What to do when wheeling in really bad weather?

Spence621

New member
The recent thunderstorms, rain and hail have forced me to ask myself how I would respond while off-roading in adverse conditions. Can anyone give me some pointers?:confused:
 

FallonJeeper

New member
Depends on how you want to approach the situation.

1. The best pointer is to be prepared. Make sure somebody knows, before you go wheeling, where you are and the trails you may be on. Have good functional equipment, full tank of fuel, good tires, water, food, blankets....
2. Usually it's best to try to avoid the storm, or out run it or you can wait it out, if you have the time. Avoid the canyons due to flash floods if you know thunderstorms are in the area.
3. Try to pick the best course, remember momentum is your friend. keep rolling whenever possible.
4. Watch for rocks, fence posts. trees, tree roots. Sometimes they can be hidden. These can grab you, tear your tires and you'll be waiting it out or changing a tire in nasty weather.
5. If you get stuck, assuming you are wheeling alone, which you shouldn't be doing anyway, try to reach somebody by Cell, CB, Ham whatever you have.
6. Stay warm and protected from the environment, consider where you are and think hard before you walk out. If the walk is far, it's usually better to stay put.

These are just a couple off the top of my head. I'm sure other members will have more suggestions.
 

jfrey123

Well-known member
Most simply:

1. Keep equipment working and in proper condition so it has less chance of failing in your time of need.

2. Stay within your skill range and capabilities of your rig. "Hold my beer and watch this s***!" is not what you want to be saying when you can't see past your hood.

3. Never, ever wheel alone. Never.
 

Gizmatical Fuquad

Well-known member
Premium Member
[threadjack] I tire of this 'never wheel alone' horse-puckey. I do more than 80% of my wheelin' solo and often it's solo with my kids. Irregardless of weather and terrain, the MOST important thing is to know your capabilities as a driver, next is to know the capabilities of your rig, lastly, make sure you have communication with civilization should you mis-judge the prior mentioned capabilities.[/threadjack]
 

FallonJeeper

New member
While I'm sure you and your rig are very capable, stuff happens, like no cell, ham, cb comms, parts break, and roll overs. Even in brand new, capable rigs with capable drivers. In these situations, you could be seriously hurt, and not be able to go, call for help. You would have to sit, and hope somebody finds you. But if you had just one other vehicle, you stand a better chance of getting aid when you need it, rather than being too late. So say what you will, but there are enough of these off roading accidents that it just makes sense.
 

Dirty Harry

Moderator
Staff member
Depends on how you want to approach the situation.

1. The best pointer is to be prepared. Make sure somebody knows, before you go wheeling, where you are and the trails you may be on. Have good functional equipment, full tank of fuel, good tires, water, food, blankets....
2. Usually it's best to try to avoid the storm, or out run it or you can wait it out, if you have the time. Avoid the canyons due to flash floods if you know thunderstorms are in the area.
3. Try to pick the best course, remember momentum is your friend. keep rolling whenever possible.
4. Watch for rocks, fence posts. trees, tree roots. Sometimes they can be hidden. These can grab you, tear your tires and you'll be waiting it out or changing a tire in nasty weather.
5. If you get stuck, assuming you are wheeling alone, which you shouldn't be doing anyway, try to reach somebody by Cell, CB, Ham whatever you have.
6. Stay warm and protected from the environment, consider where you are and think hard before you walk out. If the walk is far, it's usually better to stay put.

I think that these are great suggestions if the weather gets really bad. Just be patient and wait for the weather to improve if you are in a situation you are not comfortable with. In Nevada you should not have to wait very long!
 

rusty_tlc

New member
All of the items FallonJeeper posted are good advice in any weather.

As with so many things the real answer is "It depends."

Forewarned is fore armed, check the weather before you leave. I might wait out a spring snow shower in the Sierra while I'd hightail to pavement if there was a chance it was a real snow storm. A weather band radio is also a great resource, ours saved us from being in flash flood country down in Moab during afternoon thunder storms.

My wife and I do a lot of solo overland trips, we ALWAYS err on the side of caution simply because we know we are taking a risk. We also have a couple of years of experience in back country travel behind us. Still there are some areas and times of the year that we won't travel solo. Mud season in central NV comes to mind, it's way to easy to find bottomless mud or slide off the road into a ditch or worse.
 

Bitosin

New member
Lots of great advice there. I think you'll notice a few common threads running thru. Make sure you and your rig are in good condition, Know your capabilities and don't push the envelope in bad weather, Don't go alone...remember the buddy system.

The best and most experienced wheelers get into trouble once in a while and conditions can change rapidly around here.
 

WILLD420

Well-known member
Premium Member
Knowing your rig is the most important. Not taking stupid chances is the 2nd one.

If you know you rig, you know how to fix most anything fixable on the trail and you have the tools to do it.

Remember; the whole Extreme Sports attitude has taken off after hospitals and flight for life became more prevalent. In the old days, people didn't take stupid chances because they often died from making a stupid choice.

You can wheel alone, just don't take unnecessary chances. Don't cross water unless you are certain of how deep it is. Don't venture out when a snow storm is coming in. Don't go unprepared.

You don't have to take the kitchen sink, but taking essentials will let you get out of most things.

Water.
Appropriate protective clothing and Hats.
Food.
Good Shoes.
Cell phone and charger cord for 12v.
Tarp
Blanket or two or sleeping bag.
Fire starter, but don't rely on a lighter. They lose their gas at the worst possible time.
Compass.
Pencil and paper. Not a pen, they freeze or run dry.
Hand crank LED Flashlight.

In rain, water and lightning are your #1 worries. Freezing to death is less of a chance unless it's an ice storm(For Fat Guys Like Me...)
In Snow, freezing to death is your #1 worry.
In the heat, the sun is your enemy.

Unless you are diabetic or hypoglycemic, you can go a long time without food, but you have to drink water. Not soda, definitely not beer.

In good shape, you can walk 30-40 miles in one to two days pretty easily on decent ground. On rough ground you might only make 12-15 miles per day.

Stick to well traveled paths, go downhill when possible as most routes eventually find the bottom of canyons where there will be another road.


If you have to walk out, leave a note at your rig with direction and date/time you left. Put it in the glove box or somewhere that people will look when they want to know who it belongs to, or someplace easy to find, but sheltered from the elements.
 
Last edited:

rusty_tlc

New member
....

In rain, water and lightning are your #1 worries. Freezing to death is less of a chance unless it's an ice storm.
...
I disagree with this.
I'd be willing to bet more people die of hypothermia in summer than winter.

A sudden mountain thunder storm can soak you. If your wearing cotton, say jeans and a tee shirt, and an hour hike from you car you are in real danger of death.

A simple contractors trash bag in your day pack will make a poncho to keep you dry.
 

WILLD420

Well-known member
Premium Member
.

I disagree with this.
I'd be willing to bet more people die of hypothermia in summer than winter.

A sudden mountain thunder storm can soak you. If your wearing cotton, say jeans and a tee shirt, and an hour hike from you car you are in real danger of death.

A simple contractors trash bag in your day pack will make a poncho to keep you dry.

I guess being fat has it's advantages....:) I've been cold in the rain, but never to the point of danger unless it was slushy, but the trashbag is a great idea. I think I even have a couple in my rig for other reasons.
 

72 Virginians

New member
Staff member
What about getting stranded, getting stuck so bad you (or you and a friend) can't get it recovered?

If you have a friend (with another rig) with you, drive back for more help. :)

If you are by yourself and have a cell phone, see if you can get reception and call for a rescue. If not, walk until you get reception or find help.
 

FallonJeeper

New member
What's the weather like? Rainy or cold or both?

If the weather is nasty and life threatening, and as said before even rain can kill you, consider your personal; safety. Usually that means sitting in the vehicle. If you don't have a top, or doors, obviously, staying with the vehicle is not going to keep you very warm, unless you kept the engine running and curled up on the floor.

Find some shelter, fire, water, food. If you can keep an eye on your rig that's a good thing. People will strip your rig down without even blinking. Try all available means of communication.
Hopefully you have all the basic survival stuff listed previously. You've just become a camper. If you do have to leave the rig, make sure it's safe to do so. And, leave a note. It should list the time you left, who is with you, where you are going or direction travel, and what time/day you left.
 
Top