Unsealed 4X4 staffers take a trip down memory lane and pick their top 10 articles from 2017…
It’s been a big year at Unsealed 4X4 HQ.
We’ve had a change of Editor (we miss you Blade), we’ve worn out probably 10 sets of tyres, and the diesel bill has so many zeros at the end of it we are thinking about installing a bio-diesel refinery. But it has been a rewarding year, having seen so many great new products, custom vehicles and travel yarns from all around the country. It’s downright inspiring.
Being that the silly season has passed, and we are now staring down the barrel of a new year, it seemed right that we take a moment to reflect on the year that was 2017. We sat down around the boardroom table, locked the door and didn’t leave until we had whittled down our list to the top 10 articles we feel have run in Unsealed 4X4 in 2017.
The good news is things certainly haven’t slowed down for 2018. We’d love to hear what your favourite articles were, and what you would like us to cover in 2018. Oh, and a massive cheers to you – the reader – for coming along on the journey.
THE DAY A BULLBAR SAVED MY LIFE
This is one article that really caught our attention. It isn’t every day you get footage of a 4X4 out for an early morning drive, only to hit a wild brumby. The footage is distressing, especially to horse lovers. But it is a massive reminder of why we fit bullbars to our vehicles. The writer was able to walk away from this accident; his HiLux was a complete write-off however. In saying that, we would hate to think what would have happened if he didn’t have good frontal protection.
WHY MOST MODERN UTE TOW RATINGS ARE BULLS#!T
Sam hit the nail on the head with this article – diving deep into the murky waters that are tow ratings. It seems while manufacturers are in a pissing match to have the highest ‘claimed’ tow rating, the reality that for some you wouldn’t be able to even have a passenger in the vehicle if towing to max capacity is a deadset concern. If you are looking at purchasing a dual-cab ute for the purpose of towing, you would be mad not to read this article.
THE SAS’D D40 NAV
We’ve run so many different types of custom off-roaders in Unsealed 4X4, but this was one of the first tough-tourers we featured that just had us scratching our heads. Wes did an awesome job of putting it together, because… how do you get so much info onto so few pages? This is easily the most modified D40 Navara in Australia, where the owner has re-engineered the work that Nissan originally put in. And the results? Well they really speak for themselves. This is one insane custom 4X4.
9 THINGS I’VE LEARNED FROM CAMPING DISASTERS
Glenn is one of our most seasoned freelancers, who seems to have itchy feet as he doesn’t like sitting around for longer than 20 minutes. In this piece, he took an honest approach to the things that have gone wrong (and can go wrong) while out exploring. As a magazine, it is our job to sell the dream… well the reality is things can and do go wrong. It’s not the mistake that counts though folks; it’s how you fix it that counts. If just one of these nine tips helps you out on your next trip, we’ve done our job.
7 REASONS BIG LIFTS STINK FOR TOURING 4X4s
I had a lot of fun putting this one together, and the response from social media was overwhelming. It was actually a really good discussion – with those who have run big lifts in the past (myself included) agreeing that for a touring-based 4X4, big lifts stink. Sure, they have their place and the younger readers were quick to call me an old fuddy duddy (or something similar). These are the sorts of discussions we like to have however; and we hope we achieved the goal of showing people you don’t need a 4-inch lift and 35s to visit Cape York, for example.
RECOVERY SHACKLES TESTED TO DESTRUCTION
Simply put, this article went nuts. The second we posted a picture of a broken shackle on social media, not only did it go immediately viral but the aftermarket industry were on the phones demanding to know what was going on. We learnt a lot doing this test; mainly that a good-quality rated shackle is worth spending the money on. Don’t even think about unrated shackles. Also, soft shackles were a surprise – especially the differences in running them on sharp edges. The results genuinely shocked us (sorry to get all click-baity, but they did).
BEYOND BOURKE STREET – CAN GOING BUSH REALLY SAVE A LIFE?
This certainly is a heavy topic, but an important one to address. Can going bush save a life? Justin set out with a bunch of emergency service and military personnel with a group called the Blue Green Crew. The aim was to provide support and a new experience for those members tragically suffering from post-traumatic stress. Some 18 vehicles took on the Victorian High Country, and all participants learned a lot about themselves and others on the trip.
FOUR-WHEEL DRIVER IDENTIFICATION – WHAT TYPE ARE YOU?
We love a laugh here at Unsealed 4X4, and this submission from Chris was an absolute pearler. They say that stereotypes exist for a reason, and this is very true for the 4X4 scene. Are GQ Patrol owners bogans? Are Jeep owners the Cross-Fit participants of the 4X4 world? How do you know someone goes to Cross-Fit? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you. We won’t put words in Chris’s mouth… if you need a good chuckle and want to put a pit of dirt on your mates, this is the article for you.
HIGH COUNTRY HOONS – DON’T STUFF IT FOR EVERYONE ELSE
We’ve all been there… just found a nice spot to set up camp for the night and before you have dinner wrapped up a thunderous group of Mad Max wannabes rolls through camp with the power of a hundred AC/DC concerts. Toby was in this exact situation, and we don’t know how he maintained his composure. The moral of this story is ‘don’t be a jerk when you are camping’. Respect others, and you will have a good time. And for goodness sake, don’t set up camp right next to others… some of us enjoy peace and quiet.
THE GENUINE PARTS RORT – WHY YOU SHOULDN’T BELIEVE AFTERMARKET GEAR IS BAD
This article, again written by Sam, was a real eye-opener. We have since been in touch with industry bodies, some whom were for and some against our stance on the matter. The truth is, there is a thriving aftermarket range when it comes to 4X4 accessories. Sure, when it comes to spare parts, it is hard to go past genuine; but that is not to say there aren’t great-quality aftermarket parts available. Do your research. This article is an excellent place to start.