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Updated: 1 hour 49 min ago

When Disaster Calls, Amateur Radio Answers

Tue, 03/17/2015 - 00:00
When Disaster Calls, Amateur Radio Answers It is great to be able to reach out to an Amateur Radio repeater when off-road
(Click picture for a larger image.)
A recent act of vandalism serves as a reminder to have diverse communications capability with you while four wheeling.

Vandals cut a major fiber optic cable in Arizona on Feb. 25, disrupting communications throughout the northern part of the state. Cellphone, internet and telephone services were affected, along with ATMs, banks, and other entities.

While this was an isolated incident, it serves as a reminder of how vulnerable our communications infrastructure is. You’re more likely to lose comm to some natural disaster, but in these days, we have to be mindful of willful acts of destruction.

Primer on ham radio We often say ham radio communication will be the last standing form in the event of a disaster. This is because each ham owns their own transmitter / receiver and most of it works off the grid – on batteries in the vehicle.

Amateur or “ham” radio is a private radio service available to you. It requires a license, for which you take one or more written exams. (There are three classes of license; each requires a written exam.) Once licensed, you have access to various frequency bands and modes of operation. I hold a Technician class license—the first level—and my callsign is KI6FHA. For more on ham radio, check out the website for the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the national association for amateur radio - www.arrl.org .

There are currently over 700,000 licensed ham operators in the United states. The number is growing weekly (at the end of 1991 there were 494,000 hams).

In addition to offering more frequency bands, ham radio equipment generally puts out more power. This is especially true of the mobile radios. While a CB radio is limited to 4 watts output, mobile ham VHF/UHF radios (the kind I’m recommending here) transmit with 40 to 50 watts or more. You can find single band 2 meter (more on "2 meter" later) radios that will transmit up to 75 watts in a mobile radio. As a ham operator you can legally transmit even higher wattage but that is not practical in a mobile unit using a car battery.

Ham radio operators often access repeaters, as well. Repeaters are standalone transceivers (usually on a summit) that automatically retransmit—“repeat”—the signal. This boosts the effective range of a radio considerably. It is not uncommon to talk with someone several counties away.

Before going on the air, make sure you have your ham radio license. You can get by with the Technician class license. Exams cover a host of topics, including rules and regs, radio theory, operating procedures, and more. The ARRL and W5YI-VEC (http://www.w5yi.org/ ) offer study guides. Practice exams are available at various websites, including the ARRL web site and also this one: www.QRZ.com . Finally, the ARRL website is a good resource to find a test session. (BTW there are only 35 multiple choice questions and no Morse code required for the Technician class. And you can get the entire pool of 350 questions to study in advance.)

Now that you’re licensed, it’s time to buy your ham radio gear. Even though you’ll have access to the full ham radio spectrum, for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on VHF and UHF operation.

The most popular band for mobile operation is known as 2 meters. This covers 144 – 148 MHz. A very popular UHF band, often called either 70 cm or “the 440 band”, falls at 420 – 450 MHz (for US hams).

All 2 meter and 440 radios allow users to operate in either simplex or duplex operation. Simplex, in simple terms, is what you would use for vehicle to vehicle chatting on the trail. FRS radios operate this way. Duplex operation is used for repeater operation. Your radio transmits on one frequency and listens for the repeater on a different frequency. Having additional power and repeater capability can be very important while four wheeling. (Of course, that depends on whether a repeater is within range.)

Consider a dual-band radio. A dual band radio provide the capability to use both the 2 meter and 70 cm bands. These give you the ability to adapt to the any repeater in places where you’ll be. (You can find repeater frequencies online.) Prices for a good, used dual-band radio probably run around $150 - $200.

If you’re a bit strapped for cash, consider just a 2 meter radio. Being the more popular band, you’re more likely to find 2 meter repeaters where ever you’re going.

No radio operates without an antenna. For newcomers, I recommend starting with a mag mount style. The mag mount will get you on the air quickly. After you become familiar with your ham radio gear, install a permanent antenna. You set the antenna on the trunk or rear bumper, and string the coax through a window. A down side to a mag mount antenna on the roof of your vehicle is it is easily knocked off if you drive through heavy brush.

A good dual-band mag mount antenna can be had for less than $50, based on a quick peek online. You may have to tune (adjust) the antenna for maximum performance. Most ham radio operators would be happy to assist with that.

Ham radio equipment Popular brands include Alinco, Kenwood, Icom and Yaesu. Ask some ham radio operators for their suggestions, then try out a few models. Ditto for antennas. I highly recommend the Yaesu FT8800R. It is a bit expensive but it is a dual band radio that has two radios side by side built into one small package. You could talk vehicle-to-vehicle on one radio and listen to a repeater on the other radio.


Here are some things to look for in a mobile ham radio for 4-wheeling:
  1. Dual band feature (2 m / 70 cm) - access any repeaters as you travel regardless if they are 2 meter or 70 centimeters.
  2. High output wattage - nice to have extra power to reach a remote repeater. There seems to be a tradeoff between power and dual band. Most single band 2 meter radios have more output power.
  3. Large memory capability - pre plan the repeaters for a long expedition and have room to store them all
  4. Easy to read display - size, contrast, back light, for driving safety and ease of use
  5. Removable control head - increases mounting options in the vehicle. The bulk of the radio and can go under a seat or in the trunk.
  6. Sealed radio - the cooling fan should not pull air (and, therefore dust) through the radio.
  7. NOAA weather alert - important to keep an eye on the weather when off road.
  8. Cross band repeater function - see above
  9. Ease of use. This is a bit relative. Today’s radios have so many functions, they can be challenging to program the first time. Another reason to get yourself a mentor (known as an Elmer).


You may like other features; this is just a start.

And I should mention that ham radio isn’t restricted to off-road use. Heck, you’re welcome to operate wherever and whenever. In fact, put your ham radio skills and driving skills to use by helping out in a charity ride. You’ll have fun, polish your operating skills, and help a worthy cause.

Incorporating ham radio equipment into your 4WD vehicle adds a new dimension to your communication capabilities. It is very useful for routine operating, and could make a big difference during an emergency in a remote area.

##########################
Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures Did you miss the previous article? Some Upcoming Events

(click on the link for details)

Calf Creek Falls, Grand Staircase UT
(Click picture for a larger image.) Summary of upcoming events.






########################## Rocks Clinic March 22

Rocks

The Class will be in Johnson Valley. This is an introduction to Rock crawling but it is not on "baby" rocks. We take our time and stress careful wheel placement. We use spotters for difficult sections. You learn by inspecting the obstacle and predicting the line; by watching others try their line; by experiencing it yourself; and by the coaching. We recommend you repeat the training several times. You will be much more relaxed the second time over the same obstacles and you will pick up on little details missed the first time. More Details...


You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Rocks








Winch Recovery Bandana & Winching DVD
Click for higher resolution image We have our new stock with many new colors (Red, Orange, Green, and Blue) on hand. The Bandana is packed full of useful information and is a quick reference in the field when no DVD player is available."

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready!

Pick up or order the Winching DVD too! There is no substitute for hands on training. If you can, sign up for one of Badlands Off-Road Adventure’s Winching Clinics.

Warning – the Bandana and DVD are not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment that is used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in both the Winching Recovery Bandana and the "Basic to Advanced Winching and Recovery DVD" at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.

Winch Recovery Bandana Order Button
Colors Orange Red Blue Natural Green Natural

Order a Basic to Advanced Winching & Recovery DVD too!


(Click picture for more details)













73
KI6FHA
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
http://www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
#####
If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/contacts.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2015, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Camping Hygiene

Sun, 02/08/2015 - 21:00
Camping Hygiene Camp Dinner
(Click picture for a larger image.)
Four wheeling presents a host of challenges in any environment. Drivers naturally focus on terrain and techniques. Therefore at the end of long day, food safety and hygiene don’t always get the attention they’re due. Let’s review some basics. Safe food handling and storage Keeping food chilled properly can be a real chore. A long trip to a remote destination during hot weather puts a strain on any cooler. Eggs, milk and raw meat, in particular, must be kept chilled. A cooler is OK for a day or two, but you’re better off buying a 12 volt on board refrigerator/freezer.

I have used one for many years, and highly recommend it. They’re not cheap—good ones run $800 - $1,000—but the convenience and peace of mind they provide is worth it. Make sure you buy a top model. Reliable brands to consider include ARB, Engel and SportFridge.

A good 12 volt fridge/freezer is compact, energy efficient, and easy on your battery. Energy consumption varies, but they typically draw about 2 or 3 amps. That may sound like a lot, but it’s not. You could get by for at least a day or more without charging your battery.

Remember that the fridge draws power only when it’s cycling. You can minimize cycling by parking in shaded areas when possible and limiting your access to the fridge. Night time is easier on the unit. It’s naturally cooler, and the fridge doesn’t get opened as frequently.

Even though the fridge/freezer runs efficiently, it’s a good idea to have a back-up plan. You could install a second battery—to run the fridge/freezer—or pick up a Micro-Start personal power supply. Though small, the Micro-Start packs a punch, and will jump start your engine.

Camping cooler still an option If you decide to use a camping cooler, you can take a few steps to lengthen the life of your ice and food. First, freeze the meat (and anything else you can) in advance. Frozen food naturally takes longer to thaw, but it also offers its only chilling power.

Chill the cooler prior to leaving. Ice it down a few days before you leave. Then dump out the ice and water and pack it with your provisions and fresh ice.

Dry ice is also an option, but placement becomes the issue. To keep the item frozen solid, place the dry ice underneath the food. If you just want to chill the food, place the dry ice on top. Do not place the food directly in contact with the dry ice.

Safe campfire cooking The main thing to remember about cooking outdoors—and indoors, for that matter—is to cook the food thoroughly. This is especially true for pork and chicken. (Beef has more leeway, though hamburger should be cooked thoroughly.) Trichinosis (from pork) and salmonella (chicken) are nasty enough if they hit while you’re at home. It’s a whole ‘nuther ballgame when you’re out in the boonies.

Camp cooking requires extra attention because you have to watch the coals (embers). Chicken and large cuts of meat take extra time. Your coals may die down too soon, and if the campers are especially hungry, are likely to pull the meat prematurely.

You’ve got to be patient. Watch your fire, and add wood throughout. You need a good bed of coals to maintain the proper temperature during cooking. If you don’t have the patience or time, find something else to eat. Cleanup and basic hygiene Proper hand washing is a challenge while off road. It’s important to bring soap and water. For larger groups, the Wishy-Washer hand Washer station is nice. It’s comprised of two containers and a foot pump. One container holds fresh water, and the other is a bucket for the waste water.

You can also fill up a spare water container that has a spigot, and set it sideways on a tailgate or table. Have a bottle of liquid soap and paper towels nearby. If you’re pinched for space, a spray bottle filled with soapy water works well.

Before gathering to eat, make sure everyone washes their hands. And, of course, the cook(s) must always wash thoroughly before preparing food and after handling raw meat.

Hand sanitizers are really popular today. Unfortunately, the alcohol dries out the skin. Remember that you’re often operating in harsh, dry conditions. The alcohol just makes matters worse. Stick with soap and water.

Another part of sanitation is dishwashing. Use hot, soapy water to wash the dishes. You should use two wash basins: one to wash and the other to rinse. I prefer using hot water for rinsing, but cold water is fine. Just make sure to rinse thoroughly. Soap can cause nasty stomach problems.

I generally let my dishes air dry. An onion bag comes in handy for that purpose.

While we’re talking about washing dishes, it’s a good time to discuss how to dispose of your dishwater. Most people just toss it on the ground. Don’t. The food particles attract critters and birds. That can be a real problem in high-traffic areas.

Strain your dishwater in a large coffee filter. You can dump the water, but toss the filter into your garbage bag. Just as you wouldn’t leave human waste behind, don’t scatter your food waste. Leave the campsite in at least as good of shape as it was when you arrived.

If you’d like to go one step further, consider using environmentally friendly soaps. One example is Campsuds by Sierra Dawn .

This biodegradable, multi-purpose cleaner was designed for campers and other outdoors enthusiasts. It can clean dishes, hands, hair, and just about anything that’s washable.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” as the old saying goes. An “ounce” of planning, patience and effort can prevent the need for cures while you’re four wheeling. Follow these suggestions, and your weekend won’t be spoiled by avoidable issues.

# # # # #

##########################
Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures
Did you miss the previous article? Some Upcoming Events

(click on the link for details)

Calf Creek Falls, Grand Staircase UT
(Click picture for a larger image.) Summary of upcoming events.











Sand Clinic February 28, 2015
On Pismo Beach in California
(Click picture for a larger image.) If you have been waiting for the next Sand Driving Clinic, put it on your calendar for February 28st and sign up now. This day-long clinic will expose you to a variety of driving conditions and levels of difficulty. Driving on sand is challenging and different than dirt, so we’ll progress slowly as you learn the proper techniques. As your confidence grows, you will master increasingly more challenging dunes. Along the way you will be exposed to the beauty of SVRA and the thrill of the windswept dunes. This is a rare opportunity to cruise the only beach in California open to vehicles.
More details...



Register for the Sand Clinic using this link.

http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#SandPismo

########################## Rocks Clinic March 22

Rocks

The Class will be in Johnson Valley. This is an introduction to Rock crawling but it is not on "baby" rocks. We take our time and stress careful wheel placement. We use spotters for difficult sections. You learn by inspecting the obstacle and predicting the line; by watching others try their line; by experiencing it yourself; and by the coaching. We recommend you repeat the training several times. You will be much more relaxed the second time over the same obstacles and you will pick up on little details missed the first time. More Details...


You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Rocks








Winch Recovery Bandana & Winching DVD
Click for higher resolution image We have our new stock with many new colors (Red, Orange, Green, and Blue) on hand. The Bandana is packed full of useful information and is a quick reference in the field when no DVD player is available."

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready!

Pick up or order the Winching DVD too! There is no substitute for hands on training. If you can, sign up for one of Badlands Off-Road Adventure’s Winching Clinics.

Warning – the Bandana and DVD are not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment that is used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in both the Winching Recovery Bandana and the "Basic to Advanced Winching and Recovery DVD" at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.

Winch Recovery Bandana Order Button
Colors Orange Red Blue Natural Green Natural

Order a Basic to Advanced Winching & Recovery DVD too!


(Click picture for more details)














I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
http://www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
#####
If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/contacts.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2015, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

What's On Your 4-Wheel Drive Bucket List?

Sun, 01/11/2015 - 21:00
What's On Your 4-Wheel Drive Bucket List? Maybe this is the vehicle on your bucket list!
(Click picture for a larger image.)
Have you seen the movie, “The Bucket List”? If not, you’ve probably heard about it. Briefly, it’s the story of two terminally ill men (played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman), who try to atone for their lives by making the best use of their final days. As they travel the country—ostensibly while terminally ill, though they appear quite healthy—they enjoy all sorts of experiences.

The term “bucket list” stems from that movie, though people don’t feel they need to be dying to create a wish list. Instead, a bucket list is a collection of goals to be accomplished before the person “kicks the bucket”.

January is a time of resolutions. Buy me a good margarita, and I’ll tell you what I think of resolutions. I do like the idea of a bucket list, though. I sort of have one. It’s not written down, but I will continue to chip away at the items as time goes on.

As I have mentioned in other articles, it’s good to have a list before hitting the trail. A bucket list is helpful too, because it helps you plan long term. The list that follows is quite extensive. You can’t possibly accomplish all of them in one year. Heck, even one decade may be a stretch. The key is to stretch your imagination; go beyond thinking of the typical weekend outing.

A bucket list may seem fanciful, but it can serve a very useful purpose. Without one, you are unlikely to fully experience life. And in the process, you deny yourself a more complete enjoyment of four wheeling.

This list is by no means all inclusive. For example, you won’t see “go four wheeling on the moon.” For some youngsters, that may be a possibility. Instead, I tried to make you really think. Of course, you’re welcome to use this list as is, or amend it. If so, try to end up with at least 30 goals. The more, the merrier. Good luck, and have fun!
  1. Do the Rubicon trail.

  2. Go to Moab. Ideally during Easter Safari, but at least get over there.

  3. Grab the latest, greatest model of 4WD vehicle you’ve had your heart set on.

  4. Finally create the 4WD vehicle of your dreams. You know: big tires, winch, axle upgrade; the whole enchilada. As you know, even the latest model needs to be reconfigured.

  5. Participate in an overland expedition. The more challenging the better.

  6. Attend a SEMA Show at least once. Use your powers of persuasion to get a ticket.

  7. Get a picture of you, your vehicle—or both—published in a national 4WD magazine.

  8. Visits the Off Road Hall of Fame http://www.ormhof.com in Reno, Nev. The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame honors those individuals and organizations whose lifelong contributions to off-road motorsports have set a standard for others to follow.

  9. Attend TDS (Terra Del Sol). Weekend event in southern California. See www.tds4x4.com

  10. Make the Guinness Book of World Records. Attend the 75th Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival, http://www.bantamjeepfestival.com and participate in the largest parade of Jeep vehicles June 12-14. 2015

  11. Find a woman who will go 4-wheeling with you, go camping, and can grease the inside fitting on a CV joint. Marry her!
    For you women: Find a man who owns a 4WD vehicle that is big enough for 2 car seats.

  12. Purchase every tool you need to work on your vehicle.

  13. Race or at least drive the Baja 1000 track.

  14. Be able to start a fire with primitive methods.

  15. Drive off road from the border with Mexico to the Canadian border.

  16. Take an off-road trip in Alaska.

  17. Take an off-road trip in Colorado.

  18. Drive the North Rim of the Grand Canyon with your four wheeler.

  19. Conquer Death Valley.

  20. Take a 4WD excursion through Iceland.

  21. Drive the Australia Outback.

  22. Drive through Chile and Argentina.

  23. Drive an H1 Hummer. Better yet, buy one!

  24. Create the time to accomplish your bucket list. Brush up on those time management skills.

  25. Install bolt-on portal axles.

  26. Install a hemi or LS7.

  27. Earn a ham license and add a ham radio to your vehicle

  28. Learn to weld. And not just steel but other metals, as well. Can you spell aluminum?

  29. Teach your kids to drive a four wheeler. That’s important for their development and appreciation of this great land.

  30. Have an obstacle on a trail named after you for something other than the wrong reason.

  31. Finally get your vehicle’s cockpit in order with all the wiring in its place. All the accessories are organized, wires are loomed, and you’ve installed waterproof plugs.

  32. Visit Ouray and Imogene Pass, as well as the areas around Telluride, Durango and Cortez.

  33. Drive through the remote Big Bend, Texas area. Visit the Big Bend National Park and the Big Bend Ranch State Park.

  34. Four wheel the Flathead Lake area in Montana.

  35. Retrace the Lewis and Clark trail.

  36. Earn your 4WD instructor certification (but after I retire!).
Whew! This should give you some great ideas. Note how I included the various aspects of our hobby: vehicle acquisition and development, training/education, and excursions. After completing a bucket list like this, you’ll have some mighty fond memories to recollect while relaxing in your rocking chair.

# # # # #

##########################
Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures Did you miss the previous article? Some Upcoming Events

(click on the link for details)

Small Cabin in Wyman Canyon, White Mountains
(Click picture for a larger image.)

Summary of upcoming events.

Before you do anything else, sign up for the Easter Safari in Moab March 30th to April 3rd.
The trail selection is coming up fast - 3rd week of January. Sign ASAP - trail selection begins in Jan.









########################## Easter Safari Moab, UT March 30, 2015

Metal Masher Trail
(Click picture for a larger image.)
Sign up for Easter Safari March 30 – April 03, 2015 It seems a long ways away, but all the trail rides are assigned on a first come first served basis. The date to sign up for trail is January 22nd this year.

Hotels, RV parks and camp grounds need to be reserved this month. They are all close to being sold out.

So if you think you might want to go to the Easter Safari this year with Badlands Off-Road Adventures, you need to register right away. http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#EJS.

Once we have your registration, we can also tell you which trails to sign up for.


A few pictures: http://4x4training.com/images/Moab/Moabpicture.html


Check out http://4x4training.com/Adventures/EasterSafari/EJSMain.html

You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#EJS









Sand Clinic February 28, 2015 If you have been waiting for the next Sand Driving Clinic, put it on your calendar for February 28st and sign up now. This day-long clinic will expose you to a variety of driving conditions and levels of difficulty. Driving on sand is challenging and different than dirt, so we’ll progress slowly as you learn the proper techniques. As your confidence grows, you will master increasingly more challenging dunes. Along the way you will be exposed to the beauty of SVRA and the thrill of the windswept dunes. This is a rare opportunity to cruise the only beach in California open to vehicles.
More details...



Register for the Sand Clinic using this link.

http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#SandPismo

Winch Clinic Mar. 08, 2015 - San Diego Area

This one day clinic starts with the basics. If you are considering installing a powered winch on your vehicle, or have one already but need training to learn how to get the best from it and do it safely, you need to take this class. The one day course covers: safety related issues, basic operation of the winch, simple and complex riggings, stuck assessment, winch capability, and minimizing environmental impact. This is a hands on class. By the end of the day you will be safely rigging some complex recoveries. More Details...


You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Winch








Winch Recovery Bandana & Winching DVD
Click for higher resolution image We have our new stock with many new colors (Red, Orange, Green, and Blue) on hand. The Bandana is packed full of useful information and is a quick reference in the field when no DVD player is available."

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready!

Pick up or order the Winching DVD too! There is no substitute for hands on training. If you can, sign up for one of Badlands Off-Road Adventure’s Winching Clinics.

Warning – the Bandana and DVD are not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment that is used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in both the Winching Recovery Bandana and the "Basic to Advanced Winching and Recovery DVD" at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.

Winch Recovery Bandana Order Button
Colors Orange Red Blue Natural Green Natural

Order a Basic to Advanced Winching & Recovery DVD too!


(Click picture for more details)














I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
http://www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
#####
If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/contacts.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2014, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

10 More Tips Your 4WD Instructor Didn't Tell you!

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 21:00
Happy Holidays from Badlands Off-Road Adventures! Happy Holidays!
With the holiday season upon us, I am reminded of all that we are grateful for throughout the year: family, friends, good health, and the nearly unlimited opportunities available to us in this great country, including off-road driving.

Whether cruising sandy dunes, tackling the rocky trails in the mountains, or surviving the blistering heat of the desert, four-wheeling offers us thrills and adventures not found anywhere else.

Trails are as varied as the landscape, and offer novice and experienced drivers alike the chance to pit skills and wit against Mother Nature herself. We enjoy the camaraderie and friendship of our fellow off-road enthusiasts as we admire the wonderful scenery around us.

This has been a great year for my family and I; I hope the same is true for you. We value the relationship we have developed with you, and look forward to seeing you next year.

May the spirit of the season be with you and your family. And may the new year bring continued happiness and success.

All the best. Enjoy the article!

10 More Tips Your 4WD Instructor Didn't Tell you! End of a good day!
Photo by Chris Laskowski
(Click picture for a larger image.)
Regular visitors to my blog know I sometimes present material in list format. Lists offer an easy way to read and digest information.

Well, I’ve come up with some additional tips to keep your four wheeling fun. These suggestions cover a wide variety of issues, but mostly center around safety. That’s a common theme of mine, for good reason: If you’re not safe out there, bad things can happen.









In no particular order, here are 10 additional tips to help you enjoy your day of four wheeling.
  1. Don't move a vehicle with the hatch open. After pulling into a campsite you realize that you’d like to reposition your vehicle. So you hop in and throw it in reverse. Next thing you know, you’ve just smashed the tailgate (or hatchback) into a tree. Make sure all doors are closed before you move the vehicle.
  2. Close car doors when you stop to take pictures. This is more of an aesthetic issue. Vehicles photograph better with all the doors closed. For one thing, you’re not showing the world just how messy it is inside. Close the doors, get the sun behind you, and snap those images.
  3. Check your lug nuts if you get help with a wheel. Don’t be surprised if others jump in when you have a tire problem. Just remember that it’s your responsibility to ensure your wheels are on tight before you resume. If the guy who helped you seems offended, shrug your shoulders and say, “Sorry, Mac. It’s just a habit of mine.”
  4. Stow your gear at night. Bad weather can bury your gear in snow, mud or debris. If you’re in one of those old ghost towns, a grizzled and gap-toothed gold miner may take a fancy to a piece of your gear. Pack up properly at night, and you’ll be able to find everything the next morning.
  5. Stay out of mines. Now I’m getting serious. Avoid old mines, period. They weren’t safe 100 years ago, and they aren’t safe today. Take a peek inside, take a picture outside, then split.
  6. Mount a fire extinguisher where it’s visible and accessible. This is as much for your guests as it is for you. An emergency causes everyone to panic a bit. You shouldn’t have to think about where the fire extinguisher (or first aid kit, for that matter) is. Mount it prominently.
  7. When in doubt, don't commit until you spot the trail. This is especially true when you’re climbing a hill. As you near the top, your view is obstructed by the hood. Don’t assume you know what’s coming next. Get out and verify.
  8. Be careful when driving into the sun. If you can’t see the trail well, don’t assume all is well. Either you or your spotter must get out for a look. Repeat that step as often as necessary. Be patient, especially at the end of the day. (Though you can encounter a bright sun early in the morning, too.) You’re eager to get back to camp, which is when mistakes occur. If necessary wait until the sun sets. Remember this axiom: Don’t try if you can’t see.
  9. Always face the danger when turning around. Another important safety tip. Let’s say you need to turn around on a narrow shelf road. As you perform your 3 point turn, back up toward the canyon wall. This keeps the danger—the drop off—in view. Never turn the other way, or you’re likely to go sailing right down the side of the mountain.
  10. Tie your boot laces in the shape of a square knot with a bow. You’ll be more stylish, and your laces are less likely to come untied. (I hate that when it happens!)


Tuck these suggestions into the back of your mind. And make then a habit whenever you backup, turn around, get out of the vehicle, have a flat tire, camp out, drive into the sun, or tie your boot laces.

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Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures Did you miss the previous article? Some Upcoming Events

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Small Cabin in Wyman Canyon, White Mountains
(Click picture for a larger image.)

Summary of upcoming events.
  1. Jan. 10 Getting Started Off-Road - LA area:
  2. Jan. 11 Day 2 Getting Started Clinic- Mojave:
  3. Jan. 24 Getting Started Off-Road - San Diego area:
  4. Jan. 25 Day 2 Getting Started Clinic- Borrego Spgs:
  5. Jan. 31 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic - Hawthorne:














Stocking Stuffers: Winch Recovery Bandana & Winching DVD
Click for higher resolution image We have our new stock with many new colors (Red, Orange, Green, and Blue) on hand. The Bandana is packed full of useful information and is a quick reference in the field when no DVD player is available."

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready!

Pick up or order the Winching DVD too! There is no substitute for hands on training. If you can, sign up for one of Badlands Off-Road Adventure’s Winching Clinics.

Warning – the Bandana and DVD are not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment that is used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in both the Winching Recovery Bandana and the "Basic to Advanced Winching and Recovery DVD" at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.

Winch Recovery Bandana Order Button
Colors Orange Red Blue Natural Green Natural

Order a Basic to Advanced Winching & Recovery DVD too!


(Click picture for more details)














I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-613-5473
http://www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
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Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2014, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.