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.
- 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.
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.