There is nothing quite like exploring the great outdoors with your family, and off-road adventures might be the perfect way to get away from your everyday life and do something out of the ordinary. While it takes time to plan everything out, with these tips in mind, you will ensure your family off-road adventure is a memorable one.
1. Select your destination
The beauty of riding in an off-road vehicle is the ability to explore areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. All those remote places you couldn’t visit with a regular vehicle are just waiting for you to discover them. Some of these places have historic significance while others are graced by breathtakingly beautiful natural features such as canyons and waterfalls that would certainly impress the little ones as well as the parents.
Oftentimes, you’ll want to visit a new place just by hearing about it from your friends. Either way, when it comes to selecting a destination, you have all the freedom to choose whatever your family finds most interesting. Even if you already have a wheeling spot you always come back to, exploring a new area may be worth your while.
2. Plan your route
One of the challenges of planning a family road trip is coming up with an appropriate route. A long, 8-hour ride may not seem such a big deal to parents, but the little ones may not be prepared for such extensive trips. Chances are they’d become cranky and tired after just a couple of hours. Your family off-road trip should be an enjoyable experience, so you want to keep everyone’s stamina in mind when planning the route and length of your trip.
Be realistic about how long you will have to drive to get to a certain place and keep in mind the type of terrain as well – bumpy roads will require you to drive more slowly to accommodate your small passengers so they can actually enjoy the ride. When you leave for a family ride is also important, and you want to make sure to avoid heading for your outdoor adventure at the wrong time (e.g. when your kids usually take a nap).
3. Make sure your vehicle is in good working condition
Regular maintenance is imperative regardless of the length of the trip and it can save you a lot of the unnecessary hassle down the road. Start by checking the tires and making sure you’ve got a spare one with you just in case. If the tires need replacing, make sure you look for an online tires supplier and order new ones before heading off for your off-road adventure. Consult with experts so you get a good set of tires that are suitable for the terrains you’re going to ride on.
Properly inflated tyres that are in good condition will ensure the optimal performance of your vehicle and keep you safe. Also, in case there are any mechanical issues or leaks under your vehicle, tackle the repairs prior to getting on the road. Check the fluids level and the condition of belts, hoses, and filters, and check the steering and brakes as well.
4. Safety comes first
Safety should be your top priority, especially when you are traveling with children. First, make sure to distribute the load evenly so that your vehicle is as stable as possible. Secondly, remember to tell someone you trust about your plans, where you are going and how long you expect it to take you until you get back. Leave them a number as well so that they are able to contact you, and get a number from your local police headquarters too.
Finally, when you are in the vehicle, make sure that the children are wearing seat belts or harnesses and that they have their helmets on. Set the example by wearing these yourself. Remember to bring sunglasses, too – they will make the ride more pleasant as the wind won’t be drying out your eyes as much.
5. Bring a GPS device
It’s always a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected, and having a GPS device on hand is sure to give you peace of mind when on the road with your family members. A GPS can be very practical as it can be used for exporting Google Maps once you’re done mapping your route (mobile devices work just as good, too). A digital map is certain to come in handy should you experience any hiccups such as getting stuck somewhere or getting injured while off-roading.
Even if you are out of cell range, a GPS device will track your movement and enable others to know exactly where you are in real time. In case you need to be evacuated, you can rely on this device to ask your friends, family, or a SAR (search and rescue) team for help.
6. Bring the right gear
Speaking of being ready for unexpected scenarios, you also want to make sure that you have the right gear with you before leaving the house. Fire extinguishers are a must before heading off-road – fasten yours to the cab so that you have easy access in case of fire. Emergency exits are made easier with glass breakers and seat-belt cutters, so be sure to have these inaccessible places in your vehicle.
While you likely won’t be using these, it’s better to be prepared for those worst-case scenarios. A first-aid kit is another thing you’ll need to cross off your checklist before you go. A basic one will work just fine and will come in handy in case of minor injuries and simple wounds.
7. Pack food, water, and some warm clothes
When traveling with kids, you can expect a lot of snack breaks. Because of that, you want to be ready and bring enough food and snacks for your little ones to nibble on as you drive to your destination. Regardless of the weather conditions, preventing dehydration is essential, so make sure to bring enough water and bring some extra food and water just to be on the safe side. Warm clothes are imperative in case it gets cold, but it’s always a good idea to throw in a couple of blankets as well.
Getting off the road isn’t as easy as it sounds. There is extensive planning involved, and there are a number of things to keep in mind to be able to get off-road the right way. With these tips in mind, you will be able to stay safe so you can enjoy your family off-road adventure to the fullest.