6. Spare blankets / Solar Sheets
n areas of extreme temperatures a blanket can provide warmth at night of when suffering medical issues, or shade from the sun if exposed. Can also be helpful when changing that tyre on 55-60 deg Celsius bitumen. It’s a good idea to pack something which can provide this when in need.
7. Vehicle Spares
Tyres are a great invention, however considering our harsh climate, are prone to blow-outs /punctures. It’s a good idea to consider an extra spare or if you have a trailer, fitting the trailer which the same wheel / tyre arrangement so you can utilise trailer tyres on your car if you run out of spares. At worst, consider taking a spare wheel with the same stud pattern, similar offset and hopefully a similar tyre (e.g. A/T if that’s what you have fitted), which can fit to your car and get you out of trouble to at least find a repairer. Other spares which are vital include fuses, some spare bolts/screws, radiator pipe, insulating material, tow ball tongues/hitches, shackles, straps etc which all come in handy if something fails.
8. Tool Kit
Much like a first aid kit for you, a tool kit for your vehicle and equipment is pretty vital. And I’m not talking about the 3- or 4-piece kit that comes with your car. Consider things like additional socket sets, ball pin hammer, screw drivers, small hacksaw, long and short nose pliers, gaffer tape, electrical tape, A DC voltage tester (pens are great), additional vehicle jack, tyre puncture repair kits. These tools may be the difference of you getting out of the predicament you are in or waiting to be found.
9. GPS or Maps
Yep should be number one, right? Wouldn’t have got lost in the first place? Unfortunately, a common misunderstanding is that your phone will be able to continue to provide GPS locations when you are well outside of normal phone coverage, this is not correct. Your smart phone will require constant updates of maps, and if you have forgotten to download the map prior to departure, you may be in a world of hurt when you lose phone reception. A separate GPS device or map can assist or a specifically designed off-line mapping application can also help. Also don’t forget your phone battery may not provide the longevity you require for your
3- or 4-day trek so some form or charging may be required if going with your smart phone as the one stop shop.
We are not all Bear Grylls and know how to catch that wild boar in the wilderness. Having some packaged, light weight supplement bars/snacks packed in the backpack or drawer/glove box of the vehicle will be sufficiently helpful if your 3-hour trek becomes an “overnight wilderness stay”. Of course, if going for longer trips you can consider a much more rounded out nutrient supply, however, don’t underestimate your abilities or the fact that things can go wrong. Food will hopefully provide you the energy your brain needs to think through the next few steps as to how you will get out of the predicament you are in.
Finally, this should come before all else, but is often overlooked – your own awareness!
Before you even step foot out of the house, do some research on “the net” or read some books, to build your awareness of what going outdoors is really about, the areas you are going, the hazards you will encounter (wildlife in particular) as well as the climate and potential risks of the heat or cold. If you do not or haven’t done this – take 5 and do this or if you forgot already, do it again.
In addition, some first aid and survival training, or off-road driving, would also be very helpful. You don’t want to be “that guy or girl” that decides to head out bush completely unprepared with little consideration to your own or others safety, causing a national search and rescue operation costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. It can be a very costly exercise for the rescuers and also you. FYI the Australian Government will only front up some of the cost of a rescue, generally to the first point of safe extraction by ambulance or police (e.g. accessible car park), then you will be up for the difference!
The tips above are only a general guide and should be considered as well as any other controls which are vital for the adventure or work trip you are heading out on.