Off-roading with your family can be a ton of fun. After all, what's better than passing on a love of trucks, Jeeps and exploration to your kids? Unfortunately, you usually can't just pile little ones into the backseat and hit the trails. Off-road driving with a family requires some planning and investments, but once you know what needs to be done, it can be easily accomplished.
Educate them first
The first thing you should do before taking your kids off-roading is educate them about the activity. Younger children can learn about the basics of off-road driving, including how to treat the environment, ways to stay safe and similar concepts. As they get older, you can start branching out into the intricacies of being behind the wheel.
A good way to make sure your kids are informed is to educate them on the different types of environments you explore - a method that is easy if you take part in a number of different pastimes. Whether you're mudding, rock crawling or dune bashing, you can take the opportunity to tell your kids more about the unique setting you're in, as well as the different qualities a vehicle needs to handle it. Teaching them these concepts at a young age helps increase the odds they are safer later on.
Plan for breaks
You may be used to driving through the wilderness for hours on end, but all of that will likely change when you bring your kids along. Young children may need frequent breaks to expend their energy or stretch their legs, and you will likely be forced to make more stops than you are used to. Plan for these in your schedule so you have enough time to safely complete a course or trail and make it back home. It could also be beneficial for you to bring along toys for kids to play with during this downtime. Although they may want to explore their surroundings, in the event something goes wrong and you have to tinker with the truck, you will be glad you have some distractions for them.
Invest in the right safety gear
Before you take your kids out off-roading, you should make sure your off-road vehicle has all of the right safety gear. For example, investing in something like a safety harness can provide your kids with additional security - and you with some peace of mind. These harnesses are capable of restraining children and other passengers even as you cross over extremely rugged terrain, and they may be exactly what you're looking for as you explore the wilderness. All of your truck modifications should also be checked to ensure they are secure and ready to handle the rigors of nature.
Have a first aid kit
You should be driving with a first aid kit anyway, but having one when off-roading with kids is especially important. There is no telling when anything from a scrape to a bee sting could derail your adventures. While many of these occurrences may be unavoidable, the least you can do is have the right resources on hand. Make sure your kit is stocked with all of the essentials, plus tweezers to take care of splinters, child-sized bandages and kid-appropriate pain reliever.
Wait for the right age
When you're out on the trails, surrounded by nature with not a soul in sight, it may be tempting to let adolescents take a turn behind the wheel. However, under no circumstances should you let your kids drive until they have the proper license. Similarly, there may be certain off-road courses or competitions that have age or even height requirements. It is important to stick to these rules to ensure the safety of your family and other drivers.