What We Share And Don’t Share Off-Road

Tent Saline Valley Sportsmobile

This is what camp should have looked like.

One December about five years ago, I took a group to Saline Valley to celebrate New Year’s Eve. While at the campsite I realized I didn’t have a tent. Completely forgot to pack it that day.

As a seasoned four-wheeler, this basic blunder was especially difficult to swallow. On top of that, my truck wasn’t set up to sleep in. I was in a bit of a pickle.

One driver owned a Sportsmobile. I approached him and asked quietly if he had an extra bunk. “Yeah, I sleep upstairs,” he said. “You could have the lower one.” Whew! My trip – and pride – were saved.

Everyone else just assumed I couldn’t handle the cold. Days later I finally worked up the courage to admit I had forgotten my tent.

I offer that story not because it’s particularly noteworthy. It isn’t. (Save for the fact that I committed a cardinal blunder.) It touches on an aspect of four-wheeling seldom written or spoken about.

While often viewed as somewhat of an individualistic hobby, much of what we see and experience is shared with others.

What we share while four-wheeling

Some of the facets of four-wheeling we share include:


Sunset – Anza Borrego Desert

Sunrises and sunsets: These can be particularly memorable in the outdoors. Little need be spoken as four-wheelers relax before beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Many a camper has turned his back on the sunrise to feel the growing warmth on his back as he shares a coffee.

Father Crowley had a way with words beyond my capability that paint a picture of a sunrise in the Great Basin.
This was published in Sage and Tumbleweed January 5, 1936 by *Inyokel
*Inyokel – Fr. Crowley’s pen name
“…never has a dawn been just as that of yesterday or yesteryear. The salmon galleons of cloud are never identical, nor headed for the same ethereal haven. The archipelagoes of the sky have never been charted, thank God, so that the voyager of the dawn may gaze forever on new peaks rising from golden lagoons, strain his ear for the thunder of mauve billows bursting on the great atolls of heaven.”

Lake Powell

Scenic vistas and landscapes: There’s a lot more to four-wheeling than simply bounding along dirt trails. Far away from the crowded cities, we absorb the majestic beauty of mountains, forests, lakes and streams. No picture can capture the view nor the feel. With the advancement of communication capability, how many times have you or someone else felt compelled to try and share the scene with a spouse or friend. But of no avail. You have to be there to appreciate it. Our 4-wheel drive vehicle allow us to visit beautiful and remote places, that few will ever experience in person.

Camaraderie: Important bonds are formed by experiencing and conquering unique challenges. Some of the great joys of four-wheeling are found in the advice/ideas, jokes, laughs, lies/tall tales and other memorable moments shared around a campfire or on the trails. We share the wonder of discovering new places.

Enjoying a beverage as the sun goes down

Small consumables: We expect everyone to be self-sufficient, but sometimes a person forgets an item. I’m willing to share small quantities of basic items such as matches, salt and pepper, zip lock bags, and tin foil.

It’s also no big deal to share tools and gear. Those include an FRS radio; a siphon for gas; and a rope, tent stake, shovel, or recovery strap.

Conditional sharing

Conditional sharing entails providing something that is expected to be returned or replaced. The most common example involves spare parts. Say a vehicle breaks an axle. Another driver happened to pack a spare that is compatible. That driver offers his spare axle, and the grateful recipient replaces it after returning home.

When breakdowns occur on the trails, other driver(s) pitch in as they can. (Remember that camaraderie bit?) We do that to help the unfortunate driver but also to keep the journey going. Afterward, the recipient is expected to replace or pay for the part.

Sharing has its limits, however

Embarrassing situations – or as I like to call them, learning experiences – stay amongst the group. I occasionally will reference an incident to make a point (as I did at the beginning of this article). But generally speaking, what happens on the trails stays on the trails.

It is important to be respectful of others and not share embarrassing situations or experiences that they may have had while 4-wheeling or participating in any other activity. Sharing these types of situations can be hurtful and embarrassing for the person involved, and can damage relationships and trust.

Another area is food. With the pandemic waning, we do share. A strong statement that we “don’ t share food” is really a metaphor for be self-sufficient. If you are prepared, we happily share food, plan meals and cooking duties.

Self-sufficiency is so important in this hobby. Packing sufficient quantities of food – along with the right gear and tools – helps ensure a successful four-wheeling adventure.

We also tend not to share tents – especially with someone who snores! Thankfully, I don’t snore, so my Sportsmobile buddy slept well that weekend.

Four-wheeling is a fun hobby, made more enjoyable when experienced with others. Along with the standard rules of trail etiquette are a few do’s and don’ts of sharing.

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Did you miss the previous articles?

Here is the complete list for 2022.


The 2023 schedule of clinics and adventures trips has been posted on the web site.

We are still in the process of posting our 2023 dates to our web site. If you are interested in Death Valley, the Rubicon trip and a trip to Utah in May 2023 send me an email.

See the entire 2023 Schedule

 January 2023

January 14, 2023 Getting Started Off-Road – LA Area
January 15, 2023 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA Area
January 14-15, 2023 Getting Started Two Day Package – LA Area

January 28, 2023 Getting Started Off-Road -SD Area
January 29, 2029 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – SD Area
January 28-29, 2023 Getting Started Off-Road Two Day Package – SD Area

January 28, 2023 Sand Dune Off-Road Driving – LA Area
January 29, 2023 Self Recovery Clinic – LA Area

February 2023

February 4, 2023 Getting Started Off-Road – LA Area
February 5, 2023 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA Area
February 4-5, 2023 Getting Started Off-Road Two Day Package – LA Area

February 18, 2023 Tire Repair & Hi-lift Mini Clinic

February 18, 2023 Starting Rock Crawling – LA Area

February 25, 2023 Getting Started Off-Road – SD Area
February 26, 2023 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – SD Area
February 25-26, 2023 Getting Started Off-Road Two Day Package – SD Area

March 2023

March 4, 2023 Getting Started Off-Road – LA Area
March 5, 2023 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA Area
March 4-5, 2023 Getting Started Off-Road Two Day Package – LA Area

Death Valley Expedition will be March 17 to 20. We will have the registration open soon.

March, 25, 2023 Getting Started Off-Road – SD Area
March 26, 2023 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – SD Area
March 25-26, 2023 Getting Started Off-Road Two Day Package – SD Area

Get ready for a Spring trip to the San Rafael Swell

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

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

San Rafael Swell Off Road by Ed & Janice Helmick

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.

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

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Copyright 2023, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

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