• Plan your adventure first.
• Packing tips - take the basics, less is more.
• Documentation, first-aid kit, GPS, recovery equipment and tools and spares.
Mitsubishi South Africa's ambassador and 4x4 expert Francois Rossouw shares his knowledge on how to go about planning your (first) off-road adventure.
There are vital items that are non-negotiable items such as documentation, a first-aid kit, GPS, recovery equipment and tools and spares, Rossouw shares.
Less is more, but don't forget the vital things
"Many people think the more, the better, and the tendency is to pack too much, including equipment or gear you might never use. But a few things need to be in every off-road vehicle, regardless of where you want to go or what you want to do," says the experienced Rossouw.
Going off-road means you will probably be far away from immediate medical help, so having the basics in the event of a mishap is extremely important.
"Giving the wrong treatment or medication is often more dangerous than doing nothing, so my kit has no prescription drugs of any kind. I carry headache tablets, anti-inflammatory medication, something for diarrhea, ointment for insect bites, paraffin gauze for burns, over-the-counter medication for scratches, plasters and bandages, and basic equipment to splint a broken arm or leg," says Rossouw.
Rossouw say he also carries disinfectant for wounds, over-the-counter cough medicine, ointment for sunburn, basic cold medication, definitely some antihistamine and general eye drops.
Every trip taken now must include sanatiser due to Covid-19, but it's never a bad idea to have it close by in any case that's easily accesible.
It might seem like a silly thing to remind people, but double check that you are carrying a valid driver's licence.
Rossouw advises travelers to keep documentation in a safe place and says that entry requirements to other countries may differ, so make sure you know what paperwork to take along.
Global positioning system
Rossouw advises travelers not to rely on your mobile phone's GPS app – one of the reasons you're going on a 4x4 adventure is to "get away from it all", and a good cell phone signal will most likely not be available.
Some vehicles have built-in units, and make sure you download the latest version of maps such as Tracks4Africa. "We live in Africa. A road that was still tarred a few years ago might now be an off-road challenge, so make sure you know where you are going, he says.
If you plan to go off-road, make sure you have the right recovery equipment for that area. A winch is not always necessary, but things like a snatch rope and tow rope are essential. If you don't get stuck, you probably didn’t really go "off the road", says Rossouw.
Tools and spares
Check that your vehicle has a spare wheel, a jack, and a wheel spanner. Take the basics and make sure you have the details of your dealer in the event of an emergency, Rossouw says.
Before you go
Always test and double-check everything before you go on a trip, but do not leave it until the day of your departure, as this doesn't provide enough time to have the issue repaired.
"Make sure the vehicle is properly serviced and tested, check the spare wheel, tyre pressures, water and oil levels, lights and plugs and even things like brake fluid," the 4x4 expert says.
A good tip to give your local dealer a call and ask about free holiday inspections and special service and maintenance campaigns on labour and parts before you depart on your annual holiday.
Mitsubishi SA is offering free safety checks and special maintenance campaigns," says Campbell. The 28-point check includes a safety assessment, special service and maintenance campaigns on labour and parts.