Expedition home page
offroad driving tips
tyres & repair
RESEARCH YOUR ROUTE! Your vehicle preparations are dictated by what
you and the vehicle will be subjected to.
Most expeditions to remote areas will utilise 4x4 vehicles, however,
having crossed the sahara in a front-wheel-drive Morris 1100 in the
days before tarmac was an option, I can sympathise with those who may
wish to extend their challenge further. A rear-wheel-drive saloon car,
with a limited slip differential fitted, could also achieve more than
some people would think. BUT a 4x4 is the sensible choice of course
I am not favourably disposed towards automatic vehicles. Fine when they
work but excessively troublesome when they don't. Generally speaking
the less sophisticated the vehicle is, the more likely it is to survive
the trials of a tough expedition. Simple technology is simple to repair
and parts can be fabricated and improvised more readily.
Whatever your chosen vehicle is, the more you learn about how it works,
how to repair it and what cannot be repaired without parts specific
to your vehicle, the better off you will be.
Driven with care, the engine, gearbox and suspension are unlikely to
give trouble. Electrical items and moving parts which are subject to
the environment (e.g. brakes, belts, tyres) can be expected to require
service and/or replacement. A suggested Expedition
Kit is given elsewhere in this section.
There is no substitute for researching your trip. Somebody has already
been where you wish to go. Find out what you can before you leave.
If you are not skilled at auto mechanics it would be a good idea to
have your vehicle throughly checked by one of the Automobile Associations
Plan to be able to carry more fuel than your longest anticipated section
will require. An auxiliary tank is preferable to jerrycans if practicable.
Don't carry fuel inside the vehicle.
The vehicle suspension will need to be upgraded if you plan to run fully
loaded over rough terrain.
Thieves are everywhere and you're driving mobile store - but don't display
the goods more than necessary. Think how you could try to get at the
merchandise and take what preventative measures you can. A locked, immoveable
security box is useful for small valuables and a means of immobilising
the vehicle is worthwhile.
A dual battery system is useful (and gives peace of mind.if you're running
The type of terrain you are likely to encounter should determine how
much underbody protection should be used. At least a sump protection
plate is advisable.
Items which are fragile or have sharp corners/edges should be securely
stowed.Use tie-downs or cargo nets. Plan the stowage so that most frequently
used items are easiest to reach. Ideally, don't use a roofrack for storage
except for a rooftop tent, but if you must have one, keep the weight
on it to a minimum.
The most important item to have in a remote area is WATER. Plan how
much to need to carry in order to survive a worst case scenario break-down
given your chosen route. Avoid the need for producing emergency
If fine sand is likely to be encountered then a snorkel is advised (it
beats changing the handkerchief over the air intake every 20 minutes!).
If there are two vehicles in your expedition then a winch may be surplus
to requirements. Vehicles should have towing points front and back.