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An off-road guide to touring the outback

An off-road guide to touring the outback

The outback can be gnarly, so here are a few four-wheel driving pointers when preparing to tackle the Aussie wilderness.

Before driving in remote terrain, it’s important to be prepared. So, here are a few checklists to get you started prior to heading out into the outback. Some of it is obvious, but as a wise soul once noted: by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. As these are in-depth lists, you can discriminate, depending on the destination and specific issues that your vehicle may meet. When travelling in a group – the wiser option in remote spots – you can split the load throughout the convoy.

Everyday essentials

  • Ensure you have plenty of drinking water to stay hydrated on the trip.
  • Long-life food (as well as a can opener!) and a gas cooker are essentials, especially if you don’t have an in-built fridge in your vehicle.
  • A map of the area or a good navigation app (or both) that can be used with no mobile service are vital. Sygic Truck & Caravan Navigation software is a good option. For a one-off cost, it calculates the best route for the size of your caravan, and also calculates accurate trip times (some apps underestimate the impact of a 20-foot caravan and get you caught in the middle of nowhere in the wee hours).
  • Be sure to pack a first-aid kit, including mosquito repellent, antibacterial solution, bandages, sunscreen, antihistamines, painkillers, snake bite treatment and a water purifier in case you run into any emergencies.
  • Camping essentials, such as a torch, batteries, knife, lighter, compass, chargers for powered equipment, and a space blanket are a must if you plan on doing a multi-day adventure. A fire extinguisher and flares are also essential safety musts for any road trip.
  • Keep a spare key in a waterproof magnet box that you can store under the car in case you get flooded during river and creek crossings.

Vehicle must-haves

It’s also vital to pack tools, gadgets and spare parts in case you run into any car issues, including:

  • mechanical manuals for your vehicle, backup fuel and engine oil, grease, fuel siphon, and injector cleaner
  • a set of tools, rigging gloves, rubber weld tape, lubricant spray and rags for your vehicle
  • spare fan belts, top and bottom radiator hoses, a can of tyre weld for punctures, stop leak products for radiators, spare brake line, air pump/compressor, spare tyre and jack, jumper cables, fuses, and spark plugs
  • recovery gear, including a winch (tree trunk protector), snatch block, tow straps, shovel, shackles and an exhaust jack.

For more outback touring tips, read the new Autumn 2023 edition of Caravanning Australia.

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