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Offroading and Backpacking
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Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
Offroading and Backpacking on 07/03/2012 19:13:20 MDT Print View

Does anyone here love off-roading in a bad ass 4x4? Does it get you to trail heads others are missing out on?

In my mind, a capable 4x4 is the go-heavy experience of the wilderness. But its not the antithesis of backpacking light, just an opposite end of the same spectrum. Both are fueled by the desire to take one's self beyone where most people visit. Both backpacking and offroading take you to placed in the wild where others cant or wont go.

I havent backpacked or been on this site in about a year, partly because I got obsessed with my Jeep. However I am making a return. I bought some new gear so I can take my girlfriend on her first backpacking trip.

Just saying hi I guess, and wondering if anyone enjoys four-wheeling as much as backpacking.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Offroading and Backpacking on 07/03/2012 19:36:19 MDT Print View

Lot's of good territory out in Anza-Borrego. Get back 5 miles from the road and then start walking.

Still miss my International Scout.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Offroading and Backpacking on 07/03/2012 21:46:52 MDT Print View

Back when Toyota Corollas were 2500 pounds, I used one to get to an awful lot of trailheads. With 4-5 people along, the people-miles/gallon was incredible and when I'd get stuck, we could just push it out.

I still mostly see 4WDs used by people who think it lets them go faster in bad conditions (true, that) but without consider that nothing about having 3 differentials helps you stop any faster than 2WD. A shovel, come-a-long, tire chains, and experience will get one through more than a Hummer will. I've gone over mountain passes on the Arctic Circle in blizzards only to surprise the 4WDs at the other end of a "closed" highway in said 2WD Corolla. Yeah, I had to shovel some 3-foot-high snow drifts, but somehow it's more fun shoveling a state highway than your own driveway.

While I mostly see 4WD used by posers and paranoid people, I'll say that a road trip on Mexico 1 in summer, the Alcan in winter, or the Dempster Highway anytime has some of the same feeling as extreme backpacking - being out in the middle of nowhere, somewhat on your own, and having to keep your wits about you.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Offroading and Backpacking on 07/03/2012 21:52:07 MDT Print View

Had a '68 Mercedes 280SE with a manual transmission that did real well off road too. Always got plenty of looks rolling past guys in their jeeps with us cruising along with the windows up and the a/c on miles from the pavement. Took my wife's civic from White Mountain down Silver Canyon? to Bishop. Crossed creeks and rescued an injured mountain biker along the way only to pass a jeep right before the pavement started. They did not believe what we did was possible. Wasn't even scary.

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
Re: Offroading and Backpacking on 07/03/2012 22:05:25 MDT Print View

my baby:


Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
@ David on 07/03/2012 22:23:56 MDT Print View

"A shovel, come-a-long, tire chains, and experience will get one through more than a Hummer will."

I spent six years in Canada's Northwest Territories, and learned how to drive a 2WD while carrying (and using) those exact handy tools! The only time I got in trouble was on an ice bridge just before break-up. Another car and I were driving in opposite directions, there were three solidly frozen ruts, and neither one of us could get out of the central rut or stop! Oh well, his Lincoln took a lot more damage than my Chevy van! I doubt a 4WD would have been able to exit the ruts either.

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Re: Offroading and Backpacking on 07/03/2012 22:29:40 MDT Print View

I concede the necessity of a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to get to trailheads, especially in places like Utah and Nevada. However, what I don't like about offroading are the yahoos who just want to use a 4x4 to tear up the land and prove their prowess. I and my patrol-mates were almost hit by one of these people while on our Outward Bound course. The guy was laughing as he roared toward us - he thought it was funny. And then he gave us the finger! I've had a negative opinion of offroading ever since. Hopefully, that guy was in a tiny minority of offroaders.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Offroading and Backpacking on 07/04/2012 13:06:11 MDT Print View

I have a friend that lives in Landers,Ca. he builds tubular frame type sand rail type dune buggies with dirt tries with 1835 or 2200 VW engines and steering brakes. I love steering brakes after a while I would use them to steer at full speed or pull back both to stop instead of using the foot brake. I only had to use the accelerator and clutch with my feet. It was the most fun I ever had driving a four wheel vehicle.

The buggies will go any where and faster and more durable than a 4x4 IMHO. One place we had to climb a 10 foot rock cliff we just drove up to the cliff put are front wheels against it and gunned it in first gear and climbed up and over the cliff easy peeasee. Sand dunes, big hills, rocky river beds,jumps any obstacle they went over because their lighter weight. The 4x4 were getting stuck because of the heavy construction and engine in the front.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Offroading and Backpacking on 07/04/2012 13:18:13 MDT Print View

Brandon, welcome back.

I do some light duty wheeling, mostly rough jeep roads to remote access areas. I'm a Toyota guy at heart, not a Jeep guy, even though my wife drives a Cherokee. My vehicle isn't really "badass", it's an 86 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60 and it does what I need for work and play.

Now my friend on the other hand, explores and guides the backcountry extensively by Jeep and takes people to amazing places, all while photographing the whole process.

Check him out:

Patrick Browning
(optimator) - F
Re: Re: Offroading and Backpacking on 07/05/2012 22:40:34 MDT Print View

Mine was blue, I loved that rig... But I learned that Jeep stands for "Just Empty Every Pocket"!

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
re: new mexico backroads on 07/13/2012 12:31:37 MDT Print View

Eugene, you friend takes amazing photos. You went to art school right? Im guessing you met there, he looks like a pro.

Patrick, you are so right. I could have bought every cool bpl trinket I could ever want with the money if poured into my Jeep just to keep it going.

Edited by dharmabumpkin on 07/13/2012 12:32:53 MDT.

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F

Locale: Central CA
4x4 packpacking on 07/16/2012 18:37:17 MDT Print View

My most recent backpacking trip. Nothing fancy, just a 4x4 Tacoma with barely more than street tires. The dirt road looks nice in the picture but there were definitely spots that without the clearance of a pick-up it would have been undoable. Plus a water crossing or two.

I don't find that backpacking and 4x4ing are mutually exclusive. I love exploring, whether it's on foot, on my dual sport motorcycle, or in my truck. Just because you use wheels to get there doesn't mean you have to trash the area.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Charles Schaefer
(ArmchairRacer) - F

Locale: Utah
RE: on 07/18/2012 00:53:43 MDT Print View

4 wheeling is what really got me into the outdoors, when I was about 12 my older brother starting taking me out in his Suzuki Samurai. He's since made a career building off road trucks and I've been trying to get further off the beaten path, hence why I got interested in back packing.

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
If you need a truck like that to get there... Maybe you should've just walked. on 07/18/2012 19:38:58 MDT Print View

Grandpa used to say that... "If you need a truck like that to get there, maybe you should've just walked."

I don't quite subscribe to this belief, but he sure did have a way of getting to the point.

I own five 4x4s and love each one of them for various reasons. Unfortunately, I've found I can't really afford to wheel the trucks hard these days as I can't afford to fix them.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Doug's truck on 07/18/2012 20:46:44 MDT Print View

my truck looks just like your truck Doug :)

I don't wheel just to wheel, but the Intermountain West has lots of places that require a high clearance, 4 wheel drive to get there and so I've always owned one

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
4x4 on 07/19/2012 17:46:42 MDT Print View

Man don't mention trucks right now! I had to go to the office yesterday so I took my daughter's Forester (a lot cheaper for the 80 mile round trip) and I had barely got there when my daughter called and said she took my truck to go to the store and it broke down. She was calling from home and I asked how she got there and she said she walked. Where exactly is the truck? About 200 feet up the road from the house. 160K on it and it's first breakdown is 200' from the house. Kind of convenient. Although I still had to get my neighbor to pull me into the drive as it's uphill. Looks like I have a leaky fuel injector (or 2). Could be worse. I had a couple of glow plugs to replace so the valve covers needed to come off anyway. But I did have to change my plans for this weekend as the TH I was going to on Friday evening requires a high clearance 4x4. That's the only 4x4 type stuff I do. And now I know how I'll be spending next weekend.

Speaking of getting to a 4x4 required TH, I was at one maybe a month ago and a Porsche Cayenne showed up looking out of place and like it had a 6" lift. Turns out that it can be raised and lowered as needed. Pretty cool.