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There are many types of off-roaders in every trail drive. Here are some of them. Any resemblance to actual people is purely coincidental.
The Bone Stock
This guy stays as close to stock as possible. Knows that aftermarket parts would compromise the reliability of his beloved ride. Recovery duties are generally handed over to this guy if primary and secondary recovery vehicles are busy. Most of the videos are shot by him. Is the sanest of the lot. Chaperone of the group.
You can hear his off-road vehicle (fondly called "the beast" by the owner) from a mile away. Fully loaded. Ladders, snorkel, winch, high lift jack, 33" MT tyres...everything. But can't unmount a jack if his life depended on it. Gets beached on some of the easier obstacles. Hands over the keys to the more experienced guys in the group after all his attempts have failed. Buys beer for the whole group after being rescued at least thrice.
Has a stock 4x4 but drives as if it were the Paris-Dakar rally. Insists on crossing all obstacles even if it means he will lose a fender or two. Binary style of driving. Loves challenges (even if no one challenged him) Has a tow strap that's on its last legs. Usually is the last man standing at the after-party.
The Mall Crawler
This guy will have a dozen auxiliary lights, huge AT tyres and a big thumping subwoofer on his 4x4. DJ of the convoy. Doesn't like getting his 4x4 dirty. Balks at the first sight of mud. Gets into the trail after a lot of coaxing. Refuses to get down from the vehicle as it might ruin his fancy shoes. Uploads kickass videos of others having fun. Parks as close to solid ground as possible. Leaves the afterparty asap.
The Silent Killer
Has a sleeper off-road vehicle. Looks stock from the outside but has diff locks on both axles, ECU upgrade maybe even an internal roll cage and a 4 point harness. Crosses obstacles with the same ease as parallel parking. Gets a small crowd every time he gets out of the vehicle. Doesn't talk much, at least not until he has downed 3 pegs.
Has a decent off-road vehicle which is peppered with jugaad engineering. Loves getting dirty and rescuing others. Carries a lot of spares and tools. Usually finds a way to temporarily repair vehicles that have broken down. Always has gumboots on. The vehicle wouldn't have been washed for at least a month or two. Is the life of the party.
Has a lovingly maintained old school 4x4. Beams with pride when anybody checks out his vehicle. Doesn't hesitate to get dirty but avoids all the hard obstacles as spares are not easily available. Knows a few off-road tricks which the younger guys don't. Has a couple of bottles of 18-year scotch in the boot. Offers it to all.
Has an SUV that is kitted out for expeditions. The vehicle usually has a lot of stickers from previous road trips. The most important modification would be a drinks cooler. Has 5 co-passengers in various stages of intoxication. Avoids the hard obstacles due to the wheelbase and is usually the secondary recovery guy. Is the back-up drinks provider.
Comes to the entry of the trail in a 2WD. Hitchhikes throughout the trail. Shouts all kinds of instructions (usually the wrong kind). Extremely enthusiastic. Helps with recovery. Covered head to toe in the muck at the end of the day. Settles down with a drink in a quiet spot and contemplates trading in for a 4x4.
The Flower Power
Female offroader. Has a decent 4x4 with important mods and a spotless interior. Can off-road with the best. Deflates alpha male egos on a regular basis. Doesn't hesitate to ask questions or answer them. Surprises most men with her ability to down drinks while staying relatively upright.
Clueless about off-roading. Bought a 4x4 because the TV advert said it was cool to have one. Enters the trail in 2wd. Loses it when someone asks him to shift to 4wd. Has cheap knock off tyres because the seller saw him coming from a mile away. The last guy to get rescued. Gets into arguments after a peg or two.
The ‘RFC' types
Has a vehicle that has been extensively modified. Has taken part and won in at least 1 heavy-duty off-road competition. Is considered the "Yoda" of off-roading by his buddies. Loves to answer all kinds of questions about his vehicle. Encourages everyone to get stuck so his expensive and powerful winch gets some run time. Is the primary recovery guy. Gets everyone drunk but stays relatively sober.
Starts as the Pilot but ends up as the sweep or starts as the Sweep and ends up as the Pilot. Has a standard 4x4 with functional ham radio. Is the first/last guy to attempt all obstacles. Makes sure everyone crosses the trail safely. Shouts at everyone who doesn't follow protocol, but makes peace immediately after. Is the bartender at the afterparty because his vehicle has all the drinks and the ice.
The Factory Guy
Has a standard 4x4 but with some prototype mods. Is flooded with questions the minute he rolls down his windows. Is very accommodating. Gives tips and tricks on maintaining vehicles. Has a huge contact base. Doesn't drink much lest he gave away prototype secrets/details. One of the last guys to leave the after-party.
The Family Man
Has a standard 4x4 with some essential mods. Gets his family along. Usually has a panicky co-driver and very enthusiastic/excited kids who also double up as video recorders. Has a habit of blocking the convoy due to his secondary hobby of sightseeing. Slow and steady driving style. The first guy to leave the party.
The All-Terrain Mile Muncher
Is the all-rounder of the group. Has a heavily modified 4x4. A lot of experience when it comes to off-road shenanigans. Is the best spotter. Is the second-best driver. Doesn't compete. Usually does the recce. Tows broken down vehicles back to tarmac. Gives practical advice about off-roading as well as life and how to live it. Drinks like a fish and passes out in the backseat of his 4x4.
Thanks to the lockdown I came up with the patience required to write this down. Do add any more ‘characters' that I might have missed.
Content & Photos provided by Akhil Nayak.
Note: Pictures of the Jeeps don't match with the characters. They are just for reference.