When you’re in the middle of nowhere you could be forgiven for thinking there’s nothing around to help you out if trouble strikes. The truth is, most of the time that’s absolute bollocks! Mother Nature in all her glory always provides in one way or another, it’s simply up to us to figure out how to make use of what we’ve got.
So let’s check out some of the handiest tips I know to get you through.
TRACKSIDE BUMP STOPS
It sounds stupidly easy, but sticking a rock or log in front of your tyre can save your 4WD from taking an unwanted trip down a steep hill. But, believe it or not, some 4WDs have gone for a tumble even with a rock stop in place.
To make this technique more effective than usual, grab two objects like stones or logs, and simply lay one on the ground and lean the other one against it to form a ramp. This method creates the most resistance by increasing the height and ramp angle of the bump stop.
CLEARING THE TRACK
If you’re cutting a log to clear up a track, be sure to cut it wide enough for other larger vehicles to fit through as well.
In most cases, it won’t take much extra effort to clear a wider path, but it will save plenty of time and hassle for other travellers including rural fire services.
You’d be surprised at how many uses a simple log can have when you need a rough fix in the bush. One of the simplest is to use it as a safety stand when your vehicle or camper is jacked up off the ground.
But the possibilities don’t stop there. A block of wood can work wonders wedged between a chassis and diff housing if your suspension carks it; obviously that’s in extreme cases only, though. And, heck, I’ve even seen two logs shaped like an A-frame get dragged around the bush with a trailer on top after the axle snapped. The uses are endless, so if you’re in a nasty predicament, don’t discount the value a bit of log can have.
BUILDING A LOG BRIDGE
If you’re the type to push the limits in search of that great adventure, you’re going to find yourself in a pickle every now and then. One skill that could prove useful if you’re trying to cross a canal or gully is building a log bridge. There are few techniques you can use to get the job done, but one of the easiest is to simply lay two separate ramps down, both ramps consisting of two logs tied together.
A more traditional approach is to start by laying two large foundation logs down across the smallest part of the river. To stop the logs from rolling around you might need to dig a few trenches for the logs to sit in. Then, lay a bunch of solid logs across the top and lash them down. Using an axe or chainsaw, cut shallow notches into the foundation logs to stop the crossbeam logs from moving around.
DONE AND DUSTED
Well, if we’ve proved anything, it’s that there are always options when you’re out in the bush. A bit of quick thinking can go a long way, especially if you’ve got a few basic pieces of equipment on hand.
Clearing tracks and fixing broken 4WDs with little more than a few tools and whatever else you can find nearby isn’t just part of 4WDing, it can be part of the fun, too, if you let it!
So the next time you’re in a jam, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. There’s nothing like earning a few bragging rights out bush!
Check out the full feature in issue #100 May 2016 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.