Everyone always hears about the buddy system, but it is something that is even more important while off-roading. The buddy system is not just for elementary school any more.
If you hit the desert, trail, or mountains it is highly recommended that you have someone else on the trip. Not someone in the vehicle with you but someone who is driving their own vehicle incase of an emergency.
Recently Off Road Xtreme had some first hand experience while out on a photo shoot. We were going to drive out to the desert with the truck we were shooting, but decided to take our own vehicle and it paid off.
Not only did we get to enjoy the desert and hit the dirt in our own vehicle, but it ended up being beneficial in the long run. There are many things people do not consider until it actually happens.
Safety should be the number one priority when hitting the trail. Without anyone else, if something happens, it will not have a good outcome.
Getting stuck, lost, or breaking down are all things that can happen on the trail with or without someone, but having another vehicle with you makes those situations not as bad.
Two or more vehicles mean more tools (check out our recent article on off-roading the smart way), more horsepower, and more brains. Nine out of ten times on the trail large groups of off-roaders have people that know how to do everything. The more people that go the larger the knowledge base is.
Someone may be more familiar with the area, know successful recovery techniques, or handy with a wrench. Traveling with another person also allows the ability to use the other vehicle for assistance.
We ran across this as soon as the tires hit the dirt, as the other truck had shut off and not start. First thing that came to mind was low fuel.
Having our vehicle we were able to drive into town to get some extra gas while the disabled truck sat in the desert for the time being. Upon arriving with the extra fuel, filling the truck up, and trying to restart it, we knew the issue was more involved.
If we only had the one truck, we would have had to make the long hike into town, and the even longer hike back to the vehicle with two gallons of fuel in tow. Now, with the truck not starting even with extra fuel, it was time to find a replacement fuel pump, 80 miles from our local parts store.
Having the second vehicle allowed us to get in, hop on the freeway, and find the needed part in downtown Barstow, California. We would have had to throw in the towel if we only had the one truck.
A couple hours later we made it back to the truck to install the part. The truck fired up, and it was time to hit the trails. We laughed and joked about the fact we were thinking of only taking one vehicle, something that was much easier to do since the truck was running again.
After hours of playing in the Southern California desert it was time for lunch. A trip to the local fast food restaurant and a huck off a local jump, landed us in even more trouble.
Figuring it was just boil-over from the extreme temperatures, it was time for lunch. Upon exiting the restaurant and walking to the truck, the little drip showed itself as something more, a very large pool of coolant siting under the truck.
That was not the only thing wrong with it, the camber and caster of the wheels were very drastic. Broken upper control arms was the final diagnosis.
Once again it made us realize how lucky we were to have driven the two trucks. A long trip back down the Cajon pass to pick up a local trailer was next, on top of a long night driving back to recover the damaged truck.
The moral of our example just goes to show how important it is to off-road with not only someone else, but with another vehicle. Without either it would of been a long day in the Barstow desert.