Life is all about choices. The choices you make always affect an outcome.
This is no different in the Rebelle. You will make some key choices before and during the rally that will (or won’t) make it a more enjoyable and successful event.
Choosing a teammate:
Your teammate is such an important choice, as you will plan, prepare, compete, and camp together. Hopefully, you will encourage each other and be each other’s best teammate. If you have not competed in an event like this, and I mean one that lasts for many days, look for a woman who is competent, hard working, fun, has a strong sense of adventure, and sees the world as the glass half full. Remember, the technical skills are learned skills, but personality traits are core to someone’s being and deeply rooted. Your ability to communicate well and respectfully, find solutions, and laugh will most likely be tested at more than one point during your journey.
And my advice for being each other’s best teammate is to be the best you can be at your job. I’ve seen many people pick apart the other person. But the best thing you can do is look within and make sure you are doing your best job. Lead by example.
Choosing your vehicle:
Your vehicle will have an impact on several items – your comfort, capability, and possibly your outcome. Since this is not a race for speed, you have the opportunity to bring a very comfortable ride. Comfort will help the fatigue factor, and that matters over a week off-road. (And of course, your driving style heavily impacts your comfort level.) Here are some items to consider:
– You will be in and out of your car often.
– A durable vehicle is key. It will handle multiple days off-road, navigating rocks, ruts, washouts, dunes. Durability goes hand in hand with smooth and careful driving, but a well-built, dependable vehicle is most likely to get you to the finish line and able to drive back home when you finish.
– Do you need a lifted vehicle? No, but an SUV, pickup or CUV that has good ground clearance as part of its design and tall tires, will be important. This is a 4-wheel drive/all-wheel drive event, not a car rally such as Rally America. Although there are plenty of fun roads, double tracks, and transit sections on pavement, you will want a nimble vehicle with ground clearance, and excellent off-road Light Truck tires.
Choosing your gear:
You don’t need to go out and spend a bunch of money on fancy gear. However, you will need some key basics for camping, and important provisioning items for your vehicle. Since you will be camping each night, you will want to sleep well! A comfortable sleeping pad and sleeping bag, housed inside a quality tent will help you get a good night’s sleep. And don’t forget a pillow! Your most favorite comfortable pillow in a giant Ziploc bag. Trust me.
Given the time of year, a 20° bag should work well. A sub zero bag may prove to be too warm, but from my experience, a bag rated above 30° will not be enough in case the temperatures are lower than the seasonal average. Don’t scrimp on the sleeping pad. Personally, I like saving weight and space, but can’t stand that feeling that nagging rock in my back, and find that Exped and Big Agnes quality inflatable pads do the job well. However, trust me, regardless of which one you choose, you do need to test you’re your sleeping pad before arriving on the Rebelle. You will not be able to camp in your car when in Base Camp. Your car will be parked in “impound,” so a rooftop tent or sleeping inside will not be an option, unless you choose to do so on the self-camp night.
There are some really important gear pieces that are critical for your vehicle. But whatever you bring, know how to use it! The list of recommended items is on the website FAQs. However, here are a few items that are just critical.
MAXTRAX – We can’t praise MAXTRAX enough. DON’T leave home without them. These are traction devices that are light-weight, extremely strong, and easy to use. You will be shocked at the seemingly impossible stuck situations these will get you out of – quickly.
Compressor – A dependable, durable tire compressor is a must. You literally cannot do the Rebelle without it. Onboard air is awesome, but a portable is extremely convenient and gets the job done well. Here are a couple recommendations:
Do you need a winch? We personally don’t believe you need a winch. This is not an extreme 4×4 event. MAXTRAX, shovel, and a tow strap should be plenty.
Tires – “Your vehicle is only as good as the tires it’s riding on.” Tires are a dedicated blog post, so stay tuned.
So to wrap up today’s words of advice up, this information will not determine your outcome in the rankings, but it will definitely help you have a more positive experience. And that never hurts!