Tag: training

Heads-Up: Tips For Better Trips

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on fourwheeler.com.

When venturing out on the trail, most of us take at least basic precautions to deal with some common trail mishaps. We carry tools, emergency supplies, and a first aid kit. But those things only work if you use the most important piece of equipment—your brain. The ability to pay attention, recognize problems as they develop, and calmly utilize available assets are the best tools you can have.

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How to Be a Trail Access Advocate

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on fourwheeler.com.

At some point while out exploring in your Jeep, you will come to a “Road Closed” sign on a trail. Maybe you just got into four-wheeling, and you decide you need to learn more about where to go. Or maybe this was a trail you have wheeled on since you were a kid, and suddenly there is a locked gate on it. Either way, it dawns on you that somewhere, someone is making decisions about the places where you get to recreate. How do you get a say in that?

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How To: Moab For First-Timers

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on fourwheeler.com.

Moab. You hear the name whispered in reverence throughout the Jeep world. If you are planning a wheeling trip Moab for the first time, there are some things you should know about visiting and driving the trails there.

First, there are some driving techniques that are specific to red rock country. The sandstone offers some amazing traction —we call it “sticky.” This exceptional traction means you will be able to climb surreal inclines and hang off of heart-pounding sidehills, but it also means that horse-powering your way up an obstacle is more likely to snap axles and grenade differentials than other terrain types that allow more wheel spin. It takes a lot more torque to break traction here, so slow and steady is usually the best first approach.

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How to Avoid Common Winching Mistakes

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on fourwheeler.com.

A winch is a very useful piece of equipment to have, if you know how to use it safely. Though manufacturers will tell you that winches available to the recreational user are intended for self-recovery only, we all use them for far more than that. However, a winch can be dangerous if not used correctly, even for it’s intended purpose of self-recovery.

First, a winch is a static piece of recovery equipment, not a recovery point for kinetic pull. The difference is that kinetic recovery equipment is intended to handle shock loads, like kinetic energy recovery ropes, while static recovery equipment, like chains and winches, are specifically designed for slow and steady loads only. If you use your winch hook as a recovery point for a kinetic pull, you are subjecting the brakes on your winch drum to severe shock load. This risks winch brake failure or even drum failure. Only use frame-mounted recovery points for a kinetic recovery.

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The Proper Off-Road Driving Position

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on fourwheeler.com.

It seems like everyone is selling products hyping enhanced performance and reduced fatigue these days, but I can promise you that proper driving position increases effectiveness, efficiency, and your trail performance while reducing fatigue, and it works without expensive pills! Simple solutions are often overlooked. Drivers complain about discomforts of long days in the seat or ability to see obstacles on the trail. When we begin one of our 4WD courses with proper seating, leg and hand placement, it often conflicts with how our clients have been driving. However, most report by the end of the day that they feel more in control and less tired.

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How to Take Care of Your Winch Rope

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on fourwheeler.com.

If you use synthetic rope on your winch, there are some things you should do to ensure the safety, functionality, and lifespan the winch rope. The number one killer of synthetic rope is abrasion, meaning things that rub the independent fiber strands down and weaken the rope. There are many ways we expose rope to abrasion, some that are not so obvious.

First and most obvious is rubbing the line on rocks and terrain while winching. Most of us know to use a blanket or winch sleeve of some kind to protect the rope from any direct contact with the terrain while pulling, but our ropes often pick up dirt and debris while in use. Small particles cause abrasion within the rope. Soak your rope in clean water from time to time, or especially after a particularly dirty recovery.

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Tricks for Better Off-Road Performance

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on fourwheeler.com.

Whether you are on a tight budget, skimping to save for any upgrade, or on an unlimited modification budget, the fundamentals are often underrated. Here are a few tricks that will only cost you a few minutes of your time to make your Jeep perform significantly better when you leave the pavement.

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Keep Your Guard Up!

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on fourwheeler.com.

Something we see over and over again in the four-wheeling world are mishaps at the places one would least expect it. We get through a nasty obstacle, breathe a sigh of relief, and then get stuck on a small rock we didn’t even notice. Or we spend all day on a grueling 4×4 trail, get through without a scratch, then on the way home, slide off of the gravel road into tree. Or we just head out without much thought on a trail we have done dozens of times, don’t check the weather, and get stranded on the wrong side of a wash during a flash flood.

The common thread? We let our guard down after the perceived threat is past. The solution? Don’t take anything for granted—keep your guard up until everyone is safely home on the couch. The following are a few things to think about before, during, and after your trip to help keep everyone safe.

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Practical Off-Road Navigation Tips

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on fourwheeler.com.

One of the keys to a successful backcountry trip is not just finding a cool place to go but also safely finding your way back out. Orientation is knowing where you are. Navigation is knowing where you are going. Route-finding is knowing how to get there. While not all of us are tech whizzes with every new navigation gadget, nor are we all masters of compass and map, I find having a few simple tools and skills can help you through even the most difficult route-finding scenarios.

I recommend everyone carry a compass with a base plate that can help you measure or plot coordinates on a map. A compass can be used to take a bearing on the map to someplace you want to go. Then, using that same heading, look that direction on the terrain and see what landmarks you may use to guide you in that direction. A compass can be used to take a heading to someplace that you can see off in the distance, and then plot that heading on the map to help you plan a route. If you need to be precise, check the declination adjustment for the area you are exploring before you leave for the backcountry.

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Mud Rules: When And How To Drive Through It

By Nena Barlow

This article originally appeared on fourwheeler.com.

Driving through mud is fun. However, I have learned that the moment of fun is usually accompanied by many not fun consequences. In some parts of the country, mud is the primary form of wheeling because, well, that is pretty much all there is. I choose to tiptoe through mud as much as possible these days for many reasons, but it is important to understand the methods and consequences of dealing with mud.

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