Archives for posts with tag: driving skills

It’s a bit ’80s, but there’s some good stuff here. The video covers pretty much everything: how to cross muddy slopes, ditches, water fording, hills, v-shaped gullies, towing, driving ruts and rocky terrain. All of the sections are done by two Defenders, one doing the right thing, the other the wrong thing.

As an added bonus, the video shows what has been selected in vehicles’ transfer case and transmission via a little Atarti-style graphic.

Left-foot braking means applying the brake with the left foot while your right foot is on the gas and the car is moving forward. It’s one of the most important skills I’ve learned. It makes progress over rocks and obstacles much smoother by reducing suspension movement as tires come off of obstacles. Chassis impacts with said rocks and obstacles are thereby also reduced.

Imagine a tire going over a rock. Even pressure on the throttle makes for a smooth climb to the top of the rock. Even pressure on the brake makes for a smooth descent down the other side. Gas and brake at the same time covers all of your bases, as some tires may be climbing while others descend.

There’s a second benefit. In a vehicle with open front and rear differentials (most 4x4s) getting into a crossed-axle situation (in which one wheel on each axle has lost traction) will halt forward movement. Squeezing the brake while keeping your foot on the gas can reduce wheel spin in the lost-traction wheels and transfer torque to the wheels with grip. In my experience though, this doesn’t work if the truck is up against big obstacles. That said, if you happen to get cross axled on a rutted but flat road, it’s a good trick to have up your sleeve.

This video does a good job of explaining both scenarios. If you haven’t already, practice left-foot braking the next time you’re out on the trail. Your smoothness over obstacles will be like night and day. Once I learned, I wondered how I ever got by without it.

On the subject of campfires, here’s another good one: the long fire. It’s reportedly great for both warming, and cooking if you flatten the logs at one end.

In this YouTube video, iawoodsman shows us great set-up and prep for getting the fire going quickly. For example, I like the way he uses two pieces of kindling as a cross brace to support the remaining kindling over the tinder.

Here are links to the tools he mentions, the Wetterlings axe, the Trail Blazer folding buck saw, and the UCO storm-proof matches. In another excellent video, below, in which he sets up a firewood cut station, it looks like he’s using the Wetterlings 26″ Forest Axe.

These are great videos—very informative.
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I came across an interesting method for making a simple fire/cooking stove. It’s called a ”Swedish Torch.”

The idea is to take a short, thick log, split it into fourths, set the resulting sections slightly apart, and fill center with tinder and kindling. Once it’s lit, the gaps between the sections facilitate the flow of air and, if the top of the log is flat, you can cook on it. A single log reportedly burns 2—3 hours.

The lower video demonstrates an alternative version, if a big log and an axe aren’t available. Both are very clever solutions.

If you’re interested in brushing up on your off-road driving skills, you might enjoy these 80s-era Land Rover shorts based on the Camel Trophy Training regimen. These videos give a good overview of techniques for a wide variety of terrains and situations. If nothing else, it’s fun to watch old Defenders and Range Rover Classics doing their thing.

A brief rundown and additional video links to follow… Read the rest of this entry »