When is enough gear too much

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 08:46
ThreadID: 6455 Views:2680 Replies:11 FollowUps:12
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I'd like to hear other peoples oppinions on what to take when doing a trip into the great interior of our country.
I'm not refering to tucker ,camp gear or clothing etc, but the other stuff you wouldn't take on a weekend at the river.
I seem to try and cover all possible situations myself and the poor old truck ends up resembling an old hawkers cart.
Lets start with the second spare. Hands up those who battle to pack this 35kg round peg into the square holes available and never use it or the one already fitted to the car?I also carry a tub of tyre repair gear including plug kit,tubes ,tyre sleeves,levers,bead soap and compressor,and a leangth of 3x2 for a bead breaker.Fair dinkum,how many punctures am I expecting to get? I often wonder if a tyre only would do to save some weight?
Next is recovery gear.Another chook tub is full of that.Snatch strap,winch extension strap,tree protector strap,snatch block,wire sling/s,D's and bow shackles as well as the winch on the front.On a recent trip to the desert I realised most of this was useless as there was nothing to winch off anyway. should we only take a snatch strap?
How about tools and spare parts?Being a mechanic and knowing my vehicle I take a good selection of tools to cover all possible breakdowns up to a point.Then there the parts,spare filters,uni,wheel bearing ,fanbelt,radiator and heater hose joiners,oils and brake fluid,tin of grease,crc etc. the list seems endless.Then ther's jumper leads and the bush welder kit as well as a cordless drill(actually used these fixing the mates trailer)as well as a box of assorted nuts,bolts,bits of fuel hose and electrical wire and those things that "might come in handy".......................
So what I'm saying is,at what point do you give yourself an uppercut and say enough is enough?
Remember Murphy's law states that the only time you are going to need something is when you haven't got it.

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Reply By: Member - Jack - Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 10:28

Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 10:28
Hi BP:
I am probably the worst one to respond to this because, being ex Army I travel light in case I need to end up carrying it all on my back. Different scenario when my wife travels with me ... kitchen sink comes along as well.

The follwoing scenario covers me for when I am travelling solo. On a few trips where I have travelled with a group, we have been able to rationalise some of the stuff. Having said that, I still don't leave much behind.

1. Recovery Gear. I don't compromise on any recovery gear whatsoever. It all goes. If I am stuck I want to get out. If I am hungry I can wait a while.

2. Water - heaps .. couple of jerry cans, plus two wine cask type bladders that I have frozen and in the Engel fridge and/or Evakool cooler. Never use it for showers. If there is not water available for showers (rivers or whatever) I have a quick "damp over" with about a cupful of water to clean/freshen up.

3. Fuel - I have used Jerrycans, but am entertaining one of those "TurtePac" fuel bladders. They can sit low on the roof rack, and I can fold them up when not in use. Jerrys occupy the same space empty or full, unfortunately. You can check these out at TrtlePac Link. Click here and hope it works. I don't work for them.

4. Tyres - two on a trip that I expect to be a bit rough. Did one trip and had another spare tyre (no rim) secured to the front of the bull bar. I had no punctures that trip, my mate had 4 within one spell of driving. Just lucky I guess. He ended up using one of my spares to get through until we could get his repaired.

5. Tools - I am not a mechanic but I have the essentials (sockets, open ended,ring), full set of screwdrivers, circlip pliers, normal pliers, tin cutters, fencing wire, and my Workshop manuals.

6. Food - I take what I can (much of it cyrovac'd), but have a fair bit of dried stuff which becomes an "Emergency" ration set. Hardly use it. (I had better go check the "Use By Dates" on it now that I have thought of it).

I have an 80 series Land Cruiser with one of those "Red Desert" drawer systems and I don't have a lot of difficulty getting it all in. Very often the rear seats will come out, however. As there is usually 2 of us travelling, it works fine.

I have used a roof rack, but have a touring tent now that is smaller and I may be able to get by without it for some trips. I would need it however if I am carrying two spares or more as I don't have (nor want) a rear tyre carrier.

Just my thoughts.

AnswerID: 27248

Follow Up By: B.P. - Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 14:31

Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 14:31
Gday Jack.
Your right about travelling light,however I just cant seem to master it.The fuel cell sounds a reasonable idea,although I dont mind carrying two empty J's, they dont weigh much and at least when they're there you arn't tempted to put something in the space.
FollowupID: 18729

Reply By: Member - Willem- Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 10:40

Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 10:40
Hello Brian,

I have all the gear that you mention. Recently I did a repack and the bullbag is now lying in the shed. On the Canning trip I carried the cordless drill and had to take the generator as well to charge the thing. AND I needed it !! The battery tore out of its moorings and I had to manufacture and fit a special bracket by drilling holes into the bodypanels. Murphy's Law was thwarted there. Yeah, I have the extra spare on the bonnet and wonder about its viability. The bonnet is a dog to lift !
Extras which I did not carry before now include the 2nd battery, inverter, two extra jerries, UHF radio, laptop, GPS and attachments and more. And I fit all of this into a MWB. It is a tight fit. The inside of my truck as well as the engine bay looks like an electricians nightmare. Had to get rid of the ouside rollbars and roofrack to lessen the weight factor.

Remember the add about the blokes loading the beer on the back of the ute. Then they put two bottle of Port on top and the springs collapse.

Well,when the springs collapse on your truck then you have enough gear............:-)

Cheers, Willem
Never a dull moment
AnswerID: 27249

Follow Up By: Member - Bonz (Vic) - Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 14:12

Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 14:12
Agreed Willem, when you springs collapse, just take out the last thing you put in, unless its the boss!So many places to go!
So much work to do :0(
FollowupID: 18726

Follow Up By: B.P. - Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 14:42

Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 14:42
Gday Willem
What I'm asking is do we realy need it all though?
It does give peace of mind knowing that most situations that arise can be sorted. It would bug the s**t out of me if I coulden't sort a problem knowing the doo hickey to fix it was left at home on purpose.
Cheers BP
FollowupID: 18732

Follow Up By: Member - Willem- Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 19:12

Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 19:12
Hi Brian,
I wrote a long response and then touched the wrong button on my laptop and now have to start again.

The essence of what I said was that no matter how well prepared you are something mechanically could go wrong. So you have to carry recovery gear, communications gear, and lots of glue it and tie it and tek screw it stuff to get you out of trouble.

If you travel on your own like we do then you have to go that extra yard to prepare for a trip. I am always fully prepared to my degree of expertise(bush mechanic) whether I go on a two day local trip or an offroad outback adventure or if I go to the next town. I am lucky as my 4x4 is for camping only and does not have to be re-packed every time with the exception of tucker and topping up used stuff.

Hope this helps with your dilemma.
Cheers, Willem
Never a dull moment
FollowupID: 18753

Follow Up By: B.P. - Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 22:32

Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 22:32
Its not realy a dilema. I'm with you. I will continue to take all the gear because at times there is only yourself when you need help.Its no fun relying on anyone else.I was never a scout, but the motto "be prepared" sounds like good advice when your holliday or your well being may depend on it.
FollowupID: 18776

Reply By: Member - DOZER- Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 12:37

Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 12:37
Have you heard the one about the Landy driver that took a complete axle assembly with him each long trip.....
he needed it each trip due to overloading.

Whats wrong with NRMA Plus and a Sat phone for those breakdowns?
Of course a toolkit and recovery gear is a good idea, and an even better idea is a outback firstaid kit and water.
Andrewwheredayathinkwer mike?
AnswerID: 27256

Follow Up By: B.P. - Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 14:36

Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 14:36
No comment on the Landy angle.
Have doubts about roadside service so far from a depot.
First aid kit is never out of the car.
Fuel and water go without saying.
FollowupID: 18731

Reply By: mrdesmo - Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 13:28

Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 13:28
Hi Brian,
I laugh and I laugh some more...!! You've probably just described most peoples travelling kit, no wonder it takes months/weeks of planning/packing.
Theres the old fashioned way, take half a dozen camels instead! Bet they were thinking the same as well....
AnswerID: 27258

Follow Up By: B.P. - Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 14:24

Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 14:24
Mr D
1 cranky camel's enough to take each trip.I coulden't handle any more
FollowupID: 18728

Reply By: Member - Oskar(Bris) - Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 13:51

Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 13:51
I was at a TJM information night with Bob Duncan a couple of months ago and this topic came up.
In short:
1) Load your truck with everything you think you'll need
2) Unload it again and dump half of it
3) Load the remainder back into your truck
3) Repeat step 2 and you are just about right
There is an alternative however:
1) Load your truck up with everything you think you'll need
2) With your tailgate/doors open, reverse quickly and stop suddenly
3) You take whatever stays in the car
AnswerID: 27260

Follow Up By: B.P. - Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 14:17

Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 14:17
good one Oskar
With my luck itd probly be the beer that fell out!
FollowupID: 18727

Reply By: john - Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 23:02

Saturday, Aug 09, 2003 at 23:02
BP I think many people take far too much but I guess a lot depends on the condition of your vehicle. Old or high km vehicles will almost certainly need maintenance on the track, while new vehicles rarely break down. An earlier reply mentioned the NRMA. Before crossing the Simpson Desert I checked with the RACV and they assured me I was covered so I basically took a Sat phone, a second spare, a snatch strap and a compressor. I have large tanks (Prado) so didn't need jerries. I've done a lot of outback travel and haven't had a flat tyre in over 15 years and over 500,000km. I put that down to not being overloaded and the Prado has relatively large tyres (same as Cruiser) for a mid sized 4wd. I also reduce tyre pressure off road. My theory on this relates to a fully inflated balloon being much easier to burst than a partly deflated one. I think I'll leave the second spare at home next trip!
AnswerID: 27298

Reply By: kezza - Sunday, Aug 10, 2003 at 00:21

Sunday, Aug 10, 2003 at 00:21
Yeah - well Im ex -army too but also a mechanic so I have all sorts of identity crisis problems when I go away for a while - travel Light - or take it all???

To the centre I take a full workshop and spares and a third spare tyre if the vehicle is really heavy.

I have rigged the cordless drills with an insert that runs off the vehicle batteries on a good lead.

The extra recovery gear I take that nobody else has mentioned is a couple of Joeys
(device that allows me to - run dual wheels on any axle or -offset the extra wheel to lift the vehicle outta bogs or even winch off the extension on the axle)
They are brilliant compact and givers of much confidence when solo.

However The best recovery gear we sometimes have is ......................................tada .................................................the extra vehicle.

AnswerID: 27312

Follow Up By: Member - Jack - Sunday, Aug 10, 2003 at 07:08

Sunday, Aug 10, 2003 at 07:08
Now here's a thought .. what might an Ex Army mechanic take?

JackAustralia - If you don't love it, leave!!!
FollowupID: 18793

Follow Up By: Member - Willem- Sunday, Aug 10, 2003 at 12:35

Sunday, Aug 10, 2003 at 12:35

Where can I get hold of a Joey?

There is a photo of a Landie with duallies in the desert in the book,Four Wheel Drive Swagman, by Jeff Carter

A bloke up in Darwin converted a HK Holden wagon to 4x4 and had 4 Joeys. Eight wheels in the mud took you that much further into the swamp :-) I've got a photo of it somewhere, I think.

Have been taliking to local mechanics around here about a Joey device and have been figuring out how to make one. But then I bought a new winch instead and forgot about the project.
Cheers, Willem
Never a dull moment
FollowupID: 18815

Follow Up By: kezza - Sunday, Aug 10, 2003 at 21:16

Sunday, Aug 10, 2003 at 21:16
How many do you want??
e-mail me kpw@iprimus.com.au
FollowupID: 18843

Reply By: haze - Sunday, Aug 10, 2003 at 16:07

Sunday, Aug 10, 2003 at 16:07
G'day BP. My problem was becoming not so much as to leave behind but how was the ol girl going to keep on carrying it (truck, that is) Of course some things are absolutes, like extra spare wheels, tools first aid, fuel,water etc. but we also work in the bush 1300km. from home so it helps if you take those "other things" with you first time (its a long way home when you expect to be away for 5 months!)
So my solution was simple: Poly air bellows on the back, Monroe air adjust shocks on the front (HJ75 L/C) Now am looking for more gear to put in it, and the B thing handles better to boot, loaded and unloaded. But seriously, a lot of those things you do take but never use give you peace of mind for having them and there may be the other less fortunate broken down that you can get going again. I carry a welder/generator and a stranded traveller we encountered with a broken trailer A frame couldnt believe when I said "no probs. mate, a bit of fizzy stik willfix that"
cheers & happy packing haze
AnswerID: 27346

Follow Up By: Member - Jack - Sunday, Aug 10, 2003 at 19:03

Sunday, Aug 10, 2003 at 19:03
Hi Haze:
A quick question on the welder, as I am trying to find someone to teach me a little about welding in case I ne3ed to do repairs when away. I do not have a trades background.
Do you have a proper welder that you carry, or the "join 2 12v batteries together" type welder?
JackAustralia - If you don't love it, leave!!!
FollowupID: 18834

Reply By: haze - Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 08:20

Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 08:20
Jack, the gear we carry would probably be complete overkill for most travellers. My welder is a Lincoln "weldanpower 150" -75 to 150 amp. stepless welding control, 5kva. cont 240v power. Quite compact, sits neatly behind the Trailblazer fr. (in fact are about identical in size) Dont know much about welding via vehicle batteries, I always believed if you are welding something TO the vehicle it is necessary to disconnect batt. and alt. (I do anyway!) So perhaps if doing in reverse the same thing is done? That prevents keeping the batts. up with the motor running- as is done when winching. If you have a 240v. gen. 2.5 kva. (or bigger) you can buy invertor welder, very light, compact would have been my choice but my old genset had the gong so needed the full treatment.
Hope this some help cheers haze
AnswerID: 27408

Reply By: B.P. - Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 18:13

Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 18:13
We used the two bats in series utilising the jumper leads to make 24 volts.{tried to do it with one bat no go}Did a good weld job on the trailer and had no trouble starting the car after.Try it at home for something to do,you'l be pleasantly surprised.It works a treat.
AnswerID: 27468

Reply By: Member - Bob - Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 at 13:37

Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003 at 13:37
I tend to concentrate on the cooloing system and the tyres.

Better still, always travel with another vehicle. Should a serious malfunction arise the only tool you need is the cigarette lighter and a petrol soaked rag (make sure you are on speaking terms with the owner of the other vehicle as the ride home may be long and cramped).Bob
AnswerID: 27586

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