Hey, I'm going to be going off road for the first time this July. I've had my Jeep for a few years now but mostly using it as my only vehicle.
I'll be going to Black Hills, SD. I googled it and there is a Novice trail called the Badland Boogie.
I'm not sure how this works exactly, sounds to me like there is a group of people lead by a trail leader. Does this usaully cost alot of money? Can I just go on the trail alone? I have all stock parts for my Jeep and from what I can tell this trail is pretty easy. I'm not exactly sure if I have to book in advance, just show up, or how to even contact for info.
Who is sponsoring the ride? Is it a Jeep Jamboree type thing? If so, they are kinda $ but most who have done it once, do it again, and again so it must be worth it. If they are guided rides then yeah, I'd think you have to go with the group. The Jeep Jamboree that is held in my area is on private land, so there again you can only go with the organized group. If this is your first time wheeling, you'll want to have folks around you to show you the ropes. Never wheel alone, unless you are equipped and knowledgeable about how to get your self out....
How did you find out about the trail? That would be the first place to look for additional information. Google Jeep Jamboree and see if it's a sponsored event.
Heading into uncharted territory solo and without a good set of kit is foolish, so don't. Appropriate recovery gear, a few of the critical spares, maps+gps, first aid kit, etc. this is a good starting point. That said, look into the details of the area you're planning to explore - the route, surrounding community (where to get repairs, the nearest hospital, etc.). If it is relatively straight-forward trip you have in mind, then you should be fine going solo if properly equipped, know what you're doing, and are prepared for the possible downside of solo travel.
Otherwise, and if you are truly new to the world of off-pavement exploration, then travel with group. Starting with an organized event is a good idea. Make sure your vehicle is in good shape, with proper preventative maintenance, free of leaks and grossly worn parts, and with a full-size spare and a jack suitable for changing your tire off-pavement. Be sure you've got recovery points front and rear, and the necessary emergency/recovery kit. Then go out and have fun.
I would say to a little more research as to where to found this info about the trail... is it from another forum is it a local club etc... Also do you have a link where people could check it out to help give you more info. Definately DO NOT go alone, even if you are well prepared, that usually when something stupid happens.
I foudn some pics of it via interent search but there were a little out dated which means trail conditions can change drasticly over a 1yr span based on vehicles that visit the area and how many and the type. I'm not trying to make you nervous and it looks like some you could do, but also need to know that the terrain and easily be changed. For example I go to the Badlands 4wd park in Indiana every April and this past April there were quite a few terrain changes due to weather, erosion and the number & size of vehicle that go there. I had issue with a couple rock crawls that the year prevvious made it up no problem.
98TJ / Hi-Lined / Zip Lockers / 35s
@snwchris-I would say your right. Much more research needed. That trail I wanted to do was from 96 and I doubt they're still doing it.
@InfernoGirl-I have no idea about the sponsor. Thanks for the info on Jeep Jamborees. I've only had a Jeep for a few years and don't know all the cool stuff going on. I just recently learned about Topless day this Saturday. Weahter permitting I'll be taking mine off.
@Computeruser-Don't worry, I'm only planning on doing a 1-2 difficult range. I figure it should just be out of reach of a cars ability. I'll need lots more money before I do anything too risky. I will have people there and communication so that won't be a problem. I checked online and they sell maps of off-road areas so I'll be picking one up when I get there.
@doclouie-I wanna GPS so bad, I'll probably get one this summer before I leave to Mount Rushmore. A winch is on my wishlist too.
I know this is an old post but......I live in Sturgis, SD. Personally....I don't consider this trail in the Black Hills. This is in the grassland regions around (mostly East) of the Black Hills.
There's an awesome club out here call Black Hills Jeeps & they have a "Jeep Camp" this year, June 16-20 which is VERY inexpensive($90 for all the days)
Post something on their forum about the dates you are coming to SD, and I bet someone would show your around. Hell, I might even be able to. There's a sh*tpile of trails here-just not many maps.
Just a few basics that haven't been mentioned yet...
1) Air your tires down once you are ready to leave the pavement. Most new offroaders are afraid to air down very much but you're not even aired down until you get below 14-15 psi. For stock size tires, you can safely air down to 12-12 psi without any problem. Why air down? MUCH better traction, a less jarring ride that is easier on the vehicle and its occupants, and the tires are less likely to get damaged. Remember to air up before getting back onto the highway, you can't drive faster than 20-25 mph when your tires are still aired down. Buy a small tire compressor to carry with you. And trust me on this, the cheap compressors take so long to refill four Jeep size tires that they are extremely frustrating to use. So I recommend those starting at probably $50 which put out a lot more air volume. Pay no attention to the high air pressures cheap air compressors advertise, high air pressure doesn't help at all... the cheapest tiniest compressors can pump something up to a high air pressure but they can take all day to refill a tire. Air volume is what you want to make sure your tires can be refiled in a reasonable amount of time, at least 2 cfm (cubic feet/minute) at a minimum. Pay no attention to the air pressure they can pump to as any of them can refill a tire to whatever air pressure it needs... it's just a matter of how long it will take to do so.
My first air compressor, a "TruckAir" took 45 minutes to refill my four 32" tires. My last compressor that was engine driven, takes only 5 minutes to refill all four of my current 35" tires. The difference? The CFM rating. <.3 cfm for the TruckAir, >6 cfm for my engine driven compressor.
2) Install front and rear tow hooks. Without them, there is no other safe point from which to attach a strap, winch hook, etc. for when you get stuck which if you never get stuck, you're not trying hard enough.
3) Carry a 20' retrieval strap. Avoid buying any tow or retreival strap with a steel tow hook which are unsafe for offroad use. I recommend a retrieval strap over a tow strap since a retrieval strap has a little bit of "give" which is better for retrieving a stuck vehicle. A tow strap has no give to it.
4) Carry a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit. And to me, those little 2 or 2 1/2 lb. extinguishers are useless on the trail. A 5 lb. extinguisher is highly recommended, ether an ABC or BC rated extinguisher works well.
5) Install a CB radio. 99.999999% of offroaders and offroad events use CB radios to communicate with.
Have fun, it's a blast. Be sure to stay on the trails & tread lightly.
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