Is there a comprehensive source for complete and utter newbies?

Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Messages
62
Location
Georgia (state, not country)
I'm just back from a regional gathering where we did an "easy" route (600-1 in Talladega NF, Alabama), which was more or less the first time I'd driven anything less maintained than a graded gravel road. I was woefully unprepared and had something happened, I would have been at the mercy of those I was with. I don't like that feeling. At All. Help me not be "that guy" the next time out (FWIW, there were no issues ~ I'm just used to being self sufficient).

Starting from Zero here. Any info will be greatly appreciated so I can maybe start helping myself a little, but I don't even know what (or where) to search to get started.

Oh, not talking about just winches, I'm talking about Everything trail related. For instance, I was loaned a radio... and saw that everyone else was wearing muck boots (was very wet, I was in sneakers and would have been miserable if I'd stopped mid puddle).

Thanks
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
5,281
Location
Jefferson
imo the number one thing about not being "that guy" is being your own mechanic.
with that, your vehicle should be dialed and checked on the regular for loose parts/hardware.

obviously shyt happens and it's impossible to be prepared for everything. that's where "the group" comes in.

what you need is determined by you.
i recommend that you prepare for the worst shyt to happen and that you will be the one self recovering.

it's not called $x$ for nothing ;)
 

80t0ylc

Hill & Gully Rider
SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 24, 2008
Messages
3,573
Location
Canyon City, OR
Who were you wheelin' with? You talk as if you didn't trust 'em = "I would have been at the mercy of those I was with." I'd say, start with finding folks you know and trust, even just one experienced friend you can trust that can mentor you and your rig. As @gnob says, fixing your own rig and "dialing it in" will give you more confidence when in the woods. Also, what rig are you running? Is it that 60 in your avatar? If so, it's old, but a capable 4x4, if well maintained. Interesting that it has a Wyoming tag and you're in Georgia.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Messages
62
Location
Georgia (state, not country)
I can see how this seems funny... so the short of it is that we bought the 60 about 7 months ago, spent some time getting it mechanically sound and joined a club here on Mud. They had an overnight trip so we joined them, having never met any of them before or even really chatted with them online. I did mention to the guy who was organizing that we were new to wheeling, the 60 was fairly new to us and would this be a suitable trip for our level and he said yes. I was just shocked that the route was a lot more technical than the description given (perspective difference between someone with lots of experience and someone with no experience). As for the Wyoming plate, the 60 was originally sold there and I was born/raised there... no front plate law in GA so it's just decorative.

Anyway, I'm good from a mechanic perspective as that was my job for a number of years (motorcycles, but reading a manual and understanding how systems work together is the same). I took my rally box with way more tools than I'd likely need, water, oil and the few spares I've accumulated while addressing the deferred maintenance. I always have all the manuals on my phone for every vehicle I own too. I had no reason to expect mechanical issues, and I'm 1000% in the 'ounce of prevention' camp when it comes to maintenance, I make sure to do it before it could ever be needed.

I understand a mentor would be the most ideal situation, not sure where I'm going to find one of those in the flatlands of GA, where every square inch of land is private property. The group I was with were from hundreds of miles apart AND we all traveled further to the trails. Not something I'll be doing normally... I just want to be more prepared the next time opportunity arises. I get the feeling that's going to be 99% communication of MY ability/experience and lack of recovery equipment.

I appreciate the posts, I'll make certain that I can take care of the mechanical aspects of my own vehicle when out.
 

jellis

SILVER Star
Joined
Apr 29, 2011
Messages
323
Location
Boulder, Utah
Agreed on taking care of your rig with proper PM!

I just checked out a YouTube video of that route. There are literally driveways that bad where I live. Know that your rig is way more capable than you are comfortable. =) This is only a serious problem where the risks are high, like by a drop-off where you could roll off and die like my brother-in-law did in a 60 series, so try to stay away from routes where your lack of comfort is an actual liability to yourself and others.

A lot of what you're after comes down to simple experience, and that simply involves putting yourself in uncomfortable situations often (like you just experienced) and persevering (like you just did). For example I bought a 17' cataraft last year and started rafting rivers with my family. You can learn a LOT online in forums like this and via YouTube videos, but it'll never replace actually getting out and doing it--building confidence--and dialing in your rig for you.
 
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
10,158
Location
Ladysmith
Wow, if it rains - what do you need? If you are hungry - what do you need? If you get stuck - what do you need?
If you get hurt - what do you need?

Don't ask us - Ask yourself. I've ridden an ATV after a 30' fall off a cliff with 3 broken ribs, fractured collar bone, broken foot. I had to winch
back up the cliff first, and THEN I rode 9 miles back thru unimaginably rough terrain and forest on a 'not a trail' to the road, and home.
I don't carry a PLB, GPS or cellphone. What did I need? I had. The pics below generally are what is in my truck when I go anywhere aside
from the city. At least 3 pairs of footwear, not in the pic and personal clothing. I'm never wet, cold or miserable due to outdoors.

P1010096.JPG
P1010097.JPG
P1010106.JPG
 

jellis

SILVER Star
Joined
Apr 29, 2011
Messages
323
Location
Boulder, Utah
The green yard cart seems unnecessary?!? :p

Glad you made it out of that situation OK, sounds very intense and scary!

A few years ago before Christmas we headed down Cottonwood Road towards Page, AZ before sunrise There are two fairly steep north-facing switchback curve climbs on that road. Driving up to the first one there was a bit of mud but I didn't think anything of it, my lifted 80 does great in mud even towing my 4,000lb M101A military trailer. The road up the switchback looks dry so I start up without concern when suddenly the truck just stops and then slowly slides backwards until my trailer jackknifes. I hop out totally confused to see what's going on (mechanical failure?!? Why did I stop?! Why did I go backwards?!?) and I almost fall flat on my butt like a movie scene because the entire hillside is a giant frozen slide made of pure bentonite clay.
Speaking of footwear: We were headed down to our property in AZ to camp out for a few weeks so my wife and I had only sandals and slippers. Nothing else. So there we are out there in our slippers trying to crawl up the frozen clay slide in order to reach the only 3 rocks that could serve as suitable winch points (below the treeline so no trees). The point on footwear above is well-taken (on a related note we took my father-in-law on a 5-day raft trip this summer wherein he lost one of two shoes on the first day and was only saved by a kayaker managing to find a new pair of sandals in a debris pile that just happened to fit!).
We tried winching up because we were about half way up the hill and turning around and going the other way was a 4-hour detour. The problem was that everytime you slacked the winch line to reposition to a new location the entire rig + trailer would slowly start sliding down the frozen clay sheet!! And of course it was towards a steep embankment! On the last stretch the anchor rock started to rotate out of the ground so at that point we had to abandon the idea of going up and slowly winch backwards down the ice sheet around the corner all the while trying not to jackknife the trailer which was pretty hard because turning didn't do much.

That might have been my second time ever using a winch?!? One of the scariest situations I've ever been in with a rig. My kids have forever since made jokes about how long a "shortcut" can be because of that experience!
 
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
10,158
Location
Ladysmith
The green yard cart seems unnecessary?!? :p
Actually, I've just not really figured out how to incorporate it into the fuel can carrier for those 'local domestic camping trips'.

But in all seriousness my post might seem a bit over the top. There are several threads on this forum of 'What should I carry in my truck'.
SEARCH function is everyones friend. I'm an idiot compared to others when it comes to searching stuff here.
Common Sense. @Sumguy Take everything next time, remove what you didn't need next time after that, so on and so on.
 

jellis

SILVER Star
Joined
Apr 29, 2011
Messages
323
Location
Boulder, Utah
I bet I have spent at least 10x as many hours on here as I have posts--doing searches, solving problems, learning stuff. I don't think I could have made it with a Cruiser this long where I live (middle of nowhere) without this forum. A true community.

Where are you from in Wyoming? My wife is from Worland, lots of good country up there. How did you make it out of Wyoming without being desensitized to fairly extreme 4x4 roads?
 

Josie'sLandCruiser

Stop calling it a "FJ."
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
5,269
Location
Seattle, USA
Go buy (and read like 4 x) a book like this:

Amazon product

I learned 4wd driving in the pre-internet era. Books like the one above are a good source of info on driving techniques, gear selection, etc.

Regarding 4wd clubs, you need to go on several day trail runs with them, starting with the "bunny" trails. This will allow you to become more familiar and comfortable with the vehicle on uneven terrain. Also you can make friends with folks more experienced that can give you encouragement and advice.

Good luck and have fun!
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2022
Messages
4
Location
Mexico
I'm just back from a regional gathering where we did an "easy" route (600-1 in Talladega NF, Alabama), which was more or less the first time I'd driven anything less maintained than a graded gravel road. I was woefully unprepared and had something happened, I would have been at the mercy of those I was with. I don't like that feeling. At All. Help me not be "that guy" the next time out (FWIW, there were no issues ~ I'm just used to being self sufficient).


Starting from Zero here. Any info will be greatly appreciated so I can maybe start helping myself a little, but I don't even know what (or where) to search to get started.


Oh, not talking about just winches, I'm talking about Everything trail related. For instance, I was loaned a radio... and saw that everyone else was wearing muck boots (was very wet, I was in sneakers and would have been miserable if I'd stopped mid puddle).

Thanks
A few years ago before Christmas we headed down Cottonwood Road towards Page, AZ before sunrise There are two fairly steep north-facing switchback curve climbs on that road. Driving up to the first one there was a bit of mud but I didn't think anything of it, my lifted 80 does great in mud even towing my 4,000lb M101A military trailer. The road up the switchback looks dry so I start up without concern when suddenly the truck just stops and then slowly slides backwards until my trailer jackknifes. I hop out totally confused to see what's going on (mechanical failure?!? Why did I stop?! Why did I go backwards?!?) and I almost fall flat on my butt like a movie scene because the entire hillside is a giant frozen slide made of pure bentonite clay.
Speaking of footwear: We were headed down to our property in AZ to camp out for a few weeks so my wife and I had only sandals and slippers. Nothing else. So there we are out there in our slippers trying to crawl up the frozen clay slide in order to reach the only 3 rocks that could serve as suitable winch points (below the treeline so no trees). The point on footwear above is well-taken (on a related note we took my father-in-law on a 5-day raft trip this summer wherein he lost one of two shoes on the first day and was only saved by a kayaker managing to find a new pair of sandals in a debris pile that just happened to fit!).
We tried winching up because we were about half way up the hill and turning around and going the other way was a 4-hour detour. The problem was that everytime you slacked the winch line to reposition to a new location the entire rig + trailer would slowly start sliding down the frozen clay sheet!! And of course it was towards a steep embankment! On the last stretch the anchor rock started to rotate out of the ground so at that point we had to abandon the idea of going up and slowly winch backwards down the ice sheet around the corner all the while trying not to jackknife the trailer which was pretty hard because turning didn't do much.


Oh, not talking about just winches, I'm talking about Everything trail related. For instance, I was loaned a radio... and saw that everyone else was wearing muck boots (was very wet, I was in sneakers and would have been miserable if I'd stopped mid puddle). Some were wearing cowboy boots(not the biggest fan or western wear Western Wear - GritrOutdoors.com - https://gritroutdoors.com/apparel/western-wear/ but I guess it's pretty good for those situations!)
That might have been my second time ever using a winch?!? One of the scariest situations I've ever been in with a rig. My kids have forever since made jokes about how long a "shortcut" can be because of that experience!
Going there in sneakers is definitely a huge mistake :D
That book Josie recommended was how I've learnt, but you can also just dig this forum and various articles on the web(there are plenty) and learn from those.
Jellis, I've had similar experience, hence why I always have a pair of rubber boots somewhere in my car, even during hottest summer :D
 
Joined
Oct 1, 2021
Messages
161
Location
Ventura
For your winch question, this is a good guide used by the tow truck industry.
 

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ChaseTruck

--
SILVER Star
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
2,311
Not claiming this is comprehensive, but I here's a list of recovery gear on/in my main trail truck:
- strong recovery points, either on aftermarket bumpers, best on frame (or both) - for getting pulled, pulling others, or when winching with a snatch block
- shackles to fit the recovery points - soft shackles (3 in my truck, from 1/2” rope) are all the rage these days, but if the recovery point is for a 3/4” steel shackle (3 in the truck), then the soft shackle doesn’t help
- recovery strap or similar - 2 in my truck, an old 2” and a new 3” (I don't like using those, but I'm mostly in dry, rocky terrain where I prefer to use the winch)
- tree saver strap
- winch w/ synthetic rope (on my K5 it’s a Ramsey 9.5k with ~50 feet of 3/8” rope on the drum)
- extension winch rope (~90’ in the K5, found out last weekend that another shorter extension rope would be handy)
- snatch block (2 in the truck)
- gloves (used a lot… as in always)
- shovel (can’t remember when used last)
- hi-lift jack (not a big fan, but can come in handy at times; I should get a more stable base for it)

The next items I'd like to call call the 'mental' gear list:
- seat time (yes, usually vastly underrated…)
- time - I like to think time needs to stop when recovering a vehicle (there are exceptions, of course) so that one can consider all options without rushing into it, and give proper attention to safety
- asking for a spotter when in doubt - quicker to guide a vehicle through an obstacle than having to recover it after something untoward happened

The ‘93 80 has a 12k winch, rope extension, a strap, a few shackles (steel & soft), and a snatch block.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
Messages
1,855
Location
Northwest Montana
Figured this may be a good thread to post on.

I was curious of the safe factor for a setup that I have used before when recovering / doing a light tug with a snatch strap.

I sometimes use a tree saver strap, attached with a d ring on each end to my front recovery points. The tree saver strap would be threaded through the loop on the snatch strap. Snatch strap connected to the stuck vehicle on the other end with a d-ring.

I know I could just go from 1 recovery point right to the stuck vehicle, but the idea of a bridle / two points of contact to my vehicle seems to spread the force out better. What I don't know is how legit it is to connect to / pull on a tree saver strap from the middle point like that.

All straps are ARB and rated for plenty of weight. So...Legit? Stupid? Wish I had a real pic, high tech schematic below
1671550390717.png
 

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