6 Nifty Gifts for the Outdoors Person in Your Life

It’s that time of the year again. Is your Christmas shopping complete? If not, I have some great suggestions for you. These unique and practical gifts are sure to be appreciated by the outdoors person on your list. If you’re hard-pressed to find that perfect gift, look no further than below.

Element Fire Extinguisher

Element brand fire extinguisher: I was really intrigued when I first heard about this approximately a year ago. I was struck by its small and lightweight design. What’s really fascinating is how the Element operates.

Unlike traditional fire extinguishers, this doesn’t expel dry chemical under pressure. Instead, a chemical reaction creates a nontoxic fire retardant. You strike the top of the unit with its cap, and the chemical reaction discharges firefighting chemical.

The manufacturer claims this fire extinguisher will operate for up to 50 seconds, which is approximately five times that of a 5 lb. dry chemical fire extinguisher. And the chemical is nontoxic, will not remove breathable oxygen in a confined space, and won’t leave a residue on your vehicle or engine.

Each extinguisher weighs just over a half a pound and is designed to fight any type of fire.

These are small enough to mount nearly anywhere in the vehicle. Even if you have a traditional fire extinguisher, consider buying an Element extinguisher and mounting it in a convenient location. I have two: one in each of my vehicles.

A little bigger than a flare.

Unlike conventional fire extinguishers, the Element can’t be recharged but never expires. The chemical is consumed in the process, and the unit must be replaced. At $80, the Element extinguisher is a bit pricey. But considering how effective it is, that’s a good deal.
Made in Italy, the Element fire extinguisher is being sold by more and more outlets and online.

www.Elementfire.com

Gas Bag fuel bladder: Don’t have a roof rack, swing arm or trailer to transport a gas can? No worries. The Gas Bag bladder offers a convenient way to carry extra fuel. Its extremely sturdy fabric shell stands up to the rigors of outdoor motor sports. Tie the Gas Bag to your spare tire, and you have extra fuel for your trip.

The 5-gallon & 3-gallon bags.

The Gas Bag is offered in 1- to 5-gallon sizes. The empty bag folds or rolls up for easy storage.

I own a 3-gallon and a 5-gallon, and have found them to be quite useful.

The Gas Bag starts at about $150 for a 1-gallon size. Keep in mind that they’re intended only for temporary transport of fuel, not long-term storage. And they’re not CARB (California Air Resources Board)-approved.

Made in the U.S., the Gas Bag fuel bladder is available through the manufacturer’s website and several online vendors.

Howard Leight Impact Sport ear muffs: Great for shooters. They allow you to carry on a normal conversation but still provide good hearing protection against loud noises.

It’s the electronics that do the trick. The ear muffs automatically react to gun shots (and other loud noises), providing significant noise suppression.. Yet you can still carry on a normal conversation.

Howard Leight Electronic Ear protection

They have a low profile and are pretty comfortable. The adjustable headband allows the ear muffs to fit snuggly over most any noggin. That is, unless you wear eyeglasses. I heard that the firm offers a grooved piece for the ear muffs, but I haven’t been able to find that anywhere.

At roughly $60, I feel they’re the best electronic ear muff for the money. You can always upgrade to the Pro. But I think you’ll like these.

The Howard Leight Impact Sport ear muffs are available online and at major sporting goods stores.

Ken Onion edition, Work Sharp knife and tool sharpener: Normally I’m not a fan of motorized knife sharpeners. It’s too easy to “burn” a knife and take the temper out. The Work Sharp sharpeners are different.

For starters, it offers several speeds. You control how fast the sharpening belt runs and you use a trigger to start and stop the belt for each pass. They include five sharpening belts in the package. Start with a really course one to get the shape right, then work your way to the smooth edges that you like. Choose from about a half-dozen cutting angles ranging from 15 degrees to 30 degrees. The instructions and the tool implement everything I have ever learned about knife sharpening.

Work Sharp

Bottom line: You have a lot of control over the sharpening process (much like with manual sharpeners). The result is a properly sharpened blade.

I’ve had to change my mind about using a powered knife sharpener since I got this one.

The Ken Onion edition knife and tool sharpener runs about $130, but is a good value. You can find it in sporting goods stores, home centers and online retailers.

“Camping and Woodcraft” by Horace Kephart: Kephart was a writer for Field & Stream magazine. He wrote the first edition to this book in 1906 and released an expanded edition around 1917.

Camping & Woodcraft by Horace Kephart

Drawing heavily on articles of his Field & Stream columns, “Camping and Woodcraft” offers a fascinating look at outdoors life in the early part of the 20th century. Long before electronic gadgets took over our lives, campers and other outdoorsfolks had to get by with basic skills. Things like how to use a compass and read a map. How to collect firewood and start a good fire. And the fundamentals of hunting, fishing and woodworking.

Yes, his information is a century old, but much of it is relevant today. Plus, it’s just fun reading. Anyone who enjoys the outdoors will relish Kephart’s tales.

Look for a reprint of “Camping and Woodcraft” online. Avoid the pricey collectors editions.

Colby replacement tire valves: These are very practical for four wheelers. Colby valve stems make quick work of changing valve stems. You don’t have to break the bead. Instead, pull out the existing valve stem and insert a Colby. The entire process takes two or three minutes. Air up, and get back on the trail.

The left one can be reused.

Colby tire valves are sold in packs of two. You can find them wherever automotive parts are sold.

There you have it. Seven very useful gift ideas for this holiday season. Remember that there’s always one more person on your shopping list: you. Feel free to treat yourself to one of these fine gifts. After all, you deserve it.

———————————————

I’d like to take a moment and say “thank you” to all my clients, business partners and friends. Four-wheeling wouldn’t be the same without you. It’s always a pleasure to go off road with like-minded individuals. Whether for three hours or three days, each trip was a memorable adventure. I hope you felt the same way.

May you and yours enjoy a happy holiday season and a great new year.

#   #   #


Did you miss the previous articles? Here is a list of all articles in 2019


The 2020 schedule of clinics and adventures trips has been posted on the web site.

All dates are posted to our web site. You can register for any 2020 event now except Wilderness First Aid class, Easter Safari, Rubicon trip and a few others. We are taking reservations (try the online reservation) now for those events and will notify you after Jan 2, 2020 when the official registration opens up.

Following is the complete list of clinics for 2020. Be sure to check the web site for possible changes.

January 2020
January 11, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
January 12, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
January 18, 2020 Winching Clinic
January 25, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
January 26, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
January 25, 2020 Sand Dune Off-Road Driving – Oceano Dunes

February 2020
February 01, 2020 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic
February 08, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
February 09, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
February 22, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
February 23, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
February 22, 2020 Starting Rock Crawling

March 2020
March 14, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
March 15, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
March 20, 2020 Death Valley Adventure
March 21, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
March 22, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
March 28, 2020 Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Course
March 28, 2020 Self-Recovery Clinic
March 29, 2020 Winching Clinic

April 2020
April 01, 2020 San Rafael Club Run
April 05, 2020 Easter Safari
April 18, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
April 19, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
April 25, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
April 26, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area

May 2020
May 02, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
May 03, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
May 09, 2020 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic
May 16, 2020 Winching Clinic

June 2020
June 06, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
June 07, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
June 13, 2020 Starting Rock Crawling
June 20, 2020 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic
June 26, 2020 Field Day – Info coming soon

July 2020
July 11, 2020 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic
July 18, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
July 19, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
July 25, 2020 Starting Rock Crawling

August 2020
August 01, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 02, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 06, 2020 Rubicon Adventure
August 22, 2020 Sand Dune Off-Road Driving – Oceano Dunes

September 2020
September 12, 2020 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic
September 19, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 20, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 26, 2020 Winching Clinic

October 2020
October 02, 2020 Borrego Fest – Info coming soon
October 10, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
October 11, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
October 16, 2020 Death Valley Adventure
October 24, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
October 25, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area

November 2020
November 14, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
November 15, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
November 21, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
November 22, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
November 28, 2020 Turkey Day Club Run

December 2020
December 05, 2020 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic
December 12, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
December 12, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
December 13, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
December 13, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
December 29, 2020 Saline New Years Deal


73 KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.

If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/w/contact-us.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.

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, 4×4 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 2019, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

 

Inspect Your Vehicle – 100 Times+

Track bar broke on way home.

You probably do a good job of inspecting your vehicle before each 4WD outing. After all, you’re concerned about possible breakdowns while on the trails. But does your vehicle get the same level of attention at the end of the trip? Drivers often are anxious to leave. They figure they’ll inspect it once they get home.

Fact is, you should inspect your vehicle after every trip. Short and long routes. Easy and challenging trails. It’s important to verify that your vehicle is prepared to make the journey home. The goal is to get home safely: not to make repairs best done in your shop at home.

The two major things you want to know is that you can steer and stop the vehicle. (Cover pictures is a result of a broken track bar at 60 MPH on the highway.)

Use a methodology for your inspection. That is, a systematic approach or process. It should have specific duties, ensure the vehicle receives a thorough inspection, and is repeatable. Use a checklist if you feel more comfortable.

My process is to divide it into three major steps:

  1. Walk around the outside (do the “360”). Inspect the outside and underneath.
  2. Look under the hood.
  3. Inspect the inside of the vehicle.

Develop a pattern you follow – top to bottom, front to back, and/ or left to right.

Go through this entire process often. While this article is in response to a recent question “What should I inspect after a trip”, it is a great process to follow before the trip.  The goal is to burn the vehicle into your memory; create muscle memory. The goal is to be so familiar with the vehicle when it’s in good working order you’ll notice even the smallest issue.

Understand that it will take dozens & dozens of inspections to become really familiar with your vehicle. If it’s a newer vehicle, it could be awhile before you see a problem. But be patient. Follow these steps religiously, and each post-trip inspection will be done properly. Have you done it 100 times & found nothing? Keep doing it!

Inspect the outside, top to bottom

Begin with the 360 walk around. You’re looking for significant issues and damage. Look for anything loose or hanging down, particularly under the vehicle.

Smashed tail pipe had to be cut off after prying it open several times.

Check that the tail pipe is not crushed flat.

Watch for a puddle or dripping under the car. If the liquid has a pink or green color, smells like oil or gear oil, you’ll need to take a closer look under the engine. Don’t be alarmed if you see clear liquid. It’s probably condensation from the air conditioning.

 

Rear control arm is missing some metal

Now get down to ground level and closely inspect underneath.

Look behind each tire. Any liquid running down? You could have a cracked brake line.

Inspect the tires for cuts or bulges.

Broken lug nut probably a result of loose lug nuts.

Test the lug nuts. Tighten any that are loose.

Missing nuts and bolts will jump out at you after many inspections but loose or slightly loose will be difficult to see. You need hands on and a wrench to find these problems.

Legendary four-wheeler Del Albright wrote a great article about inspecting your vehicle after a trip. You can read it here.

Have someone wiggle the steering wheel and look at each tie rod end for play. Be sure to check the connection to the pitman arm and don’t forget to check the sector shaft for bent or twisted. Check the bolts to the steering gear box.

Check the nuts and bolts on the suspension system. Tighten any loose nuts. It’s not uncommon for nuts to fall off shock absorbers. Replace missing ones from your supply of spare parts.

Have you been playing in the mud? When mud splashed onto the radiator dries, it plugs up the cooling. Blow the dried mud out of the fins with your compressor on the trail and power wash it at home.

If you drove in snow or in a muddy/dirty environment, clean the windows, brake lights, and headlights.

Look specifically at the bottom of the differential cover (on solid axles) for leaks or seeps. If the bottom cover is bent, hammer it back and check the fluid level. If it is a seep, tighten the differential cover bolts and check the fluid. In both cases, make a full assessment and repair or replace the diff cover and seal at home.

Finally, inspect the gear on the top of your vehicle. Make sure the tool boxes, firewood, camping gear, and everything else are latched and secured.

Pop the hood for a look

What is all this stuff?

You don’t need to be a mechanic, as you’re looking for obvious problems. Check fluid levels in the master cylinder and radiator overflow tank. Most vehicles now have clear bottles, so it is easy to make a quick visual check of fluid levels. Carry a few bottles of each critical fluid. A very low level, requires additional inspection for possible root cause.

Use a hands-on approach. Put your hand on each cap. Give all tank caps a light twist. Inspect the battery and cables. Try to lightly twist each clamp and gently pull up.  The cables should be tight to the terminals, and the battery still secure in its carriage. Inspect all the hoses and belts. Are they in good shape and attached firmly?

Make sure the vacuum hoses are still connected. That’s one of those items that jumps out at you if you inspect your vehicle repeatedly. A quick glance will tell you whether they’re still on the nipples.

On a very dusty trail, shake out the air filter.

Clear the inside of the vehicle

Test the foot brake. If you recently drove through water, the brakes and rotors will be a little slippery. As you depart, tap on the brakes a couple times to dry them.

Make sure everything is put away and secured. In a difficult recovery, lots of gear is moved and pulled out. Your vehicle might have been off camber and difficult to access all storage areas.  Now take the time to stow it properly where it should be. And that it’s secure. You don’t want this stuff flying around during the drive back.

If need be, properly rearrange the navigation equipment, communication equipment, safety equipment, recovery equipment, and food. Check your fuel, too. Do you have enough to get back?

A thorough inspection is important after every 4WD excursion. You will notice problems before you hit the road. But even if there aren’t any problems, the regular inspection builds that muscle memory – the detailed familiarity with your vehicle that is so useful.

Use a methodology for your inspection. That is, a systematic process that can be followed dozens and even hundreds of time. You can use Del’s and my methodology if you like.

This is not a substitute for a thorough inspection at home after you clean it removing all dirt and mud. A clean vehicle and engine allows a better inspection.

But remember that some issues can’t be seen. No external inspection, for example, will detect metal fatigue that’s about to happen somewhere. Therefore, problems can and will occur while four-wheeling. But a process like this keeps you a little ahead of the curve.

Coil spring broke. No inspection would find the start of that dark spot.

#    #    #


Did you miss the previous articles?


Some Upcoming Events (click on the link for details)

 

The 2020 schedule of clinics and adventures trips has been posted on the web site.

All dates are posted to our web site. You can register for any 2020 event now except Wilderness First Aid class, Easter Safari, Rubicon trip and a few others. We are taking reservations (try the online reservation) now for those events and will notify you after Jan 2, 2020 when the official registration opens up.

November 2019

November 16 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
November 17 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
November 30 After Thanksgiving Adventure

December 2019

December 07 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
December 08 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
December 14 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
December 15 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area

January 2020
January 11, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
January 12, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
January 18, 2020 Winching Clinic
January 25, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
January 26, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
January 25, 2020 Sand Dune Off-Road Driving – Oceano Dunes


Stockings that need to be filled up for Christmas.

This might be a good time to start thing about Christmas gifts. We have a few that might work. These are all relativity small in size and could go in a stocking or under the tree. In addition, we can produce a gift certificate for any class or adventure.

Trailhead Automatic Deflators

 

 

 

 

 

Badlands Winching Recovery Bandana

 

 

 

 

 

San Rafael Swell Off Road by Ed & Janice Helmick

San Rafael Swell Off Road Guide Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

UTP Tire Repair Kit

 

 

 

 


73 KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.

If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/w/contact-us.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
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, 4×4 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 2019, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Are You Keyed Up?

Borrego Badlands – not a great place to lose a key

Last month I impressed upon you the importance of storing the winch controller near the driver’s seat. (Read the article here.) This month I offer an even more important reminder: Buy at least two additional copies of the ignition key. Carry an extra copy when you’re out. Whether four-wheeling or just enjoying the great outdoors, there are numerous ways to lose a key or lock yourself out. Without a spare, you’re up a creek of a different sort. Until you experience it, you can’t imagine the sense of helplessness.

Where to store the keys

Keep one copy at home. When in need, you can ask a friend to drive you home. Alternatively, he could fetch it himself, or have a good friend bring it to you. (If you’re uncomfortable allowing others to enter your home, consider leaving the key with a trusting neighbor.)

Another key is on you, of course.

Give a key to one of your passengers. If you’re incapacitated or have to leave, your passenger can drive your vehicle out.

Other times, that person just may need to access your vehicle to retrieve an item. You could be far away or preoccupied — no problem.

Another possibility is to hide a key on the vehicle. Here are some options.

Use a magnetic key holder. Easiest method, as it doesn’t require any tools, parts or drilling. But I don’t recommend them. The magnets aren’t that strong, and they tend to fall off. Ironically, you may lose your keys. And someone else could find them – possibly near or under your vehicle.

Attach behind a license plate. More secure than a magnet but requires some work. Remove the license plate and attach the key with one of the bolts. You may have to drill into the head of the key. (Be careful to avoid harming the chip. Actually this works best with a “flat” key) The license plate bolt should be a type that can be loosened with a common item like a coin.

Tape to wiring harness. Place the key in a small plastic bag or container. Tape it to the wiring harness using electrical tape. Choose a spot such that the package looks natural. Anyone looking at it would figure the object is part of the ignition system.

If your vehicle has inside hood release, consider a spot on the underside of the frame or engine compartment. Just make sure you can get to it easily.

Buy a real estate lock box Need a quick temporary way to store the key outside the vehicle? Buy a real estate lock box. You’ll run the clasp through the recovery eye on your bumper. Remove the lock before traveling, however. It’ll bang around the entire drive.

You may think of other methods. Just keep in mind that recovering the key has to be easy enough to do while in a bind, when you have limited tools, and are unable to pop the hood latch. Try to be more imaginative then the thief looking for your hidden key. What appears simple in the comfort of your garage may not be so while deep in a national forest.

 

Hiding a push button (fob) key in the car

Many new vehicles use an RF (radio frequency) transmitter (key) in place of inserting a physical key. Have the transmitter in your pocket and just push the start button. In order to hide such a key in or on the vehicle, it is necessary to block the RF signal. A locksmith can sell you a special bag to place it in, or you can wrap it in tin foil.

Generally, the transmitter comes with a “flat” key (see definition below) to lock the trunk and glove box when turning it over to valet parking. That flat key will open the doors but may not shut off the car alarm.

You will need to refresh the battery in any stored transmitter from time to time. However, Jeep transmitters can start the vehicle even when the transmitter battery is dead. Simply touch the transmitter directly to the start button.

Start Button popped out

In other models, the start button pops out. The nose of the transmitter is inserted and is turned just like a key.

(To remove the button, insert the flat key under the button at the 6 o’clock positions and gently pry it out. You may need to support the top of the button. The first time is scary, since you don’t realize how easy it come out.  May sure the button is upright when you press it back in.)

Key hole after Start Button is removed

Key hole after Start Button is removed

Flat key a good alternative at times

Flat key on the left – chip key on right

A flat key, in case you’re unfamiliar, is a like the old, non-chip style. It’s cut the same way, but because it doesn’t contain the chip, it won’t start your vehicle. You still have access to your vehicle, however. Once there, you can dig up the key you hid inside. (Just remember where you stashed it!)

A flat key fits in a wallet or other small pouch. They’re cheap, too. The average price is around $5. Compare that to $60 to $100 or more for a typical chip key.

“Locked out” isn’t always the case

We were congregating at the trail head just minutes from the start of the trip. One of the attendees came running from the gas station across the street. He was in a real panic. He locked his key in the car and was afraid he’d miss the trip.

I went over for a look think there was very little I could do. As I walked around the vehicle, I grabbed door handles. Aha! One was unlocked.

Isn’t that often the case? You think you always lock your doors. But sometimes you forget one.

Another time my group was at a gas station after an excursion. A young man at another pump had locked his key in the car and was looking for help.

The windows were cracked about an inch, and he had tried to pop a lock with a long wire. No luck. Turns out his car had the toggle-style door locks. Probably impossible to flip with a wire.

One of my guys suggested we try a dune flag. He’d insert it in one window and push the lock on the opposite side door. What an idea! The flag pole was narrow enough to fit through the window and stiff enough to push the lock button.

Check each door and hatchback (if so equipped). If you have a Jeep, try the lift gate. On older vehicles, you can sometimes pry over that to open that hatchback. Always fully assess the situation. You may not be locked out – or out of options.

“Hey, I never lose my keys!”

There’s always a first time, buddy. And once you do, you’ll be so glad you had a backup plan in place. Assuming you do.

Under what circumstances might you lose your keys?

– While surfing or swimming

– Canoeing or kayaking, and you tip over

– Bungee jumping or riding a roller coaster

– Too much partying around the campfire one night

– Or just lying on the beach soaking up the rays

You’ll notice that this issue isn’t confined to four-wheeling. Any time you’re away from home you should be mindful of your keys. Just as you are with your wallet.

Right now, while you’re thinking about it, create a back-up plan. If need be, have a spare key (or two) made at the next opportunity. Pack it for your next trip. That small object offers tremendous peace of mind.

 

#   #   #

 


Some related article


Did you miss the previous articles?


Eagle Canyon Emery Co. UT

Some Upcoming Events (click on the link for details)

The 2020 schedule of events is now posted on the web site.

October 2019

October 18 Death Valley Expedition
October 26 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
October 27 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area

November 2019

November 02 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
November 03 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
November 16 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
November 17 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
November 30 After Thanksgiving Adventure

December 2019

December 07 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
December 08 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
December 14 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
December 15 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area

January 2020
January 11, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
January 12, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
January 18, 2020 Winching Clinic
January 25, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
January 26, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
January 25, 2020 Sand Dune Off-Road Driving – Oceano Dunes


San Rafael Swell Off Road Guide Book & Companion Map $38.50

We just received our new stock of books and maps. 

At almost 300 pages, “San Rafael Swell Off Road: A Trail Guide to 42 Destinations for Automobiles, 4WD Trucks & ATVs” is a guide to the in the San Rafael Swell area of Emery County. The desert area is ringed by small towns like Price, Green River and Castle Dale.

“Every chapter includes helpful advice for novice or experienced explorers of the area, such as, “Easy dirt road for high clearance automobile, although four-wheel drive is recommended to several sandy sections along the road. “according to Ed Helmick the author.

the San Rafael Swell area of south-central Utah. This is an area that provides approximately 2,000 square miles of fantastic scenery, fascinating history, and fun off-road adventures. The only paved roads in the San Rafael Swell are Interstate 70, which bisects the Swell in an east-west direction for 67 miles, and a spur of I-70 called the Moore Cutoff. The major difference between off-roading in the Moab area and the Swell area is fewer people, and the area is more remote in regard to the distances to small towns with services. Utah towns that ring the Swell are: Price, Green River, Hanksville, Cainsville, Emery, Castle Dale, Huntington, and Cleveland.
The companion map, the National Geographic San Rafael Swell (#712) comes as a package deal with your book order.

order one: https://www.4x4training.com/w/product/san-rafael-swell-off-road-guide-book/


73 KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin,
President Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.

If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/w/contact-us.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
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, 4×4 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 2019, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Where is Your Winch Controller?

Mt. Patterson was our destination that beautiful autumn day. Part of the Sweetwater Range and located on the western edge of the Great Basin, Mt. Patterson’s summit offers a commanding view of that area.

The drive entails a slow climb on a one-lane shelf road. I was leading a group of seven vehicles up the long switchback. The road can be a little dicey if you encounter anyone coming down. There aren’t too many places to pull off.

At one point a party of six motorcycles came up from behind. Being courteous folks, we let the cyclists slip past. To create additional room, one driver decided to back up. His intention was to aim for the trail’s edge. But he almost went too far, dropping two wheels off the side.

Almost no weight on the tires on the driver’s side.

That was scary enough. As you can see from the image, the vehicle rests precariously on that edge. He was really off camber with a steep drop on the right.

Winch to the rescue – maybe

I made my way to the scene to formulate a plan. Another problem quickly presented itself: His winch controller was buried somewhere in the rear of the vehicle. The driver didn’t want to exit, fearing the vehicle might tip over. (His weight, he felt, kept the vehicle in place.) And we didn’t want to open the tailgate. Much of his stuff could go sliding out.

I asked for a volunteer to dig for the winch kit. Another driver gingerly crawled in from the driver’s side passenger door after we attached to the rear bumper. After several tense moments, he found the controller. We were in luck.

I attached my winch to the recover eye on the vehicle’s rear bumper. This prevented it from sliding downhill. We attached his Amsteel-Blue synthetic winch line rope to a stationary object, and winched the vehicle forward.

A successful result!

My view

Where to store the winch controller

Considering all the gear that’s needed for a 4WD trip, the winch controller generally doesn’t get much consideration. Perhaps you rarely use the winch. Odds are the controller and related gear are stored in the back in the winch kit bag. You figure you will have time to dig it out when you need it. Not a bad conclusion, since winch recovery should be a slow and deliberate, calculated process.

But if you own a winch, you’re likely to need it sometime under circumstances when you may not be able to access the winch recovery bag. Keep the controller handy.

Good locations include the center console, glove compartment, under or behind the front seat, or in the map pocket in the driver’s door.

The winch controller will fit in a number of small spaces within reach.

Even better, have two controllers: one up front and the other in back in your winch kit. Controllers are inexpensive ($99 or less) and small. And critical when winching is called for. Why two controllers? You have a backup if one fails, and it is just convenient to have all your stuff in one bag in less trying situations.

Going a step further, it’s not a bad idea to also pack a tree strap, pulley, and a couple screw pin bow shackles close at hand. Then you’re fully equipped for winching.

Important reminders from this incident

This incident ended well. Fortunately, we were able to hook up his vehicle both front and back. And, we dug out his winch controller.

Two important lessons come from this.

1. Store the winch controller close to the driver’s seat. It is too important of a tool to stuff somewhere deep in your vehicle – especially in the back.

This is yet another example of why you shouldn’t go off-road alone. Imagine you’ve just rolled downhill backward. You’ve come to rest against a rock or other hard surface. The tailgate is crunched in, and your recovery gear is buried in the lower back of your vehicle. How will you get to the necessary gear?

2. Remember the proper method for backing up when on a shelf road. Always face the danger, the cliff edge. Back up toward the hill, keeping the cliff edge in front.

Don’t worry about the rear of your vehicle. At worst, you’ll roll into some brush or maybe a tree. But if you’re pointed the other way, you won’t be able to see the edge well. And you could go sailing down the mountainside.

Very close call.

Whether to buy a winch is a personal call. Several factors go into the decision. But if you install a winch, be sure to keep the winch controller near the driver’s seat. It does you no good buried in the back. At a minimum, you’ll waste valuable time digging for it. Worst case, you could be really stuck.

Treat the winch controller like a wallet. Keep it handy.

#   #   #


Did you miss the previous article?


Some Upcoming Events (click on the link for details)

September 2019

September 28 Tire Repair & Hi-lift Mini Clinic – Hawthorne, CA

October 2019
October 05 OAUSA Borrego Fest
October 12 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
October 13 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
October 18 Death Valley Expedition
October 26 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
October 27 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area

November 2019
November 02 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
November 03 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
November 04 Off-Road Hall of Fame Induction & Awards Ceremony
November 05 SEMA – Las Vegas
November 16 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
November 17 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
November 30 After Thanksgiving Adventure

December 2019
December 07 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
December 08 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
December 14 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
December 15 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area


73 KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!

Tom Severin, President Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.

If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/w/contact-us.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.

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, 4×4 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 2019, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Be a Guest-Focused Trail Leader

On the trail with friends

Four-wheeling is best enjoyed in groups. (Indeed, I stress group outings for safety reasons.) At times you will be a participant. Others times you will want to be the Trail Leader. You’re proud of your skills and want to showcase the trails you enjoy exploring.

Being a Trail Leader isn’t a particularly difficult task. But it does entail many responsibilities. In 10 Qualities of a Great Trail Leader , I touch on the role mostly from the technical side.

This article takes the guests’ perspective. Specifically, how to ensure that your guests enjoy the best trip possible. (Note that I don’t use the word “customer.” These people don’t pay to participate.) Certain aspects are beyond your control. But many others can be influenced by you.

To be a guest-focused Trail Leader, you must keep their interests first and foremost. Provide an experience that you’d like to have if you were a guest. Here, then, are my tips for being a guest-focused Trail Leader.

  1. Greet arrivals promptly. Newer riders, especially, tend to feel a little out of place. Approach as quickly as you can, and greet them warmly. Discuss a few of the trip details (when the meeting will start, where the bathroom is, and so forth). If you’re involved in a conversation, pull away for a minute or so to greet the guest. Try to start everyone’s trip on a good note.
  2. Let yours guest pick their camp site first.

    Don’t abuse your position of arriving first. Let others select the campsites, parking spots or other prime locations. This could be near or far from the bathroom. Or one which offers the best stargazing possibilities.

3. Incorporate bathroom breaks (10-100s) during the day. Have one within about 45 minutes of a meal. All that coffee and other liquids consumed will need an outlet. If you can find a campsite with a pit toilet, you’ll be the hero of the hour.

Emphasize that guests can take a bathroom break whenever they need to. Tell them to call on the radio if they need a pit stop. Then quickly find a suitable location. Keep in mind that some guests take their 10-100 break during a scheduled sightseeing stop.

Four-wheeling can be arduous at times. But it need not be grueling. After all, you’re not running an endurance course. Frequent bathroom breaks aid in the comfort level.

4. Allow time for hobbies. Guests generally like to take pictures. Others may be interested in the unique plant or animal life in the area. Within reason, give them time to explore their passions. Set a time frame, though, so you can stay on schedule. Let your guests spread their wings a bit while stopped at a location.

Ask them to take a radio with them whenever they get out of the vehicle. That way, you can let them know when it is time to go. Or god forgive, they get lost you have some chance of finding them.

This flows somewhat from point #2. When you provide guests a little freedom from the schedule, you help ensure they have a more pleasurable experience.

Take breaks, take pictures, enjoy.

5. Don’t force yourself to stay on your itinerary. Manage the time well and be willing to make adjustments. If you’re running late, skip one or more lesser stops.

Avoid obstacles that could cause problems or otherwise slow you down. Judge the difficulty of an obstacle you just went through. If it was difficult or risky, spot everyone. If it is challenging but does not require spotting, drive through slowly. Then stop and wait for the entire group to clear the obstacle. Keep a close eye on the clock and your guests’ driving abilities.

Guests like a challenging ride, but keep it fun and on time. Along those lines, if you sense that drivers are fatigued or losing interest, try to find a camping area. Give them a break so they’ll be refreshed for another day.

6. Make prudent decisions. If the weather turns ugly, help the other drives cope. Should one or more vehicles suffer breakdowns, think hard about whether to continue. It’s OK to seek input from the group, but the decision must come from you, the Trail Leader. Don’t jeopardize life or vehicle simply to visit an interesting location.

Let them discover. Stifle the impulse to gush on the radio about the awesome sight just around the corner. Let your guests experience it first. Recall how you felt the first time you encountered incredible scenery or a historical landmark. Give your guests the chance to experience that “Christmas morning” feeling. But feel free to fill in the details and point out “stuff” easily overlooked.

Make it wow..

7. Share your knowledge. Act like a mentor. Patiently show guests how to pitch a tent, tie the perfect knot, set up their campsite…whatever they need help with. This gets back to the tone you set at the beginning. If you came across friendly and helpful, your guests will feel comfortable asking those basic questions.

8. Be a tour guide, also. Provide fascinating details about the land formation, ghost town, or cave you are visiting. Try to go beyond what is found with a quick Internet search. If you can arrange to meet with a local authority, that’s even better. Imagine what an old timer or conservation warden could share about that ghost town, mining encampment, or wildlife.

9. Be a courteous listener. Everybody loves to talk about their improvements, inventions, and gadgets for the vehicle. And how they organize their campsite and equipment. Even their hobbies. Resist the temptation to jump in and “one up” the comment. Show genuine interest and enthusiasm for what the person is saying. Just sit back and enjoy the information.Listening could be much broader. Be sensitive to how they’re feeling about the trip. Feel free to change the schedule based on what you’re told or overhear. Remember: It’s not about you. It’s about them.

All of what I offer here is common sense. As the old adage says, treat others as you would like to be treated. When you invite others to partake in our wonderful hobby, do your best to make it the best experience for them. They will enjoy themselves. And you know what? You will, too.


Did you miss the previous article?


Some Upcoming Events (click on the link for details)

 

September 2019

September 14 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area

September 15 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area

September 21 Winching: Basic to Advanced – Mojave

September 28 Tire Repair & Hi-lift Mini Clinic – Hawthorne, CA

October 2019

October 05 OAUSA Borrego Fest

October 12 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area

October 13 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area

October 18 Death Valley Expedition

October 26 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area

October 27 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area

November 2019

November 02 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area

November 03 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area

November 04 Off-Road Hall of Fame Induction & Awards Ceremony

November 16 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area

November 17 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area

November 30 After Thanksgiving Adventure

 

December 2019

December 07 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area

December 08 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area

December 14 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area

December 15 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area


73 KI6FHA

I hope to see you on the trails!

Tom Severin, President Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.

4-Wheel Drive School

310-613-5473

www.4x4training.com

Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.

 

If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/w/contact-us.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.

 

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, 4×4 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 2019, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

 

Items That Don’t Belong on a 4WD Trip

Glorious Day on the Trail

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll recall that I often stress the virtues of proper packing for your 4WD trip. Having the right gear and supplies can make or break a four-wheeling experience.
At the same time, taking the wrong stuff can be bad for you, your vehicle and the environment. What kinds of items am I talking about? The following list will get you started. The categories showcase the issue.

Environmental Responsibility:

• Glass beer bottles: From the evidence I’ve seen, beer drinking can lead to irresponsible behavior. Empty bottles are tossed on the ground or into the fire pit. Broken glass litters the campground, which is a real hazard. If you want to drink beer, bring aluminum cans (and make sure you recycle).

• Wood with nails: Most nails end up in the fire pit. But some get scattered about, where they get stepped on and puncture tires.

• Processed or treated wood: This wood gives off noxious fumes when burned. Burn only pure wood and, ideally, wood that is thoroughly cured (gray in color).

On a related matter, don’t transport firewood more than about 50 miles. You risk spreading invasive bugs like the emerald ash borer.

• Mylar balloons: They get wrapped up in brush and simply litter the grounds (and waterways). Animals sometimes try to ingest the material or string.

Potentially Messy:

I cut the handles off to pack more efficiently. The standard holders do not handle extra large eggs.

• Raw eggs in the original grocery carton: There’s a high risk of breaking. The goo

works its way throughout the carton and glues other eggs together. It might also leak through the carton and gum up other food and containers in the fridge. A real mess. For health and safety, do not be tempted to crack a dozen eggs into a Nalgene bottle. That’s an easy way to introduce contaminates and salmonella. Eggs quickly spoil outside the protective shell.

If you want to pack raw eggs, store them in plastic egg containers. They come in multiple sizes, from one egg up to 12.

• Salsa dip in a plastic container: The lid can pop off during all the jostling of a typical 4WD trip. Then you have salsa all over the fridge/freezer or ice cooler. And if you like to keep the salsa and chips handy – in your lap – well, you soon have a very tasty but messy lap.

• Car-sick dog: No explanation needed.

Do you think this will make the trip?

Food, additional:
• Perishable items: Be careful with seafood, mayonnaise, and other foods that must be kept chilled. Consider eating or cooking those quickly.

• Large containers of condiments: Do you really need a large jar of pickles, ketchup or relish for a weekend adventure? Save precious space in your vehicle. Pack only the small containers of those and other food items.

 

Respect others:
• Loud radio or generator: Radios and generators have their place off road. Just keep the noise level down. That’s easy to do with a radio, of course. Place the generator as far from tents as possible. You could also craft a tent-like structure to help muffle the engine rumble.

• Human noise: We all like to have a good time while camping. Once the sun sets, make sure you lower the voice level, too. Allow other campers to sleep peacefully. Note that this doesn’t include snoring. However, if you snore loudly, please be kind to others!

• Trail mates: Leave any whiners behind (in town not on the trail).

Balloons in the wilderness

Wrong vehicle:
• All-wheel-drive vehicle: These don’t feature 4 Low, which is critical while four-wheeling. There are sections of nearly every trail that exceed the capability of an all-wheel-drive vehicle. Without 4 Low you won’t have enough power to go over boulders, up steep hills and heavy sand, or pull through snow or tough terrain.

Miscellaneous:
• Sandals: Always pack closed-toed footwear (boots are preferred). Your feet aren’t protected with sandals. Plenty of sharp, prickly things out there.

• Large, non-disposable, containers: They’re handy for storing quantities of food, firewood, and other consumables. Once you use up the products, you’re stuck with that space-killing container. Bring your supplies in a cardboard box, a bag, or soft-sided carrier. You can fold up the bag and stow it. You can break down the card box and put it in the Trasharoo for recycling.

• Firewood, Dutch oven or fireworks: If a fire restriction is in place, leave these at home.

• Illegal drugs: No explanation needed. But feel free to check laws regarding marijuana. Just understand that the state you live in and the one you’re traveling to may have different laws. Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs can seriously impair an individual’s judgment and reactions leading to an increased risk of accidents and injury. We require that all drivers are sober when driving.

Lastly, things that might not be necessary:
• Eye lash curler
• Tux (unless 4WD wedding is planned)

For a successful 4WD event, what you leave at home is just as important as what you take with you. As you pack your vehicle, ask yourself if you really need each item. You may discover others items that don’t belong.
# # #


Did you miss the previous article?
• 2019-06-14 Refresh Your First-Aid Kit
• 2019-05-20 Ham Radio Use Off-Road
• 2019-04-25 Four Wheeling Fears
• 2019-03-21 Safeguard Gear, Food from Varmints, Vagrants and Weather
• 2019-02-13 Do You Have a Tire Failure Strategy?
• 2019-01-16 How to Make Great Beef Jerky


Some Upcoming Events (click on the link for details)

August 2019
August 03 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 04 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 12 Rubicon Trip & Adventure
August 24 Sand & Dunes – Pismo

September 2019
September 14 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 15 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 21 Winching: Basic to Advanced – Mojave
September 28 Tire Repair & Hi-lift Mini Clinic – Hawthorne, CA

October 2019
October 05 OAUSA Borrego Fest
October 12 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
October 13 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
October 18 Death Valley Expedition
October 26 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
October 27 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area

November 2019
November 02 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
November 03 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
November 04 Off-Road Hall of Fame Induction & Awards Ceremony
November 05 SEMA – Las Vegas
November 16 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
November 17 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
November 30 After Thanksgiving Adventure

December 2019
December 07 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
December 08 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
December 14 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
December 15 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area


73 KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.

If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/w/contact-us.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.

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, 4×4 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 2019, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Refresh Your First-Aid Kit

Pelican cases make an excellent vehicle dependent First Aid container

Summer has arrived, which means the four-wheeling season is kicking into high gear. Now is a good time to inspect all your gear, including first-aid kits.

First-aid kits are easy to overlook. They’re usually tucked away and tend not to get used often. But when you did need one…well, it’s nice to have those supplies at hand. And comforting to know they’re in good shape.

You know that pain drugs, ointments and lotions lose potency over time. That’s why the containers and packages have expiration dates. Bandages and related supplies degrade over time as well.

Four-wheeling is tough on medical supplies, even those in a container. The jostling causes packets to tear and bottles to break. Dust and sand coat the products, potentially contaminating them.

Perhaps you just need to restock. Did you replace the supplies used during the most recent incident?

Why the first-aid kit needs your attention

Here are some reasons your first-aid kit needs refreshing.

Have not Looked at it in 6 months: Not looking inside the first aid kit for 6 months is enough of a reason to take a look. At a minimum you refresh your memory with the contents that you have available in the event of need.

Shared Kits: If others share the kit or have access, clean out all the garbage. This includes wadded up, discarded packaging.  Also throw out the other half of a 2 pack now open and possibly dirty and contaminated. Throw out open ointment tubes that may be contaminated. You do not know if the ointment was dispensed by rubbing the end of the tube directly on a wound.

Boo Boo Kit for Band-Aids and Pain Meds

Consider, establishing a “boo-boo” kit to treat the common, minor problems. Things like pain meds, splinter kit, and band-aids, to keep everyone out of the big kit.

Adhesives dry out: Heat and dry air take their toll on adhesives. Band-aids and tape no longer stick well.

Gloves deteriorate: They dry out and can tear, even when packaged.

Pack at least a half-dozen pair. You could go through several during an incident. Remember that you need to change gloves for each patient you attend to. Plus, other good Samaritans assisting may not have their own gloves. You cannot have enough gloves! In a large kit, pack gloves at the top of each compartment so they are available no matter what you are retrieving.

Damaged goods are suspect: They may not be sterile anymore. Inspect all packaging for tears, holes and other damage. Replace any supplies whose packages are not in pristine condition. Replace any items with yellowing packaging or discolored. Use gloves to remove and cleanup anything showing blood or that you suspect blood splatter.

Temperature extremes affect liquids: Ointments, creams and liquids exposed to extreme temperatures lose effectiveness. Check labels for the effective temperature ranges. Replace any products that may be compromised.

Remove Out of Date Treatment Methods: Get rid of that snake bite kit. We no longer slash and suck snake bites.

While you’re at it, consider replacing the batteries in your flashlight(s). That way you can count on getting light when you need it.

If you’re not sure whether something is good, replace it. If an item does not have a expiration date, write your purchase date on it. Then use your judgement when it should be replaced. Batteries are a good candidate to write installations date. Rotate them early to avoid acid leak damage.

Don’t like to toss out new-looking bandages and other products? Store them in the medicine cabinet at home. They’ll go fast enough. And at home, you have alternative solutions if in fact a Band-Aid will not stick.

Make a list of expiration dates to stay on top of them.

Type up a list of drugs and their expiration dates. Store that in the first-aid kit for quick reference.

A word about OTC pain killers. You may have heard or seen the term NSAID. That stands for nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAID drugs like Advil and Aleve fight pain, fever and inflammation. Drugs like Tylenol which are not an NSAID are designed just for pain and fever. They do not deal with inflammation. It’s good to have both types of medication on hand.

Refresh all your first-aid kits

You decided to inspect the first-aid kit in your 4WD vehicle. Great. But don’t forget about the kit in your:

– other vehicles, including motorcycle, motor home and boat

– cabin and other secondary home

– garage, tool room, shed

The supplies in some of these kits could vary. But all supplies degrade over time.

Update all your kits.

The right container is important

A good container is sturdy and water tight. Most off-the-shelf first-aid containers are plastic with a clasp mechanism. Inspect the container. Does it seem sturdy enough for off-road use? Will the clasp withstand multiple uses?

Pelican containers are designed to be sturdy and water tight. Consider buying one of those (or a similar model) for your first-aid supplies.

Hikers often carry soft-sided kit bags. Being soft, they can conform to many spaces in a vehicle. If you go that route, choose one that appears well made, or has received good reviews.

Regardless of the type of case used, inspect and clean it frequently. A light coat of wax on a zipper will extend its life. If the case is broken or cracked, find a replacement.

Epinephrine Certification
Allergic reactions caused by insect stings, food, and medications can turn into life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. In a severe case there is generalized hives, itching, swelling, tight scratchy throat, respiratory distress, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and altered mental status. Epinephrine is the primary treatment to save their life. Epinephrine is also used for severe cases of Asthma that do not respond to a rescue inhaler.

California has a program that allows you to acquire, carry and administer Epinephrine auto-injectors. You must take an approved EPI class and be certified in CPR/ AED. This is a quote from the California EMS Authority site:

“State laws have been updated to allow physicians to prescribe epinephrine auto-injectors to businesses and the general public with proper training and certification. The epinephrine certification card issued by the EMS Authority allows an individual to obtain a prescription for and administer an epinephrine auto-injector to a person experiencing anaphylaxis, with civil liability protection.”

For more information here is the link to the California web site https://emsa.ca.gov/epinephrine_auto_injector/

California is not unique. At least 25 states have some process for the lay-rescuer to stock and administer EPI.

If it has been a while, I recommended you take a First Aid Course. Wilderness Medical Associates, www.wildmed.com, offers courses from two, four or five days. These courses are geared for the kind of first aid we need when calling 911 is not an option.

First-aid kits are so important, every off-road vehicle should have one. If you don’t own a first-aid kit, buy or build one. Then inspect it regularly so the supplies will be ready if and when you need them.


Did you miss the previous article?


Some Upcoming Events (click on the link for details)

July 2019
July 13 Starting Rock Crawling
July 20 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
July 21 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 2019
August 03 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 04 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 12 Rubicon Trip & Adventure
August 24 Sand & Dunes – Pismo
September 2019
September 14 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 15 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 21 Winching: Basic to Advanced – Mojave
September 28 Tire Repair & Hi-lift Mini Clinic – Hawthorne, CA


73 KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/w/contact-us.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
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, 4×4 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 2019, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Ham Radio Use Off-Road

 I had just pulled into a gas station in Big Pine, Calif. Tim and I were scouting for a trip and agreed to meet at the gas station mid-morning. Tim arrived ahead of me and was chatting with a guy. We learned that this individual, Dave, had suffered two flat tires the previous day while driving in a part of Death Valley National Park. He had walked 27 miles into Big Pine to get help.

Of course, we couldn’t leave him there. As I drove Dave back to his vehicle we chatted about many topics, including ham radio. Dave wondered about the ham radios I had installed in my vehicle, two Yaesu 8900s.

Plugging his tires was no big deal. Dave was anxious to rejoin his group, so we shook hands and parted ways. After he drove off, I realized he had left his backpack and laptop in my vehicle. I didn’t know his number, and didn’t have cell service out there anyway.

Dave got all the way to the Nevada border before realizing his loss. Remembering that I was a ham radio operator, he drove to Bishop, Calif., and pulled into a Radio Shack store. One of the clerks knew a ham radio operator, Jon, NW6C. He called Jon, who was chatting with a ham on the area repeater. Jon asked this ham to pass a message to me should he hear me on repeater anytime soon. I happened to be monitoring the repeater, so I chimed right in.

Tim and I would return to Big Pine by 5 p.m. that day, I said, and could meet with Dave then. I asked if they could call Dave’s cell phone and let him know. We did connect later that afternoon, and the (now-relieved) owner was reunited with his possessions.

That’s just one example of how ham radio plays a vital role in four-wheeling. Here are other ways to incorporate amateur radio into your 4WD trips.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communications: Vehicles are usually close to each other, even within visual range. Simplex operation is ideal in those situations. (And a flat out waste of a repeater.)

As for the frequency, try to keep conversations off 146.52 MHz, the national calling frequency. (More on that in a bit.) Check the band plan for your state (or region for larger states). It will identify all the viable simplex frequencies in your area. There are sufficient frequencies for you and your buddies to find an open one.

The standard 2m/70cm antenna works well for most operating. You might consider packing a small directional antenna to hit a distant repeater. Various models are available in stores, or you can build one.

I recommend purchasing an aftermarket antenna for the HT. A longer antenna offers far superior performance to the standard “rubber duck.” Other possibilities include a directional antenna (Elk brand, for example), a dipole, or a J-pole antenna. A small compact commercially available antenna is the Slim Jim rollup J pole antenna. While the Elk antenna is perfect to carry as backup in the vehicle to hit distant repeaters, the Slim Jim makes a great backup in a backpack or go bag. You can make one or buy it for about $20 on ebay at https://www.ebay.com/itm/322248224112 .

As a personal tracker: A popular tracking system on ham radio is APRS (Automated Packet Reporting System). The amateur radio operator connects his APRS-enabled rig to a TNC (Terminal Node Controller) and GPS receiver. The radio transmits a packet of location information at regular intervals including your Lat/Lon. These digital signals are routed through a nearby digipeater.

People can monitor these movements through a particular website and ‘pin’ the vehicle as it moves. This is great for family members concerned about someone going off road. Hams off-road can keep track of the other vehicles that are similarly equipped. APRS tracking is very useful if the group splits up or a late arrival is trying to find camp.

A multi-faceted system, APRS allows operators to send images, bulletins, and other types of messages.

Elk beam Antenna is compact

Stay on top of the weather: NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) broadcasts weather information continuously over seven VHF frequencies. Which frequency to monitor depends on where you’ll be. Search for the appropriate frequency(ies) on the NOAA website  https://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/coverage/station_listing.html

Remember to program the appropriate frequencies into your radio or memorize the starting frequency of 162.400 MHz. Each station is 25 kHz higher with a top frequency of 162.550 MHz.

How do you easily monitor NOAA and your vehicle to vehicle frequency? Flip to VFO mode and dial up the nearest NOAA frequency. You should hear the weather broadcast. Now return to memory mode. To listen to the NOAA broadcast, simply hit the button that takes you to VFO mode. In essence, you toggle back and forth between memory mode and VFO mode.

Coordinate communications with vehicles outside the area: Repeaters allow you to stay in touch with buddies joining you along the way. Establish a call-in frequency, then chat periodically to monitor the other person’s progress. If and when they get close enough, you can switch to a simplex frequency.

Ham radio operators in California and Nevada can take advantage of some nice systems located in the mountains. At that altitude, coverage is naturally wide. But some systems, such as the units at Silver Peak and Mazourka Peak in California, are linked. This allows hams to communicate throughout the entire Owens Valley.

 Research repeater frequencies before leaving

Repeaterbook.com is a great resource for all VHF and UHF bands. You start by selecting the state, then choose the band you’ll be operating on.

In addition, do a Google search for nearby repeater or ham radio clubs. Contact a club member for advice, especially if the city has more than one repeater.

It’s really important that you program the repeater frequencies and related information (CTCSS/PL tone and such) prior to leaving. You don’t want to be stuck trying to dial up a frequency if you need help. By programming those frequencies in advance, you simply click through the channels until you find the one you need.

I also recommend printing out the list of channels. That makes for a quick reference while driving along.

And while off-road, take a few minutes to scan for repeaters near your destination. Consult your user manual for this step, including how to determine the CTCSS tone.

Need Help

If you need help, try 146.52 MHz (the national calling frequency) and any nearby repeater. If a conversation is in progress, wait for an opportunity to break in. Under normal circumstances, you would say “break” and give your call sign. In extreme emergencies, call Mayday. As noted below, the amateur radio community encourages hams to help out by monitoring 146.52 MHz .

Make the Wilderness Protocol a part of your daily operating: Though a part of ARRL’s ARES program, all hams are encouraged to participate whenever they can. Wilderness Protocol entails monitoring the national calling frequencies (VHF and UHF) at various times throughout the day. The intent is to help a ham who may need assistance or information. Hams sometimes try the calling frequency when they’re unable to access a repeater.

Consider monitoring 146.52 MHz whenever you can. Wilderness Protocol suggests the ham in need call during certain times, to save battery power. But try to monitor throughout the day. For more information, go to http://www.mdarc.org/activities/ares-races/wilderness-protocol

There are a lot of ways to make use of your ham radio ticket while off road. Load up your radio(s) the next time you go four-wheeling. You can enjoy two fun hobbies: ham radio and four-wheeling.

#   #   #


Did you miss the previous article?


Some Upcoming Events (click on the link for details)

If you plan to go with us on the Rubicon trip in August, it is time to sign up. You only have a few month to prep including signing up for a Rocks clinic.

June 2019
June 15 Starting Rock Crawling
June 21 Outdoor Adventures Field Day

July 2019

July 13 Starting Rock Crawling
July 20 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
July 21 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area

August 2019

August 03 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 04 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 12 Rubicon Trip & Adventure
August 24 Sand & Dunes – Pismo

September 2019

September 14 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 15 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 21 Winching: Basic to Advanced – Mojave
September 28 Tire Repair & Hi-lift Mini Clinic – Hawthorne, CA

Other

Need a Private Session?

The 2019 schedule has been posted.
See the entire Schedule


73 KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.

 If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/w/contact-us.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.

 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, 4×4 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 2019, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

 

Four-Wheeling Fears

Concerned about damage to a new vehicle?

Over the years of off-road instructing, I have heard many concerns – indeed, fears – from newer drivers. (Even experienced four-wheelers have doubts from time to time.)

The dozens of thoughts expressed by my students can be grouped into seven categories. Here are those top seven concerns, and how you can master them.

1. Damaging a new vehicle. This seems to be the number one concern. With just a few thousand miles on the odometer – and having just spent $30,000, $45,000 or $75,000 on a new vehicle – it is naturally a concern. I can assure you the first few bumps, bruises, and dents will be traumatic.

Most of the time, the small scratches, bruises, and dents creep up on you gradually. By the time you dent the fender, door, or bumper, you are not that upset. Most of us pass it off as an opportunity to upgrade that item.

The only true solution is to keep the new vehicle at home. Buy a use pre-bruised, older model for your off-road rig. But what if the new vehicle is your only option? On top of that, you want all the new goodies.

Start with a set of rock sliders. Mounted on either side of the frame, they protect the rocker panels and outside edges of the car body.

It is expensive, but you can find pre-cut magnetic panels to cover most of the body exposed to overgrown trail side brush and weeds. It is vegetation close to the trail that causes “pinstriping,” those thin scratches in the paint. I understand, the latest offering will actually stay on at freeway speeds for the trip home and the front edges do not need to be taped down keep the wind from lifting them off. WWW.MEKmagnet.com was at the vendor show at Easter Jeep Safari in Moab this year. MEK makes magnetic panels only for Jeeps.

Perhaps you can add this additional selling point when making your pitch to the Chief Financial Officer: They are available with a selection of graphic designs.

Buried to the axles in sand – no trees or rocks in sight and no room to side a jack underneath!

2. Stuck Forever. Are you envisioning driving into a canyon? One that keeps getting narrower and narrower until you are wedged in? The key is to recon, recon, and recon! Really know the terrain and trails. Maybe someone can think of a case when someone was stuck forever. But it has to be a very rare situation, because I can’t. You can of course lose a vehicle. It can become submerged in or swept away by a river, buried under a mud slide, or burned by a wildfire. Stay on more popular trails, as there is a higher likelihood of someone coming along who can help you. This is another reason not to travel alone. The other driver(s) can help you out of a bind. Even if you have to abandon the vehicle temporarily, you can get home safely.

3. Breakdowns, especially in remote areas. Minor breakdowns are a part of four-wheeling. The more difficult the terrain, the more likely something will break. We have discussed before the concept of mechanical sympathy. We are vehicle dependent. The vehicle allows us to explore, and it gets us back. Take care of your vehicle, and it will take care of you. Don’t abuse it. Stock vehicles were not designed to jump off sand dunes. Be rigorous in your maintenance program, too. Don’t start out with known problems.

Tire problems are unquestionably the number one vehicle problem. If you are just starting in the sport, acquire the necessary tools. Then learn how to plug a tire, set a bead, break a bead, and replace a valve stem.

Buy a set of Colby valves stems at www.colbyvalve.com. These unique valve stems allow a quick replacement from the outside of the tire without breaking the bead.

Very close to the edge.

4. Rolling over. This isn’t as common as you might think. What makes good YouTube fodder is the extreme stuff with above-average risk. When it does occur, the driver is often in an extreme situation or driving recklessly. If anything, your vehicle may flop over on its side, but even that’s rare. These tend to occur while driving slowly, so damage to the vehicle is limited. Most vehicles can pitch sideways as much as 30 degrees without tipping over. Just go slowly.

Drive carefully while on steep terrain. Ask a buddy to get out and spot a line if you are uncomfortable, the risk is higher, or it is difficult.

5. Lack of driving skills and knowledge of the area. Four-wheeling, like public speaking, is a learned skill. Take classes and go off-road as often as you can. It’s only through training and driving that you become more confident and comfortable.

Trail guides, websites, government agencies, and 4WD clubs are great resources for finding those fun and manageable trails. Check out the series of trail guides by Charles Wells and Matt Peterson at https://funtreks.com/products/.

I, of course, offer classes designed just for beginners. Check out my list here.

6. Don’t know what to buy. All the ads sound fantastic! You can’t afford to upgrade everything at once. You wonder, What should I buy first? Does this sound familiar?

A typical owner can’t afford to upgrade the vehicle fully and, quite frankly, doesn’t know what gear to install first. Four wheeling, like many hobbies, can entail significant investments. But it can be spaced out and controlled to just what is needed. Keep in mind that your vehicle does not have to be all decked out for you to enjoy the hobby.

The rock rails mentioned above are a must first buy. A roof top carrier referenced below in #7, though a tad pricey, is really useful. Large and versatile, it can hold a lot of gear and supplies.

Strong aftermarket bumpers are a wise investment. Buy a front bumper designed for a winch. You can add the winch later as resources improve.

Buy what is most useful now, and add later as you see fit. Other drivers in the group may have extra gear you need to back you up.

7. Hauling Extra Fuel. “Do I really need extra fuel? How can I transport it?” The owner of a new 4WD vehicle asked me these questions while signing up for an overland trip.

You should always carry a minimum of five extra gallons. Ten is better. You literally can’t go anywhere without gas.

New vehicles have good range – as much as 250 plus miles. In four low they will use a bit more gas. But stuff happens – you encounter a trail detour, closed campsite, last-minute change in destination, etc. An extra five gallons, if nothing else, gives peace of mind when the warning light comes on and you are still 10 miles from a gas station.

A roof rack can be an easy solution to carry gas cans. They are less expensive than bumper solutions and are useful long term to carry all other gear.

Don’t scrimp on this. Buy at least one 5-gallon gas container.

Four-wheeling, like most hobbies, can seem intimidating at first. However, over time you become more acclimated to the nuances of the hobby. Don’t try to do everything at once. Take modest steps. Feel your confidence grow as your vehicle evolves into a true off-road machine.

#   #   #


Did you miss the previous article?


June 2019
June 15 Starting Rock Crawling
June 21 Outdoor Adventures Field Day

July 2019

July 13 Starting Rock Crawling
July 20 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
July 21 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area

August 2019

August 03 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 04 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 12 Rubicon Trip & Adventure
August 24 Sand & Dunes – Pismo

September 2019

September 14 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 15 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 21 Winching: Basic to Advanced – Mojave
September 28 Tire Repair & Hi-lift Mini Clinic – Hawthorne, CA

Other

Need a Private Session?

The 2019 schedule has been posted.
See the entire Schedule


73 KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe. 

If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/w/contact-us.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.

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, 4×4 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 2019, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

 

Safeguard Gear, Food from Varmints, Vagrants and Weather

Waiting his chance.

We had just returned from a day of 4-wheeling. Our base campsite in the Mojave Desert was a beautiful patch of lush desert with cholla, creosote bushes, Joshua trees, and Mojave yucca. Each of us headed for our tents. At one point I heard one camper yell out, “What the …?!”. He was standing at one corner of his tent, then quickly bolted for the entrance. Seconds later he comes out holding a bag of candy. Or what was left of it. “Can you believe this?” he screamed.

The bag was peppered with peck holes. It had been ravaged by ravens from the outside of the tent. Somehow they could tell there was candy in that part of the tent. And they weren’t going to let a thin layer of nylon get in the way of a tasty meal.

Campers and others who enjoy the outdoors understand the need to store food well. All sorts of critters have a hankering for human food. We’ll review methods you can take to minimize loss. Incidentally, I won’t discuss bears here. Seek out other resources if you’ll be traveling to bear country.

The camper in the above incident assumed his candy was safe. After all, it was in a bag and inside the tent. As he learned, ravens have a keen sense of smell. That’s true with most animals. But there’s more to the problem.

Development near natural areas combined with a surge in outdoors activity are changing the feeding habits of wild animals. They become acclimated to the trash containers, food scraps, and handouts from well-meaning (but misguided) visitors. The animals lose their natural fear of humans and start hanging around campsites and vehicles.

The predator-prey dynamic that previously kept the animal world in a natural balance is out of whack. Raven populations, for example, have increased as much as 700% in the Mojave Desert in the past 25 years, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

Store food securely at night and while away

What can you do? Quite simply, store your food items securely. It starts with an acknowledgement of the problem. Just as you put a lot of thought into packing your vehicle, you also need to consider how to secure your food. And not just your edibles, either. Garbage must be dealt with if there is no covered receptacle nearby.

A vehicle is a sturdy storage facility. So too are ZARES containers and Pelican boxes. Both are designed to be rugged and durable. A cardboard box is not. Burros love cardboard.  A cooler, especially the steel kind, is great. Secure with a tension strap for added peace or mind.

Don’t feed the animals!

Don’t want wild animals around your campsite? Don’t feed them. While you can’t do anything about other campers, you can control your behavior. Wild animals are supposed to act wild; that is, wary of humans and preferring to stay away. Increasingly today, those animals are interacting with humans. That’s not a good thing.

One night while enjoying the campfire with some buddies in Death Valley, we spotted a coyote nearby. Before anyone could react, the coyote leapt up on the picnic table and grabbed our bag of garbage. He passed right by us – perhaps five feet away from the closest person. He had not a fear in the world.

The coyote dragged the garbage bag to a nearby hill and tore into it. You can imagine the mess we had to clean up the next morning.

Protect your gear from the weather, too

Sounds simple enough. You’re done with a project or turning in for the night. Put your tools away, right? Most people do. But some forget, or just casually toss the tools aside. If you’re camping in the winter or heavy weather, that equipment could get buried in snow or soaked.

Always take a moment to store your tools and gear – shovels, axes, hammers – in a vehicle or tent. If you must store them outside, select a container that will be seen easily. ZARGES containers and Pelican boxes are just as useful for gear as for food.

Wind can be a factor, too. I’ve seen folding chairs go flying when a gust of wind blows through. The weather can be very unpredictable. Store anything that could take flight in the right conditions.

Get in the habit of always storing your food and gear securely while away and at night. Use a sturdy container or stash the goods in your vehicle. Don’t give coyotes, ravens, burros,  vagrants or weather a chance to ruin your outdoor adventure.

# #   #

 


Did you miss the previous article?


Some Upcoming Events (click on the link for details)

Death Valley – Last Chance Mountains – Photo by Denis Callimanis

June 2019
June 15 Starting Rock Crawling
June 21 Outdoor Adventures Field Day

July 2019

July 13 Starting Rock Crawling
July 20 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
July 21 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area

August 2019

August 03 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 04 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 12 Rubicon Trip & Adventure
August 24 Sand & Dunes – Pismo

September 2019

September 14 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 15 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 21 Winching: Basic to Advanced – Mojave
September 28 Tire Repair & Hi-lift Mini Clinic – Hawthorne, CA

Other

Need a Private Session?

The 2019 schedule has been posted.
See the entire Schedule


San Rafael Swell Off Road Guide Book & Companion Map $35.50

If you want to order one: https://www.4x4training.com/w/product/san-rafael-swell-off-road-guide-book/

At almost 300 pages, “San Rafael Swell Off Road: A Trail Guide to 42 Destinations for Automobiles, 4WD Trucks & ATVs” is a guide to the in the San Rafael Swell area of Emery County. The desert area is ringed by small towns like Price, Green River and Castle Dale.

“Every chapter includes helpful advice for novice or experienced explorers of the area, such as, “Easy dirt road for high clearance automobile, although four-wheel drive is recommended to several sandy sections along the road. “according to Ed Helmick the author.

the San Rafael Swell area of south-central Utah. This is an area that provides approximately 2,000 square miles of fantastic scenery, fascinating history, and fun off-road adventures. The only paved roads in the San Rafael Swell are Interstate 70, which bisects the Swell in an east-west direction for 67 miles, and a spur of I-70 called the Moore Cutoff. The major difference between off-roading in the Moab area and the Swell area is fewer people, and the area is more remote in regard to the distances to small towns with services. Utah towns that ring the Swell are: Price, Green River, Hanksville, Cainsville, Emery, Castle Dale, Huntington, and Cleveland.
The companion map, the National Geographic San Rafael Swell (#712) comes as a package deal with your book order.

 


Wavian NATO Military Steel Jerry Can – 20L/5.3 Gallon $79.99

Order several cans now at:

https://www.4x4training.com/w/product/20l5-3-gallon-wavian-nato-military-steel-jerry-can/

Best to order these cans now. The warehouse has sold out every can they have 3 times this year due to natural disaster. People bought any color and any size just to have one right away. Half of the new supply shipped as soon as it came in due to a long waiting list. You don’t want to be caught without a gas can or forced to buy an inferior can that leaks.

Check out this fire test of the cans https://youtu.be/xG6x_BoGqNY

These are the real deal and are now legal again. These cans do not leak! They are the ones I recommend. However, the penalty we have to pay to get these cans again is that every can must come with a CARB approved spout. That adds about $30 dollars to the can. Still worth it. I have cans built during WWII that still hold gasoline and do not leak. (I am not that old. I bought them surplus.)


73 KI6FHA

I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.



If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/w/contact-us.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.


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, 4×4 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 2019, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Do You Have a Tire Failure Strategy?

Huge puncture!

Tires are generally your number one problem driving off-road.

Tires, by their nature, take a lot of abuse while off road. Trails are anything but smooth. Stuff happens! A stick jams into the sidewall; a rock that is ideal to skip across a lake slices the sidewall like butter; or a decent size rock hiding behind the bush on a turn cuts the sidewall between the rock and the rim. The probability increases when you add into the mix a fatigued driver.

If this happens, try fixing the damaged tire. Meaning, don’t just automatically swap in the spare. Do that, and you’re left with no backup.

Many times, a punctured tread or minor sidewall puncture can be addressed quickly. One or two plugs solves the problem, allowing the trip to resume.

If you can’t fix the tire, you now have no backup should another tire be damaged.

Now you need your tire failure strategy! That is if you planned it before the trip.

Don’t leave home with bad tires. Period. You hit the trails with even one damaged tire, and you’re asking for trouble. You may complete your ride, but why start a trip risking a flat tire?

Pick your wheeling buddies on their vehicle’s lug pattern and tire size. In a worse case, you use can use their spare. In fact, wheel with other similar vehicles so you have other spare parts you might need.

If you know it will be difficult, remote, and you have had more that your share of problems, pack another spare, either on the rim or by itself. Store it on the top of your vehicle. You will then have two spare tires – more than enough for the typical 4WD trip.

Buy an inner tube that fits your vehicle’s tires. (Harbor Freight and other retailers carry them.) The tube is your deep, deep, back up line of defense.

Fix the tire

Try to fix the tire. Some minor cuts can be plugged, allowing the trip to continue without losing too much time. Use your plug kit; put a new valve stem in if was damaged, or reseat the bead. Use one of the spare lug nuts in your kit when you lose one in the sand changing tires. Incidentally, you know you can’t plug a sidewall. But, if it holds a plug on the trail at 7 mph, it is a reasonable expedient repair to get back to the highway. If a sidewall plug lets go at 70 mph, I don’t want to be riding with you! Related reading: Tire Problems shouldn’t Deflate Your Day

 

Can’t fix the tire? You have some decisions to make.

This bead will not hold air with all the stuff jammed in it.

If you cannot fix the tire, put on the spare and head home or find the nearest tire store and replace the damaged tire. You’ll miss part and perhaps the rest of the trip, but you’ll also enjoy the peace of mind that comes with riding on good tires.

Don’t want to miss the rest of the trip? Agree on a meeting location and time frame. If the area is too remote or unknown to you, see if you can negotiate with the group to camp now and wait for you.

Now, better late the sorry, check the lug pattern and tire size of all the rigs. Maybe you will get lucky and discover that tires can be swapped between a 4-Runner and a Chevy pickup. Good chance you will not have any more problems but if so, you have access to another spare tire.

Always watch for obstacles

Four wheeling by its nature is tough on vehicles. As such it requires your undivided attention. While focused on the trail ahead make sure you’re watching for hazards that can damage your tires. We don’t experience flat tires in town as frequently as we used to (years and years ago).

Going off road is a different matter. You must be cognizant of the condition of the trail and surrounding areas. Any time you see an obstacle, slow down and try to steer around it if you can safely and responsibly. Resist the temptation to hit the gas and plow over or through it. You could damage more than just tires.

Sidewall issues, like any breakdown, require you to evaluate the situation and make a decision. Can you quickly solve the problem and continue on? Or do you put on your spare and plot the shortest route to a tire store?

The correct decision depends on the circumstances you’re facing. And each trip is unique. Spend some time before each excursion imagining how you’d handle a sidewall issue. Doing so will help make that decision easier, should the need arise.

#   #   #


Did you miss the previous articles?


Some Upcoming Events (click on the link for details)

Little Grand Canyon – San Rafael Swell, UT

June 2019
June 15 Starting Rock Crawling
June 21 Outdoor Adventures Field Day

July 2019

July 13 Starting Rock Crawling
July 20 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
July 21 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area

August 2019

August 03 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 04 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 12 Rubicon Trip & Adventure
August 24 Sand & Dunes – Pismo

September 2019

September 14 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 15 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 21 Winching: Basic to Advanced – Mojave
September 28 Tire Repair & Hi-lift Mini Clinic – Hawthorne, CA

Other

Need a Private Session?

The 2019 schedule has been posted.
See the entire Schedule


San Rafael Swell Off Road Guide Book & Companion Map $35.50

If you want to order one: https://www.4x4training.com/w/product/san-rafael-swell-off-road-guide-book/

(Let me know if you would be interested in a trip to the Swell in April 2019.)
At almost 300 pages, “San Rafael Swell Off Road: A Trail Guide to 42 Destinations for Automobiles, 4WD Trucks & ATVs” is a guide to the in the San Rafael Swell area of Emery County. The desert area is ringed by small towns like Price, Green River and Castle Dale.
“Every chapter includes helpful advice for novice or experienced explorers of the area, such as, “Easy dirt road for high clearance automobile, although four-wheel drive is recommended to several sandy sections along the road. “according to Ed Helmick the author.
the San Rafael Swell area of south-central Utah. This is an area that provides approximately 2,000 square miles of fantastic scenery, fascinating history, and fun off-road adventures. The only paved roads in the San Rafael Swell are Interstate 70, which bisects the Swell in an east-west direction for 67 miles, and a spur of I-70 called the Moore Cutoff. The major difference between off-roading in the Moab area and the Swell area is fewer people, and the area is more remote in regard to the distances to small towns with services. Utah towns that ring the Swell are: Price, Green River, Hanksville, Cainsville, Emery, Castle Dale, Huntington, and Cleveland.
The companion map, the National Geographic San Rafael Swell (#712) comes as a package deal with your book order.


Gas Cans

Wavian NATO Military Steel Jerry Can – 20L/5.3 Gallon $79.99
Order several cans now at:

Wavian NATO Military Steel Jerry Can – 20L/5.3 Gallon


Best to order these cans now. The warehouse has sold out every can they have 3 times this year due to natural disaster. People bought any color and any size just to have one right away. Half of the new supply shipped as soon as it came in due to a long waiting list. You don’t want to be caught without a gas can or forced to buy an inferior can that leaks.

Check out this fire test of the cans  https://youtu.be/xG6x_BoGqNY

These are the real deal and are now legal again. These cans do not leak! They are the ones I recommend. However, the penalty we have to pay to get these cans again is that every can must come with a CARB approved spout. That adds about $30 dollars to the can. Still worth it. I have cans built during WWII that still hold gasoline and do not leak. (I am not that old. I bought them surplus.)


73 KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
www.4x4training.com

Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.

 If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/w/contact-us.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
  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, 4×4 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 2019, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

 

How to Make Great Beef Jerky

The Hunting Cabin

Some food groups are a natural fit for certain activities. Think chicken wings while watching football games on the TV (or any sporting event, if you’re in a bar). Or hot dogs at the ball park. Chips and salsa while playing cards.

I’ll add one to the mix: homemade beef jerky in deer camp.

This is a new phenomenon for me – the 2018 deer hunt was the first time I enjoyed homemade jerky. But I was hooked. Not just on the jerky, either (though it was good). But on the fact it could be made at home.

Our buddy Murdoch broke out a package of jerky one night while sitting in the hunting cabin. I was so impressed with his jerky I asked for his recipe and instructions. Turns out good jerky is fairly easy to make, and the equipment and spices are relatively inexpensive.

Just 3 packages to make hamburger jerky

Ingredients of homemade beef jerky

Of course, the main ingredient of jerky is the meat. Spices and seasonings give the jerky its flavor, and curing salt is used to preserve the meat.

The most common types of curing salt are known as Prague #1 and Prague #2. Prague #1 is comprised of 6.25% sodium nitrite and 93.75% table salt. The more potent Prague #2 has the same amount of sodium nitrite 6.25%, but also sodium nitrate 4% and rest is common table salt. These salts are colored pink to avoid confusion with regular table salt. Due to their color, these powders are sometimes called pink curing powders.

You’ll notice that the curing powders pack a lot of sodium. If you want to reduce the overall sodium content of your jerky, consider substituting your seasonings and reducing the quantities of ingredients that contain sodium.

Your flavor possibilities are nearly endless. I’ve seen seasoning packets in hot, original, peperoni, teriyaki, and more.

Getting started

Look what you get for$35!

First, decide whether to use ground up meat (hamburger) or a slab of beef. Of course, you can change your mind at any time. That’s what I did, as you’ll see.

For hamburger, you’ll need a jerky gun. It looks like a caulking gun and shoots out a neat, uniform ribbon of meat.

A slab of beef needs to be cut into strips; most people buy a slicer. Perhaps the butcher can be talked in to slicing it for you. Conveniently, I happen to own one.

The meat must be dried after curing. While you could use an oven, a dehydrator works really well. They are designed to thoroughly and uniformly dry the meat.

Like Murdoch did, I started with hamburger. I sought out the leanest I could find in my neighborhood supermarket. You’ll notice a lot of hamburger is marked 80/20, meaning it’s 20% fat. That fat content is too high. Fat can cause the meat to go rancid over time, even after curing. So, it’s best to minimize the fat content. I prefer a blend that’s 96% lean. It’s not cheap – I paid around $5 a pound.

Actually, the jerky resulting from one pound of hamburger is eaten so quickly, it doesn’t last long enough to go rancid. So use 80/20 if you want.

Good starter kit

I found a basic jerky kit on Amazon for $35. It includes the jerky gun, four packets of seasonings (each a different flavor) and a four-stack dehydrator. Each packet of seasoning is enough for a pound of hamburger. This inexpensive dehydrator runs at 160 degrees, which is an adequate temperature suggested for drying meat. A more expensive dehydrator has adjustable temperature ranges.

Soon after the jerky kit arrived, I set about making up my first batch. I mixed one packet of seasoning and one packet of curing salt in a pound of ground beef. This is literally hands-on work: You work the hamburger meat with your fingers to evenly mix in the seasonings. Make sure you don’t end up with clumps of spices.

The jerky gun worked really well, squirting out nice strips of meat. I cut those in roughly 5” lengths and placed them on the dehydrator trays. For thorough drying, the strips shouldn’t touch each other.

I ran the dehydrator for about five to six hours, then finished off in the oven for about an hour at 200 degrees. This is recommended with hamburger to eliminate the risk of salmonella. (I do not subject my sliced beef to the oven.)

Nice even strip out of the jerky gun

I made a total of three batches with hamburger, then switched to a round roast. (Round roast and flank steak appear to the most common cuts used for jerky.) I freeze the steak then let it thaw slightly. This makes it easier to slice. Trim off any fat, and cut the slices so they’re about the thickness of a nickel. That has proved to be challenging, with my older, lower-quality slicer.

Incidentally, how you cut the meat affects its texture. For chewier jerky cut with the grain. If you want a more tender slice, cut against the grain.

The slices are placed in a Ziploc bag with the marinade sauce. Try to get all the meat covered in sauce. Let it marinate overnight, or roughly 12 hours. Spread the slices on the dehydrator shelves, making sure they don’t touch each other. Run the dehydrator for six to seven hours at around 160 degrees. When done the jerky can be bent and crack but not break in half.

I recommend you start with hamburger and just use the prepacked spice packages until you get a feel for the process. It is so good you might not go any further!

Here is a recipe to consider for steak. I started with a standard recipe, and tweaked it slightly. I particularly wanted to reduce the sodium content. I reduced the amount of table salt called for. For the marinade, I switched to a low-salt soy sauce.

Beef Jerky From Steak

The line up of flavor

Ingredients

Just barely enough juice for 2 lbs.

 

  • One 2 lb. round steak or flank steak (lean cuts are best and will keep longer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I reduced from 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt (reduced from 2; can be pickling salt)
  • ¼ teaspoon Prague #1
  • ¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or white)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons natural hickory liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (I added that.)

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice the roast. Strips should be about the width of a nickel. Cut off all visible fat.
  2. Transfer beef strips to a large Ziploc bag.
  3. Mix ingredients and pour over beef. Toss until all meat is covered.
  4. Marinate for 12-36 hours. Turn strips over several times to ensure thorough coating.
  5. Spread the meat in a single layer on the dehydrator trays.*
  6. Dry at 160 F for 6- 7 hours, occasionally blotting off any fat droplets that appear on the surface. Test using a cooled piece. Properly dried jerky, when bent, should crack but not break.
  7. Package jerky, into individual portions, in air-tight containers (like Ziplock bags) or vacuum seal. Store in a cool, dark and dry place.

*If the slices aren’t a consistent thickness, place the thicker ones near the top. They will be closer to the heater.

While homemade beef jerky tastes great at the deer camp, it’ll taste good anywhere and anytime. Use one of the recipes above to get started. Adjust the seasonings to your liking, then sit back and enjoy some good homemade beef jerky. And remember to be a good sport: Share some with your buddies, OK?

# # #


Did you miss the previous article? This is the list of 2018 articles

 

The full 2019 schedule of clinics and adventures trips has been opened for registration.

See the entire Schedule

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Wavian NATO Military Steel Jerry Can – 20L/5.3 Gallon $79.99

Order several cans now at:

https://www.4x4training.com/w/product/20l5-3-gallon-wavian-nato-military-steel-jerry-can/

Best to order these cans now. The warehouse has sold out every can they have 3 times this year due to natural disaster. People bought any color and any size just to have one right away. Half of the new supply shipped as soon as it came in due to a long waiting list. You don’t want to be caught without a gas can or forced to buy an inferior can that leaks.

Check out this fire test of the cans https://youtu.be/xG6x_BoGqNY

These are the real deal and are now legal again. These cans do not leak! They are the ones I recommend. However, the penalty we have to pay to get these cans again is that every can must come with a CARB approved spout. That adds about $30 dollars to the can. Still worth it. I have cans built during WWII that still hold gasoline and do not leak. (I am not that old. I bought them surplus.)


San Rafael Swell Off Road Guide Book & Companion Map $35.50

If you want to order one: https://www.4x4training.com/w/product/san-rafael-swell-off-road-guide-book/

(Let me know if you would be interested in a trip to the Swell in April 2019.)

At almost 300 pages, “San Rafael Swell Off Road: A Trail Guide to 42 Destinations for Automobiles, 4WD Trucks & ATVs” is a guide to the in the San Rafael Swell area of Emery County. The desert area is ringed by small towns like Price, Green River and Castle Dale.

“Every chapter includes helpful advice for novice or experienced explorers of the area, such as, “Easy dirt road for high clearance automobile, although four-wheel drive is recommended to several sandy sections along the road. “according to Ed Helmick the author.

the San Rafael Swell area of south-central Utah. This is an area that provides approximately 2,000 square miles of fantastic scenery, fascinating history, and fun off-road adventures. The only paved roads in the San Rafael Swell are Interstate 70, which bisects the Swell in an east-west direction for 67 miles, and a spur of I-70 called the Moore Cutoff. The major difference between off-roading in the Moab area and the Swell area is fewer people, and the area is more remote in regard to the distances to small towns with services. Utah towns that ring the Swell are: Price, Green River, Hanksville, Cainsville, Emery, Castle Dale, Huntington, and Cleveland.
The companion map, the National Geographic San Rafael Swell (#712) comes as a package deal with your book order.


73 KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.

 If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/w/contact-us.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.

  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, 4×4 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 2019, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.