Wants V Needs
We all read the books and magazines and in the end all of us feel we absolutely must have a plethora of gear in order to tackle even the simplest of tracks. There is a vast difference between what we actually want and the basic need, or in other words, what we cannot do without. Sit and think. A finite income, an urge to visit out of the way places, and, like it or not, a balance must be struck between wants and needs.
A well maintained and shod 4x4 will go must places with a minimum of fuss. Remember, 90% of punctures take place in the last 10% of the tyres life. Cape York can be covered in an unmodified 4x4 with no trouble, provided you stick to the maintained roads and do not venture into the unknown.
We suggest the minimum needs are: a snatch strap, 2 rated bow shackles and a UHF CB radio. These three items will allow you to be recovered by someone else if you have become stuck when travelling in a group. If you intend on a solo adventure your list of basic needs expands and can sometimes be dictated to, by the area you are going to travel through, and the season.
Often we misplace our trust in our own and the abilities of our vehicles and things can go horribly wrong in milliseconds. In these situations you will need to have communication with the outside world and urgently.
If the situation is life threatening are you prepared?
I have, apart from the plethora of radios and phones, acquired an Emergency Position Radio Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). When activated, it transmits a signal upwards to a satellite, then down to the Marine Search and Rescue Center in Canberra, and theoretically, help should be with you within the hour. The beauty of these little beasties is that the unit is fully self contained, has its own power source, a strobe to alert searching aircraft, and most importantly, a string to tie the bloody thing around your neck, so that they find YOU and not your vehicle. An EPIRB was the one "gadget" that was not the subject of a long debate and a cost study.
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