Basic rigs?

762X39

Explorer
My first rig was a Lada Niva and my 2nd rig is a Unimog but 90% of the time I just take a minivan and piss everybody off...:beer: Here are some shots from my camp down a trail near Pointe au Baril. Front wheel drive, no ground clearance, no winch but enough smarts to park, camp and hike when you can't go further. Not everything is "Camel Trophy".

Campfire.jpgSleeping in my van.jpgCampsite.jpgSmall Bull Moose on Trail.jpg
Keep your vehicle mechanically sound, plan for what ifs and just get out there and enjoy.:coffee:
 
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7echo

Adventurer
OP, at your age I and my friends were derbing all over the deserts of SoCal in 2wd mini trucks which we'd put 3-4" body lifts on using plumbing pipe segments and hardware store bolts. We learned all about speed vs momentum, and traction and weight distribution, the hard way. We got stuck a lot but we also managed to go a lot of places neophyte in 4wd vehicles failed. So I say to you don't worry about 'basic' and find some friends and at least one other vehicle and get out there and get stuck. Enjoy yourself. You'll be able to go far more places than you'd believe today.

Find a vehicle with 4wd, find a vehicle with potential for future mods, but don't worry about those mods today. Instead spend the limited money on GOING PLACES. Gas, beer and hot dogs, and a good shovel and rope / strap are all you need. eta I learned to cook a mean cheap steak in a shovel back then, too. And a bulk pack of hot dogs for dinner were 'breakfast sausages' in the morning.

Between this bunch we had 2 Chevy Luvs, a Datsun p/u, A Dodge D50, a Baja Bug, a couple Toyota SR5s and a Jeep. The Jeep was the only one with 4wd. And a ton of dirt bikes and ATCs. The whole bunch weren't worth the purchase price of ONE of these show queens you see in some of these pages. We roamed far and wide on the same dirt you'll be heading into and we had SO much fun. I'm the idiot with his hat on sideways. This pic was taken on the back side of Little Rock Dam, over 30yrs ago. Half the places we used to go are closed now, or built over.




Beyond the vehicle basics, pay more attention to the mechanical condition of the vehicle, than the cosmetics. And try to find something with tires that are good enough as is. You don't want to be spending a grand on tires and wheels right off the bat.
super awesome stuff
 

SilicaRich

Wandering Inverted
Something that I just remembered that is more so optional but can be essential if things do go south; a CB radio. You can get a pretty darn awesome setup for around $60-$80 and if tuned properly have a range of 5+ miles. That doesn't sound like much range but if you do have something not go your way on the trail in a relatively isolated area, that 5 miles of potential communication is going to look a little more functional and just might save your butt. Thought it would be something nice to toss in there among the other basics
 
B

BPD53

Guest
Hi everybody. I am a long time lurker, but this is the first time I will have posted. I am a college student who just got a job, so I am hopefully going to get a 4x4 sometime next summer. Since I will be working with very little money I just want to build a basic rig, probably a Ford Ranger, so I would be curious to know what you all think would be necessary on a basic rig. Also pictures of your own basics rigs and where you have taken them would be appreciated. If someone knows of a better place for this thread, please move it. Thanks.

Rogers1911
I really enjoy people like you. You are kinda like me. No money but still rich.

I ran the KAT this past year with some wonderful people. I met a guy who drove to Kentucky from Michigan in a bone stock Frontier with his buddies. He had just as much fun as me and I am sure he spent less money. I made the comment that he was my hero for making the trip.

I think you are going to have more fun in a basic rig.

I think good maintenance trumps most mods. I would throw on the best tires you can afford and go! Good luck and please keep things basic.
 

pappawheely

Autonomous4X4
Maintenance up to date on your vehicle. Decent tires, basic recovery gear and a first aid kit. Some water and a cooler with some food. A stove to cook on and heat water. Some means of sleeping. Tell somebody where you're going and when you'll be back. Go have fun. You'll survive, and you'll figure out what else you need/want. Don't get hung up on the mind numbing builds you see here (and everywhere), that stuff is mostly a fashion statement.

Traveling with another vehicle is a good idea.
We used to do "rock crawling" before it was cool. We weren't climbing 12 foot vertical waterfalls like they do today, but we did some tough trails with stock axles and open diffs. Like RedF says, go have fun, if you get stuck, it's not the end of the world. Just make sure it's not Death Valley in the summer.
 

ExplorerTom

Explorer
Something that I just remembered that is more so optional but can be essential if things do go south; a CB radio.
My CB has never been tuned and therefore it only seems to work in line of sight.

My handheld ham radio has reached someone 15 miles away. And with the availability to hook into repeater networks, your range really increases.

Do people really even use CBs anymore?
 

SilicaRich

Wandering Inverted
Do people really even use CBs anymore?
I would say for sure on the trail. Communication elsewhere? Not really. If you really want real communication 24/7 you best get a HAM radio, however I always thought they were far pricier.

That being said, I did turn on my CB once why cruising on the highway only to listen to two truck drivers discuss their opinion of Blue Bell ice cream and its flavors. Best 20 minutes of that trip.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
My CB has never been tuned and therefore it only seems to work in line of sight.
.
My handheld ham radio has reached someone 15 miles away. And with the availability to hook into repeater networks, your range really increases.
.
Do people really even use CBs anymore?
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Every trail run I've been on people use CBs because not everybody has a HAM but anybody can get a CB. Even the HAM operators were also running a CB so they could talk to the people who weren't HAMs.
 

ExplorerTom

Explorer
Yep, I run both ham and CB. If I'm with the day wheeler crowd, they tend to be more CB oriented. If I'm with the overland crowd, they are more ham radio.

And my CB set up cost about $110. Radio, antenna and antenna mount. My ham radio set up cost about $70. I think $20 of that was for the test, $35 for the radio and $15 for an extra battery and longer antenna.
 

FJOE

Adventurer
From my world travels, one vehicle has stood out as the vehicle you will see everywhere. It will go anywhere, do anything, and take you places you will never want to see ever again.

The Toyota Corolla.

Second best? Nissan Sentra.

My first off road vehicle was a 1988 Toyota Camry Wagon. I was a poor college student, and that thing wheeled parts of western NC and Eastern TN that a lot of jeeps couldn't go. I took the spare and threw it in the back and strapped it down with a bunch of water and some food and set off for adventure. Since then I have learned (from professional driving schools both on and off road) that it really doesn't matter what you drive, as long as you know how to drive it properly, and remember "as fast as necessary, as slow as possible". Don't let guys influence you to get on that skinny pedal, and break your ride, especially since you are a college student and this thing will most likely be your daily driver too. Everyone I used to hang with that had awesome off road rigs never learned how to drive them properly, and none of them have their rigs anymore. The maintenance and damage became too much to handle both cost and labor wise, from trails that wouldn't normally inflict that much damage.

Anyway, find a good 2 or 4WD Toyota. Easy to maintain, plenty of parts, and if you are patient, you can find one at a good price. Learn how to drive it, repair it (both in the field and in the garage), and get out there and have some fun!
 

Joanne

Adventurer
I'm late to the party but I'll throw in my .02 worth anyway.

If you buy any used vehicle for off highway travel, then my first investment would be getting the vehicle in top running condition. A breakdown on the street is inconvenient, breaking down in the middle of the desert can become life threatening. So change ALL of the fluids, flush the radiator and check all of the hoses, replace the thermostat, belts, and air filter. Check the brake pads and rotors/drums. Check the battery cables and connectors carefully. Check the age of the battery and consider replacing it with a new one. Don't forget wiper blades. All of these items help make for a trouble free and worry free trip.

Everyone has mentioned tires and they are correct. Make sure you have FIVE good tires. Oh yeah, make sure that the jack, jack handle, and lug wrench are there and work properly. You'll be thankful for a 10" x 10" piece of 3/4 plywood if you get a flat tire off road. Jack bases are barely large enough for good asphalt, but not for dirt, mud, sand, etc. A friend of mine walked 10 miles because he didn't have a shovel and was stuck axle deep. Never leave home without it.

Lots of folks bring enough tools and spare parts to build a second vehicle. ;-) At a minimum have a few basic hand tools that stay in the vehicle. Don't forget jumper cables. A few key fluids can't hurt either. Water for the radiator, a quart or two of oil for the engine, and maybe some trans fluid.

Lastly, especially when heading out into the desert, a couple of gallons of water. A small first aid kit can be useful too. Maybe a can or two of tuna or similar. A few weeks ago we "rescued" a guy whose truck had quit running about 10 miles from the closest main road. He had been in his truck since the day before with only a bit of water and no food. It was cool weather and he could have hiked out without much trouble. Mid summer might have been a problem depending on his decisions.

Once you have all the basics sorted out, then all the cool stuff can come as you get the spare $$.

Joanne
 
A Ford Ranger is a good choice for something basic. That is what I drive everyday. Did I mention that I am currently living in a third world country? I live in Paraguay right now and I have had my Ranger for just over a year. I drive on some of the roughest roads I have seen on a daily basis. Other than a few small things that are normal wear and tear (they did go out quicker than usual and I attribute that to the roads) I have been happy with the truck. Someone mentioned above that you should have a good jack. They are totally correct! I almost got stuck here because of a poor jack. Fortunately I had purchased one a week prior. Also, practice your driving off road. You will be surprised what and how smoothly and easily you can go over certain obstacles if you pick the right line. You can even go through things in 2wd easily that you did not even think was possible.
 

steelhd

Observer
A basic rig is very reliable, well maintained, and is shod with good tires suitable for the terrain. Pretty much anything fits the bill for adventure if it meets those three criteria. I've taken 2wd cars to some fairly surprising and slightly insane places with a tiny bit of skill and a whole lot of caution.
 
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