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4WD off-Road information, valuable advice and the latest tips for safe wheeling and hot new gear reviews
Updated: 11 hours 21 min ago

Safe Departure Point

Sun, 05/15/2016 - 00:00
Safe Departure Point & Other End Trip Stuff
(Click picture for a larger image.) Last month we reviewed the 10 qualities of a great trail leader. That article took us from the planning and preparations stages to the conclusion of a 4WD trip. This month’s article discusses what you as a Trail Leader need to do once everyone has reached the departure point. Even though the ride is over, several additional steps are needed to bring that enjoyable event to a successful conclusion. This is riveting information if you are a trail guide! 1. Departure Point Selection But before we arrive at the departure place, let's review the selection of the departure point and the time-of-day goal to end the trip.

Can you have them back on pavement early enough, to drive home that day? 2:30 or 3:00 p.m. is OK when the return trip is 200 – 300 miles. It will be a late arrival for them but still gives a very full day on the trail. If it is the last day of a long holiday weekend, you can be sure most guests will be anxious about getting out ahead of the traffic. You should plan to have them on pavement by noon.

Pick a safe place to allow the vehicles to be aired up, anti-sway bars to be reconnected and people to say goodbye. It should be near a major road home. The departure point need not be right when the dirt ends. Continue to lead the group until it is a simple matter to head home. A great location has a trash bins nearby. Everyone wants to unload their trash as soon as possible. Access to fuel is a plus after a long off-road trip. An ideal location has available flush toilets (or at least pit toilets). You need to identify the closest car wash for situations when it is imperative the mud comes off as soon as possible. 2. Get your guests back on the road Your fellow four wheelers will be eager to get going. But you need to ensure that each driver and vehicle is ready to go. Drivers should inspect their vehicles to make sure they are road worthy. Visit each driver and ask, “Everything all right?” If anyone needs assistance, either lend a hand or ask others to help. If not obvious by their comments, make sure every driver is clear about the route home. Retrieve any gear or equipment (radios, shovels, etc.) you lent out.

You should always be the last to leave the departure area. You never want to leave anyone behind. Be especially patient with newer four wheelers. They often take a little longer to get prepared.

This is a good time to collect the evaluation forms. Incidentally, those should be handed out just prior to arriving at the departure point. Stop about a half-mile out and distribute the forms. If you wait until the departure point, drivers will be too distracted and anxious to get going.

You could mail them later, but don’t expect much of a response. It’s better to approach the drivers while they’re still on the trail.

3. Clean your 4WD vehicle and restock your equipment This is an important step. Even though you’re probably tired and eager to put your feet up, take time to properly deal with your vehicle, equipment and supplies. If you put it off for more than a day you will forget the issues you had with the vehicle and supplies that were used up. Clean and restock any fluids or gear (including medical supplies, spare parts, and fire extinguisher) you used or that became damaged (such as recovery straps). Create a list of repairs and other actions action items during the trip or on the way home while it is still fresh in your mind. Make sure you put back all the essential items, and that your vehicle is tidy and prepared for your next trip. We covered these and others in 10 Important Tasks After Driving Off-Road.

4. Update your notes, records With the four wheeling experience still fresh in your mind, update your trip notes, journal/log or other document. (In fact, I recommend taking notes during the trip. Sometimes it’s possible; other times not.) Record what worked and what could be improved upon. Refer to the evaluation forms for valuable insight.

In addition to your main journal, you should have an equipment list, emergency packet, tour narratives and other resources. Update and replenish as needed. Use mapping software to save your GPS tracks. Edit those files to remove any wayward turns you made. Once cleaned up, that information will be invaluable the next time.

If you had to get a permit to access the area, you may need to send a post-trip report to the appropriate agency. Note any issues or problems you encountered that officials could remedy (broken signs, vandalized rest area, landslide and such).

Now that you’re accumulating notes and related stuff, you need a filing system.

5. Set up a filing system A filing system is really handy. Containing both electronic and paper documents, it helps you make sense of all the information you’ve collected and generated.

Store your maps, notes, checklists, brochures and other paper items to help with the next trip.

Think through your electronic storage, too. This contains navigation information, emergency number(s), handouts, tour narrative and other documents. Simply print out what you need next time. Take advantage of what you’ve learned to make your next trip more enjoyable

Trail Leader duties don’t end at the departure point. There are several more steps you need to take to wrap up that four wheeling experience. Doing so ensures that your guests get on their way properly and that you’re prepared for your next 4WD adventure.

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

May 5, 2016 - ALL COLORS BACK in STOCK
Click for higher resolution image We now have all six colors of our winch bandana back in stock!

The Orange and Red went fast last time with blue not far behind so if you want a specific color order now while we have them all 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.

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

The original press release with larger graphics is on the website Some Upcoming Events

(click on the link for details)

Serpent Crossing the road - Borrego Springs, CA
(Click picture for a larger image.) With just about 3 months before the Rubicon Trail trip, now is the time to sign up and make the commitment that this is the year you will "do the Con". 3 months will give you time to, schedule vacation, make those upgrades you need, get in a Rocks Clinic or two and prepare for an epic trip. Check the schedule below to sign up for Rock clinics and the Rubicon.

Summary of upcoming events. ########################## Rock Clinic June 18 and July 09

Rocks

If you are planning on doing the Rubicon, this is a good "shake down" or if you prefer a "warm up" clinic. It is great introduction to rocks even if you don't plan to do the Rubicon. The Class will be in Johnson Valley. It 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


Rubicon Trail Adventure August 15- 18, 2016

The Rubicon Trail is the stuff of legends. It is considered the Grand Daddy of trails. If your vehicle has a weakness, it will find it. Any serious four-wheeler needs to "Do the 'Con" at least once. There is no guarantee of avoiding vehicle damage. Even the most skilled driver can succumb to the fatigue of 12 unrelenting miles of rocks. Just bring a good attitude and the best prepared vehicle you can. This could be a once in a lifetime trip but a lifelong of bragging rights. More Details


You need to register now so you have time to prepare. Register directly at http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Rubicon


It comes in many colors.
(Click picture for a larger image.) Jack Covers Have you ever broken a tire bead while 4- wheeling and found that the hi-lift jack was barely operational due to dust, dirt and mud packed into the operating mechanism? Not only is it frustrating but dangerous as well. Since most of us bolt our hi-lift on the outside of the vehicle, it is not uncommon to find the mechanism less than functional.

A simple boot over the working parts of the jack to protect it and keep it clean is an idea that has been around for a while. The current offerings have not been very successful. At TDS this week, I discovered a new product for the hi-lift jack cover that looks promising.

Adam Woods has built a better “mouse trap” which he market under the name www.jackcovers.com The new cover marries a neoprene inner liner with a marine grade vinyl shell on the outside. It has a heavy duty - #10 Marine grade zipper, treated for mildew and antimicrobial, and available in 20 + colors. Since the product covers a number of holes on the jack upright, Adam explained to me he analyzed which holes most of us use to mount a hi-lift and offers two sizes of the cover - 11" and 15”- to allow several mounting combinations.

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 2016, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

10 Qualities of a great Trail Leader

Sat, 04/16/2016 - 00:00
10 Qualities of a great Trail Leader Pointing out our location on the map.
(Click picture for a larger image.) You’ve driven the trails numerous times. Have hundreds of hours of 4WD experience under your belt (some of which, of course, is spent outside of the vehicle). You’re good with people, and feel your managerial skills are top notch. You’d like to be Trail Leader for an upcoming excursion. What’s next?

First, I commend you for wanting to take on a leadership role. As a certified professional 4WD Trainer with more than 40 years of off-road experience, I know the value of a good Trail Leader. Our hobby could use more people willing to step forward and fulfill this role.

Being a Trail Leader is not an easy task. It involves skills, personality and patience. Here are my Top 10 qualities of a great Trail Leader.

1. You must have good 4WD skills. This is a huge category, and includes reading the terrain, picking lines, spotting, recovery, vehicle repair and the Tread Lightly philosophy, to name a few.

2. Know the trail. Drive it at least one time. Get familiar with the terrain and trail. Learn the difficulty level of the obstacles. Know the location of campsites, gas stations, parts store(s) and rest areas. Pick out back up campsites and a safe spot to air up at the end. Contact the responsible agency (BLM, parks department, state DNR) for the latest information. Is there a fire ban? Any trail closure? Does the group need permits? A phone call can minimize the surprises.

3. Keep the gang together, especially at difficult obstacles. Don’t let the drivers split up or spread out. A driver can peel off in the wrong direction. Others follow him, and pretty soon several drivers are lost. Have you heard of the accordion concept? Everyone keeps an eye on the vehicle behind and slows down as needed so as not to lose him. Don’t rely on that as it doesn’t work well. Keep an eye on three vehicles behind you. Stop and let the group close up frequently.

Schedule your stops for 10-100 and photo ops. (More on communications later.) Then make sure you don’t leave anyone behind. I could be still looking for several vehicles that left the lunch stop going the wrong way! Thanks to a sharp Tail End, who chased them down! Don’t split the group unless absolutely necessary. The most common reason is due to a breakdown that can’t be repaired on the spot. Make sure everyone knows what they are to do, where and when you’ll meet up again. Try to stay in radio or phone contact. Follow the buddy system: No vehicle goes off by itself.

4. Start on time, and keep the team on time. You can adjust trail time by adding or deleting stops. Don’t cajole or push the team, but don’t linger at stop more them necessary. Maintain a good pace throughout so you end on time. It’s always better to arrive at the campsite earlier than later.

5. Develop a good communications plan. This includes written instructions before the trip, as well as briefings and radio gear. Include spotting hand signals too. Your tail gate briefing at the trailhead is an important part of your communications package. Do a radio check before leaving. Know some history of the area and names of geography features you can communicate during the trip.

Your communication responsibility extends outside your own group. Talk to other Leaders you meet on the trail. Ask how many vehicles, where they are going, tell him the trail condition you just came over, ask what's ahead of you, if there are any other groups, etc. If they pulled over, tell him which is your last vehicle. I also like to thank each vehicle (if I can) as I go by for stopping for us. I want my tail end to do the same thing.

6. Know how to sequence the vehicles. High difficulty - alternate those with winches. Place ham radio guys in back. They have the power to ask for a repeat of information that was difficult to hear on the less powerful radios. Have any newbies right behind you. They will follow your cues. Lay down an easy line so the newer driver can follow you. Once identified, put the slowest driver behind you to pace yourself.

7. Be a people person. Any number of issues can crop up during a ride. Your guests come first; do everything you can to deliver a quality experience. Patience and understanding are a necessity in any Trail Leader. You’ll encounter a wide variety of skill sets and personalities while enduring a whole range of circumstances.

8. Handle pressure well. You cannot relax and follow the vehicle in front. This can be a nerve-wracking position, especially during inclement weather, vehicle breakdowns, very slow drivers, bad behavior and other challenging situations. If the risk is too high, be willing to change plans.

9. Be considerate of others you encounter, and encourage the same in your group. Slow down when approaching vehicles, pedestrians, campsites and cabins. This will minimize dust. When passing, don’t insist on right of way even if it’s normally yours. If you have only two or three vehicles, pull over and let the larger group pass. Adjust to the situation, and be polite.

Generally speaking, four wheelers are a nice bunch. So are other types of trail users. No need to think or act competitively. Always be friendly, and encourage that in your team. Be willing to share gear or a campsite with someone in need outside your group. The good deed will be repaid someday.

10. Treat your position as Trail Leader with respect. Since you reach a rest area or campsite first, hold back and let others grab the prime spots.

Being a Trail Leader carries with it much responsibility. You are expected to know the route, coach others through difficult obstacles, deal with bad behavior, have a backup plan for many unknowns, and keep a cheerful attitude throughout. But the rewards are tremendous.

A note to clubs: Everyone needs to start somewhere. Let a willing member be the Trail Leader even if uncertain of his skills and ability (don’t stick the new guy just cause no one wants it!) Pair him up with an experienced Trail Leader who will not let him fail! The same goes for spotting. Get some new blood out there learning to spot and building the trust of the group. Have your normal go-to-spotting-guy stand behind him coaching but not giving the drive instruction himself.

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

(click on the link for details)

Serpent Crossing the road - Borrego Springs, CA
(Click picture for a larger image.) With just about 3 1/2 months before the Rubicon Trail trip, now is the time to sign up and make the commitment that this is the year you will "do the Con". 3.5 months will give you time to, schedule vacation, make those upgrades you need, get in a Rocks Clinic or two and prepare for an epic trip. Check the schedule below to sign up for Rock clinics and the Rubicon.

Summary of upcoming events. ########################## Rock Clinic June 18 and July 09

Rocks

If you are planning on doing the Rubicon, this is a good "shake down" or if you prefer a "warm up" clinic. It is great introduction to rocks even if you don't plan to do the Rubicon. The Class will be in Johnson Valley. It 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


Rubicon Trail Adventure August 15- 18, 2016

The Rubicon Trail is the stuff of legends. It is considered the Grand Daddy of trails. If your vehicle has a weakness, it will find it. Any serious four-wheeler needs to "Do the 'Con" at least once. There is no guarantee of avoiding vehicle damage. Even the most skilled driver can succumb to the fatigue of 12 unrelenting miles of rocks. Just bring a good attitude and the best prepared vehicle you can. This could be a once in a lifetime trip but a lifelong of bragging rights. More Details


You need to register now so you have time to prepare. Register directly at http://4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Rubicon


It comes in many colors.
(Click picture for a larger image.) Jack Covers Have you ever broken a tire bead while 4- wheeling and found that the hi-lift jack was barely operational due to dust, dirt and mud packed into the operating mechanism? Not only is it frustrating but dangerous as well. Since most of us bolt our hi-lift on the outside of the vehicle, it is not uncommon to find the mechanism less than functional.

A simple boot over the working parts of the jack to protect it and keep it clean is an idea that has been around for a while. The current offerings have not been very successful. At TDS this week, I discovered a new product for the hi-lift jack cover that looks promising.

Adam Woods has built a better “mouse trap” which he market under the name www.jackcovers.com The new cover marries a neoprene inner liner with a marine grade vinyl shell on the outside. It has a heavy duty - #10 Marine grade zipper, treated for mildew and antimicrobial, and available in 20 + colors. Since the product covers a number of holes on the jack upright, Adam explained to me he analyzed which holes most of us use to mount a hi-lift and offers two sizes of the cover - 11" and 15”- to allow several mounting combinations.

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 2016, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Happy Hour at Trails End

Wed, 03/09/2016 - 00:00
Happy Hour at Trails End By the time I turned around to take the picture, this is all that was left!
(Click picture for a larger image.) It’s such a treat to relax after a long day on the trail, a cold drink in one hand and a tasty appetizer in the other. (Come to think of it, that sounds good just about any time!) With all that’s involved in preparing for a four wheeling event, happy hour sometimes gets overlooked.

Appetizers can be simple or complex. (Note that I use the word “appetizer.” I don’t know how to spell “hors-d'oeuvre.” ) Chips and salsa fall into the first category. How much simpler can you get? You also have a choice of hot or cold varieties.

Munchies can come straight out of a bag or jar. You can prepare in advance or buy prepackaged food. What you decide to bring is up to you. Feel free to discuss with others, or just bring what you like. Chances are they will help themselves. An empty stomach isn’t too demanding.

The end of the day is usually pretty hectic. Tents need to be raised, gear reorganized, and the fire started. The later in the day that we arrive at our camp site, the more chaotic the scene is to beat darkness. Chips and salsa (or some other simple item) allow participants to grab a quick bite while going about their chores. Unless we get into camp early—say, around 3:30—plan on a simple appetizer to start.

Remember the basics about food safety. Anything that needs refrigeration must stay chilled - especially any dips that contain mayonnaise. Eggs and raw meat are particularly susceptible to spoilage. For some items, you may consider cooking a big batch the first day. The leftovers, while requiring refrigeration, aren’t as sensitive as raw food.

Make sure you cook all food thoroughly. Any jars that are opened must be refrigerated. That’s why it’s a good idea to pack several smaller jars of an item. A big jar takes up a lot of space in the fridge.

Think dual purpose. Can a food item be used in multiple dishes? Most cheeses, for example, are good on crackers, burgers, and even in salads. This should make your grocery shopping more efficient and cost effective. The basics of trail snack food Because they’re so versatile, chips and crackers are the staple of any snack dish. Think about it: What doesn’t go with either chips or crackers?
Salsa and cheese spread are a given. Why not liven things up a bit? Try salami, kipper (herring that’s pickled and smoked), smoked clams or smoked salmon.
Here is a recipe from fellow ham radio operator Gabe, KK6ATH. He offers a neat twist on a basic snack. Blue Cheese Crackers
  • Spread some Mascarpone cheese on a Breton Cabaret butter crackers.
  • Crumble some good Blue cheese on top of that, and drizzle with honey.
  • (Note that honey does not flow well below 30 degrees F.)
  • This snack is “definitely delectable with a good wine,” Gabe attests, adding that its “layers of flavor [are] appealing to even those with a less-sophisticated palate.”
Want to add a twist of Italian? Break out the bread and olive oil. Spike it with a vinegar dip made with garlic and fresh rosemary. Of course, that’ll have to be paired with a good wine. Consult your local sommelier for some suggestions.

Speaking of drinking, never mix alcohol and driving. Just because you’re in the wide open country, don’t think for a minute that you can’t get hurt or worse. Save the liquor for when you’re back in camp.

If you want to be more daring, you might consider meatballs, cocktail franks or sushi. One drawback, though minor, is that these (with the exception of sushi) must be heated. So this isn’t something that can be quickly served on arrival in camp. Make sure you keep the sushi chilled.

Veggie plates are nice, too, especially on hot, dry days. Purchase the veggies separately, and make up the serving tray in camp. The combo platter from the store is too large for most mobile fridges.

Slices of apple and other fruit are also a hit. They can be enjoyed during the ride and at the end of the day.

Other than that, remember to pack the necessary utensils and a cutting board/serving platter. It’s probably a good idea to have some water or Handi Wipes at the table. Some guys don’t bother to wash up before grabbing some eats.

I was trying to avoid a laundry list of snacks but if you are like me, I can never remember once I get to the grocery store. So a list might help. Happy hour - Hors-d’oeuvres
  • Salsa dip & chips
  • Peanuts / mixed nuts
  • Cheese & crackers
  • Bean dip & chips
  • Salami on crackers
  • Cheese & salami plater
  • Jalapeno stuffed olives
  • Kippers & cracker
  • Smoked clam & crackers
  • Cream cheese & pepper jelly
  • Bread & olive oil
  • Grapes or apple slices with cheese plate
  • Blue Cheese Crackers (Gabe’s special)
  • Con Questa dip
  • Hot Sauce & pepper jack cheese on beget bread
  • Popcorn in Dutch oven
  • Chili cheese dip (Hormel no bean chili & cream cheese – hot sauce) (KK6NXP’s delight)
    • The only ingredient missing is TOBASCO sauce for Tim's Chili Dip Delight
      (Click picture for a larger image.) KK6NXP aka Tim's Chili Dip Delight
      • 1 can of Hormel no bean chili
      • 1 package of Philadelphia cream cheese (experiment with this - I think it needs 1.5 packages)
      • 1/2 oz. of TOBASCO sauce - or the normal cop out -season to taste
      • dump it all in a sauce pan at once - no need to cut up the cheese - stir until it is melted and blended
      • serve with chips


      Appetizers play an integral part in every 4WD experience. Put a little effort in your happy hour meal, and you’ll be rewarded with a very relaxing snack at the end of a long day. ##########################
      Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures Did you miss the previous article? It comes in many colors.
      (Click picture for a larger image.) Have you ever broken a tire bead while 4- wheeling and found that the hi-lift jack was barely operational due to dust, dirt and mud packed into the operating mechanism? Not only is it frustrating but dangerous as well. Since most of us bolt our hi-lift on the outside of the vehicle, it is not uncommon to find the mechanism less than functional.

      A simple boot over the working parts of the jack to protect it and keep it clean is an idea that has been around for a while. The current offerings have not been very successful. At TDS this week, I discovered a new product for the hi-lift jack cover that looks promising.

      Adam Woods has built a better “mouse trap” which he market under the name www.jackcovers.com The new cover marries a neoprene inner liner with a marine grade vinyl shell on the outside. It has a heavy duty - #10 Marine grade zipper, treated for mildew and antimicrobial, and available in 20 + colors. Since the product covers a number of holes on the jack upright, Adam explained to me he analyzed which holes most of us use to mount a hi-lift and offers two sizes of the cover - 11" and 15”- to allow several mounting combinations. Some Upcoming Events

      (click on the link for details)

      Serpent Crossing the road - Borrego Springs, CA
      (Click picture for a larger image.) Summary of upcoming events.

      ########################## Wilderness First Aid Course April 16 & 17, 2016

      If you are interested in taking a Wilderness first Aid Course (WFA), Badlands Off-Road Adventures is sponsoring a 2 day class in April. We engage a professional medical instructor from Wilderness Medical Associates, the certifying agency.

      Badlands Off-Road Adventures is sponsoring the Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WFA) clinic because we feel everyone should be prepared when they go outdoors. This will be the best first aid course you have ever taken. That is unless you go on to the Wilderness First Responder Class.

      The WFA clinic will provide you with skills, knowledge and training to handle life threatening medical emergencies and allows you to be better prepared to protect your family in an emergency. Wilderness First Aid is a two day immersion into general medical concepts and Basic Life Support skills. This course teaches what to do with a medical emergency when help is miles away and calling 911 isn’t an option.

      “The Wilderness First Aid was one of the MOST USEFULL clinics I have ever attended, due in large part to the effort you and Josh put in to make it all possible. " Joe de Kehoe.

      The clinic will be held April 16 & 17, 2016 at the Hungry Valley State Vehicle Recreation Area (SVRA) near Gorman, CA. Please reserve the dates on your calendar or sign up today. (Note – you must be 18 years old to take the clinic.)

      If you are interested follow these links.

      More Details...


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

      I took this class two years ago. I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve since progressed through Wilderness Advanced First Aid, Urban Wilderness First Aid, EMR Training from Red Cross, and numerous other exercises. But it was my first WFA class under the auspices of Tom Severin that inspired me. Originally I received his email that said simply enough “when you’re off road, you can't call the auto club, AND you can't dial 911 either.” I signed up right away. Because I’m not a mechanical guy, so if something breaks off road, I probably won't be able to fix it. But if one of my friends gets in trouble, now at least I know how to give first aid. Jeeps can be fixed. People need more help.
      If you spend any time off road…absolutely ANY…then this class is a must.
      Arthur Nissman Winch Clinic June 13

      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


      ########################## Rock Clinic June 20

      Rocks

      If you are planning on doing the Rubicon, this is a good "shake down" or if you prefer a "warm up" clinic. It is great introduction to rocks even if you don't plan to do the Rubicon. The Class will be in Johnson Valley. It 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 2016, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Cold Weather Camping

Wed, 02/10/2016 - 00:00
Cold Weather Camping
Nice Camp site

(Click picture for a larger image.) At this time of year, thoughts often turn to escaping to sunny, sandy beaches. Some folks, however, enjoy romping in the snow. They brave the elements, and camp out in the wild. One benefit is that you can have the park or wildlife area practically to yourself.

Just as you need to account for the extreme heat of summer, so should you plan for the challenges of camping in snow and cold.

Start by checking the forecast. You should know going in what to expect. Never camp alone, and always tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Prepare for the worst so you’re not taken by surprise. (And if a bad storm is predicted, stay home.) Clothing The most important factor is to stay warm and dry. Frostbite and hypothermia aren’t just annoyances. They can be killers.

Needless to say, you’ll need warm clothing and lots of it. Clothing that incorporates Gore-Tex (or similar fabric) is very useful. You need to wick out as much sweat as possible. Damp clothing can chill you quickly, and bring on hypothermia.

Outercoats should have a nylon shell to break the wind. Thinsulate is a great insulating material for coats and gloves.

Layer your clothing during the day. Make sure there’s some give, though. If you feel constricted, the fabric will be packed so tightly that it’ll lose some insulating ability.

Having extra clothing also ensures that you can change into dry stuff at the end of the day. Look for sturdy boots. Sorel is a good brand, but there are others. You’ll want rubber soles with good traction. Leather uppers are nice, but treat with a sealant. Tent I recommend a 4-season tent. The walls on these are solid material to block wind and shed snow. I prefer those with a full fly over the tent as well. Unbelievable, it makes for a better desert tent too. The fly creates shade and the combination of 2 walls keeps blowing sand out. Look for a model that has a vestibule. That’s where you’ll store your outerwear and boots. A vestibule, provides a transition area to reduce the snow you track into the main tent. It provides more room for sleeping, and your bedding and dry clothing won’t get wet.

Incidentally, never sleep in clothes you’ve been working in. They will be damp with perspiration, which means you’ll be uncomfortable all night. Set aside dry clothing for sleeping. That includes socks, heavy pajamas (or sweat shirt and sweat pants) and a warm hat.

Prior to setting up, pack down the snow for a firm base. Create a berm around the sides for wind break, and remember to face the front door away from the wind.

A good sleeping bag is a must. If you can’t find one rated to the proper temperature, take along two. You can stuff one inside the other. Understand that manufacturers take liberty with the temperature ratings on their products. Assume your boots, sleeping bag, and clothing won’t really keep you comfortable at the manufactures rated temperature. That’s why you pack heavy clothing, and even feet and hand warmers.

Use a foam mattress or blankets as insulation under your sleeping bag. Termarest mattresses work but the $20 / $30 6 inch type air mattresses don’t provide much insulation, because the air inside circulates too much. Dead air space is a great insulator but it has to be dead (i.e. not circulate).

Tent heaters are nice, however be careful. Today’s models are small and easy to use. The Little Buddy by Mr Heater, for example, uses the standard 1 lb. propane cylinder. The manufacturer claims it can heat up to 100 square feet.

Do not leave the heater running all night. Even though it has an oxygen sensor and a very sensitive tip-over switch, I wouldn’t want to take the risk of fire or CO poisoning. Run the heater before you snuggle into your tent, then again when you wake up.

If you are on a hunting trip, store guns and outerwear outside but away from snow (in the vestibule or your vehicle). A gun warming up will generate condensation if brought inside. Any snow on your outer clothing won’t melt if left in the cold, so you’re not likely to get damp (at least from that).

Also, don’t leave gear, including shovels, axe, etc. outside. They could get buried in the snow. Store those in your vehicle. Cooking Cooking, as you can imagine, presents its own challenges. Interestingly, the cold temps can work against you. To prevent (or minimize) freezing, keep fresh food it in a cooler. (Secure during the day to thwart critters.) You may want to stash the cooler in your vehicle overnight.

Use wooden or plastic utensils as much as possible. Metal objects get blasted cold in the winter. Propane is fine for most winter applications, but it is sluggish in severe cold. If you anticipate those temps, pack a stove that runs on white gas.

Vehicle This is a good time to recheck the vitals. Inspect your tires. Rotate and replace as needed. Test the battery and windshield wipers; replace if necessary. Check your antifreeze: Is it still at full strength? Are you low on windshield washer fluid? Make sure you have a survival kit and tire chains (if applicable).

Room permitting, pack a snow shovel—small models are available—and ice pick. Orange spray paint comes in handy for marking the snow in the event of an emergency.

Remember to include a fire-starter kit. Fill a baggie with matches and cotton balls coated with Vaseline. Communication Keep your cell phone charged up. Before you leave, identify the frequencies of the ham radio repeaters in the area you are visiting. Make a habit of listing to the NOAA weather broadcasts each day. If you’ll be in a really remote area, consider a Sat phone or other device discussed in "Communications equipment is critical for off-road driving.”

Mother Nature puts on a new performance during winter. For those hardy enough, camping can be very enjoyable and rewarding. As with any other four wheeling experience, preparation is key.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

(click on the link for details)
Red Pass, Death Valley - looking NW in the Grapevine Mountains
(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 21st 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



########################## Death Valley April 08-11

This is a 4 day trip on the back roads in Death Valley. We will drive the Panamint Mountains, drive past Badwater Basin (lowest spot in North America), visit Chloride Ghost town, Titus Canyon, check out Ubehebe Crater, Teakettle junction, The Race Track & Lippencott Mine Road, camp at the Warm Springs and leave via Steal Pass up to the high meadows, then take Dedeckera Canyon down to the Eureka Sand Dunes. All four days will see some light to moderate 4-wheeling. Much of the trip is quite remote with random or no cell service. We don't plan to stop at tourist sights you can get to in a passenger car.
Check out the details and sign up on the website: http://www.4x4training.com/Adventures/Deathvalley.html
August 2013 Off-Road Adventures Magazine: Death Valley Excursion by Denis Snow

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


########################## Wilderness First Aid Course April 16 & 17, 2016

If you are interested in taking a Wilderness first Aid Course (WFA), Badlands Off-Road Adventures is sponsoring a 2 day class in April. We engage a professional medical instructor from Wilderness Medical Associates, the certifying agency.

Badlands Off-Road Adventures is sponsoring the Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WFA) clinic because we feel everyone should be prepared when they go outdoors. This will be the best first aid course you have ever taken. That is unless you go on to the Wilderness First Responder Class.

The WFA clinic will provide you with skills, knowledge and training to handle life threatening medical emergencies and allows you to be better prepared to protect your family in an emergency. Wilderness First Aid is a two day immersion into general medical concepts and Basic Life Support skills. This course teaches what to do with a medical emergency when help is miles away and calling 911 isn’t an option.

“The Wilderness First Aid was one of the MOST USEFULL clinics I have ever attended, due in large part to the effort you and Josh put in to make it all possible. " Joe de Kehoe.

The clinic will be held April 16 & 17, 2016 at the Hungry Valley State Vehicle Recreation Area (SVRA) near Gorman, CA. Please reserve the dates on your calendar or sign up today. (Note – you must be 18 years old to take the clinic.)

If you are interested follow these links.

More Details...


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


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 2016, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.