Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill. 

Tom Severin

A Good Rendezvous isn’t a Secret

A rendezvous point near a gas station and convenience store is a real plus. 

While many four wheelers view the trailhead as the starting point of any trip, in reality all the fun begins at the rendezvous point. That is where all drivers congregate initially. Final supplies are purchased if necessary, and trip plans are reviewed. A lot of thought should go into the selection of a meeting place. If the rendezvous spot isn’t chosen properly, the trip may not get off to a good start.

A good rendezvous point looks like this:

  • Close to the trailhead, though that’s a relative term, as we will see.
  • Offers lots of parking.
  • Easy to find.
  • Near a gas station and convenience store.

Offers cell coverage.

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Tom Severin

A Good Trail Master Masters Meal Planning

We were in a real jam. Two days into a 10-day trip in Monument Valley, mechanical problems forced two vehicles to head home. We hated to lose our the four-wheeling friends, but more importantly, we ran into a minor food crisis: How do we account for the meals those individuals were scheduled to prepare?

Each of us brought food for our designated meals, but we were counting on those individuals to contribute on their assigned days. Suddenly we were scrambling to account for their departure.

This incident, while not typical of a 4WD experience, does happen. A good Trail Master understands and accepts this, and factors it into trip planning. Of all the myriad decisions you make, one is how to handle meals.

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Tom Severin

Mechanical Sympathy and Damage Mitigation

I vividly recall a beautiful morning in the sand dunes drinking my first cup of coffee while watching the sun poke its nose over the bank of clouds behind a 60 foot dune. An early four-wheeler was testing his new injection system nearby. As he went up a razorback, I could tell he had too much throttle. As he cleared the top, a trail of sand followed the jeep a good six feet above the crest. As razorbacks have a habit of doing, the drop off on the other side proved more extreme than the Jeeper expected. The resulting endo was disastrous for his weekend. Luckily, he walked away but the Jeep was another matter. 

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Tom Severin

Safe Departure Point and Other End Trip Stuff

Last month we reviewed the 10 qualities of a great trail leader. That article took us from the planning and preparations stages to the conclusion of a 4WD trip. This month’s article discusses what you as a Trail Leader need to do once everyone has reached the departure point. Even though the ride is over, several additional steps are needed to bring that enjoyable event to a successful conclusion. This is riveting information if you are a trail guide!

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Tom Severin

10 Qualities of a Great Trail Leader

Checking mapYou’ve driven the trails numerous times. Have hundreds of hours of 4WD experience under your belt (some of which, of course, is spent outside of the vehicle). You’re good with people, and feel your managerial skills are top notch. You’d like to be Trail Leader for an upcoming excursion. What’s next? 

First, I commend you for wanting to take on a leadership role. As a certified professional 4WD Trainer with more than 40 years of off-road experience, I know the value of a good Trail Leader. Our hobby could use more people willing to step forward and fulfill this role. 

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