I talked about how we all think we’re good at it, right?
In Special Forces we tend to go to a variety of schools that teach us how to drive fast and aggressively with confidence, but we don’t always put an emphasis on the kind of driving that we spend a lot of time doing in developing nations: off-road driving. Here at SOFLETE, we are all about that outdoor life and ways to enhance our ability to access more exclusive and remote locations. But, where do you go to get better at back country off-road driving? What kind of vehicle do you choose to unlock the wonders of America’s national park system? How do you pack?
During my recent pre-deployment training I was lucky enough to spend a week training at Overland Experts (OEX) with Tony Cerruto. He and his instructors have a robust and ground up approach to teaching people of all skill levels how to maneuver a vehicle through a variety of obstacles, maintain a reliable mobile platform, how to conduct recovery operations, and how to better set up a vehicle to sustain longer term trips.
We really focused on driving time and kept classroom time to a minimum. Wheel time trumps wrote knowledge, and the OEX guys really break down the basics clearly. In any given day we would spend an hour or two doing classes or practical applications and 6+ hours driving.
We learned how our vehicles work and how to use that in our favor across varying terrain. This is great because it teaches both mechanical knowledge and the practical application of that knowledge. Ever wondered why you have trouble controlling your vehicle on icy roads? Can’t climb that hill in your 4x4? Which tire is best for what terrain?
After years of seat time offroading, I have to confess that I came to the course a little biased. I have been driving off-road at a variety of levels for years and I might not be a pro, but I was intimately familiar with the topic of overlanding, or car camping as we used to call it. Tony and his instructors blew my doors off. They reawakened in me a passion for off-road driving to enhance back country adventures.
I was so impressed, that we are planning several joint efforts with SFLT and OEX. If you want to learn about practical off-road driving in realistic vehicle platforms that will prepare you to safely reach your destination anywhere in the world OEX is a great experience. Be on the lookout for upcoming DieLiving Expeditions… there might even be some extra seats in the Land Cruiser.