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What Wood To Pack For Four Wheeling - Got Wood?

Posted in Features on May 1, 2014 Comment (0)
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If you watch an experienced four wheeler unpack his vehicle, you’ll notice his gear includes various pieces of wood.

What the heck, is he some kind of carpenter? Nope, he’s just carrying some trail tools he’s found valuable. A muddy trail might call for something to keep his knees protected or to keep his Hi-Lift jack from sinking into the muck. Ever tried to eat dinner off a paper plate held on your lap? Tried to cut a hose on the dirt? Well, we think you’re getting the idea. Good wood is necessary for a good time—off-road.

Consider adding two or three select pieces of wood to your trail gear. These aren’t large pieces, and as you will see, each can be used in numerous ways. As a good start on your collection of good wood, we suggest: a piece of plywood roughly 12 to 15 inches by about 18 inches long and ¾-inch thick; a solid block: 4x5, 4x6, or 6x6 and around 18 inches long; and a 2x6 that is 2 or 3 feet long

Where To Pack Your Good Wood
You can pack it almost anywhere. We cut our jack board (aka, the plywood) in the shape of one of the floor mats. When we are not using it to separate gear that might rub against each other, it disappears under the floor mat. The other pieces of good wood find similar homes doing double duty as packing spacers and separators.

Use the wood to chock wheels when changing a tire, winching, and anytime lifting on a jack.

Here Are Some Ways To Use Your Plywood
-Jack board (pad) for the jack to sit on to keep it from sinking into mud and sand

-On top of the jack (bottle jack) to spread the weight when lifting on the oil pan to avoid damage to the oil pan

-As a trivet for a hot pan when cooking

-Cutting board for food—not sure how this works after using it as a jack board in the mud. Does the 15-minute rule apply?

-Cutting board when repairing a hose (slide board under the hose; in the engine compartment)

-Work bench when you need a smooth hard surface to change a U-joint

-Under a tire on soft surfaces when breaking a bead to fix a tire so that you only break the top bead and not the inside bead

-Protect sheetmetal from the Hi-Lift jack by placing it between the jack upright and the door panel. Not that I have ever seen a problem!

-Platform on the roof rack to span several rungs for smaller items—works great to secure a solar shower.

-Something to kneel on when you’re working in mud or snow.

-Protect the top of an airbag jack.

-Lap table for eating around the campfire, in your vehicle, or anywhere you need a flat writing surface

-Shower floor—throw a couple of 2x4s under it to lift you out of the mud that is coming.

-Target backdrop: of course, if you are a good shot, there will be one big hole in the middle.

-As firewood in a survival situation.

View Slideshow

Ways To Use a Block of Wood
-Use to chock wheels when changing a tire, winching, anytime lifting on a jack.

-Use to fill in a hole under a tire for traction.

-Stand on like a stool to work in the engine compartment.

-Buffer between areas when packing the vehicle.

-Under (or on top of) a jack to gain extra height.

-Between the axle and frame to support vehicle with broken spring.

-Sit on it around the campfire (forgot your chair) or as a footrest. Watch out for splinters.

-As a “dead man” to start the roll when recovering an upside down vehicle.

-Level the vehicle so you can hook up an anti-sway bar, or level the vehicle for a good night’s sleep in your rooftop tent.

-Drive tire upon to lift it a bit when putting tire chains on.

-As a dead blow when you need force without damage from a hammer – for example, while removing bearings, seals, you need to push sheetmetal out.

-Good paperweight to hold down one side of a map in the wind or to keep the tablecloth from blowing away. As a bonus, you can set a hot pot on it so you don’t melt the tablecloth.

-Something to put a watermelon on top of before you hit it with a 12-gauge shotgun

-As firewood in a survival situation.

View Slideshow

Ways To Use a 2x6
-Varmint whacker for snakes or mice that get into the tent.

-Ramp—one use is to drive your vehicle up on a tire lying on the ground in order to break the bead.

-Lever.

-Fire poker—this is a high-risk use. Someone may not recognize it as your “good piece of wood” and pitch it into the fire at the end of the night.

-Straight edge and ruler (mark it off in 1-inch increments before leaving home). Could be useful to see how deep the water is before driving in. Or use it to scrape a level spot for your tent.

-Jam between the foot brake and the seat so you check if your brake lights are working.

-As firewood in a survival situation.

View Slideshow

As you can see, there are lots of uses for simple pieces of wood. How many other items do you carry that have so much versatility? They can make your expedition a pleasure, and best of all, the price is right—typically free at your local construction site! Pack these pieces before your next trip. You probably will need to use a good piece of wood at some point. When you have good wood, you will be looking for a place to use it.

Sources

Badlands Off Road Adventures
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
310-374-8047
http://www.4x4training.com

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