If you enjoy getting off road – or even if you’ve just been reading our articles before planning your first Outback expedition – you’ll know that touring the bush needs a load of gear. Luckily a good 4wd has plenty of room to fit it all in, so you can travel in safety and comfort. Between your rear load space and a good roof rack there’s plenty space for camping equipment, recovery gear, water, extra fuel and everything else you need.
There’s a bit of a down side to carrying loads of stuff though. You’re not going to be peacefully cruising along a smooth highway; going off road means hitting a lot of bumps, crawling round obstacles and driving at angles you won’t find in the office car park. That means your load can – and will – shift, and that can be dangerous. Driving on corrugations will bounce everything around; dropping the front wheels into a hole you didn’t see in time will throw everything in the back of the vehicle forwards. A flying jack or esky is a pretty nasty thing to have hitting the back of your head. Then there’s the balance problem. If you’re traversing a steep slope and your load suddenly slides to the downhill side that will change the centre of gravity and it can roll you right over. It’s vital that everything you’re carrying, inside and out, is securely mounted or strapped down.
The classic way to secure a load is with bungies and ockies, and they do work pretty well. They’re not ideal though and they can make unloading a bit hazardous. Tensioned rubber with a metal hook on the end isn’t always a great combination, and you can get some painful whacks from them. For heavier gear ratchet straps are a good choice – they hold stuff nice and tight, and can be undone safely.
One new product we really like is the Lynx Hooks sports strap. This is a rubber strap with a clever new hook system that lets you link them into a kind of super-ocky, or clip them onto any loop or hook on the vehicle. They have adjustment buckles so you can adjust them for a perfect fit or let the tension off before unhooking them – much safer than bungies. If you’re short of tie-down points Lynx also do their clever Bob Tails, which work perfectly with their hooks and let you create a tiedown on your roll bar, roof cage or pretty much anything else you can get a strap round.
For mounting recovery gear, fire extinguishers and the likes we’re really happy with Quick Fist clamps. Bolted or glued to your vehicle, these hold stuff really firmly but let you get it out in a hurry when you need it. If you have a full-on expedition vehicle get some of them on the tailgate for holding your digging tools.
Finally there’s nets. If you want to quickly secure a pile of loose gear in the back, or make extra sure the stuff in your roof box isn’t going to fall out, get a cargo net. They can also be used as load barriers. Any time you go off road you need to take load safety seriously, and at Tough Toys we have the gear you need to get it sorted.