I´ve recently been asked alot about any good advices for expedition journeys. So I will try to compose some of the things that we´ve learned along our expeditions.

Planning

There is a quote saying that adventures are just bad planning, I don´t really agree on that but I do consider planning to be an important part in expeditions. Some people probably say that it´s more fun to go without planning. However this do not work well on long journeys where you will have to pass many borders and you need to prepare the right papers, money and insurances. It´s also fine to go without planning as long as nothing unexpected happens. If your vehicle breaks down or someone in your party get seriously injuried you will have to know where to find help or atleast at which direction you should be going.

Maps

A good way to start planning for your expedition is by gathering maps. Try finding a good roadmap for the land you will be visiting.

Route

Plan your route largely. It´s good to know how close you will pass cities and what conditions the road you´re traveling will have. It will decide how much food you will have to bring and amount of fuel. Do some research of where you can get fuel, in many countries you don´t have to bring alot of fuel since it´s so close between the gas stations. Read more about this when we discuss vehicle range.

Language

Don´t expected everyone to understand english on your journeys. In larger cities english usually works if you travel within Europe, but since you´re heading for an expedition you will most likely travel outside the cities, where people probably won´t understand english. It´s a very good idea to attend a course in the language but if you can´t find the time, try to learn some basic phrases. If you can say ”hello” and ”thank you” on their language, they will give you a much better reply. Because you show that you have atleast tried to learn their language.

Vehicle

There are always questions about which vehicle is the best, the one expedition vehicle. I´ve been going on all our expeditions with my rebuilt Jeep Grand Cherokee 96, a vehicle which who alot of people told me is not good enough. However it´s been working great on our adventures and I´m not concerned about it. My opinion is that you should use a vehicle that you know, a vehicle that you know how to fix. Because no vehicles are indestrucable (no not even toyotas), all things will by fatigue at some moment break. I would say that a vehicle from one larger maker of 4×4 vehicles, such as Jeep, Landrover, Toyota are good for expedition use.

Talking about vehicles, something you should consider is range. A gasoline vehicle usually have less range than a diesel. On our expedition we brought 80L of extra fuel to each car, looking back this was a bit too much compared to what we had really needed. In Kola Peninsula in russia we also brought 80L fuel but we would not really have had that much neither.

Navigation

There is a wide range of GPS units available and this has led to reduced the pricing. You can now choose between a traditional GPS-unit such as garmin, or you can go with a computer with USB GPS-receiver or you can actually us an Ipad. 

Garmin and other manufacturers of GPS-units has a wide range of rugged navigators that will work in most environments. There are different functions and map systems, but there is one major disadvantage and that is the price of the maps and units. You will have to pay alot if you want a GPS with the same size as you Ipad screen. And having a large GPS-screen is a great benefit when driving and navigating at the same time. 4,25″ screen is no good when you´re driving on bumpy old gravel roads on a topographic map, you need to be able to see what´s ahead and  navigate while everything in you vehicle is shaking. Another disadvantage is that you GPS is locked to only use the same maps that the manufacturer provides, and they are usually very expensive.

 

In our vehicle Werewolf we use a Panasonic toughbook for GPS. It has touchscreen, it´s extremely rugged and really takes a beating. A USB GPS-receiver is hidden under the dashboard. With a computer you a free to use any software such as Garmin N-route, Touratech QV, Fugawi and similar programs. Maps can be found on the internet and it´s easy to plan the route at home on your computer. Another advantage with using a computer is that you can use it as computer, run spotify, use pdf-manuals for the vehicle, use internet when available and alot of other things. But if you´re going for a computer in your expedition vehicle, then it must a good quality rugged  computer. A ”normal” laptop will not last in a shaky harsh environment.

Using an Ipad as navigator is not a bad idea. A few friends of mine has used it in their vehicles.

  • Map and compass

Medical

Basic first aid skills are from my point of view something that should be fundamental for everybody planning to participate in an expedition.

If you have a participant in your party that is a nurse, doctor or have somehow other medical skills than you can probably feel quite confident concerning medicine. But if not, I recommend to bring a book with basic wilderness medicine. A book may help you to determine if someone has a life-threatning injury and what actions that should be made. I´ve used the book ”Medicine for mountaineering” on both expeditions and long trekkings, it´s a good compact book that can be vital when something goes wrong.

Think of this, can you determine how severe an acute abdominal pain are? Do you know how to avoid and cure severe diaherria? How do you fix a dislocated shoulder? Why is it necessary to think about your intake of salt on long expeditions in warm countries. There are alot of good things to learn and to atleast know a little about. Alot of unpleasant experiences can be avoided.

 

  • First aid
  • Medicine

Repairs

  • Universal parts
  • Spare parts

 

 

 

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