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Pat Callinan's Top Tips For Remote Area Travel

It’s easy for most people to think they are prepared for their outback travels; it would be wildly misleading to suggest they all actually are though. What do you really need to be prepared for anyway?


  • Food and water if the worst happens and your 4X4 breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Sure, but how much should you carry? How many days’ worth do you cater for?
  • Tools to fix anything that breaks. Sure, but do you know how to use them and have the mechanical aptitude to pull everything apart on your 4X4 and put it back together?
  • Spare parts to help in the breakdown as mentioned above; yep, you do need to take spares, but realistically, which ones? Fan belts and hoses are light and easy, but do we need to carry spare leaf spring packs and shock absorbers? They’re pretty damn heavy, remember, and don’t exactly pack away into a tiny space.
  • How about maps, real paper ones, GPS or tracking devices; are they needed? I reckon so, but what type is most suitable for the area you’re travelling?
  • Spare wheels (rim and tyre); it seems every second 4X4 vehicle carts two spare wheels around all day every day while in town, a lot of weight for no real reason, but do you really need them while out bush or can you save weight and simply carry an extra spare tyre along with tools to change and make puncture repairs?
  • First aid; most folk are pretty well-versed at whacking a couple of band-aids on, but can you treat a busted leg, snake bite or dehydration?
  • Can you safely travel alone, or is part of your plan to always go with others to help if you-know-what hits the fan?


Being totally prepared is not as simple as ticking off a gear checklist and tossing it all into an overloaded vehicle. What one person or vehicle brand needs in one situation can be vastly different to the next, so, unfortunately, there is no one answer as to what you should take, what you need to learn and what is best left at home.

This is a segment of an article originally published on

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