Top 10 Things to Know When You Go Desert Wheeling, Part 1
It’s about that time of the year -- the weather is finally starting to cool down, and the desert trails are looking appealing once again. The desert is a unique world all its own though. How can you be best prepared to take on the desert trails? We’ll tell you all our best tips - check out part one here!
Run Some Preseason Maintenance
Even if you’re a slacker who can’t be bothered to do basic maintenance and checklists before each time you head out for the trails, make sure you give your truck a good once-over before you start into an entire season of fun and play. While the desert is beautiful, it can also be a very desolate place. If you run low on say, transmission fluid, and blow your truck up 30 miles from the closest road, you will be able to get a tow out. But it might cost you a few months’ rent to do it. Don’t let easily preventable issues ruin your good times on the trails.
Don’t forget the 10 Essentials
Here’s a rule of thumb - assume every trip to the desert is going to become a camping trip, and pack accordingly. That doesn’t mean you need a tent and a full camp kitchen, but it does mean you should plan for the worst. If you were to break down in the desert this afternoon, would you have the supplies to be reasonably comfortable and safe until you could get some help? Here’s the 10 essentials for camping, we suggest you keep them in your truck all the time, just in case:
Navigation systems are great, but you shouldn’t go off the grid without a map and compass, and the skills to use them. Technology can fail, and if it does, you’ll be grateful to have this as a fallback.
Most offroaders have a flashlight in their truck, but if you don’t, now is a great time to add one. If you do any camping at all, consider adding in a headlamp, either in place of a flashlight, or in addition to it. It’ll make bumbling around camp in the dark a little easier, whether you’re camping on purpose, or on accident (aka getting stuck in BFE).
For most people this is just sunscreen, but we suggest a decent pair of sunglasses, too. Should you find yourself stuck in the glaring sun of the desert, you’ll be glad to have them. Don’t forget to check your sunscreen each year - it expires, and once it does, it is worthless. Unless your goal is the worst sunburn of your life, replace it before the expiration.
Keep it in the truck all the time. Buy a pre-assembled one, or build your own. Check it each year to make sure nothing is expired.
Throw a multi-tool in your glove box and you’ll be set on this one. You’ll be glad to have the extra tools at some point, guaranteed.
Always have a way to start a fire handy. A flint you know how to use, water proof matches, even a plain old lighter from the gas station. Just don’t go out without a way to create fire if worst comes to worst.
Think mylar space blanket. They pack down tiny, and weigh next to nothing. It doesn’t have to be much, just something to protect you from the elements in an emergency.
This can be as simple as a couple of protein bars, or a dehydrated or freeze dried meal. Throw it in a shoebox sized tote, and just check each season to make sure nothing is expired.
Just carry enough to get you through an extra day on the trail. It won’t be too much more, but in an emergency, you’ll be glad to have it.
Throw in a packable down jacket, and you’ll be set. An extra layer could literally save your life when the temperature drops in the desert.
Consider an awning for Your Truck
Shade in the desert comes at a premium, and so does space in your truck. While you can certainly carry a collapsible canopy inside your rig, we’d recommend the ARB Aluminum Awning to keep the weight down, and save space for the things you actually want to deal with on the trail. It’s also easy enough to use, that you can pop that bad boy up at lunch without a second thought, and add to your comfort all day long.
Make Sure You’ve Got Enough Fuel
If you’ve ever driven through the desert, you know how deceptive the terrain can be. If you’re planning to make a day, or especially a weekend, out of desert wheeling, take some extra fuel. You’ll be glad to have a little extra insurance when the gas station you can totally see in the distance doesn’t seem to be getting any closer.
No matter where your adventures take you, when you’re ready to hit the trails, we’ve got all the gear and expertise you need. Call or email our helpful team of off road experts, and we’ll get all your questions answered so you can have a great time on the trails without worrying about all the details.