So, you’ve recently purchased a new Jeep Wrangler and are eager to drive out and hit the trails on your first off-roading adventure. Not so fast! While off-roading can be a lot of fun, there are also several risks involved such as getting stuck, ending up stranded in a remote location, or even toppling over. Without proper preparation, an off-roading trip can quickly become extremely stressful, if not dangerous. To ensure that your excursion is as safe and enjoyable as possible, here are some helpful tips for planning your first off-roading trip.
Plan out your route carefully
One of the most important steps in planning a safe off-roading trip is to take the time to outline your route carefully. Because you’re a first-time off-roader, it’s important to research your route so that you don’t encounter any obstacles that are too challenging. Try to stick to easier trails and avoid taking on large climbs or exceptionally challenging terrain on your first go. When planning your route, make sure to use an updated map of the area. Several online GPS maps may be outdated for remote areas and won’t provide an accurate view of what to expect while out on the trails.
In addition to planning an easier route, you should also determine where you are going to stock up on fuel and other supplies that you’ll need throughout your journey. You may have to do a little math here to determine when your vehicle will get low on gas and when you’ll need to refuel. Failing to plan a few properly timed fuel stops will likely result in you running out of gas in the middle of a forest, desert, or another remote location.
Familiarize yourself with the rules of the off-road
Just because you aren’t driving on a paved road doesn’t mean that you can just do whatever you want. There are still several spoken and unspoken rules that off-roaders are expected to follow while driving on the trails. To avoid having to pay expensive fines, angering other off-roaders, or increasing your risk of a collision, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules of the off-road.
One of the most important trail rules to know before going on your first off-roading trip is when to yield. For example, if you are driving on a trail with mountain bikers, hikers, or horses, you should always give them the right of way. After all, they can’t compete with a several thousand-pound vehicle. In addition, you should also yield to vehicles going uphill if you are going downhill. If a vehicle going uphill has to yield to you, they may lose their momentum and not be able to make it up the rest of the hill.
Another important off-roading rule to follow is to respect the environment. When off-roading, it’s important to stay on designated trails rather than blazing your own path. By forgoing the trails, you can wreak havoc on the environment by creating ruts that can result in erosion or by killing plants and other animals that get caught under your wheels. Failing to follow this rule will likely land you with a seriously hefty fine from an angry ranger, and in some cases even potential jail time.
Stock up on essential equipment
Another essential tip for planning your first off-roading trip is to stock up on essential equipment. Before riding off into the sunset, make sure that your vehicle is equipped with standard safety equipment such as a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit. You should also pack essential tools such as a shovel to help you dig yourself out of any holes you may get stuck in and a flashlight and tool kit so that you can repair any vehicle issues that you may experience. Two other vital pieces of equipment to keep with you while off-roading is a spare tire and a Hi-Lift jack. While off-roading on rugged terrain, your odds of getting a flat tire are greatly increased. To avoid getting stranded or damaging your vehicle by driving on a flat, you should always have a spare and a Hi-Lift jack on hand.
Strap down your supplies
Now that you’ve stocked up on all the necessary supplies that you need for your off-roading journey, it’s important to strap it all down. Having loose items floating around your cabin is a serious safety hazard. If you hit a large bump, an unstrapped item could end up flying forward and breaking your windshield or hitting you and your passengers. To avoid taking a fire extinguisher to the head, you’re going to want to strap it down. If you have a lot of smaller items, consider placing them in a case or drawer for safekeeping. For securing larger items, using ratchet straps can be beneficial.
Consider modifying your vehicle
Modifying your Jeep Wrangler can greatly improve its capabilities on the trails. Now, we’re not saying that you need to go crazy and splurge on expensive modifications for your first off-roading adventure. However, investing in a few smaller modifications such as new LED lights or more robust bumpers can go a long way for improving your safety, the longevity of your ride, and your overall off-roading experience.
Bring a friend
One of the most important safety tips to follow when planning your first off-roading trip is to always bring a friend. Going on an off-roading adventure – especially your first one – all on your own is incredibly dangerous. If you run out of gas, get stuck, or injure yourself in some way, it’s imperative to have someone with you who can call for help or provide you with the assistance that you need. Ideally, the buddy that you bring should have some experience off-roading so that they know how to respond to emergency situations in the best manner possible.
Now that you know how to plan a safe and enjoyable off-roading adventure, the only thing left to do is to take your hardtop off and hit the trails. There is nothing quite like off-roading without your Jeep’s top on and feeling the fresh breeze hit your face. However, removing a hardtop can be a challenging and tedious process. That is, unless you have a Top Lift Pro Jeep top removal system. Our innovative tool allows Jeep owners to easily remove their hardtop all on their own in as little as just two minutes or less. To learn more about how the Top Lift Pro can simplify your off-roading experience, contact Top Lift Pro today.