"Lights Before Lockers"
I'm sure you’ve all heard the joke “lights before lockers.” It can be funny, and a little true. A lot of folks haven’t stopped to think about the more serious side of the expression. Yeah, lights are important, especially when you do a significant amount of driving after dark. But let’s be honest, lights won't get you out of a hole, or make up for a lack of off-road experience. Maybe your money is better spent on other things… just maybe…
There's been a surge of new off-roaders and overlanders buying extremely capable vehicles and hitting the woods. While the above statement of “lights before lockers” is funny, we are seeing the expression play out in reality. I'm extremely happy to see that more people are finding this form of recreation dubbed "overlanding" as a primary hobby. There is nothing wrong with being a new comer to the scene, we all started that way at one time or another. However, when we enter the woods unprepared, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
Here are a few useful tips to remember before heading out into the great wilderness:
Know how to use your recovery gear. Don’t be the guy opening his kinetic rope for the first time having never used one before. Practice with the right knowledge of how to use it. If you don’t know, no problem. Take a class with a professional. Youtube it. Join a forum and ask around. There is much knowledge out there to be had.
Know your rigs capabilities and limitations. Just because you installed lockers, doesn’t always mean that you know how to use them properly or when to use them. Practice using them in a controlled environment.
When you get in a situation for the vehicle to be recovered, know where and how strong the recovery points are. If you are using points on an aftermarket bumper for recovery, but the bumper isn’t attached properly, then you are in for disastrous situation. Always use over-rated recovery for your rig. For example, use a 9,500 pound winch for your 6,000 pound vehicle. A good rule of thumb is 1.5 times the weight of your vehicle.
Know the limits of your experience. It's ok to not always try the hardest obstacle or roughest dirt road or trail if you're unsure or uneasy about it. We all started somewhere and were once green too. Go out with experienced people, like a professional off-road/overland guide. You will learn so much from being with experienced, knowledgeable people with good attitudes. Pay attention, LISTEN, ask questions and learn from their experiences. Trail riding with inexperienced people or those with bad habits will not raise your game to the next level. Surrounding yourself with good people will get you there the quickest.
My best advice to you? Find a highly rated guide or educator. At Northeast Overland, I can help you find some of the best places to go whether you like to go solo (although not always recommend but everyone likes to be secluded from the outside world at times) , with family, or a bunch of friends. From the most legit primitive camping to some of the most secluded camping area's that some have gotten lost trying to find them. I will take you out and give you the 1 on 1 instruction you need if you so desire.