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The Laughing Member
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been receiving a number of inquiries from those who plan on attending next year's FJ Summit '08 for the very first time. And, the most frequent questions are:

"Do I need to do all these modifications I've seen on the Forum in order to run the trails??" and "What do I need to do to my FJ to get it ready??"

The simple answers are "No" and "Not much, actually" respectively. (But, who around here ever wants "simple answers" to anything?? :) )

And, I've even heard from those who are hesitant to attend the Summit because they won't have the opportunity to do any modifications to their FJ. Or, they simply desire to leave the family truck in stock configuration.

Those who attended this past year's Summit can testify that they saw everything from brand-new showroom stock FJs, to trail-built extreme, to everything in-between. (http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/general-discussion/39341-categories-fjs-proper-terminology.html)






And, in spite of the fact that a right-off-the-lot stock FJ will be virtually at home on most of Ouray's trails, I'm still going to recommend a number of items that should be considered the absolute minimum for attending this, or any other organized trail run.



So, in typical LandCruiserSteve fashion, I'll present "The Top-10 Necessities for First-Timers Attending the FJ Summit."



#10 - Ice chest / cooler. ($20 - $60)

Someplace to carry your lunches, snacks and cold drinks for the long day on the trail. (Be sure to have some provisions for securing it to the vehicle. The trails can get bumpy out there.)




#9 - A set of tie-down straps / bungees. ($5 - $30)



Great for securing your ice chest, tool boxes, recovery gear and anything else that could easily become a dangerous projectile within the cabin of your FJ. :scared:




#8 - Tire repair kit. ($10 - $45)

It sure doesn't hurt to have some means of repairing a punctured tire on the trail. Especially if you're only packing one spare tire.




#7 - A portable air compressor. ($35 - $150)


Even though it's likely that someone else in your trail group will probably have an air compressor, it's not a bad idea to be packing your own. (A necessity for repairing tires, airing down/airing up, inflating air mattresses, etc.)




#6 - Trailer hitch receiver-mounted D-shackle receptacle. ($35 - $50)



If you have a Class III or better trailer hitch, this handy device will convert it into a sturdy recovery strap attachment point.




#5 - At least 2 recovery D-Shackles. ($10 - $15 each)



A standard piece of recovery equipment that can be used for a variety of attachment purposes. Since the FJ's stock tow strap hooks are closed-ended loops, you'll need these to connect your recovery strap.




#4 - A kinetic energy recovery strap ("snatch strap") ($40 - $70)



Using a kinetic energy tow strap is the safe way to extricate a stuck FJ.

(DO NOT buy or use the $10 "tow straps" with the sewn-in silver hooks. They are simply serious accidents or possibly fatalties waiting to happen.)




#3 - A well-supplied First-Aid kit. ($15 - $75)



Buy the best that you can afford. When you're 50 miles from nowhere, the only medical assistance you're going to have will be you. Take a Red Cross approved First-Aid and CPR class, and keep your training current.




#2 - A quality fire extinguisher. ($20 - $55)



Buy one that is rated for all types of automotive fires. Make sure it is fully charged. And, mount it in your FJ within easy reach. (http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/trail-use-safety-education/3332-fire-extinguishers-cabin.html)



And, the #1 necessity for first-timers attending the FJ Summit . . . . .







. . . . . a CB radio.
($35 - $150) Which can be vehicle mounted, or a portable hand-held unit. Absolutely essential for being in communication with fellow trail runners (not to mention for emergency purposes).





So many of last year's attendees regretted not having one of these relatively-inexpensive pieces of gear with them, so they could've enjoyed the fun chit-chat going on between FJs, not to mention hearing warnings and/or instructions about upcoming trail obstacles.



Of course there are many other items that you could purchase to make yours a well-equipped off-road FJ (i.e., HiLift Jack, shovel, axe, lighting, GPS, spare parts, tools, etc.), but these recommended pieces of gear should get you going on a safe and enjoyable trail run through the mountains of Ouray. Virtually all of the above can be purchased for less than a couple hundred dollars, which is small price to pay for your peace of mind and well-being.

So, even though FJ Summit '08 is still months away, now is the time to start getting prepared!!
 

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Great list Steve, and if I may add one more item. Even though the Summit is in the middle of July. It will get a little chilly up on top of the trails such as Engineer or Imogene at altitudes of 13,000ft. It's always good to pack a light coat or sweater. I watched while climbing the trails the temp go from the high 80's to the low 60's once reaching the summit. Just my 2 cents worth on an excellent list :)
 

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The Laughing Member
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Discussion Starter #3
Great list Steve, and if I may add one more item. Even though the Summit is in the middle of July. It will get a little chilly up on top of the trails such as Engineer or Imogene at altitudes of 13,000ft. It's always good to pack a light coat or sweater. I watched while climbing the trails the temp go from the high 80's to the low 60's once reaching the summit.
Thanks, and great addition, Mike!!

(Who'd ever guess that you and I were having snowball fights in the middle of July!! :lol: )
 

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Are those hand helds up to snuff or what. This is a big problem for me as i dont want to actually mount a CB. I just dont use one enough.
 

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The Laughing Member
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Discussion Starter #5
Are those hand helds up to snuff or what. This is a big problem for me as i dont want to actually mount a CB. I just dont use one enough.
For basic truck-to-truck communications on the trail, they're more than adequate. However, they definitely won't get out the distance of a roof-topped antenna set-up.
 

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I have the Midland Handheld posted on the bottom pic. You can detach the bottom and hook in a new piece that allows you to attach your external antenna. Then just plug in to the cigarette lighter. Works great, no need to mount. I just sit it in my cupholder. When done. Just toss in my toolbag. Used it this week on the Harlan run. In handheld mode running of batteries, the receptions is terrible. I use a bandi mount with a 24" antenna.
 

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The Laughing Member
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Matter of fact, the above shown Midland hand-held comes with a convertor kit that allows you to make it a temporary vehicle-mounted unit, with connection capabiltites to a magnetic roof-top antenna.




EDIT: Flying Brick just beat me to it.

Anway, you can buy a combo kit from Amazon that inlcudes both the Midland hand-held and a Cobra magnetic mount antenna.

Amazon.com: Midland 75-822 Handheld CB Radio with Vehicle Adapter: Electronics
 

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Steve, Great list, and I almost always agree with you 100%, however, even though I think you were trying to alleviate peoples fears of having to spend $3000 on winch/lift/tires, I still think you went a little overboard. Using the "middle" of the range you listed, all the items come to about $450. That could be a make or brake for some people. Depending on where someone lived, $500 could cover registration fees, camping (koa, etc), and gas.

Since all the organized Ouray runs are group runs, we can get rid of a lot of your list (ie, I like to share). Nothing on your list was bad, but for this kind of event we can shave it a little for those first timers. So, if I may...


Required/must haves:

1) CB Radio -- you will be meeting new people and spending a day with them, both for safety and your enjoyment of the group experience you should get one. YOU REALLY SHOULD... I'm installing a BigBill kit, but I used a handheld Cobra last year, worked fine ($76 - Costco, w/magnetic roof mount antenna too)

2) Clothing -- Coat light/middle weight(water proof or additional rain gear -thanks Sky), hat for sun protection, long sleeve shirt for sun protection/cooling. I've been in snow storms on the 4th of July in Colorado, it can get cold.

3) Sunscreen -- You are going to be at 13,000ft, you will burn, summer or winter. Apply liberally, and apply often. (maybe Kat can be the official sun screen applicator???)

That's it less than $100... everything else is optional (but good for you to have whether in Ouray or anywhere)...
From Steve's good list I would rank/recommend:

First aid kit -- even just a small one. Just think about it.

Cooler -- You don't have to have one, remember the lunch box you had as a kid? Well yes, your sandwich will be okay without being on ice, and drinking 70*F water won't kill you. But it is NICE. Plus on your trip to Ouray and back, it will come in handy.

Tie Downs/bungees -- once you get more stuff, you gotta tie it down.

Compressor -- Always good to have, but not necessary. For most of the trails, airing down is not a requirement. I like to do it for the ride quality on easier trails. last year I shared my CO2, just so people that had never aired down could try it. A compressor is much cheaper and smaller than a CO2 system, and much easier than a bike pump to fill a tire - good investment anyway.

Tire repair kit -- if you blow more than two tires on the trails in Ouray, something is wrong, but in a group run, hopefully there would be either someone with a patch kit, or a tire of similar size to get you back to town. Also, if you don't have a compressor, what good is the patch kit?

Receiver mounted D-shackle -- nice to have, but you already have a rear recovery point.

2 D-Shackles -- nice to have, but of no good without a winch or recovery strap.

Snatch strap -- I think EVERYONE should have one of these (with the D-shackles) but if you are new to this, you should be on trails at Ouray that you will not need it, plus someone in your group hopefully will have one.

Fire extinguisher -- unfortunately good ones for autos actually start around $80, but any is better than none. I still haven't found where to mount one. This is like the first aid kit, makes sense to have one anyway. But it's not like just being in Ouray is causing FJ's to spontaneously combust. If so, then hotdogs and marshmallows would be #11 on the list.


I personally have all these items, but if you don't have them, don't think you can't make it around Ouray.

***Steve, your list brings up a great point. The organizers should have some sort of check list to make sure either the group leader, or other in each run have this sort of equipment. (locally we have even discussed making sure someone in each group has Ham capability so they can communicate back to a central group if needed).

I really think the organizers do such a great job, and we have such a great community here that anyone should be able to come and enjoy with all sharing and helping we have.

Great topic!
 

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I'd add raingear to the list, that time of year we usually get afternoon thunderstorms. Last year we lucked out and had great weather, but you never know.

I'll second the CB radio, I didn't have one last year and think I missed a bit of the banter and communication that goes on.
 

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Just curious why GMRS/FRS two way radio could not be used to substitute for the CB?
 

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If you live at a lower altitude may I suggest getting a perscrpition for Acetazolide [ Diamox] to prevent symptoms of altitude sickness. I didn't take any last year. I was alright the first couple of days, by the third day I was a mess. I had to have some one else drive my FJ off the mountian and take me to the emerg clinic in Teleride. Ater that it was 2 soild day of barffing my guts out. What saved my arse that day way all the good FJ folks that were on the mountian that day. It was a group effort. I'm hoping that they will be at the next FJ Summit so I can thank them in person.
 

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I've been toying around with the idea of coming to the "West coast" summit. I mapquested it the other day, and it's a 24 hour drive one way. I think we need an East coast summit.
 

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Just curious why GMRS/FRS two way radio could not be used to substitute for the CB?
Generally CBs are going to be more universal among the whole group. I used a handheld (thanks Matt) and it was fine.

When we took the Last Dollar to Telluride we ran into a CO road crew and they were complaining about the use of FRS radios interfering on thier frequencies.

You may find a few folks to have a conversation with, but the CB will be much more useful.
 

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The Laughing Member
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Discussion Starter #15
I almost always agree with you 100%, however, even though I think you were trying to alleviate peoples fears of having to spend $3000 on winch/lift/tires, I still think you went a little overboard. Using the "middle" of the range you listed, all the items come to about $450.
First of all, 5280FJ, I enjoy being disagreed with. (That's what keeps things interesting around here and makes it a true "forum." :) )

But, you're right . . . . one of my intentions was to squelch the fear and apprehension that one doesn't need to shell out $3k or more to build a trail rig just to attend events like the Summit.

And, perhaps with a bit of cost-cutting, someone could get the total price down to a couple hundred dollars or so.

The organizers should have some sort of check list to make sure either the group leader, or other in each run have this sort of equipment.
Not only that, but many organized events like this (i.e., Cruise Moab) have a mandatory vehicle and equipment inventory inspection for all participants. However, yes, provided that the group leader and/or tail-gunner have the necessary gear for their group, that could suffice as well.
 

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Matter of fact, the above shown Midland hand-held comes with a convertor kit that allows you to make it a temporary vehicle-mounted unit, with connection capabiltites to a magnetic roof-top antenna.




EDIT: Flying Brick just beat me to it.

Anway, you can buy a combo kit from Amazon that inlcudes both the Midland hand-held and a Cobra magnetic mount antenna.


Amazon.com: Midland 75-822 Handheld CB Radio with Vehicle Adapter: Electronics

Hey Steve,

This is what I use connected to my 4' firestick out back on my Bandi mount.

Works great for me, and I can pop on the battery pack and hick to the top of the hill as well.
 

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This is an excellent post Steve! Thanks...

We've had a good number of FJers in our area that have asked us about the requirements/necessities for both making this trip and wheeling in Ouray. I'm surely now going to send them a link to this post to help them get ready for the trek.

Will you be doing another beginning off-roading/101 class this time around? It was very very well worth it. Thanks for that again. :)

The only thing I can add as a necessity is taking LOTS and LOTS of bottled water on the trails. This is especially true for those of us that live out in the flatlands. The altitude can kick your ass if you're not careful and staying hydrated is crucial. We even went so far as to add Pedialyte (unflavored) to a few bottles of water, just in case.


This is an amazing trip that is so very well worth it! Just be prepared and be safe. My two cents...

:) nic
 

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FJ Expeditions R Us
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LCSteve,

As usual you provided excellent advise and suggestions!!!

I can only add two points...

1. As I recall, The Toyota Trail Team required several of your "suggested items" which may have been part of having the USFS permits for groups.
They also did a general vehicle inspection to ensure batteries were clamped down and folks had some essentuals, including CB's. I did relay for a couple of folks who had either 2m ham radios or the Family channels which worked out fine.

2. Hot Coffee... Especially in the mornings... ha ha

dale
 
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