Click the photos for description
How deep I travel into the desert depends on several things:
1) If the Mrs is there to provide back up on her quad.
2) If we are several buggiers.
e.g. someone breaks a buggy, which has happened on a couple of occasions, we note the postion on our GPS, buggy back to car & drive back to rescue buggy & pilot.
Once my Mrs’s Quad broke down, I buggied back to get the car. I left my buggy with my unhitched trailer, drove to where she was and towed her out.
3) If I’m on my own, I won’t buggy so far into the dunes. I try not to get more than about 3 kms away although it depends on the temperature. If it is very hot, I know I can’t walk very far before being overcome with heat exhaustion or far worse, heat stroke. In winter if the temps are below 30C, I tend to go further on my own, say up to about 10 kms.
I can walk all day in moderate temps.
4) The biggest problem I face is if the wind drops. However, I’m constantly watching the wind forecasts, which are pretty good. In 6 years of buggying, I only had to walk once due to the wind dropping.
5) Besides GPS, we all carry our mobile phones (we have very good coverage even in the desert). We had one incident where a buggier knocked himself unconscious when OBEing. We knew there were a couple of people resting by our parked cars. I just called up, gave our position, & one of the guys loaded it into his GPS. He drove over to collect the now conscious but groggy pilot and his buggy.
In a worst case scenario, I could always call someone to pick me up. Most of my mates have GPS and everybody has a mobile.
What do I carry on my buggy or in my buggy bag?
1) GPS & Mobile as already mentioned.
2) Second kite. The size depends on whether the wind forecast predicts either a wind increase or decrease. Typically, the winds tend to drop off towards sunset so I usually carry a kite one size larger than what I’m flying.
3) Spare Flexi handles (I have had three of these break over the last 3 years).
4) Spare pulley & Witchard quick release (had one of these break once).
5) * Tubeless tyre repair kit & small pump.
6) 3 litres of water strapped to buggy in a Camelbak.
* I don’t always carry this repair kit because I have spare buggy wheels in the car.
I take rehydration powders (potassium & sodium) to put the salts back in my body. This wards of cramps and heat exhaustion.
I drink at least one litre an hour of water.
I wear a lot of body protection as you can see in the pics. I sweat a lot in it, hate wearing it but happy to have it on when I do OBE.
I build my own buggies to meet the rigors of desert buggying & they don’t break now.
If I’m out for just 2 to 3 hours (buggy moving time), I use the DB-I (Death Buggy Mk I) which is more compact, has rigid axle and faster. If I’m doing a long trip, then I will take the UDB (Ultimate Desert Buggy), which is more comfortable and has a sprung rear suspension.
In the event I begin suffering with heat exhaustion, I get to my car as quickly as possible, start engine & turn on A/C full blast. It takes about 25 minutes to cool down. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen often. The last time was about a year ago.
One can be quickly in trouble especially in the hot weather. Just yesterday another construction worker died of heat stroke on a Dubai building site.
I wouldn’t recommend trying to do what I do in summer unless you have experience in keeping alive in the desert.
I think that I have this desert survival thing pretty much figured out now. If I stop posting, then you will know that I got it wrong.