By Zara Lewis
For those born with adventure in their blood, off-road tracks are what dreams are made off. Fast-paced, unique, and totally exciting, this is the kind of thing you do when you grow bored of same old vacations and need something new to sate your thirst for adrenaline. However, as fun as it might be, it’s still a little complicated to actually plan an off-road trip. Good tracks are usually a closely-guarded secret and you generally need a pretty good vehicle that can actually handle the road with no issues and stay in great condition all the time. You also need to know how to prepare, and unless you have a lot of experience, you might be feeling a little lost. Luckily, we come to your rescue! If you’re in need of tips to plan a great adventure, take a look at our advice below.
Find maps and trail guides
There are actually plenty of maps you can check out made specifically for off-road adventurers. From sites like Offroad Trail Guide and FunTreks to hiking guides that are pretty useful for this purpose as well—there are many resources and you just have to find the ones that suit your needs. A lot of these sites also have apps to accompany their maps, so it’s pretty easy to simply install them on your phone and use them to plan your next trip. One thing you’ll want to learn is how to read a topographic map. For an off-roader, this is an essential skill when you want to find a good spot, especially if you like to explore. Topographic maps will let you know about any archaeological sites and terrain features in the area you’re visiting, and you can extend your trip search through them and discover new things. Alternatively, Google Maps can also be used for this purpose.
Make sure your vehicle can handle it
The right car is absolutely essential here. That’s why you need to make sure yours is in top condition and that it can actually handle the trip. The vehicle needs to be able to drive over rough terrain and you might need a good new SUV that you can fully rely on. Having your car break down in the middle of your adventure not only puts a damper on the mood, but can potentially be very dangerous, too. So, choose a vehicle that offers safety, stability, and is preferably designed to manage both on-road and-off road conditions. If it’s been a while since its last maintenance, take it to a mechanic for a standard checkup before you travel.
You need to take into consideration where you’re actually going, what you plan to do, and how long you want to stay. For a forest adventure, it’s not a bad idea to pack a tent and other camping supplies, and you should always have a sleeping bag around. Basics like food and water are essential, so bring packets of dried foods, snacks like granola bars, and plenty of water. You should also include a well-stocked First-Aid Kit among your supplies, and bring jumper cables, a flashlight, a multipurpose tool, and a thermostat to keep beverages like tea and coffee warm.
Participate in forums and discussions
If you’re going to a specific place, check the internet to see whether there are any regional forums about it. While trail guides are extremely useful, forums are where people converge to give excellent advice and tips you generally can’t read in a book. This is a good way to learn more about terrain features, but also to find out whether there are any secret spots you need to visit. You should also browse the forums for other practical purposes—people can tell you where the nearest rest spots are, where you can refill your water bottle, whether there are any dangers you need to be wary of, and how to contact the authorities in case there are any problems. Even if you want to ignore all this, forums are also a good place to meet people and find those who share your passions. Off-road travel is fun on its own, but imagine how great it would be if you have a buddy to accompany you?
Explore on your own
Look, even if you read everything and browse every map in existence, you won’t truly know a place until you see it. So, don’t be afraid to explore. Off-road trips are your opportunity to sate your wanderlust and adventuring spirit, and as long as you take necessary precautions, feel free to head off into the unknown. You never know what you’ll find, and there’s great joy in slowly discovering a place and learning everything about its features and what makes it so special.
After these tips, you should have a good grasp of what’s necessary to start your trip. Prepare everything you can, allow yourself to get excited, and go on your off-road adventure!
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