Beginner gear and where to get it in Mid Europe

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wilderwhere

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Hi folks,

I'm back from my first rally with a list of gear that I need/want to get for the next one. Basic beginner stuff that is probably good to have in the car anyways. I've done some research in the global beginners section as well and this is my shopping list:

- Kinetic rope for recovery
- Tow rope
- Soft shakles
- Shovel
- Traction boards
- Handheld CB radio (to begin with)
- Sturdy bag to carry recovery gear

Most recommendations that I found are US-specific, both for shops and for gear. Can you recommend any stores and/or online shops in Mid Europe? Is there any product specifically that you would recommend?
 

El-Dracho

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Hi Jan,

I think it's great that you really start with the basics and have first tried out what you need on your first tour. Super.

You have named a very important piece of equipment for recovery. The shovel. Many ask first for a winch. But with a shovel you can do a lot! Very good. A few more hints and ideas for your list based on my own experiecnes:

I would pay attention with the traction boards that you buy something proper. Rather spend a few bucks more, because if you need these boards, then you need them and must be able to rely on it / can use no garbage. Unfortunately, I have only bad experiences with cheap traction boards - on the one hand at trainings, where I was there as an instructor as well as times tried myself. I would buy proven (brand) boards. This also applies to the rest of recovery equipment, because in case of doubt you must be able to rely on it and recovery situations are often dangerous situations.

When choosing your recovery gear, look for quality. Look carefully at the data. Sometimes only the breaking load is specified. An important specification is the so-called working load limit (WLL). Choose this according to your vehicle. By the way, have you thought about work gloves? Also check your recovery gear regularly for damage etc. Safety first! This leads me to another topic.

One important question, do you have proper recover points on your vehicle? The best rope and the best shackle are of no use if the anchor point is no good. Please pay attention to this. For many vehicles there are good recovery points on the market.

I would choose two soft shackles and two omega steel shackles for the shackles. There is often a discussion about which is safer - without going into detail here let's just say that if everything is done correctly, both are safe. You know what I mean. However, there are different applications. There are many cases where the soft shackle is not the right tool and even dangerous to use. For example, when it is placed over sharp edges and in too tight radii. Make yourself familiar with it!

Regarding radio, I recommend choosing the radio application that use those with whom you mostly ride together. Please remember that if it is to be CB, a proper CB handheld is usually more expensive than a fixed installation and also achieves worse ranges. On the subject of radio, I once wrote something Europe-specific in the OB boot camp section. Have a look at it and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!


I would like to add some more things. Please look also at other basics like the jack on your car. Is it any good? Does it work properly and safely? Just try it out at home and replace it if necessary. What about basic tools? How are you equipped in terms of first aid? And please always remember that the most important things about your equipment is training and maintenance, so you can handle it well and it is always safe and ready to use.

These are just a few things that come to my mind spontaneously based on my own experiences. I hope it helps you. I guess some other members will get also back to you here with tips that can also help you.

Cheers, Bjoern
 
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NotGumby

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Hi Jan,

Björn has covered all the important points to consider before buying kit. Quality first will always save you money in the long run while keeping you safe.

I can only add that the factory jack may not lift high enough in the mud or if high-centered. Check that out. Maybe think about keeping a few small blocks or planks of wood to place under the jack.

For buying kit, I use Taubenreuther :: Taubenreuther GmbH and xp-edition XP-edition EU Shop. I’ve also heard good things about Merhari Offroad Mehari - Ausrüstung für Abenteuerreisen and Nskatamga Nakatanenga 4x4-Equipment but haven’t used the myself.

Let us know if you have more questions - we’re happy to help!

Rick
 

wilderwhere

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Hi Jan,

I think it's great that you really start with the basics and have first tried out what you need on your first tour. Super.

You have named a very important piece of equipment for recovery. The shovel. Many ask first for a winch. But with a shovel you can do a lot! Very good. A few more hints and ideas for your list based on my own experiecnes:

I would pay attention with the traction boards that you buy something proper. Rather spend a few bucks more, because if you need these boards, then you need them and must be able to rely on it / can use no garbage. Unfortunately, I have only bad experiences with cheap traction boards - on the one hand at trainings, where I was there as an instructor as well as times tried myself. I would buy proven (brand) boards. This also applies to the rest of recovery equipment, because in case of doubt you must be able to rely on it and recovery situations are often dangerous situations.

When choosing your recovery gear, look for quality. Look carefully at the data. Sometimes only the breaking load is specified. An important specification is the so-called working load limit (WLL). Choose this according to your vehicle. By the way, have you thought about work gloves? Also check your recovery gear regularly for damage etc. Safety first! This leads me to another topic.

One important question, do you have proper recover points on your vehicle? The best rope and the best shackle are of no use if the anchor point is no good. Please pay attention to this. For many vehicles there are good recovery points on the market.

I would choose two soft shackles and two omega steel shackles for the shackles. There is often a discussion about which is safer - without going into detail here let's just say that if everything is done correctly, both are safe. You know what I mean. However, there are different applications. There are many cases where the soft shackle is not the right tool and even dangerous to use. For example, when it is placed over sharp edges and in too tight radii. Make yourself familiar with it!

Regarding radio, I recommend choosing the radio application that use those with whom you mostly ride together. Please remember that if it is to be CB, a proper CB handheld is usually more expensive than a fixed installation and also achieves worse ranges. On the subject of radio, I once wrote something Europe-specific in the OB boot camp section. Have a look at it and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!


I would like to add some more things. Please look also at other basics like the jack on your car. Is it any good? Does it work properly and safely? Just try it out at home and replace it if necessary. What about basic tools? How are you equipped in terms of first aid? And please always remember that the most important things about your equipment is training and maintenance, so you can handle it well and it is always safe and ready to use.

These are just a few things that come to my mind spontaneously based on my own experiences. I hope it helps you. I guess some other members will get also back to you here with tips that can also help you.

Cheers, Bjoern
Hi Bjoern,

thanks for sharing your thoughts, super helpful! Recovery points were definitely an issue on the weekend. :sweatsmile:

I'm considering a handheld radio as a short-time solution until I have figured out what car I want to use for overlanding. Based on the weekend, I don't think the Saab is the best platform for these trips. But I'll do a bit more research to see what the options for handhelds and their alternatives are.

Tools and first aid kits are definitely another area to improve. I carry the basics, but the jack and the tools can probably be optimized quite a lot for the car and the things that can break.
 
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El-Dracho

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Hi Jan,

I think it's great that you really start with the basics and have first tried out what you need on your first tour. Super.

You have named a very important piece of equipment for recovery. The shovel. Many ask first for a winch. But with a shovel you can do a lot! Very good. A few more hints and ideas for your list based on my own experiecnes:

I would pay attention with the traction boards that you buy something proper. Rather spend a few bucks more, because if you need these boards, then you need them and must be able to rely on it / can use no garbage. Unfortunately, I have only bad experiences with cheap traction boards - on the one hand at trainings, where I was there as an instructor as well as times tried myself. I would buy proven (brand) boards. This also applies to the rest of recovery equipment, because in case of doubt you must be able to rely on it and recovery situations are often dangerous situations.

When choosing your recovery gear, look for quality. Look carefully at the data. Sometimes only the breaking load is specified. An important specification is the so-called working load limit (WLL). Choose this according to your vehicle. By the way, have you thought about work gloves? Also check your recovery gear regularly for damage etc. Safety first! This leads me to another topic.

One important question, do you have proper recover points on your vehicle? The best rope and the best shackle are of no use if the anchor point is no good. Please pay attention to this. For many vehicles there are good recovery points on the market.

I would choose two soft shackles and two omega steel shackles for the shackles. There is often a discussion about which is safer - without going into detail here let's just say that if everything is done correctly, both are safe. You know what I mean. However, there are different applications. There are many cases where the soft shackle is not the right tool and even dangerous to use. For example, when it is placed over sharp edges and in too tight radii. Make yourself familiar with it!

Regarding radio, I recommend choosing the radio application that use those with whom you mostly ride together. Please remember that if it is to be CB, a proper CB handheld is usually more expensive than a fixed installation and also achieves worse ranges. On the subject of radio, I once wrote something Europe-specific in the OB boot camp section. Have a look at it and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!


I would like to add some more things. Please look also at other basics like the jack on your car. Is it any good? Does it work properly and safely? Just try it out at home and replace it if necessary. What about basic tools? How are you equipped in terms of first aid? And please always remember that the most important things about your equipment is training and maintenance, so you can handle it well and it is always safe and ready to use.

These are just a few things that come to my mind spontaneously based on my own experiences. I hope it helps you. I guess some other members will get also back to you here with tips that can also help you.

Cheers, Bjoern
Hi Bjoern,

thanks for sharing your thoughts, super helpful! Recovery points were definitely an issue on the weekend. :sweatsmile:

I'm considering a handheld radio as a short-time solution until I have figured out what car I want to use for overlanding. Based on the weekend, I don't think the Saab is the best platform for these trips. But I'll do a bit more research to see what the options for handhelds and their alternatives are.

Tools and first aid kits are definitely another area to improve. I carry the basics, but the jack and the tools can probably be optimized quite a lot for the car and the things that can break.
Great. Thanks for your feedback. Regarding the radio, you can also see if a small mobile unit and a magnetic mount antenna would be an idea. Not much installation necessary and you could simply take this combination with you when you change to another rig.
 
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El-Dracho

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Good morning Jan,

What comes to mind just now. Rick has already given some good tips on companies where you can buy equipment. I would like to add two more dealers.

For example, the company bergetools specializes in recovery material. Ralf, the owner, is very friendly and makes good advice. Likewise, kruemmeloffroad has a lot of good recovery accessories and also some special parts on offer. Rudi also makes very good advice and is happy to help customers. I like to buy from both. You would have to ask whether and under which conditions they are shipped abroad.

Regarding the radio, it's best to look in your home country. I can recommend someone in Germany where I have had good experiences. Unfortunately, this does not help you. Since the EU Directive on the reduction of waste from electrical and electronic equipment has been implemented into national law in the EU countries, dealers of these items usually no longer deliver across borders to other EU countries. This has to do with the associated enormous effort and costs for registration and documentation of the product range for all EU countries, if a dealer wanted to deliver across borders.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch!

Have a nice day,
Bjoern
 
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GeoCampers #4771

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Hi Bjoern,

thanks for sharing your thoughts, super helpful! Recovery points were definitely an issue on the weekend. :sweatsmile:

I'm considering a handheld radio as a short-time solution until I have figured out what car I want to use for overlanding. Based on the weekend, I don't think the Saab is the best platform for these trips. But I'll do a bit more research to see what the options for handhelds and their alternatives are.

Tools and first aid kits are definitely another area to improve. I carry the basics, but the jack and the tools can probably be optimized quite a lot for the car and the things that can break.
Hey Jan,

No worrys about the Saab, they are very cabable and can make good overland vehicles. A good set of tires will do wonders toghether with some practice and knowing the vehicle.
For the gear, I see you live in the netherlands, http://www.4x4life.nl/jouw 4x4 webshop. is a nice place to get your stuff, one of the owners is also a OB member and we did a group buy for recovery boards with them.

For the gear please do some research and see exactly what type of trips you will be making (overlanding, greenlaning, offroading), do not blindly folow marketing or just buy the big names. You will end up paying way to much money just to have atain brand name on your car. Foir the recovery boards for example, Yes the best are probably Maxtrax if you are a serioes offroader who needs the boards a few times a day. But for greenlaning, overlanding where the boards will get more use for leveling the car wile camping a Tred recovery board will do the jod as good for 1/2 the money. Greenlaning and Overlanding, if you need the recovery gear, you probably have made a few bad desicions before and you should have stoped and returend a long time before. Learning to understand your car and its lmitations and yours is way more important than any expensif recovery gear (if greenlaning or Overlanding).
So first figuer out if you like offroading, greenlaning or overlanding and where (what type of terrain, country, ...), this will determine the gear you need and the money you need to spend on it.

The most important piece of gear (IMHO) are a good set of tires, that is the first thing to buy, the rest is secondary.
 

wilderwhere

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Thanks for all the great advice, guys.

I'm going to start with the basics that will be transferable to whatever vehicle or driving style I'll end up with. I don't expect that I'll go to any extremes that would require vastly different gear any time soon.

Definitely planning to look for some trainings as well, but that'll be another post.
 

Robert OB 33/48

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Hello Jan,

Will gladly help out with some things about the how and do and don'ts.
If you like to have some pointers, just ask. And during trips there is always room for some moments to talk about recovery.
As you know already, with some take it easy and well thought actions we all came home safe.
No worries there.
 

El-Dracho

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And during trips there is always room for some moments to talk about recovery.
This is also a good idea, in a suitable sitaution show something by practical example. We can also meet with several rigs in an off-road park as soon as it is safe and reasonable to do so again, and practice typical recovery situations while overlanding under realistic conditions. We have enough people here who have the know-how and are happy to pass it on. That is good.
 

wilderwhere

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Thanks guys. I got a nice package in the mail today. :hearteyes:

I tried to cover the basics without going overboard. Until I learn more about my vehicle, and both our capabilities I will for sure take it easy. I have a good set of ropes, shackles, recovery boards, and a shovel now that should be able to support me for a while.

Awesome idea to meet and practice with experienced people. I'm also still planing to look for some courses on both off-road driving and recovery for next year to learn the basics. Will probably be a fun and effective way to improve my skills.