Desert driving is a form of off-roading that can be fun, especially if you've never tried it before. The scenery is great, there are different challenges, and you'll get to try your truck out in different conditions. Before you head out, make sure you have everything you need, including the right upgrades such as steel bumpers and heavy-duty suspension systems and the right equipment, to make it a great adventure. Follow the tips below and enjoy your drive in the desert to its fullest.
1. Perform a Thorough Inspection Before You Go
Between the heat, sand, and added strain on your truck, breaking down in the desert is always a possibility. Reduce the chance of this happening by carefully inspecting your truck before you leave to make sure everything is in good condition and functioning correctly. Never go into the desert with a truck that is ailing in some way.
2. Pack the Important Extras
The last thing you want is to get stuck in the desert without the supplies that can get you home. There is nothing out there other than brush and sand, which is a threat to you and your off-roader. Prepare for this by packing the right extras that you might not ordinarily take along.
First, bring a lot of extra water for both you and your truck. Bring extra fuel, oil, and coolant as well. Then pack for weather inconsistencies by bringing a tarp for shade and warm clothing and blankets in case you are stuck on a cold night. Bring along your usual first aid, survival, repair, and recovery gear as well. A front truck bumper with a strong winching system may come in handy
3. Always Know Where You Are
You should always know where you are in your off-roading truck, but not by using a GPS. A GPS can be useless if desert maps are out of date or if there's no information about road types and whether you can access them.
Buy a new, current map that shows the roads where you'll be traveling and stick to that. Locate the nearest gas stations in the area and keep a close eye on your mileage so you know when to turn back for a refill. Never venture out into the desert without telling someone else where you're going.
4. Bring An Alternate Communication Device
Chances are that once you get way out into the desert, your wireless phone will be useless. If you're licensed, bring a HAM radio along so you can communicate in an emergency. If not, bring a satellite phone or a locator beacon that can help others find you. Since it is best to head out in groups, try to bring along all of these things if your group members have access to them.
5. Drive Safely in the Desert
If is important to drive safely when you are out exploring the desert in your off-roader. Following are some safety hints you should pay attention to and follow once you reach the desert trails:
^^^^Always put your truck in 4WD before you think you need it. Once you're stuck in the sand in 2WD, you are stuck - even if you have a good suspension system, great tires, and heavy-duty front truck bumpers.
^^^^When driving along trails, drive on the ruts, not in them. If you're driving in sand, drive in the ruts or wherever the sand is packed down more.
^^^^Drive in higher gears in the sand and keep your speed up. This will reduce the chance that you will get stuck or spin your wheels, digging them in deeper. If you do get stuck, airing down your tires may be enough to help you out.
^^^^When driving over dunes and hills, keep in mind that you may have to drive back up the same hill you are going down. Unless you are confident that you can travel back up the same hill, don't drive down it.
^^^^Should you come across other vehicles on your trail, remember that the one traveling uphill has the right of way unless there is a safer option.
6. Stay With Your Truck!
Last and most importantly, in the event that you get stranded in the middle of nowhere, stay with your truck. You'll be much easier to locate by those in your group or by using the beacon you brought with you from Tip # 4. You will also have water and survival gear from Tip # 1 that you included. Wait for someone to find you; don't risk getting really lost by heading out on foot.
Off-roading in the desert can be great fun as long as you're well prepared with the right upgrades like heavy steel bumpers and big tires; included the proper gear; and know how to stay safe. Like all other off-roading, climbing big sand dunes takes some practice; however, the change in landscape will make for an exciting day on the trails. If you follow these precautions, you and everyone in your group will have a great desert adventure and return home safely to tell about it!