We’ve done it. We’ve finally done it. The shackles of winter have finally been thrown off. We’ve shaken the snow from our awnings. Packed away the winter sleeping bags for another year. And finally made it to summer. If you’re anything like us, that means beach camping, long weekends around the fire with some mates, and more than a few low-range adventures thrown into the mix. Before you throw on the stubbies and load the cricket set in next to the over-stocked-esky, there are a few bits of advice that’ll ensure you have a hassle-free summer.
The ultimate beach-ready rig
If you’ve just bought yourself a brand-spanking new Next-Gen Ranger, you can skip this section. For everyone else, you’ll have a little work ahead of you to get summer ready. Winter may be hard on your battery, but it’s easy on your cooling system. A few months of cold weather can mask a failing cooling system. If you haven’t already, now is the chance to swap out the old coolant and inspect the hoses for cracks or swelling. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen it, it’s not a bad idea to throw in a new thermostat.
Even your radiator cap can tire out. They work by modulating pressure, as the coolant heats up and expands the pressure inside your cooling system builds. When it builds up too high, the radiator cap will allow coolant to escape into your overflow. If your radiator cap is passed its use-by date, it can open under lower than ideal pressures. The result is a 4X4 stranded trackside, all for the want of a $15 new radiator cap.
Don’t think all summer prep happens under the bonnet either. Modern rigs have some pretty clever design features to stave off rust, but all rigs young and old can do with a little help. Leading into the warmer months, plan on spending an hour underneath your rig in the shade giving everything a healthy dose of rust prevention. Lanolin, fish oil, and even electronic modules are worth a look in. They stink like buggery, but they’re worth it in the long run.
An even better beach-ready rig
We’ve got some bad news for you. While your 4X4 may be ready to perform on even the hottest days, it doesn’t mean you are. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. They reckon by the time you’re 70, you’ve got a 66% chance of being diagnosed with skin cancer. No big shock to anyone, 99% of all skin cancer is caused by overexposure to the sun.
Just like you get your rig ready for a hot day, you need to put a little prep into your other rig. Leave the Bintang singlet at home and arm yourself up with a wide brim hat, and a long sleeve tee. You’ll want to give yourself an aggressive coat or two of some SPF30+ sunscreen before you head off. And don’t forget the top-coat every two hours you’re sitting in the sun too. While you’re there, a set of UV-rated sunglasses are worth a look in too. We used and recommend Tonic eyewear, you can grab a set for yourself below.
If you’re looking for an excuse to spend a little money on your rig, we’ve got some great news. This is your time to spec up an awning for your 4X4. Whether you’re camped up on the beach sinking a few cold ones with mates. Dipping your toes into a back-country river. Or just need somewhere out of the sun’s rays while you’ve got the spanner roll out fixing your rig, a reliable source of shade is an absolute must-have.
You can eat up half your storage space with a gazebo. Give yourself a tiny patch of shade with a roll-out. Or give yourself an early Christmas present with a 180 or 270 awning. We’ve been running the Bushwakka range for a few years now and highly recommend them.
Spec up a first-aid kit
The things that are prone to bite you in the Aussie outback all tend to get a little angrier during summer. And we’re more likely to be playing in their backyard come summer too. It’s a combination that means a well-stocked first-aid kit might just be the most important modification you can make to your rig. Survival has a solid offering with their 4WD touring pack, and they’ve got plenty of advice on how to put it to good use. But it’s no substitute for first-aid training. Enrol yourself in a course, grab a Survival kit below, and have that little bit more confidence heading into the bush this summer