|| Sahara Crosser's
Choosing a proper Vehicle
There are many things to consider about the vehicle. Most important of
all might perhaps be that it be robust, so that you will not suffer a breakdown
in the middle of nowhere. Other useful features include:
4 Wheel Drive
||It is possible to cross the Sahara without 4WD, but once you come into
the sand, you will surely be happy if you have it. A good 4WD will be able
pull you through most cases without having to resort to digging. Even when
you seem to be completely stuck, you can sometimes drag yourself out, centimetre
by centimetre with the Low 4WD gear.
Large Fuel Tank
It can sometimes be difficult to find petrol / diesel whilst travelling.
Sometimes, the pumps are broken, other times there is simply a shortage.
With a large tank, you will be able to cover more distance between petrol
stops, and you might even be able to skip the cumbersome jerrycans. Many
4WD vehicles can optionally be fitted with an extra reserve tank, adding
some 60 litres. In such case, you should use the fuel in the extra tank
first, and drive on the main tank only when the extra tank is used up.
Otherwise, the balance of the car may be disturbed. When calculating the
fuel needed for a certain distance, always leave a good margin, especially
on the off-road areas. You never know if you will suffer a leak, if the
next petrol stop is out of fuel, or if your car simply consumed more than
expected. Use of 4WD and air-condition, for example, contribute to increasing
the fuel consumption of your car.
Ease of Reparation
Beware that not all car models can be easily repaired. If you can't repair
the car yourself, then you should know that some cars are easier to service
than others. Models that are common in the countries you are travelling
in will always be better known by repairmen, and it will be much easier
to find spare parts. In Niger, well-known vehicles include Toyota Land
Cruisers, Peugeots and to some extent Land Rovers.
Obviously, this will help you feel a lot more comfortable in your car.
The desert gets very hot in the middle of the day, and if you drive with
open windows there will be sand in the air. It will also reduce your water
needs. However, do not use it as an excuse for bringing less water, and
make sure you're still drinking plenty. The downside of using air-condition
is an increase in fuel consumption.
double as Beds
On some cars, you can make beds out of the front seats by removing the
head rest, then bending them back until they are at level with the back
seats. This may not be the most comfortable bed in the world, but is very
practical when you just want to stop for the night, and then get going
early in the morning.
Clearance under Chassis
It is important
to have a high clearance between the ground and the chassis. Much of the
traffic in the Sahara consists of trucks and lorries, which creates ruts
with deep wheel tracks. Cars with a good clearance and a protected chassis
can drive in these ruts without trouble, whilst cars with a low clearance
should avoid them or use a special driving technique, which consists of
having one wheel in a trench, and the other on top of the middle hump.
You should also check the underneath of your car for things that stick
out. A common problem can be the towing hook. Any such thing will act like
a plough once you come into the sand.
Dark windows in the back of your car will make it less warm and stop beggars
from seeing everything you're carrying along.
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