Safety and Being Prepared

Our next part of our trip we will be traveling into the Cape York Peninsula. Although Cape York is getting increasingly civilized. It is still a rugged and remote area of Australia and traveling in this area should not be taken lightly.

So to reassure everyone that I am not completely crazy and putting Alec and myself at risk, I will give a run down of our preparations for this part of the trip.

When I prepare for a trip such as we are doing, my philosophy is expect things to go wrong, but be prepared to deal with them when it does. Having said that I do put a lot of effort into making sure things don’t go wrong.

Vehicle

The car and camper are the most vital pieces of equipment we have. It is our way of travel and our home. Everything that we need to survive is either carried in or part of the car and camper.

So as you might imagine a lot of time and effort has been put into these two items for this trip. A fair chuck was covered in the Mav and camper trailer pages in this website.  So I won’t go into much detail in this blog post.

The maintenance of the car and camper is vital to make them reliable and I don’t skimp on this. If either needs repairing. I do it using the best quality parts available and in some cases upgrading to a better stronger part. Performing regular checks as you travel is also vital.

Anyone that has owned a mechanical device will know that no matter how well it maintained it will let you done at some point. To help in this situation I carry a range of spare parts and tools to suit my vehicle.

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This is constantly getting added to.

I have gone over all the usual breakdowns and made sure I have the tools and the parts to get me out of trouble. In some cases I  had to do a particular repair at home. So I used only the tools that I carry in the car to do the job. If I found a tool that was needed to do the job it got added to the kit.

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I carry tyre pliers and levers and a repair kit. With these I am able to remove a tyre off the rim and perform a permanent repair to a professional workshop standard. I can do a temporarily repair using plugs as well. 

A vehicle breakdown is not always the reason you come to a stop. Getting stuck in mud, sand or a combination of these is a real possibility when travelling off road.

To help in this some time embarrassing situation I have a full recovery setup. Which includes a electric winch, straps, long handle shovel and a set of maxtrax’s ( sand ladders ).

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Yes I did deliberately buy black Maxtrax’s to match the mav.

Communication

Communication is one area that I upgraded for this trip. I have three forms of communication to the outside world available to me.

The first being a UHF radio. In my case it is permanently mounted in the car. The UHF radio has a very limited range. Depending on the terrain it can be as little as a couple of Kilometre’s. I used this to talk to fellow travellers when travelling together and if on channel 40 listen and communicated with truck drivers. It can be helpful when over taking  trucks especially large road train or in dusty conditions.

On some forestry and outback roads there is a call point system in place. When a truck enters a section of road the driver with announce over the radio he is in the area. This to warn on coming vehicles and is much better than meeting a 120 ton road train by surprise on a tight corner.

In a emergency a UHF radio is very limited. However you just never know who else is in the area.

A mobile phone of coarse is the next form of communication. However this obviously has it limitations to. Phone reception is constantly improving. But still cannot be relied on in remote locations. To get that little bit better coverage. I fitted a car kit with a large antenna on the bull bar. Generally speaking this increases the signal strength by one bar. Which may be just enough to get out of trouble.

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The phone antenna is on the left the UHF is on the right.

The third item of communication is a Spot device, which is used in a emergency when nothing else works. It’s a tracker, locator and message device in one unit.

The Spot works on the satellite network and allows you to send 3 different pre-programmed messages and GPS coordinates to up to ten contacts with a push of a button.

The device also has a SOS function, when activated local authority’s are notified to send help. This is only be used in life threatening situations. As the local authorities are not going to happy if you get them out because you stubbed you little pinky.

This device travels with me everywhere and is my get out of jail card if something goes pear shaped.

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This is a great alternative to a expensive sat phone.

First Aid

I have two first aid kits. A large one that lives in the car and a smaller one that lives in my back pack. The back pack is carried with me whenever we are out and about. The back pack also contains a snake bite kit and of course the Spot device.IMG_2254

Food and Water

If I don’t have plenty of food and water then most likely I will be using one of the above items.

Food and water are always keep well stocked. A lot of time this determines where we travel and how long we stay in a place.

I carry approximately enough water to camp for a week with out refilling.  Approximately 120 litres. This does depend on how many baths Alec and I have during that period. In a emergency situation we would be able to last much longer than a week.

If water was readily available than food wouldn’t be a issue for a long time in a emergency. I carry a full panty of food including rice, flour, pasta and a variety of canned items.

Whenever Alec and I goes for a bush walk I always take some form of food. Depending on the length of the walk and the area which we are walking in.

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I transfer everything from the back pack to the child carrier when going for large walks. No wonder I am tired after our walks.

I hope this gives everyone some piece of mind. Even though I have gone to a lot of trouble with all the things above. A good dose of commonsense goes a long way.

2 thoughts on “Safety and Being Prepared

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