Monday, July 14, 2003
Ron Sorem ©2001
|You find yourself "off".
probably of your own doing. feeling a bit
foolish, and begin to assess your circumstances.
Do you have enough warm clothing? Water?
Food? Do you have something to use to
start a fire? Do you know how to start
Rally cars go to some exotic and faraway
places. Whether summer in the desert
of Arizona where heat is a problem, or winter
in the BC forests, or on the Alcan, competitors
should put together a survival kit.
This may be more important than the first
When rallying in the snow and cold, small
problems can turn into big problems in a
Our last excursion lasted an hour and a
half before first sweep. We had (.I
had) ignored the suggestion at the Novice
Meeting (we weren't Novices) to buy a local
newspaper and get some matches before you
leave town. Just in case. We did manage
to borrow a lighter from second sweep, another
hour after the first, and soon had a warming
fire growing, away from the car, in the
cover of the trees. We managed to
find dry grass and fir boughs under the
snow, under the trees. Adding lichen
and moss, then breaking off the dead lower
limbs from the trees around the fire, we
built up a small flame, enough to hold while
we searched for bigger, dry wood--deadfalls
and blown down branches, up to 3 inches,
which we could drag to the fire and break
into a manageable size. The fire felt
good. We were actually warm enough.
We'd cleared snow away near the fire and
piled dry needle litter around to stand
on, instead of the frozen ground.
Comfy? .Not really.
As good as it was, doubt crept in.
Co-Driver asked, "What if the tow truck
doesn't find the road?" Driver responded,
"They will. But sweep said they'd
come back if we didn't check in at the finish."
The shortfall of this statement was that
they may not come back, they may assume
everything went as planned, and you may
be waiting for a very long time. (I
was asked by sweep when I did check in,
if I'd seen anything of another car, which
was still missing and unaccounted for.)
(Pay attention at the driver's meetings,
and get emergency numbers.)
|Here is a condensed version
of RallyBC's "Required Equipment for Tech
(Note that a 10-BC is preferred and probably
should be within reach of the co-driver)
|Reflective warning triangle(s).
||Basic First Aid Kit.
||5-BC min Fire Extinguisher.
Working: Proper safety belts for
all people in the vehicle.
||Safe tires, including spare.
||(Note that defroster operation
should be checked too.)
"Significant loose objects" must be placed
in trunk OR if kept in passenger compartment
must be tied down adequately to hold position
during a possible rollover.
|No loose gas cans.
||Roll bars encouraged
In addition to the above,
there is a "Recommended Equipment" list:
|4 studded snow tires
|| Ice Scraper
|A quick note about running
in deep snow (over the bumper powder).
It gets into everything. Stop
as soon as you can and see that the engine
compartment hasn't filled with snow, and that
the radiator and grille are still unobstructed.
Also, if you park the radiator in a snowbank,
dig out the grille and radiator quickly, before
the snow melts and then refreezes into one
big ice cube. Thanks to all those whose rally
stories contributed to the make-up of this
This is only a starting point but
I'm hoping this will help, somewhere down
|Winter Rally Survival
- Water. you dehydrate even in
the cold. take maybe two liters
or more per person.
- Food. energy bars, clif bars,
snacks, trail mix, canned fruit with pull-top,
several MRE's etc.
(Remember you can last a long time without
food, but not very long without water, drink
a lot of water!).
- Batteries. for your flashlights.
(Also those little LED key chain lights
- Tow straps. maybe two lengths.
2 @ 25' or 30'-you, or someone else may
be a long ways "off".
(Note that tow straps usually have "loops"
at both ends and coincidentally most cars
have "loops" for tow rings or tie-downs.
get something that will hook loop-to-loop
like a 3000# carabiner or quick link. or
get a tow rope with "hooks" at both ends)
- "Come-along".In addition to this, a
short length of chain for a "choker" to
a tree, a rock, etc.
- Fire starter.(matches, lighter, flint
stick & tinder, etc.) (Highway flares
work great but may be considered "hazardous
materials" at the border crossing-maybe
pick up after clearing customs)
- Fire materials. (Paper, sterno, starting
fluid for the car and the fire)
(Worst-case scenario you can light a spare
tire or seat cushion for a signal fire).
- Space Blankets. pack two per person.
use as ground cloth, reflector for the
fire, shelter, whatever.
- Chemical light sticks. put one in your
pocket just in case all your flashlights
- Chemical hand warmer packets. (Pack
a few, they have pretty much unlimited
shelf life and can be used for hands and
feet and ears). If you can keep
your Head covered, your Hands and Feet
dry and warm, you can retain most of your
body heat. If you are wet and cold, try
to get into dry clothing ASAP!
- Gloves or mittens. Extras, to put on
after you've gotten wet trying to dig
out the car.
- Shortened garden hoe. to get under
the car and pull snow to the outside.
then you can shovel.
- Eye Protection. clear goggles. for
protection building a fire, working on
the car, or while driving the car out
without a windshield.
- Saucepan. old, two-quart, or similar
for digging snow, melting snow, heating
coffee, cocoa, tea, soup packets, etc.
Note that if the car's engine still runs,
just can't move, you can heat with the
- Disposable coveralls. Tyvek®, they're
water repellant; provide an extra thermal
layer & cool winter camouflage if
you need to hide in plain sight.
- Camp axe or saw. the axe could
double for possible bodywork, but might
take some explanation at the border crossings.
The USFS used to require everyone entering
the woods carry a "shovel, axe and bucket"
even a canvas bucket.
- Jumper Cables.
- Lug Wrench.
- Siphon Hose.
- Antifreeze/Coolant mix. Gallon min.
- Oil. One or two Quarts min.
- Fan Belt(s).
- Electrical Tape.
- Racer's Tape.
- Metal police whistle.
- Multi-Tool. with good knife
- Plywood pad. ¾ inch (12x12)
so the jack doesn't sink.
- Epoxy putty. ready-mix in a tube, for
gas tank, oil pan, radiator tank.
- Nuts, bolts, and washers. in
the usual sizes that fall off your car.
- Tools. to put the stuff back
on your car.
- Drop cloths. a couple of cheap
poly tarps for working on or under the
car. or for shelter from the weather.
(and maybe a section of clear plastic
for a makeshift window, racer-taped to
the space where there used to be glass
before the roll.)
- Detailed Local Map. to find where
you are, to direct someone to pick you
up, etc. Most route books will have
some reference to the general area, but
most will not have all the roads named.
If you can follow a local map and refer
to the turns in the route book, you should
be able to get help to you...
- Emergency Radio. If you have
access to Cell Phone service great, if
not, try Ham, CB, or FRS radios.
Surprisingly even these last two short-range
radios may be able to reach great distances
at night, depending on the atmospheric
conditions and the bounce off the ionosphere.
You might not be able to talk to anyone
two miles away but might be able to reach
a hundred miles away. As long as
they can call for help that's all you
- Old knapsack or duffle bag.
for "the kit". stays with the car,
in the trunk, or belted in the back.
- Use this checklist and check it every
Subaru RX Rally Team