9 Essential Tips For Off Roading Alone
The general rule for off-roading is that you should never go alone, which holds for most cases. However, an increasing number of off-roaders seem to have a different take on this and love balancing risk.
And this brings us to the question, can you go off-road alone?
This article details everything you need to know about off-roading alone. I’ll share some handy tips to ensure your solo off-roading experience is much safer and more enjoyable.
Can you go Off-Road Alone?
Yes, you can off-road alone. I do it all the time, and so do a lot of other people. It’s not the best idea, but you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to get out just because you’re alone.
I’ve done thousands of miles of solo off-roading through different terrains, and I love the solitude. There’s something fantastic about disappearing from civilization into the woods yourself.
But you need to be sensible about it.
Off-roading alone can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature and test your skills as a driver. However, it’s important to approach solo off-roading with caution and careful planning.
Before heading out, thoroughly research the area you plan to explore. Understand the terrain, weather conditions, and any potential challenges you may encounter. This knowledge helps you gauge whether your vehicle and skill level are suitable for the off-road trails.
Ensure that your vehicle is in excellent condition and properly equipped for off-roading. Check the tires, suspension, and brakes, and make any necessary repairs or upgrades. Equip your vehicle with essential off-road accessories such as skid plates, recovery points, and additional lighting, as they can significantly enhance your off-roading capabilities.
Inform someone about your off-roading plans, including your intended route and estimated time of return. Share your contact information and inform them of any specific check-in times. This way, if you encounter any unexpected issues or delays, someone will be aware of your situation and can initiate help if needed.
Pack essential supplies and equipment for your off-road adventure. These may include water, food, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, recovery gear, a map or GPS, and communication devices like a cell phone or satellite phone. Carry enough fuel for your trip, and consider bringing spare parts and tools for basic repairs.
While off-roading alone, it’s important to exercise caution and drive within your limits. Avoid taking unnecessary risks or attempting challenging obstacles beyond your skill level. Stay focused, maintain a safe speed, and be aware of your surroundings.
Lastly, respect the environment and adhere to responsible off-roading practices. Stick to designated trails and avoid damaging vegetation or wildlife habitats. Leave no trace and pack out any trash or waste to preserve the natural beauty of the off-road area.
Off-roading alone can be incredibly enjoyable, but safety should always be the top priority. By preparing adequately, staying vigilant, and respecting the environment, you can have a memorable and safe solo off-roading journey.
With that said, here’re a few tips to help you navigate your truck while off-roading alone:
9 Tips for Off-Roading Alone
1) Make an Itinerary
The first thing I usually do before heading out is make an itinerary and hand it over to someone I trust. I include everything, like where I’m going and the basic route I’ll be taking. Same ideas you usually do when hiking or backpacking.
Creating an itinerary makes it easy for your loved ones to keep tabs on your movement and track you in case you get lost.
2) Stay 2WD
The second tip I usually recommend fellow off-roaders to adhere to when off-roading alone is to always stay in 2WD.
If you get stuck, you’ll have a better chance to get out of the mess with the 4WD. Otherwise, if you’re crawling locked in 4 low and unfortunately get stuck…you’re stuck.
3) Bring Recovery Gear
When off-roading alone, it is crucial to bring along the necessary recovery gear to ensure your safety and the ability to handle challenging situations. Recovery gear is designed to help you get unstuck, recover your vehicle, and overcome obstacles that you may encounter while navigating off-road terrain. Some essential recovery gear includes a high-quality recovery strap, a sturdy snatch block, a winch, a shovel, a traction board, and a portable air compressor.
A recovery strap is designed to stretch and absorb the shock when recovering a stuck vehicle. It should have a high breaking strength and be suitable for the weight of your vehicle. The snatch block is a pulley that can be used to change the direction of a winch pull or increase its pulling power. A winch is a mechanical device that uses a cable or rope to pull a vehicle out of challenging situations. It is particularly useful when there are no other vehicles around to assist.
A shovel is essential for digging out your vehicle from mud, sand, or snow. It allows you to create a clear path for your tires and regain traction. Traction boards are designed to provide extra grip and traction when your vehicle’s tires are struggling to gain traction on slippery surfaces. They can be placed under the tires to improve traction and help you get unstuck.
Lastly, a portable air compressor is necessary to adjust tire pressure according to the terrain. Lowering tire pressure can improve traction on soft surfaces, while increasing it is crucial for driving on rocky terrains. Being able to inflate or deflate your tires as needed ensures optimal performance and safety.
By bringing recovery gear with you when off-roading alone, you are prepared to handle unexpected situations and increase the likelihood of a successful self-recovery. However, it is important to familiarize yourself with the proper usage of the recovery gear and follow safety precautions to ensure your well-being.
Depending on the location and conditions, you might inevitably get stuck, but with a good recovery kit, you can get yourself out of any mess 8 out of 10 times.
In short, when I go out alone, I usually carry all my recovery gear. It’s probably more than I need, but depending on the terrain, you should always have the following:
- Straps and shackles
- Tow straps
- Zip ties
- Traction boards
- Spare tires
- Air compressor
Having recovery gear on your truck isn’t enough. You must also practice using the gears before you head out.
I’d also like to insist on carrying a First Aid Kit. Most wheeling locations are usually remote, with little to no access to emergency services, so a first aid kit is handy. In fact, having one may mean the difference between life and death.
4) Prep for the Worst
I am usually less worried about getting stuck and more worried about my truck breaking down when I’m off-roading alone. A breakdown means I can’t get back to town/home and may mean spending the night in the wilderness.
Therefore, in addition to bringing recovery gear, you must also carry survival supplies and essentials to last several days in case you get stuck. Bring at least 3-days food, water, and clothing for survival before help arrives.
When you off-road adventure alone, it’s essential to prepare for the worst-case scenarios to ensure your safety and well-being. While we hope for the best, being proactive and ready for unforeseen circumstances can make a significant difference in emergency situations.
First and foremost, carry a well-stocked emergency kit that includes essential items such as a first aid kit, extra water, non-perishable food, blankets, a flashlight, a multi-tool, and a fire extinguisher. These supplies can be vital if you find yourself stranded or injured.
Additionally, equip yourself with a reliable communication device such as a satellite phone or a two-way radio. These devices allow you to stay in contact with the outside world, even in remote areas with no cellular reception. In case of an emergency, you can quickly call for help and provide your location details.
It’s also crucial to have a basic understanding of vehicle repair and maintenance. Carry a set of essential tools, spare parts, and fluids specific to your vehicle. Knowing how to perform basic repairs or troubleshoot common issues can potentially save you from being stranded for an extended period.
Familiarize yourself with the area you’ll be off-roading in and study maps or GPS systems to ensure you have a clear understanding of the terrain and any potential obstacles. This knowledge allows you to plan your route accordingly, avoiding hazardous areas or those beyond your skill level.
Lastly, consider investing in a comprehensive off-road recovery insurance policy. This coverage can provide financial assistance for vehicle recovery, towing, or any necessary repairs in case of an accident or breakdown.
By preparing for the worst-case scenarios, you minimize the potential risks associated with off-roading alone and increase your chances of handling emergencies effectively. Remember, being proactive and well-prepared can make all the difference in ensuring a safe and successful off-roading experience.
5) Don’t Venture too far
When wheeling alone, this is not the time to try new and unexplored secret locations you heard about.
Instead, I’d suggest you stick to the well-traveled or popular locations so if you get stuck, help won’t be too far. Consider locations where at least a few people will come across you.
The best locations are familiar areas or somewhere near civilization. You can save the hard-core off-roading or deep backcountry trips for group trips.
6) Stay out of the wet
This tip may sound simple and obvious, but it may get you into trouble faster. See, there’s the joy of driving through water puddles or anything wet, but the wettest stuff usually doesn’t have a solid bottom.
And so, if you roll your truck into a wrong wet & muddy spot and get stuck, you’ll have a hard time recovering it, especially if you’re alone.
Therefore, take everything slow, and stay in fairly dry locations.
7) Avoid Sketchy Stuff
In the same breath, I can’t overemphasize the importance of staying away from sketchy stuff. See, off-roading, even in a group, is trying maneuvers you’re comfortable with and obstacles you’re sure your truck can overcome.
When wheeling alone and driving up to sections I’m unsure about, I usually stop and check it out. If it looks sketchy, I back up to avoid getting caught in sticky situations.
Generally, in most cases, you’ll be fine when solo- off-roading, provided you are just getting off the beaten path and not doing anything sketchy or crazy.
8) Have A Cell Phone
You must also ensure you always have cell reception. Also, have a cheap CB radio.
You could use Garmin in-reach mini if you go to locations without cell coverage. It uses a satellite instead of a cell tower.
You could also use offline apps such as Google Maps or Gaia. I’m a big fan of Gaia, as it allows me to record my routes, so it’s easier to find my way out. It also helps to track distances and has an SOS function.
9) Don’t Forget a Backpack
Another gear you shouldn’t miss in your off-roading truck is a backpack. If you get stuck and need to hike back home, the survival gear in your truck won’t help if you can’t take it with you.
Also, depending on the location, I suggest you carry a firearm. Most off-roaders are usually iffy on firearms, but I’d never go wheeling alone without my revolver.
This video has been included for its clarification of the topic matter. Credit goes to Maxx Powell
Remember, off-roading itself is a risk, you accept, even when you’re with a buddy.
But generally, off-roading, especially when you’re alone, comes down to experience. The more you try new stuff and go to new places, the more you know right and wrong. Sometimes, you’ll sooner or later meet solo off-roaders as you explore.
When venturing off-roading alone, it is essential to prioritize safety and preparedness. By following these five essential tips, you can enhance your off-roading experience and mitigate potential risks. Informing someone about your plans ensures that there is a safety net in case of emergencies.
Carrying emergency supplies equips you to handle unexpected situations and ensures your well-being. Conducting thorough vehicle maintenance and inspections reduces the likelihood of breakdowns in remote areas. Knowing your limits and avoiding unnecessary risks helps prevent accidents and damage to your vehicle.
Lastly, staying connected through communication devices and utilizing navigation tools ensures that you can communicate and navigate effectively during your off-roading journey. By implementing these tips, you can embark on a solo off-roading adventure with confidence and peace of mind.
The most important thing to remember is to always have ways to communicate with the outside world while off-roading. Also, have survival essentials such as food and water, and carry recovery gear to get you out of the sticks.