Nena's Blog

Winch Fairlead Myths Debunked

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on

When you purchase a new winch, it usually comes packaged with a fairlead. A winch with wire rope comes with a roller fairlead, and a winch with synthetic rope will have a hawse fairlead. We’ve talked before about good winching practices and winch rope care, but let’s talk about the pros and cons of your fairlead choices, and why you may want to switch fairleads.

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Why Do We Train?

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on

Who among us hasn’t broken or stuck something on the trail, which, in retrospect, became a very clear lesson about what not to do? Many of us learned our 4WD skills the hard way, by trial and error, or by learning from watching others make costly mistakes. Most would agree there is tremendous value to receiving professional training. Paying for training up front may cost money, but it usually results in saving an exponential amount of money and time in the long run.

When I started working in the tour industry in the 1990s, typical commercial training consisted of “ride with this guy for a while to learn the ropes, go out and practice by yourself, and when you feel ready, take us on a tour and we’ll see how you do.” Needless to say, companies that operate like that have very high liability and vehicle repair bills.

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What the Heck Is eTorque?

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on

When I first heard there would be a mild-hybrid motor option in the JL Wrangler, I was curious, but not convinced that anything but a diesel would tempt me away from the tried-and-true 3.6L V-6. I reluctantly ordered two for our fleet, just to try them out. First to arrive was a pretty Hella Yella Unlimited Rubicon that we named MaryAnn. Though I can neither confirm nor deny that there was drag racing between the 2.0L turbo eTorque Wrangler and one of our 3.6L V-6 Wranglers, what I can say is that the 2.0L turbo is noticeably faster off the line and in the quarter-mile than the V-6 in the JL Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.

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Take Your Time

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on

As a kid traveling in the backseat of our family 4x4s, what I looked forward to most was the stopping and getting out. Once I was old enough to drive, a whole new world of traveling enjoyment opened up, just for the sheer joy of driving. But, now that I’m getting older and have my own kids riding in the backseat, I find that there is so much more to enjoy when you aren’t trying to set a record pace for every mile of terrain. Most of us didn’t buy our Jeeps to just get from point A to point B, right? Why not invest a little time into where that wonderful machine is taking you?

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Preparing a Jeep for 1,000 Miles of Desert

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on

The first year of the Rebelle Rally was 2016, and Emily Miller of Rod Hall Racing had put together an all-women’s off-road rally lasting seven days and covering more than 1,000 miles of desert roads. The competition would not be for speed, but for navigational accuracy using only a map and compass—no GPS allowed. I was asked to prep some Jeeps for that first Rebelle Rally and decided to compete as well, and I have ever since. Having completed our third year in the rally, we have fine-tuned an approach to preparing a Jeep for such an endeavor.

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Hi-Lift Jack Do’s and Don’ts

By Nena Barlow
This article originally appeared on

There are two common Hi-Lift jack misconceptions circulated among new Jeepers. The first one is that if they have 35- inch-or-taller tires, they have to carry a Hi-Lift jack with them. The second one is that they shouldn’t use a Hi-Lift jack because they are not safe. The truth is that a Hi-Lift is a very useful and versatile tool to have, no matter what size tires you own, and they can be unsafe if not used or maintained properly. Though I cannot go into all the possible ways to use a Hi- Lift jack in this short space, I will share with you the most common ways I use my Hi-Lift jack and a few key safety points.

First, what I don’t do with the Hi-Lift jack is change tires or work on my Jeep. I find an appropriately sized bottle jack or the factory scissor jack with a broad and sturdy base to be a far simpler option for tire changing. I also never use the jack for holding up a car to crawl under it—use jack stands.

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The Value of Old Jeeps

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on

Ask any Jeep owner what the best Jeep ever made is, and the usual answer is the model they own. Some of us are lucky enough to own more than one. At last count, Rick Péwé owned 30. Owning old Jeeps can become addictive. I can’t keep count of mine, because new and old ones come and go every month. Though most of my Jeeps are late models for my business of renting and guiding, there are what I call “special-teams” rigs—ladies (all my Jeeps are girls) that aren’t expected to work for a living, but rather just put on special appearances. They’re not for day-to-day transportation. These special-teams girls range in vintage from 1942 to 1991, but I have been ogling TJs lately with a nostalgic eye.

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Ram Trucks Teams Up with Nena Barlow and Chris Mayne for 2018 Rebelle Rally

Teammates Nena Barlow and Chris Mayne working hard for 7 days of competition. Nicole Dreon photo.

Barlow and Mayne Rebelle Rally Team Pursuing Bone Stock Award for Third Time

Sedona, Ariz. – Ram Truck has announced its support of Nena Barlow of Sedona, Arizona and Chris Mayne of Paris, France to compete in the 2018 Rebelle Rally. Ram Trucks will be providing their team, Team 4 Corners, with a stock 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel truck.

The Rebelle Rally is an all-women’s navigation and four-wheel-drive event taking place this October through the deserts of the California and Nevada. There are currently two classes in the rally: Crossover and 4x4. The Bone Stock Award goes to the team who attains the most points in an unmodified vehicle, regardless of competition class. Barlow and Mayne brought home the Bone Stock Award and second place overall for 2017 in a Ram Power Wagon. In 2016, the inaugural year for the Rebelle Rally, Barlow competed with teammate Kande Jacobsen in a 2016 Ram Rebel, and brought home the Bone Stock award with an overall third place finish.


The Rebelle Rally is a competition of precise navigation using only map and compass. It takes place over seven days and more than 1,200 miles of back roads, across deserts and over mountains between Lake Tahoe, Nev. and San Diego, Calif. No GPS or any electronic navigation is permitted. Thirty-five teams completed the competition last year, with more than forty expected this year.

The Rebelle Rally is organized by veteran off-road racer and trainer, Emily Miller. Miller was the first U.S. woman to compete in the long-running Gazelle Rally in Morocco.

Nena Barlow comes with more than 20 years of experience in the 4wd industry, and grew up exploring the Southwest. She is the owner and operator of Barlow Adventures, a Jeep rental and 4WD training company, and a certified Master Trainer with the International 4WD Trainers Association. Though a competitor, Barlow has also been providing technical 4wd training for teams competing in the Rebelle Rally, as well as offering rally-ready Jeep rentals.

Barlow chooses to compete with Ram Trucks because, she says “Ram Trucks offer unsurpassed 4wd capability in the truck world, comfort and efficiency for long overland trips, and a gross vehicle weight rating that is up to carrying everything I need to not only spend seven days in the desert, but also enough tools and equipment to offer support to other teams.”

Chris Mayne is a rally veteran on multiple continents, with the last two year’s Rebelle Rally under her belt, as well as twelve Rallye de Gazelles in Morrocco and 2010 winner of the Rallye de Princesses in France. Mayne is, literally, a rock star, having several albums produced in the U.S. and internationally. She can usually be persuaded to wow the crowd at the gala or campfire with some vocals. She says "In 2017, I could not have imagined the team would do so well for a first time together, but Nena and I really were on the same page. Sure Rebelle 2018 will bring new challenges, but WE ARE READY!"

Barlow and Mayne will be driving a stock 2019 Ram Rebel in the competition, exactly as the model rolls out of the factory. Once again, Barlow will fill the role of driver, while Mayne fills the right seat as navigator.  Both women bring strong driving and navigating skills to the team, and can swap roles if necessary.

Barlow says this 2018 rally is going to see even stiffer competition in the stock designation. “I am proud to have brought home the Bone Stock Award for Ram Trucks the last two years. The pressure is on for a three-peat! 1200 miles offroad is a great proving ground for any vehicle. This will show how tough, capable, and comfortable the Rebel is.”


To follow Team 4 Corners, visit

For more information about the rally itself, visit


About the 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel

The new 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel brings factory-engineered, off-road capability to the full-size truck segment with unique design cues and can-do attitude backed by Ram Truck engineering. Equipped with a factory lift, locking rear differential, 33-inch tires, tow hooks and other off-road-ready features, the Ram 1500 Rebel appeals to the truck owner looking for a less-beaten path.

The Ram 1500 Rebel is now available in both Crew and Quad Cab configurations with Ram’s Active-level four-corner air suspension and a one-inch suspension lift or standard coil spring suspension and a one-inch lift. Newly designed Bilstein shocks feature remote reservoirs to keep the shocks cool and work with unique rear suspension geometry to keep the tires in traction. Rebel also includes Hill-descent Control for more off-road prowess. Hefty tow hooks feature wide bumper openings to ease use and the underbody protection features skid plates on the transfer case, steering system, oil pan and gas tank.

Nena Barlow Named I4WDTA Master Trainer

25 July 2018, Stafford, VA. The Board of Directors announces the selection of I4WDTA Master Trainers. The Association counts among its members Certified Trainers that perform the best instruction and demonstration of Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) operating technique, daily and World-wide to recreational, commercial, and Government agency customers. They embody our slogan, “Excellence in 4-WD Training."

However, there are those among them that truly distinguish themselves and are deserving of the qualification and recognition as I4WDTA “Master Trainers”. They serve as an example for all of us, trainers and enthusiast alike, through their contributions that go beyond the exemplary performance we expect. Some of those contributions include the performance and conduct of continuing education; advanced certification in emergency care, rescue technique, and vehicle recovery practices; teaching advanced OHV skills at the recreational, commercial, and Government agency level; mentorship; environmental stewardship; trail advocacy; community volunteers at the local and state level; consultant to automotive and equipment manufacturers; authors and contributors to industry publications; adapt and develop emerging technology into 4WD training curriculum; provide advocacy, counsel, and explore new opportunities for the Association to advance the enjoyment and safety of OHV operation for the consumer and greater community at large.

We appreciate their commitment and leadership, and it is with great pride we make this announcement - please join us in congratulating I4WDTA members Nena Barlow and John Marshall as I4WDTA Master Trainers.

Rollovers: What To Do Before, During, and After

By Nena Barlow
This article originally appeared on

Roll, flop, dirt nap—whatever your favorite term for a Jeep ending up not on its wheels, rolling over is one of the biggest fears people have about four-wheeling. We can talk all day about good driving techniques to avoid rolling in the first place, but no matter how good you are, mistakes happen. It’s good to be prepared. Protecting the occupants is the number-one priority. Here are things you can do to help everyone walk away safely from a rollover.

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