SOLO MISSIONS WITH BEN GRAINGER
Have you wanted to pack up the truck and head out on a solo mission? Not sure what to bring or what to leave behind? Venturing into the wild by yourself can definitely pose some challenges and risks, but luckily for you our buddy Ben has been on a handful of solo missions to some of the deepest parts of the South and he’s given us the full rundown on how to tackle those solo adventures head on.
Like all adventures, they are best shared in good company. However, sometimes the true adventure comes when you venture off on your own. For me I started with a couple of small adventures – Camping down by a lake not far from the road, Doc sites shared with other campers etc. These grew to the adventures that I embark on today – spending hours driving into mountain ranges out of cell reception and experiencing some of the most wonderful scenes. Although scary at first, I’ve grown to love rush that comes with setting out on my own.
Solo Tip #1: Plan your route and tell someone your plans.
Just like any trip into the wilderness you should always let someone know your plans, including roughly where you are heading and an expected time they can hear from you again. Four wheel driving can throw any kind of curve ball at you at any time, So I like to give myself a few hours up my sleeve for things like punctured tires, an overheating engine or even getting stuck, before my time to make contact.
Solo Tip #2: Be prepared for anything
It’s easy to be scared off solo adventuring knowing you might not have everything that you need to get you out of a potentially sticky (or boggy) situation on your trip. The thought of being stuck up a mountain range with no reception and no way to get yourself unstuck, is a scary thought indeed. However, there are lots of things you can do to mitigate this.
Here's my checklist and essentials:
- I check all the fluids in my engine before each trip and top up anything that might be getting low.
- I carry at least 3L of extra water as emergency water, warm clothes and some extra food that wont spoil. Call it my survival kit if you will.
- I don’t have a winch currently nor do I have any recovery tracks. Definitely something I’m looking to get in the future, but for now it means sticking to tracks and avoiding the ever inviting boggy pits.
- Carry a basic tool kit, 4 ton jack and a wooden chock, all of which have come in handy at some point.
Solo Tip #3 Have something to do.
While solo expeditions are a great way to rediscover yourself in a beautiful location, there’s no denying that at some point, usually once you have eaten your grub, you find yourself playing tic tac toe with a rock you have named Steve. It’s at this point you really wished you packed your book. Having something to do is CRUCIAL in my opinion. For me it’s taking photos. I pack my camera and this usually keeps me occupied until my batteries run out. For you it may be a sketch pad, a yoga mat, a hammock and a book or some hiking boots.
Solo Tip #4 Take some risks! What’s the worst that could happen?
While I’m not telling you to pack your Honda Jazz and set out up the Mace Town track, I do think some of the best stories come from taking a little risk here and there.
I’ve had times where I have walked a steep track or scouted a river crossing and still had to make a judgement on whether or not I risked heading up/through it.
At the end of the day you should take risks that you feel comfortable with in your situation and remember the golden rule – ‘If you don’t feel comfortable, there's no pressure, you can always come back’. Push yourself but weigh up the risks, keep it within your boundaries/capabilities and your sure to have a damn good time missioning out there solo!
So there you have it, thanks for the insight Ben!
Photos & Words by the talented Ben Grainger, check out Ben's adventures here