Safety equipment for off road travels

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 10:19
ThreadID: 135080 Views:2833 Replies:8 FollowUps:21
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I started a thread about this yesterday but deleted it because I found some information in answer to my question and was worried about doubling up. I have seen a few people get upset about people starting threads on info already asked. But I hadn't realised someone had already replied...thanks Mick O!!

I now think it may be useful for others so I will put it here again...

We are planning a three week trip from Melb - Flinders Ranges - Alice Springs - Melb. We have hired an HF radio in the past but that was a LONG time ago. Would it be useful/required? What other options are there and what else should we make sure we have with us?

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Reply By: Kim F5 - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 10:21

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 10:21
FYI, this is the reply I received from Mick O

"You would be right with a Sat phone and a UHF radio. HF would be overkill for the route you've described. In terms of equipment, are you packing a good 12V compressor and a puncture repair kit (Plug type kit)?"

Thanks Mick O, and yes, we have a compressor and puncture repair kit :)
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 15:37

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 15:37
Goodo then Kim. Enjoy the trip.

Cheers

Mick
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trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Reply By: Jon W (Toow - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 10:37

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 10:37
Kim, in addition to the above I would be taking a PLB as well mainly as a last resort if you have a life threatening issue. In an earlier life many years ago I found HF to be very fiddly and likely to be impacted by atmospheric conditions. We are currently carrying a hired satphone which provides great peace of mind. We keep it in the cabin in the same place always which is reachable from either front seat. Enjoy your trip.
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Follow Up By: Kim F5 - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 15:10

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 15:10
Will look at getting a PLB. We loved having an HF radio last time and used it every day but we were often in very remote country. Thanks for the tips :)
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Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 12:05

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 12:05
The suggested route is not really that remote . There would be travellers going past you if something happened regularly . A Telstra mobile phone would really be all that is needed . A Hf radio and a Sat phone would be overkill .

Cheers
AnswerID: 611897

Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 12:16

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 12:16
There is a lot of country on that trip a Telstra mobile phone would not be of any use. UHF is good there.
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Follow Up By: Kim F5 - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 15:11

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 15:11
I'm too paranoid to just have a phone! We have UHF already.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 15:36

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 15:36
No Telstra coverage from about Hawker (SA) to Alice, patchy around Parachilna, nothing on from there.
UHF handy for local contacts, (repeaters through the region), but a PLB from eg Arnolds Boat Shop KTI PLB, hire sat phone if you want to be covered fully for comms in the event of breakdown (but expect $$$).

Edit 22/6 - Thought I'd add that I was referring to the non bitumen routes from the north Flinders, such as Oodnadatta Tk, Binns Tk / Old Ghan.
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Reply By: HKB Electronics - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 12:07

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 12:07
How long is a piece of string?

We carry, HF, Sat phone, EPIRB, Spot,and I have amateur radio gear.

Equipment wise, recovery gear, repair gear and spare parts, oils, filters etc.

How much well that depends where were going, are we going solo, what is the likelihood of obtaining outside assistance if we need it and how much overweight were prepared the vehicle to be.

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Follow Up By: Kim F5 - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 15:13

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 15:13
Thanks :)

Will have all recovery gear...although we only used it to help others last time!
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 14:13

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 14:13
Hi Kim

It sounds like you will have a great trip, with some great country to visit.

We usually travel remote areas, so have all bases covered, from HF, SPOT, PLB and Sat phone.

If you have ever read any of my replies, the first and most important piece of safety equipment that should be in every vehicle that heads away from built up areas......a PLB

They are cheap now, will work anywhere and even if you leave your vehicle on foot, small enough to carry on your belt.

Invest in one of these units and it will give you and your family peace of mind in the event of serious trouble.



Safe travels.




Cheers




Stephen
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Follow Up By: Kim F5 - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 15:19

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 15:19
Thank you!

Looks like we definitely need a PLB.
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Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 17:35

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 17:35
Kim

As I said earlier this is not really remote country . If travelling truely remote I understand the need for satphones etc but you will come across numerous other travellers , prepare you vehicle correctly , drive to the condition and you will most likely have no worries .

Enjoy the trip it's not that daunting .
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 20:38

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 20:38
It makes you wonder how we ever travelled before all these things became readily available!
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Follow Up By: dindy - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 23:03

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 23:03
Your comment is somewhat valid however my wife and I travel the top end continuously doing government work. We travel to extremely remote areas and some not so remote. Our travel arrangements mandate that we have in our vehicles at all times, remote first aid trauma kit, plb, sat phone and of course mobile phone. Also up to date first aid training. We have been travelling for the last 4 years and touch wood we have not needed to use any of these items for ourselves.

I often see replies to these types of enquiries stating, " Its a well used road and some one will come along and and help you." That's great if they happen to carrying all of the aforesaid items.and know how to use them.

By way of example, last year my wife was travelling south on the Stuart Highway south of Alice Springs during the grey nomad season, well outside mobile coverage.

The driver of a landcruiser towing a caravan travelling north decides to overtake two similar rigs at once, gets into trouble and ends up upside down with both occupants trapped and injured. Urgent emergency services attendance was needed.

Approximately 20 vehicles stopped at scene. Not one vehicle other than the vehicle my wife was using had any of the aforesaid items. Wife used sat phone to make contact and used first aid kit to make victims comfortable.

She also told me that most of the persons who spoke to her at the scene were not overly concerned with the circumstances of the injured but they were concerned and eager to find out what type of 'mobile phone' she was using and where they could get one. Needless to say she told some where they could put one if and when they got their hands on one. She was not impressed with their behaviour.

I guess the point is do not depend on others to wander along and them being able to assist you in life threatening situations.

A good first aid training course for all is a must, do not assume every body knows what to do in case of an emergency.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 12:07

Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 12:07
Brilliant quote dindy, "I guess the point is do not depend on others to wander along and them being able to assist you in life threatening situations. "

Responsibility and self reliance - so important, but so overlooked these days. Thanks for your post.
Michelle Martin
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Follow Up By: Member - mark D18 - Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 18:03

Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 18:03
Am I missing something here , isn't Kim only going from Melbourne via the flinders Ranges to Alice springs and back to Melbourne .
So my question is why would she need a Sat phone , plb or a hf radio .
Talk about overkill .
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 19:38

Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 19:38
Mark D18, the original (deleted) post said they would be travelling as many non bitumen roads as possible, off the beaten track so to speak.
So fairly isolated Binns or even old Ghan routes could be in the route . . .
Also, no mention of time of year, if off 'season' traffic can be sparse at times, and conditions harsh.
A PLB is a wise investment for anyone, when away from the vehicle it can be easily carried if something incapacitated a person.
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Follow Up By: Member - mark D18 - Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 19:49

Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 19:49
Thanks Les you answered my question .l was missing some info . I was thinking of taking my Sat phone and plb from The central coast to Bathurst this weekend lol

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 21:04

Friday, Jun 16, 2017 at 21:04
Might be an idea in case you take a wrong turn !! lol ;)
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Follow Up By: Capt. Wrongway - Thursday, Jun 22, 2017 at 06:44

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017 at 06:44
Don't dismiss the idea of having a PLB in your vehicle while traveling locally. A number of years ago an older man was rescued after spearing off Fox Valley Road in suburban Sydney while driving his 4WD in wet weather. He was injured & trapped in his overturned truck in a bushland gully off the side of the road. His mobile phone had a flat battery but he managed to activate his PLB which was in the center console. So you never know.
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 22, 2017 at 10:17

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017 at 10:17
Capt. Wrongway - totally agree. When I'm not in my 4wd, my GME PLB resides in the door pocket of my car.

Grew up on the mid-north coast of NSW, and have done a lot of driving up around Barrington and Gloucester tops. There have been a number of documented cases where someone has speared 20 yards off a well travelled road, including the Pacific Hwy, and not been spotted. A couple have been fatal, and a number only survived by sheer chance or plain luck.

A PLB should be a mandatory safety item for anyone travelling in remote Australia. Fer christs sake, you can get a GPS enabled PLB for around $250. Given the 10's of thousands most folks spend on a 4WD, it should be a no-brainer.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Thursday, Jun 22, 2017 at 15:18

Thursday, Jun 22, 2017 at 15:18
KTI PLB Arnolds Boat Shop $247 + $15 delivery
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 22, 2017 at 15:23

Follow Up By: Kim F5 - Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017 at 21:26

Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017 at 21:26
I understand and agree, Dindy. Thanks for the reminder.
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 21:17

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 21:17
A lot depends on when you are doing the trip, and the route.
I'm assuming you won't be ding this anything other than winter or shoulder months before / after, as it can be dangerously hot / uncomfortable touring outback at other times of year.

It is a very open ended question, so much relates to the thread topic, and it's all really relevant to your previous experience out bush, 4WDn, mech aptitude etc.

First aid gear and training / knowledge to use it, weather considerations (if wet / hot etc), carrying sufficient water for drinking / emergency contingency / radiator fill if holed, food and similarly emergency extra supply, spare fanbelts, radiator hoses, air, oil, and fuel filters, radiator repair kit, liquid steel tube, basic tools.

You seem to be focussed somewhat on communications ?
I ask, if you have hired a HF radio in the past (once ?), just how easy was it to contact someone IF a problem developed ?
I have seen one used, it seems to take a lot more knowledge of the HF ops than a sat phone for example (as simple as making any mobile call). . . then there's the mounting of the antenna, which seems to be a fairly heavy duty / precise sort of mounting job.
Not sure about what carrier service you'd use (one of the HF clubs etc) ?
Included by the hirer ?

As mentioned in other reply, sat phone is nice to have for instant comms to deal with about anything via RFDS or Police etc, but for 3 week hire ex Melb might be a few $$$.
Good peace of mind if you feel the need.

I'd consider a route like Melb to Broken Hill via Mildura / Darling River.
To Yunta, Peterborough, then north to the Flinders via Oorooroo./ Hawker.
Spend some time at Rawnsley Pk or Wilpena, maybe Willow Springs stn.
Oout via Blinman, glass Gorge loop if adventurous, Parachilna Gorge / Parachilna township.
Farina camping a night, then up the Oodnadatta Tk to Ood, then Mt Dare, maybe Finke - Chambers Pillar detour, then on to Alice. ]
West Macdonnell Ranges time permitting, home the fast way via Stuart Hwy, Peterborough, SA Riverland (Renmark) to Mildura and A79 home.

3 weeks though, will fly by.
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Follow Up By: Kim F5 - Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017 at 21:19

Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017 at 21:19
Agreed, my post was probably a bit light on with info.

To answer your questions...
- We're now on our adventure, so it's a winter trip for us. We arrived in Hawker today. On to Willpena tomorrow. Will aim to stay at Willow Springs for a couple of nights.
- I was focussing on Comms only because my husband has all other safety stuff in hand. But thanks for your list. It's helpful.
- Last time we travelled a lot off road was in 2001 and we had an HF radio, sat phone (both hired) and UHF. We were on the road for 6 months and often very remote. We used the HF radio every day when on the go to check in each morning and each night. We are really glad we had it and found it gave us great peace of mind. As well as helping us meet many others travelling near us. We were members of an HF radio group. I can't remember the name but it was large and well organised.
- thanks for the itinerary tips. I have looked up a few of the places you mentioned and will visit them. Looking forward to Willow Springs tomorrow. The owner of the caravan park we stayed at last night also recommended it.

Thank you all. And I hope some of the info has helped others too.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017 at 23:39

Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017 at 23:39
Enjoy the trip !! :)
Willow Springs is a great place to camp, then there is Sktrek self drive, which although doesn't go any longer up to Mount Carnarvon, the new route is quite enjoyable and scenic.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 23:00

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 at 23:00
Take your PLB with you when you go on hikes and longer or difficult walks, in case of an accident. Satellite phone would be more use, but is bulkier to carry, and harder to use if you are injured.
Motherhen

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