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What to do if you break down in the outback with the kids

Jase Andrews, the host four-wheel-drive and adventure show, All 4 Adventure give us his Australian outback road trip survival tips.

Australian outback road trip survival

You should read these Australian outback road trip survival tips

We all love to get away. To escape our day jobs in the city and get in touch with the splendour of the Aussie outback, we go camping with the family. It’s cost-effective, good for the soul and it gets the kids off their damned screens.

Caravaning, off-roading and camping are great ways to entertain the whole fam; Dad, Mum, the kids and the dog alike. We live in an amazing country, full of sights and sounds that people from all over the world travel to witness—and we’re lucky enough to have it all right here, in our own backyard.

But what would you do if the four-by-four broke down, got bogged or ran out of fuel? Plenty of spots outside the tourist sectors lack mobile reception. The threat of being stranded for longer than your supplies will last is extremely real. So if, or perhaps when this happens, It’ll be up to you to keep calm and keep everyone alive.

Here’s what to do if you’re stranded in the outback:

Stay with your vehicle
It’s totally fine to have one of your crew head a few hundred meters away to find a bit of tucker during the day. But when search and rescue rock up, you better believe they’ll be looking for a car. They’re easier to spot than people are and will offer an extra level of comfort for the little ones during the night.

Hydrate like it’s your job
Australia is bloody hot at the best of times. Now consider how hot it can get out-bush. The kids, especially, will need periodic hydrating on the hour (supplies permitting). Avoid more frequent small sips, opting for less regular more hearty gulps to ensure there’s enough H20 being absorbed. Make sure you look after yourself too though, as it’s you who’s in charge of keeping everyone safe.

Seek shade and rest up
Depending on what’s in your vehicle, you’ll either be setting up your own shade or seeking the best of what nature has to offer. Be it an awning or gumtree, staying shady is the best way to keep the body temp down and facilitate a cool head. Avoid strenuous exercise when you can, preserve your energy for important jobs like searching for food or water.

Road trip

Find tucker and drink water. Picture: Shutterstock

Figure out where your next drink is coming from
A healthy person can go for up to three weeks without food. Without water, it’s four days, so it’s pretty bloody important you get this part of your involuntary stay in the bush sorted. What you’ll want to do is set up a rain trap. A tarp is best, however, any non-absorbent material could work too. Use cable ties or rope to sling it up and make sure there’s a bucket or receptacle underneath to collect the rainwater.

Time to get help
Assuming you’ve done the smart thing and let people know when and where you’re going, people will soon start searching for you when they figure out that you haven’t returned on-time. You’ll be wanting to help them out. Reflective surfaces such as aluminium foil, mirrors, and even CDs are effective ways to hail down help. Post these items strategically around your campsite and vehicle to increase your visibility, making sure you’re covering 360 degrees around the car. Failing this, and pending appropriate weather conditions (you don’t want to start a bushfire), a big ol’ burning campfire is another way to catch the attention of helicopters.

Prevention is always best
The best way to stay alive in the outback is to be prepared and prevent where possible. Invest in a sat-phone, purchase yourself a solar powered water-purifying device and solar powered lights for night-time visibility. Bring plenty of non-perishable food, a jerry can of fuel and stacks of water. With any luck, you’ll be so well stocked your emergency will almost feel like quality family time.

Follow the above guide guys, and keep you and the family safe. Australia is a marvellous place, however, she can be very unforgiving—don’t give her the chance, and stay vigilant out there.

Jase Andrews is the host of Australia’s number one four-wheel-drive and adventure show, All 4 Adventure.


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