Picture a crusty, old country town (if you can call it that) with a total of five stores lining the main street. The last shreds of faded paint are peeling off the signs, an indicator that the glory days of this place are long gone. This is where you will spend a few weeks of your precious holiday time if you fail to pack the appropriate spare parts. Follow these handy tips to ensure you aren’t caught off guard and don’t spend your holiday stranded in little hick town.
Small towns may have mechanics, but don’t rely on the town with the name you can’t pronounce, to have the exact part you need for your vehicle make and model. Preparation is key, and you can pick up vital spare parts for cheap at second hand stores or online. Consult your car manual for a full list of parts. Some essentials include: spark plugs, filters (fuel, oil and air), fuses, globes, fan belts, batteries, coolant, wheel bearing grease and brake fluid. You should already have a spare tyre, but check the PSI before you embark on your journey to ensure it hasn’t deflated while being unused.
Plan your journey to include strategically placed fuel stops. Top up your tank at each town along the way, but ensure your plan b is in place and include spare fuel with your supplies. Investigate different sized fuel tanks or bladders, such as those at Fabric Solutions, to suit your needs. Available storage space and journey length will be large factors in determining which one is right for you. Bladders are worth researching, especially for those with limited storage space. They only expand to the capacity they are filled; that means no wasted air space.
UHF radios or ultra-high frequency radios, are a popular choice for 4WDers, truck drivers and other long-distance road crews. They are generally for shorter range (up to 10km), but fitted with the right equipment, could be used within a much larger radius and are especially useful when travelling in a group. UHF radios are especially useful for communicating with other drivers, for example, when you want to check if the coast is clear to overtake a slow moving road train on a two lane highway. Smaller, hand-held UHF radios are useful when trekking outdoors when you need to split from others in your group. Other useful devices include satellite phones and distress beacons.
Keeping meat fresh throughout your journey can be tricky and keeping it frozen for long periods of time is logistically impossible. Prepared meats will naturally have a longer life span, but fresher cuts of meat can be packaged in vacuum seal bags for longer lasting freshness; ask your butcher to seal them in meal sized portions and store in a portable refrigerator. Red meats will last longer, so opt for beef over chicken or fish. Sachet food and tinned food are easily transportable and have a long lifespan. Carry essential ingredients for making carb-loaded basics such as damper, bread or pancakes. This way, you can cook as you go instead of potentially wasting stale or mouldy bread.
Investigate 4WD clubs in your local area to link up with other 4WD enthusiasts. Glean knowledge from experienced 4WDers and soon you are on your way to being a pro. For now, work these ideas into your pre-trip plan and your 4WD journey will go off without a hitch!