet metal out

  12. Good paper weight to hold down one side of a map in the wind or to keep the table cloth from blowing away. As a bonus you can set a hot pot on so you don’t melt the table cloth.

  13. Something to put a watermelon on top of before you hit it with a 12ga.

  14. As fire wood in survival situation
Lap table Brush the mud off your jack board and use it as a lap table for supper by the fire.
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Campfire stool Sit on your good block of wood just like you planned it that way. Don't admit you forgot your chair!
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Ways to Use A 2x6

Used as chock Not only does the block keep the table cloth from blowing away but a hot pot can be set on it.
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  1. Varmint whacker – snakes or mice that get into the tent

  2. Ramp – one use is to drive your vehicle up on a tire laying on the ground in order to break the bead.

  3. Lever

  4. Fire poker – this is a high risk use. Someone may not recognize it as your “good piece of wood” and pitch it into the fire at the end of the night.

  5. Straight edge & Ruler (mark it off in one inch increments before leaving home). Could be useful to see how deep the water is before driving in. Or use it to scrape a level spot for your tent.

  6. Jam between the foot brake and the seat so you check if your brake lights are working

  7. As firewood in survival situation

As you can see, there are lots of uses for simple pieces of wood. How many other items do you carry that have so much versatility? They can make your expedition a pleasure and, best of all, the price is right…FREE at your local construction site! Pack these pieces before your next trip. You probably will need to use a good piece of wood at some point.

When you have good wood you will be looking for a place to use it.
Check Brakes Need to check your brake lights by yourself?
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Jack board Nice cutting board. Not sure I want to dice my salad on it.
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# # # #

Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures

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April Schedule

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  1. April 06 Getting Started Off-Road Driving - LA area

  2. April 07 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic

  3. April 12 Death Valley Expedition

  4. April 27 Getting Started Off-Road Driving - San Diego area

  5. April 28 Advanced Beginner Clinic - San Diego Area CA

  6. June 07 Sign up for the Wilderness Advanced First Aid class near Gorman CA. See details below.


Wilderness Advanced First Aid Course June 7, 8, 9 & 10, 2013

Mark these dates on your calendar or sign up now so you don't forget.
WFA Clinic Example

The Wilderness Advanced First Aid clinic will provide you with skills, knowledge and training to handle life threatening medical emergencies and allows you to be better prepared to protect your family in an emergency. Wilderness Advanced First Aid is a four day immersion into general medical concepts and Basic Life Support skills. This course teaches what to do with a medical emergency when help is miles away and calling 911 isn’t an option. If you plan to become a Wilderness First Responder, this is the first 4 days of the 8 day Wilderness First Response course. You can take the second 4 days at a later time (within 3 years).

" The Wilderness First Aid was one of the MOST USEFULL clinics I have ever attended, due in large part to the effort you and Josh put in to make it all possible. "
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Note - this is a four day class and you must be at least 18 years old. If you are interested follow these links.

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

Winch Recovery Bandana

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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.

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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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