Recently I did an overlanding trip to Death Valley which ended up in a rapid exit due to mechanical failure with a friends vehicle. I won’t say what type of truck he drives, but mine is the FJ, not trying to make it sound like I’m against Landy’s, I love em. We only got one night out in the desert because on day one a plastic radiator hose union cracked forcing us to MacGyver the shit out of it using Super Glue, an REI camping chair and zip ties. The repair held but it forced us to make a rapid retreat back to Bishop at 10 mph for 60 miles.
What I loved about the experience is that it is indeed the journey and not the destination which makes Overlanding fun, but I also love the problem solving “Apollo 13” aspect of being forced to create solutions based on what you have – not what you’d like to have. It’s like the famous question: What’s the best survival knife? The one you’ve got. Period. I don’t give two shits about some bitchin knife you saw on-line, if you have a hardware store folder in your pocket then that’s what you’ve got and it’s game on.
Okay so as a result of those events I’ve been running through my gear lists and making mental notes for the last two weeks. It’s got me thinking about testing your equipment and seeing how well you can execute with it in the outdoors. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to gain experience in the field. I love it when people at work say they’ll do just fine if the Apocalypse happens because they took a quiz on Facebook and it said they’re a survivor but when I ask them how often they backpack or even car camp – they say they never have. Nada, zilch, never. Those people have no idea how tough it is making the simplest of tasks happen when in the out of doors. Trust me, there have been many occasion when I’ve been backpacking and been completely exhausted I did something stupid like having left my spoon in my pack 10 yards away from our makeshift kitchen. It took some serious motivation to stand up and walk the 10 yards to get my spoon rather than pick up a stick and try to eat with that.
If you haven’t gone through your gear lately – do so. If you haven’t been out in the wild lately get out there.