TREK ETTIQUETTE - follow up from thread 52822

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 16:42
ThreadID: 53439 Views:3609 Replies:13 FollowUps:12
This Thread has been Archived
I originally added this question to my thread on CSR (thread 52882) thinking that the thread would automatically get 'bumped' to the top of the new posts, but it doesnt seem to so I have posted it as a seperate thread, cross referenced to my original thread


If I was to look at 'doing the CSR" on my own for whatever reason

What would the 'ettiquette' be if I was to 'park up' at the start of the CSR ( Wiluna end) and wait for a small group (say 3 or 4 vehicles - no more) of travellers to come by and see if I could join their group.

I have asked myself this question and had the following lengthy and often emotional discussion with myself :-)

If I and a group of friends that I had just spent 12months planning the trip were asked if an 'outsider' could join us I would probably say yes out of courtesy but would also 'probably' feel a bit miffed.

I would worry about who this person is?

Will he upset the 'dynamics' of a group who have already probably sorted out the trip rules

Interested in your thoughts on this topic as I am sure there are others on the site that, at times, for whatever reason, are forced into doing such treks on their own.

Please no - " it is dangerous, you shouldnt tackle this on your own, people die etc etc debates "
I am FULLY aware of those issues THAT is why I am asking this question and also why I have spent $1000's on the maintenace of my vehicle, safety equipment, long range fuel and water tanks etc etc
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: David from David and Justine Olsen's 4WD Tag-Along - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:09

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:09
A couple of comments.
Rather than a group, see if you can find another solo traveller.
Ask on this site and places similar where you may well find someone keen but not yet organised a crew.

When in camp eg near Wiluna. Put up a sign at your camp saying CSR travelers wanted.

One other comment, while some may be happy to let you join them, there is no guarantee that your vehicle would be dragged out if it suffered terminal breakdown.
AnswerID: 281409

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:39

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:39

Good suggestion - I have already done so (see my original post) and have had a few responses, which is good

I was thinking more along the lines of 'what if' the timing of the other groups that I have had responses from didnt suit and I had to go it alone

I posted this follow up more to see what the responses would be as I am sure others have had the same situation.

FollowupID: 545750

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:42

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:42
In regard to the 'terminal breakdown' scenario

I agree that there is no 'gurantee' and I would have to rely on the good will of the group - no more than if one of the original group had a 'terminal breakdown' and I was asked to tow them.

So it would be a 2 way street in that regard I would think
FollowupID: 545751

Reply By: Member - Alan H (Narangba QLD - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:12

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:12
After a check over of your vehicle to see that it was not your first time, you would get the OK from me and my travelling mates. We would expect that you expect to camp when and where we camp etc but would certainly have you involved in any discussion along the way.

While we plan trips down to possible camps, fuel stops etc, we do remain free to change plans due to weather, road coditions, health of party, vehicle service etc.

The real crunch would come if you broke down and our vehicles were OK but even then you would be treated as if we just came across you on the track and we would ensure you got out.

On a recent trip to Lawn Hill we had to "rescue" a patrol with blown 3l engine. Towed the patrol behind one vehicle (had no camper) and their trailer behind one of our trailers (road train) about 100k to Adells Grove (they arranged a truck ride back to Mt Isa from there.

Interesting question you raise and I guess we would all have to make a call when and if it happened. I would definately say no if you were in a softroader. Most real 4WD vehicles are easy to pick and what you suggest is better than tag along in my opinion.
AnswerID: 281411

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:36

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:36
Just to qualify the scenario

I have a VERY well set up Nissan Patrol, carry suitable tools, spares, first aid kit and a variety of emergency equipment (including UHF, HF, 2 EPIRB's, 2 satphones, parachute flares, smoke flares, 2 GPS and lots of appropriate paper maps)

Long range fuel tanks, 100lt water tank etc etc

Full range of straps, shackles etc

I hold a senior (without Outback module) 1st aid cert

I have travelled the Tanami by myself on 3 occassions (now I know the Tanami is often regarded as 'soft' but I have also seen it at it's worst) I have also travelled through NT.

I recently did The Simpson.

I have been driving a 4x4 in off road condiotons for more than 10 years

To be honest I wuld be an ASSETT to any group - even if I do say so myself :-) :-)
FollowupID: 545749

Follow Up By: David from David and Justine Olsen's 4WD Tag-Along - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:55

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:55
You are right. The Tanami road even at its worst is soft.
Te Simpson is a good grounding, but my recommendation is, before attempting a solo Canning, do the Canning with a group, or do a 16 day Simpson crossing with a group, or do the Madigan line with a group.
FollowupID: 545753

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 18:35

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 18:35

As previously mentioned on this thread spending $1000's does not make up for experience but at least with a well set up and maintained rig yu are well on the way to a successful trip
FollowupID: 545764

Follow Up By: Willem - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 21:57

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 21:57
2 satphones????? 2 EPIRBS???? Cheeeez!

I once met a bloke who carried 3 chainsaws.

With all that gear you could hire out your services as a roving Emergency Vehicle...LOL

FollowupID: 545796

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 07:55

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 07:55
To explain

I have a Motorola 9505, which is no longer being manufactured and I had the opportunity to buy a second one at the right price for spares - so nett result 2 sat phones

As for the EPIRBs I have a larger one which is mounted inside the vehicle and a smaller one which I carry in my ' emergency grab bag' whcih I take with me anytime I walk any distnce from my vehicle when travelling.

So as you can see I am 'fairly well set up' and was in fact the nominated comms and back up/ support vehicle in a recent Simpson crossing :-)
FollowupID: 545818

Reply By: Willem - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:32

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:32

The first question I don't have an answer for as I wouldn't consider joining a group. I travel alone if I can help it.

The second question....yeah...well..over the past two years I have lead a variety of extreme bush trips and have taken people along, sight unseen. This has worked out in most cases. Trouble is one sight unseen person then asked if a mate and his missus could come along. After a lengthy corrrespondence with them I agreed. This proved to be a mistake, as these travellers were not as experienced as they had stated and they ended up being nasty as well. Live and learn.

On another occasion I took a new-found 'mate' along on a long trek through remote country. Whereas my new found 'mate' was affable and friendly when we were socialising at 4x4 gatherings or at my home, he turned out to be a right PITA and nasty too boot, out in the scrub. We parted company 'out there'!

This year I am conducting another extreme bush trek and will have new sight-unseen travellers with me. We shall have to see how things turn out. Maybe I am a glutton for punishment but then again I may make friends for life.

Many people express their compatibility to me about their level of bush travelling experiences and then later I find out that what they were talking about and what I had in mind are poles apart. You can have all the gear in the world that money can buy to go bush with, but sometimes commonsense is not included.

AnswerID: 281416

Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:35

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:35
On the other hand, you might not get on with the group that you joined and halfway through the trip want to leave them.

The other option is to stay just behind or just in front of a group. I am sure that has happened to me on some trips.

I know from experience that a new comer can upset the trip and I have also seen groups on the CSR go past wells with out stopping. This might not fit with your plans.

I have also seen solo vehicles go through. More good luck than good management.

I think this is why some tag a long companies do so well on the big trips.

AnswerID: 281417

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:52

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:52
Giiday wayne

I was hoping you might pop up - hope you had a good time down at VHC - saw your pic of Craigs Hut

I thought of doing the 'sneak along behind the tour operator' trick but it didnt sit well with me from amoral point of view.

I reckon if I am not prepared to pay the tour operator for his/her experience, knowledge and sense of security etc why should I steal it by 'pretending' to be travelling on my own when we would all know it wasnt true :-)

If it is any consulation I have the same feeling when I am overseas and I see a group come up to some local feature and I know if I just popped on the back of the group I would hear all I wanted

Maybe I am just too honest mate - typical bloody Kiwi (now that can go on the other thread about Kiwi's :-))
FollowupID: 545752

Reply By: David from David and Justine Olsen's 4WD Tag-Along - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:51

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 17:51
I know u asked not to be warned so I won't, except to say I would never recommend a solo CSR unless you had already done LOTS of similar travel.

I have had similar issues to those Willem mentions, often leaving traveling "companions" because they were an extreme PITA.... obviously not on my tours. But prior to setting up my business.

AnswerID: 281420

Reply By: Max - Sydney - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 19:03

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 19:03

Reminds me of a three day bushwalk a mate from work & I planned for us & our teenage sons many years ago. As we planned it my mate's wife's boss asked if he could come and we agreed. He joined in the planning sessions and was good fun on the trip, and afterwards his wife put together a great photo album of the trip for us to say thank you.

But ... as we set off a car pulled up, and a bloke and his son piled out of it. "You blokes doing the six foot track? You don't mind if we come along with you do you?" What do you, say?

He turned out to be the greatest pita, hogging conversations, generally being a nuisance and really upset my mate who was always a very placid bloke at work. And not a word of thanks.

I reckon you could really disrupt a group by trying to bounce into it at that late stage. You might luck out but I reckon its pretty rude - no matter how well prepared and experienced you are.

I'd spend the time and effort on every forum I could, advertise where you can and try to make some sort of arrangement before I lumbered myself onto a group that has done all the pre-trip work.

It might work but good luck anyway.


AnswerID: 281434

Reply By: Outnabout David (SA) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 19:18

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 19:18
I would just park up and wait for amn EO sticker then hop on the back. We are all nice people afterall.

Assuming you are fullyn prepared and experienced I would park up at a campsite. Strike up a conversation with fellow travellers and they may invite you along. If they don't set out before them knoing that if you have an emergency there is someone behind you for insurance. If you meet up with them again they may invite you to join the group. Anyway all the best
AnswerID: 281438

Reply By: Peter 2 - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 19:26

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 19:26
Personally I wouldn't do it alone, it isn't that the CSR is any harder than other desert type treks but the fact that it goes on for so long, mechanical problems, tyre problems and suspension problems always seem to rear their heads when the vehicle is getting hammered day in, day out for three weeks. Think of the physical challenge if YOU have to repeatedly repair\fix things, much safer with a couple more vehicles for all the reasons previously mentioned.
As far as either trying to tag onto another group I wouldn't do that either. I've organised and led dozens of outback trips over the years and a couple of times have been asked by a single traveller or rangers etc if a single vehicle could tag a long with my group. I've only relented a few times and it has been at best a PITA.
They people joining us have on every occasion 'broken' the camaraderie that had developed in the group in the trip to that point, had been under prepared (insufficient food/fuel etc) and we have had to supply them as well as ourselves.
I have no problem helping fellow travellers when in time of need whether they be in a group or alone but it does annoy me when they 'expect' someone else to cover for there lack or prepardness.
You seem to be well equipped and I'd go with the advice given earlier, try to find travelling companions to go with through forums and the like, even join a club, might find someone like minded there too.
These days we choose travelling companions very carefully as it is our holiday as well and even someone who you have weekend camped with for years can be a right PITA when out of their comfort zone.
Another tip is to find your travelling companions in the same socio-economic zone as yourself, then the expectations might be similar as well as their prepardness.
AnswerID: 281440

Follow Up By: Willem - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 21:46

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 21:46

My first trip along the whole of the CSR was in a 1979 petrol Landcruiser with rag tyres. Judith and I travelled solo and even managed a trek out to Helena Spring. It is not so hard. AND we didn't have all the whizzbang equipment we have today. Averaged around 3.8km/l and arrived at our fuel drop with 9 litres of juice left in the tank. So we had sucked up 340 litres of juice from Billiluna. We had some experience of desert travel having done a north/south Simpson some 7 years before. Still, you learn as you go along.
FollowupID: 545792

Follow Up By: Peter 2 - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 08:03

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 08:03
I know what you mean, some of our very early trips were pretty risky too, just the two of us, no radio, no satphone, not much in the way of maps and in those days very few other travellers.
We eventually picked up a HF when the kids arrived and we did have to use it in anger on a couple of occasions.
The point I was trying to make was that these days lots of people don't have the basic mechanical knowledge to do bush repairs, the vehicles also don't lend themselves towards being repaired on the side of the road.
The big worry is that when they have watched the video's dvd's or whatever they assume that they can go and do the same with minimal understanding of what the conditions are like especially if the vehicle breaks down, the weather turns nasty or one of the family gets very crook.
Several times we have had to 'rescue' a single vehicle that has been in difficulty in the desert regions, on both occasions they had no comms, no idea of what to do to get themselves mobile. The second occasion could have easily resulted in death as they were off the travelled route having taken a wrong turn at a marked intersection and the track they were on was a dead end that was not used.
FollowupID: 545820

Reply By: Crackles - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 20:16

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 20:16
For an extended trip like the CSR you ideally need to meet the group before hand. There definitely needs to be a clear understanding of who's calling the shots, how long the trip is, where you intend to go & what's going to happen if a vehicle breaks down.
2 weeks is the danger period where small things can get annoying & people start to butt heads. As much as you may need a group for security, pick the wrong one (1st ones that will take you) & you may regret the company.
Options you have-
Do as you currently are letting people know you are going & looking for travelling companions. If you find someone go on a weekend trip with them to see that you're compatible.
Go on a guided tour. A tag a long group will give you the security you need & take the stress out of organizing.
Join a club. Many clubs will be doing the Canning this year. Ring around to see who is. They will probably check you out and the trip leader will ensure you & the vehicle are OK.
Looking at your vehicle and experience I can only see 2 you don't sign your name so no one knows who you are and two you've got Cooper tyres and we all know how much trouble they are ;-))) (Joking)
Cheers Craig............
AnswerID: 281451

Reply By: Member - Mick O (VIC) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 20:57

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 20:57

I've been solo travelling since the start of the 80's (Didn't have a licence before that). I've completed long sections of the canning as well as a lot of the other great treks and tracks in the west and SA and top-end. Whilst not reccomended, the trips are quite achievable as a solo vehicle. I would qualify tho, that I would never do the trips "one-up" as in alone in a single vehicle. I always have a passenger with me both for company and in case some crisis does happen. I think Willem hit the nail on the head with the most important point in outback 4x4ing and that's using common sense. If your vehicle is well prepared, you have experience (as you no doubt have both), you need have little fear of the route.

Having travelled solo, I usually do try and find a camp away from the maddening crowd but you will invariably find people in the same situation. I've quite often started a trip alone, but finished it in company of another vehicle or two who I've met along the way. In any one day during the height of the travel season, there are anything up to 100 vehicles spread along the length of the Canning. Some groups have large numbers of vehicles (Nat Geographic trip in 2006 had 50 vehicles). You have Satphone, epirb and HF comms. I've passed people without even a UHF - travelling alone (in a stock standard prado) and they made it (don't reccomend it tho). I'll be back out there again this year travelling with a couple I met at well 12 last year.

If your travelling "off track" and remote, then never without another vehicle at the very least but the majority of the "great" treks these days are well defined, well used, reported on at great length (Exploroz treknotes for example) and readily accomplished with a well prepared vehicle and common sense.

Good luck. Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 281458

Reply By: Member - Dick (Int) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 21:13

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 21:13
Hi Kiwi

We have a common interest in the Canning. Can you drop me an email.


Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 281464

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 21:46

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 21:46
I'd have to be honest and say we'd give a definite NO to a stranger joining our group on a long trip like the Canning. Too much chance of a bad experience. For a long trip, we pick who we go away with (both experienced and inexperienced, but always take people we get on with), and we put a lot of effort into planning.

If you go it alone, then do so at a popular time, and you may meet up with other like minded people or may get assistance when the unexpected happens.

BTW, does your HF aerial come off? - it looks like it might get trashed by the scrub out there.

Hope you find someone to travel with before you go!

AnswerID: 281473

Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 22:09

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 22:09
Re the HF aerial - no it doesnt come off

I go away in the Nissan most weekends and usually into national parks or state forests - to date the HF hasn't been an issue and I have had it in that location for 12 months

There are times when I have to pay particular attention to where it is relavent to the bush but it doesn't protrude out any more than the wing mirror so I kinda use that as my guide
FollowupID: 545800

Reply By: Footloose - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 21:53

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 21:53
My worst travelling experiences have involved passengers that are out of their comfort zone. I nearly always travel solo, as in 1 man 1 vehicle. If well prepared and with a bit of experience and luck, most tracks are do able by yourself. You just have to be far more careful and observant, and have excellent resources compared to a number of vehicles travelling together.
Basically you end up travelling much slower by yourself.(but not always :)

Obviously the CSR is a bit longer and being with another party would be far more preferable.
Most groups are insular, with their own expectations. BUT I'm sure that some groups would value your experience and set up.

There again I started the Simpson solo in the 80's, and ended up with a camp of 9 people at the end. I kinda picked up two other groups along the way. We just made a loose agreement that we'd keep an eye out for each other. It worked out well, because although very different in personalities, we had a common objective.

I couldn't see that the CSR would be much different...have travellers really changed that much ? You don't need to travel in each others pockets and swap life experiences, just to loosely stay together and keep an eye out for each other.

I'm sure that you'll find travelling companions on here if you're persistent and patient.

AnswerID: 281474

Follow Up By: Footloose - Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 22:07

Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 22:07
Frankly, I'd have to be quite desperate to stay in Wiluna for more than a few hours. I'm sure the locals think it's Ok (especially when the mines put on drinkies for them ) but it's hardly the sort of place that I'd personally hang around...last time I was there the pub had a giant banner "Welcome to Paradise".
Oh and do try and avoid the burgers from the fast food joint :((
Note to those getting hot under the collar...yes its a few years ago and things change..maybe they don't put you in the pen at night any more. Oh and my son worked in one of the local gold mines two years ago. The miners didn't stay in town too often either.
FollowupID: 545798

Sponsored Links