Tools for Off-Roading

Hoppi

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I've been watching some YT videos to see what different people's off-roading experience is like. Some that I'm liking are from The Story Till Now. Conveniently those guys are up in British Columbia so they have somewhat similar terrain as what I'd expect to get around here in Washington State.

Watching the videos though I'm noticing that there are a number of regular use tools that I'll probably want to get with my CT in order to make these trips. The powered tools I'd like to be either battery-electric or plugin with extension cords if necessary. But some of the things I'm seeing as necessary are:

  • Chain Saw - I was thinking battery-electric but I also just found out there are pneumatic chain saws too. Who knew?
  • Traction Boards/Mats
  • Pressure Washer - I don't see anyone using this in the videos but it would be nice for cleaning tires before re-inflating or to clean stuff before putting back in the CT
  • Some Jacking solution
  • Winch - Front and Back would be nice
  • Tire inflator - Perhaps just need an extension from the internal compressor to reach all the tires? But also a reliable pressure meter
  • Tow Cables/Rope/etc - Need snatch blocks, shackles, and maybe some other items
  • Shovel, Axe, Pick Axe, Wedges - Some of the roads get real messed up and with landslides, bridges out, etc there is some work to get around the obstacles
  • LED Work Lights - For all the work in the dark
  • Flat Tire Kits and Spare Tires - Will need spare tires mostly I think but flat tire kits might work better in certain circumstances. Also need tire changing tools.
  • Extra Solar Cells - Not necessarily required but may be extra helpful in emergency situations. Don't need a battery jumping solution to get a CT started. :)
  • Off-Road Navigation System - Not sure how the CT navigation will work for off-road trails but if necessary get an accessory trail navigation system.
  • 2 Way Radios - Basically for emergency situations, I'd think. But if there is a community of radio users it might be nice to talk once in a while.
  • Hand Tools in a Kit - Multi-tools, and other general hand tools. Might just want to keep a toolbox in the truck.
Anybody have any other favorite tools that they like when off-roading? Any recommendations?
 

MEDICALJMP

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I've been watching some YT videos to see what different people's off-roading experience is like. Some that I'm liking are from The Story Till Now. Conveniently those guys are up in British Columbia so they have somewhat similar terrain as what I'd expect to get around here in Washington State.

Watching the videos though I'm noticing that there are a number of regular use tools that I'll probably want to get with my CT in order to make these trips. The powered tools I'd like to be either battery-electric or plugin with extension cords if necessary. But some of the things I'm seeing as necessary are:

  • Chain Saw - I was thinking battery-electric but I also just found out there are pneumatic chain saws too. Who knew?
  • Traction Boards/Mats
  • Pressure Washer - I don't see anyone using this in the videos but it would be nice for cleaning tires before re-inflating or to clean stuff before putting back in the CT
  • Some Jacking solution
  • Winch - Front and Back would be nice
  • Tire inflator - Perhaps just need an extension from the internal compressor to reach all the tires? But also a reliable pressure meter
  • Tow Cables/Rope/etc - Need snatch blocks, shackles, and maybe some other items
  • Shovel, Axe, Pick Axe, Wedges - Some of the roads get real messed up and with landslides, bridges out, etc there is some work to get around the obstacles
  • LED Work Lights - For all the work in the dark
  • Flat Tire Kits and Spare Tires - Will need spare tires mostly I think but flat tire kits might work better in certain circumstances. Also need tire changing tools.
  • Extra Solar Cells - Not necessarily required but may be extra helpful in emergency situations. Don't need a battery jumping solution to get a CT started. :)
  • Off-Road Navigation System - Not sure how the CT navigation will work for off-road trails but if necessary get an accessory trail navigation system.
  • 2 Way Radios - Basically for emergency situations, I'd think. But if there is a community of radio users it might be nice to talk once in a while.
  • Hand Tools in a Kit - Multi-tools, and other general hand tools. Might just want to keep a toolbox in the truck.
Anybody have any other favorite tools that they like when off-roading? Any recommendations?
LED Trouble light and emergency triangles

First aid kit
 

Crissa

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You know, a pressure washer is not a bad idea. I had to limp back to town and find a car wash once after I went into an agate mine and the mud got into my wheels. Loose agates were glued in my wheels!

I do carry a chain saw; Dewalt makes a good one. And work lights - the ones I have have magnets to stick to my car, but I'll have to find a solution for the stainless steel.

I always carry utility shovels and in a truck, planks. I'll need something light and strong enough not to be crushed by the truck. Open-vane aluminum, maybe?

And I always have solar. I also bring a tarp that can cover the vehicle - very handy in dust storms and mountain wind storms to keep stuff out of ports and vents. I had tree duff sucked into the engine once, hadta have it opened up. And in my mom's Honda we had some go through the vents into the cabin and into our eyes. You can use it to prevent sinking in playa or mud, too.

There's always the 'bring extra water' and since I usually end up where it's sunny, I bring reflective insulated window covers. Saves energy and lets you get some shut-eye.

-Crissa
 

ldjessee

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I watch a lot of overlanding and adventure (riding/driving) videos on youtube... and I even have gotten into watching those who live aboard ocean sailing vessels. A sail vessel has to be pretty efficient and reliable. Add to that corrosion resistant and you find a lot out about small, compact but useful items from modern sailors.
 

TI4Dan

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We are required to carry a shovel and a bucket when using the old logging roads.....Nice list I would add first aid, rope, matches and a flashlight plus water. GPS or map really important, we have more dirt roads then paved.
 

TI4Dan

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I'd say 'and'. GPS is great, but the maps with them are often really inaccurate when you get off the beaten path. Always get local intel ^-^

-Crissa
I didn't think about a GPS map but a paper map from USDA a topographic map where it shows more details of the land.
 

ajdelange

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Don't need a battery jumping solution to get a CT started.
It's the same in your CT as in an ICE car. If the 12V battery goes dead you can't start the car.
2 Way Radios - Basically for emergency situations, I'd think.
Always useful. I carry a pair in the car as a matter of course
Off-Road Navigation System - Not sure how the CT navigation will work for off-road trails but if necessary get an accessory trail navigation system.
You've got a good GPS receiver built into the truck and another in your cell phone. The problem with either is that if you are out of cell phone range the background maps can't be updated but the big problem is dense canopy. If you are running dogs the Garmin tracker GPS may be handy as it shows you where you are relative to each equipped dog and camp (provided that the canopy isn't too dense).

Anybody have any other favorite tools that they like when off-roading? Any recommendations?
On or off road you should be carrying the UMC, extension cords and adapters to allow you to charge wherever you are going which, as it is offroad, suggests that you may be a long way from a SC or even a destination charger. Camp grounds, gas station welder outlets, CHAdeMO etc.
 

ldjessee

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CB and maybe Ham radio? Obviously not for everyone...
 

Luke42

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CB and maybe Ham radio? Obviously not for everyone...
This raises a puzzle I've been noodling on.

I'm an not-so-active-ham HAM, and a very-active soaring pilot. Both of these hobbies require the use of VHF radios in my vehicle.

In my current truck, I use a mag-mount and a handheld transceiver. It takes only a couple of minutes to stop and transform my truck into "airport mode" or "ham radio mode" when I need to use one of the radios.

I've considered a permeant installation, but I don't love most of the options for my Sierra. Still, drilling a hole in the roof (aft of the sunroof) for an NMO through-hole mount is the obvious winner from an RF perspective.

Most of the temporary and permeant antenna mounting options I've considered on my Sierra aren't a natural fit for Cybertruck. The glass roof doesn't provide a groundplane for the antenna, or even a place for the magnet to adhere -- so I probably can't just slap my current antenna up there. Also, many grades of stainless steel are non-magnetic, so the magnet might not do much on the CT. Drilling a hole for an NMO mount may be an option, but I can't see a good place for it that will provide a good groundplane in all directions. A bracket mount may be a decent compromise, but I don't love either the looks or the groundplane on those.

Mounting an antenna on the Cybertruck will likely be unconventional at best. I can think of lots of ways to do it, but I can't think of anything that's likely to be both visually clean and an obvious winner in terms of RF.

Anyway, it's an interesting puzzle -- and I haven't even talked about integrating a radio head into the interior. Maybe I'll just duct tape some bailing-wire grounding radials to the glass roof and call it a day, LOL.
 

Crissa

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Well, the roof rack mounting points will work, and you could always do adhesive wire trace antenna against the dome window. And that's not counting having something mounted in the vault.

-Crissa
 

Luke42

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Well, the roof rack mounting points will work, and you could always do adhesive wire trace antenna against the dome window. And that's not counting having something mounted in the vault.
Roof racks have some tradeoffs. For one, crossbars aren't an ideal ground plane. Another is that crossbars are likely to hurt the range of the vehicle through aerodynamic drag. It's definitely an option, it's just not a clear winner.

The antenna performance is important because I'm using a 5 watt radio which needs to be heard several miles away. You can throw power at it, or you can use a good antenna. Going past 5 watts requires a big upgrade in equipment and installation-difficulty, which gets back to the questions about cutting holes in your truck and where to put them.



For those who haven't delved into antenna hacking, what most people think of as the antenna (the monopole) is usually only half of the antenna. In order for an electrical circuit to drive the antenna, there have to be two parts. The two parts are easy to see in a dipole antenna (because both halves are built into the antenna you can see ), but the two halves are harder to see on other kinds of antennas. For instance, with a handheld walkie-talkie type radio, the chassis of the radio is the ground half of the antenna and the monopole antenna that you can see is the driven half.

For a car-mounted antenna, the body of the car becomes the ground half of the antenna, which is the thing the visible (driven) half of the antenna reacts against.

The ideal shape for the ground plane is a sheet of metal larger than quarter of a wavelength in diameter. The radios I'm working with have roughly a 2-meter wavelength, so the metal sheet needs to be about half a meter in diameter. This can be approximated by other things, though, like four wires. But it needs to be symmetrical in order to have good performance in every direction. Regular car roofs are great for this.

As an amateur, though, I don't know how far away you can get from the ideal groundplane and still be heard by someone 5-10 miles away with a 5 watt radio in all directions.

There are lots of puzzles to solve!

I'm sure I'll be able to work out something that will work well enough for my purposes. But getting it right will likely involve experimenting with some tradeoffs.
 
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ajdelange

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The determining factor is line of sight father than EIRP in these cases. Expect 1 - 5 miles depending on terrain. For real range a repeater is needed. With a properly sited one you could get over 100 miles.
 

Crissa

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Roof racks have some tradeoffs. For one, crossbars aren't an ideal ground plane. Another is that crossbars are likely to hurt the range...
Well, first off, racks that are screwed into the body of the vehicle are fine for grounding.

Secondly, you can just screw the antenna directly into the mounting point, you don't have to hang it off a roof rack that adds more drag than your antenna.

-Crissa
 

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