Plan your adventure first
Packing tips – take the basics…
…focus on what you might need
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Before deciding on which on/off-road vehicle to buy Mitsubishi Motors’ ambassador Francois Rossouw says planning your (first) off-road adventure with the family determines the vehicle you should buy.
“Let’s look at what you want to do and where you want to go before making a decision,” he warns. ”Decide which vehicle to buy,” says the 71-year-old off-road specialist who has had more than 500 000km behind the wheel of a 4×4.
Nic Campbell, general manager of Mitsubishi Motors SA,, agrees that one of the most important decisions before going wheels shopping spree is to decide what you want to do.
“It’s like going out for dinner but before you study the menu you decide what kind of take-away you would like or what type of restaurant you would like visit, keeping your budget in mind.”
Rossouw looks at it from a similar angle but includes what to take on that trip, no matter whether it’s your first or umpteenth off-road adventure.
PACKING FOR THAT TRIP
Rossouw enlarged: “Many people think ‘the more, the better’ so they might want to pack too much, including things you might never use. There are, however, some things needed in every off-road vehicle, no matter where you’re going or what you plan to do.”
A FIRST-AID KIT
”GOING OFF-ROAD,” Rossouw says, ”means you will probably be far from medical help so having the basics in case of a mishap is very important.
“Giving the wrong treatment or medication can be more dangerous than doing nothing so my kit has no prescription drugs. I carry headache tablets, anti-inflammatory medication, something for diarrhoea, ointment for insect bites, paraffin gauze for burns, over-the-counter medication for scratches, plasters and bandages, and basic equipment to splint a broken limb.
”I also carry disinfectant for wounds, over-the-counter cough medicine, ointment for sunburn, basic cold medication, definitely some antihistamine and general eye drops. Given Covid-19, I always have sanitiser to hand in the vehicle.”
SOUTH AFRICAN road law says a driver must carry a driving licence. Rossauw reminds: ”Also check that the vehicle’s licence disc is still valid – and will be so for at least the period of your trip.
”No other documentation is needed if you stay within SA’s borders but if you travel to neighbouring countries or deeper into Africa you need all vehicle documentation as well as a passport.
”Keep it all in one pack in a safe place. Entry requirements can change according to country so make sure you know what paperwork to take along.”
GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM
DON’T RELY on your mobile phone’s GPS app! Remember, one reason you’re going on a 4×4 adventure is to “get away from it all” and a good cellphone signal will most likely not be available. Some vehicles have a built-in unit so make sure you download the latest version of maps such as Tracks4Africa.
“We live in Africa. A road that was tarred a few years ago might now be an off-road challenge,” Rossouw warns, ”so make sure you know where you are going.”
If you DO plan to go off-road make sure you have the right recovery equipment for that area – including a rear towball. A winch is not always necessary; a snatch rope and towing rope are essential. ”If you don’t get stuck, you probably didn’t really go off-road,” says Rossouw.
”Make sure your vehicle is equipped for recovery and keep that in mind when shopping for a new vehicle.
TOOLS AND SPARE
MOST VEHICLES have a spare wheel, a jack, and a wheel spanner, and that’s it. Modern vehicles have so many electronics that you probably won’t be able to fix much yourself but something small – a blown fuse, perhaps – can be easily replaced.
The same goes for things such as silicon tape for a leak, depending on the problem. Take the basics and make sure you have the details of your dealer in the event of an emergency.*
BEFORE YOU GO
ALWAYS TEST, and then double-check, everything before you go on a trip. Rossouw again: “Make sure the vehicle has been properly serviced and tested; check the spare wheel, tyre- pressures, water and oil levels, lights and spark plugs – even things such as brake fluid levels.”
Enquire at your favourite dealer about a free pre-holiday inspection and special service and maintenance campaigns on labour and parts before you depart on your annual holiday. As Campbell told The Corner: “Mitsubishi SA would like owners to make it there – and back – safely by offering a free safety check and special maintenance campaign.”
A free 28-point vehicle safety assessment
Special service and maintenance campaigns on labour and parts
Book your safety check at your nearest dealer well in advance
The service can also be booked on the Mitsubishi Motors website under the heading “Book A Service”.
Campbell again with a punt: ”Once you know what kind of adventure you would like to tackle on your next holiday or 4×4 outing and know what you need to take along it might be time to go shopping for a new SUV.
“Mitsubishi Motors SA has a full range of adventure vehicles – SUVs, double-cabs and crossovers – or visit our website for the latest details.”
What does Rossouw drive: The latest Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.
*The Corner suggests you add a couple of fanbelts, at least one puncture repair aerosol (they contain sealant and compressed air), a couple of cans of engine oil, and a basic set of spanners.