Heading out on a trail ride or a camping trip with some of your best friends can be one of life’s greatest pleasures, unless of course one of them happens to be an Alpha prankster. Then there really isn’t much worse than spending an entire trip watching your back and trying to remember if you locked up your rig before turning in for the night.
Trail pranks have evolved over the years and now go far beyond resetting the radio presets, turning the heater and wipers on, or pouring confetti down the air vents. No, pranking is at a whole new level these days, but there is some etiquette to follow when pranking your friends.
Number One: Don’t cause permanent damage or do something that will involve costly repairs. Pranks are meant to be harmless mischief that annoys for a good laugh, not damage to the point of small claims court case. You never want a fun night to end up with you paying restitution.
Number Two: Leave out the oversensitive friend with the handgun, he is the guy that tends to escalate to DEFCON 1 and will ether end your friendship with an itchy trigger finger or immediately ratchet up to a nuclear response. These guys aren’t so much fun to play with.
Number Three: Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t expect to get back twofold. As it turns out, most people don’t like pranks as much as you do, so most friends are going to lie in wait for the perfect opportunity to get you back and send a message.
Number Four: Don’t prank outside of your social circle, lest it become a criminal act or worse. Jail time isn’t what we’d consider a fun time. Keep it clean and everyone wins.
So, for those of you still looking to have a little fun with your buddies, here is a list of some of our favorite pranks. We left out the ones that include bologna, eggs, and sugar, on purpose. Remember, pranks can go on for years, so before you step on the field, make sure you have the fortitude to stay in the game.
Say, Is Your Radiator Leaking?
At some point everyone has to relieve themselves, so why not do it under the front of your friend’s rig? When you are done, you might want to casually stroll over and point out the radiator “leak” you noticed.
What’s That Rattle?
Have a buddy who is really aware of new noises coming from his rig? Here is one that will drive him nuts. By then end of the night there are usually ample beer and soda cans around the campfire. Don’t throw these away; instead, crush them down just enough to slide between the windings of his coil spring. They make a ton of racket when the target rig is driving down the road and they can’t be removed real easily.
Switch It Up
For anyone with a late model Dodge, Ram, or Jeep vehicle, Pixel Decals (www.pixeldecals.com) makes these stickers for the switch panel. Its always fun to sneak in to your friend’s Jeep and replace his seat heater switch with an “eject” button.
Remember the baseball cards you’d put on your bike as a kid to make it sound like a motorcycle? Well the same idea can be applied to a driveshaft with zip ties. It makes a crazy racket, but won’t cause any damage. This one is always good for a laugh at the expense of a new wheeler.
Where there is smoke, there is fire. Unless there just happens to be vegetable oil, which someone applied liberally to the muffler with a rag. That someone could have been you, who will then be laughing as your friend is frantically running around looking for a fire extinguisher. The only dead giveaway on this one will be the curious smell of french fries.
We Have a Leaker
Removing valves stems is cruel, and it’s sort of a cliché. Instead, stick a pebble under the valve stem cap and introduce a slow leak. Bonus points for doing it to each of the valve stems, including the spare. When it is finally discovered, you will be far removed from the crime.
Breaker, Breaker Can I Get a Radio Check?
We’ve all wheeled with that one guy who is really proud of his CB radio setup, making this one the perfect prank. When the coast is clear, unscrew the CB antenna and put a few wraps of Teflon tape on the threads, then reinstall the antenna. You’ll have a good time watching him try and figure out why his radio no longer transmits or receives.
Because vibrations often signal impending doom, they are a great way to introduce paranoia in to the mind of any wheeler. The easiest way to give a 4x4 the shakes and shimmies is to remove all of the wheel weights and watch the owner react to what he imagines is a rolling time bomb.
How many times have you seen your friend back in to a great shady camping spot on the trail? We’ve seen it enough times that we have perfected the timing for strapping the rig to a nearby tree without them knowing. A few good laughs could be had watching your friend try to figure out why his forward progress has been halted. Just make sure not to leave much slack if any to preserve the tree and the bumper. Oh, and have your camera ready.
Brake If You Are Horny
This one takes a little more skill, but imagine the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel if you pull it off. Locate the brake light wire, and use a jumper wire to connect it to the horn. Your poor sap of a friend won’t be able to go anywhere with his horn honking every time he hits the brakes
Real pranksters always carry a few blown fuses with them. Why? Because when you take out the fuel pump fuse it is a lot harder to locate the burnt fuse than it is to find the missing one.
Using some temporary spray paint, such as Dupli-Color’s Car Art (www.duplicolor.com/products/carArt/) line, will allow you to murder out your friend’s rig in flat black, paint some rude gestures on the door, or for the more artistic and subtle amongst you, feign some damage. With enough care and skill, you can probably make the lips of those high-dollar black rims look like they received a grip of trail rash. Best of all this paint won’t come off in the rain, but washes off using soap without damaging anything underneath it.
Driving on a dusty trail can really hamper visibility through the windshield, especially if someone replaced your washer fluid with blue sports drink. Not only will it leave a sticky film that will attract dust, but also it smears really nice when your wipers hit it.
For the really ambitious amongst us, a clandestine, late-night front driveshaft removal is a good way to make someone think his T-case is broken or his front locker has stopped working.
There Is a Funk In Here…
Not many things smell as bad as rotting fish or fresh dog droppings. Either a drained sardine can or baggy of dog poop, placed under the front seat, can be an awful way to show how much your friend means to you. This one is really special on hot days.