A simple pre-trip routine will generally ensure that your trip into the bush is plain sailing! I like to have my bakkie washed and polished before I leave as it make it easier to clean on my return. I add a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid to the window washer container as helps clean off greasy bugs when travelling at night. If I know I am going to do night driving I apply a windscreen wax repellant which makes it easier to keep the windscreen clean. I then check all lightbulbs (lights, brakes and indicators). If the bakkie has been recently serviced I merely check all the fluids, however if a service is near and I will be travelling I then schedule a service before leaving- a good opportunity to get a pair of additional eyes checking everything. Despite this I will also have a good look in the engine compartment to have a visual inspection as well as an underbody check. In both cases I check cables, wires and all lines. Everything must be in a good condition and secure. I then check tyre pressures, condition of the tyres as well as the required tools and the wheel nuts and dust caps. At this point I also check my compressor and tyre repair kit and air-jack.
Then if I have not been off-road recently I check the operation of my 4WD system- a simple check on a nearby gravel road allows me to ensure that everything is in order.
I then do a full inspection of my recovery equipment, ensuring that everything is clean and that I have a range of rated bow shackles. My winch is a hand operated Pul Pall so I check the handle, unit and the cable ensuring as well that I have shear pins should they be required. Torches and tools follow this inspection.
My fire extinguisher, first aid kit and jumper cables are always in the bakkie, the fire extinguisher sits in the rear door and the other items are under the front seats- I attach heavy duty velcro to them, this sticks them to the carpet ensuring that they do not move around. Ensure that you have adequate water as an adult consumes roughly two litres a day and if you get stuck…….!
When you evaluate your 4 WD system listen for fun noises and ensure that everything is secured ( Jerry Cans etc.)
I have developed a trip checklist which is refined every-time I return from a trip – generally because I forgot something. Enjoy the upcoming holidays take care and stay safe on the road.