Dealing With Dust
Got a dusty adventure in mind? Here’s how to keep the clouds of dirt from taking control.
You just can’t beat a good old fashion off-road adventure. As good as it is, getting to the best campsites in the country can definitely have its challenges. And battling clouds of dust for days, weeks or months on end is without a doubt one of the most frustrating. Alas, we’ve tackled literally thousands of kilometres worth of dusty corrugated tracks and picked the brains of some of the best in the industry to bring you the top tips, tricks and techniques to deal with dust. So grab yourself a cuppa, put your feet up and read on.
Most true off-road rigs these days are considered pretty much dust proof, but let's face it – things don’t always go to plan. So it’s worth working on a plan B when it comes to the packing side of things. What can you do? Well, the simplest trick in the book is to add another layer of protection, and a good way to start is to pack your clothes in plastic bags inside your main bag, storage tub or drawer.
The re-usable, sealable ones are the way to go, but almost any bag will get the job done while helping to keep your clothes a little more organised in the process. While you’re at it, items like cooking utensils, electronic equipment, tools and food can all be stored in plastic food containers too.
SUPER DIRTY SOLAR
A good layer of dust is enough to reduce the amount of sunlight that gets through to each solar cell, so it’s important to keep your solar panel nice and clean. You could give it a wipe with a damp cloth in a big wide circular motion like most people do, but did you know rubbing a cloth over the tempered glass can create a static charge, which attracts more dust?
The worst part is it’ll stick to your panel like bubble gum to a boot. The best way to clean it up and keep it that way is to use soapy water and wipe it with a straight motion from one side to the other, than give it a quick shower of water.
DUST PROOFING TRICK
The trusty metal jerry can might be just about bomb proof, but when it comes to keeping dust out of your water on lengthy dirt roads it’s a little behind the eight ball. The good news is there’s a simple fix; cut a piece of foam or rubber out to place on top of the opening and close the lid nice and tight. You can use the same method to help seal up old tool boxes and plastic tubs too.
Nothing says epic adventure like clouds of bulldust and a dirty brown tinge to your trusty 4x4. While hitting patches of the brown fluffy stuff can look great for that outback happy snap, it can cause more problems than it’s worth. Why? Well lets start with the amount of dust the will inevitably find its way into any crack, crevice or hole in your set-up. Then there’s that obvious lack of traction, the potential of the dust hole being deeper than expected and the tendency for the entire vehicle to get pulled off course, causing a swaying motion and sending you rocketing towards the nearest tree. Doesn’t sound real smart, eh? Nope, if there is a way around it – take it. If there’s not, then slow down. If your vehicle jolts around a bit, avoid aggressively swinging on the wheel as this can easily lead to an over-correction and a big problem. Instead, ease off the throttle and it should guide itself back into shape, although it may need some gentle guidance.