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Words and pictures by Greg O’Donoghue (C-Dynamics). How to choose the right battery Battery types Flooded-cell thin-plate cold-cranking batteries (your typical automotive start battery). Universal batteries, capable of providing good cold-cranking amps (CCA) and a fair cycling capability – a good all-round choice. Deep-cycle or traction batteries, designed to provide numerous deep discharges with a long lifespan – thick plate, robust construction. Lithiumion (Li-ion) batteries, which are light, with a small footprint, and excellent deep-cycle capability – they accept very high charge rates. Most of these batteries are available in open vented cells or in a sealed maintenance-free configuration. Charging

Words by Jess Fogarty Pictures by Jess Fogarty and various Getting to know the ropes A rope is a rope is a rope. Right? Wrong! There’s a lot more to a rope than meets the eye. In this article we discuss ropes, their different properties and functions, and which ones are best suited to our off-road needs. So strap yourself in; it’s going to be an educational ride! When you drive off-road, one thing is a given: everything shakes and rattles about. If you’re unlucky, something might actually fall right off; which is why you need the right rope either

Words by Grant Spolander. Pictures by Grant Spolander and Craig Fox. Traction gurus Mickey Thompson tyres are synonymous with high-performance motorsport, but this company also caters for off-road enthusiasts. We recently chatted with the folks at ATS – the sole distributors for Mickey Thompson products in SA – along with the brand’s international marketing manager, Bill O’Roake, to learn more about their products and future offerings. SA4x4: Bill, Mickey Thompson’s products are well regarded among professional racing drivers, but what separates your tyres from competing brands in the off-road enthusiast market? BILL: We can’t speak for competing tyre manufacturers, as

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander. Cutting Edge Not all products are worth writing about. Take an axe, for instance; what can I tell you about a sharp chunk of steel with a rubber handle? Um, it chops wood, the end. But here I am, writing a product review about an axe. Specifically, the Silky Nata. So, what makes this chopper so special? Well, it’s the greatest axe I’ve ever used and if I don’t write something about the Nata I’d feel like King Arthur trying to keep Excalibur a secret. At first glance, it may remind you of a

Words and pictures by Richard van Ryneveld. Don’t Pass this Up Behind the wheel of a powerful BMW X6, contributor Richard van Ryneveld, feathers his way through the Eastern Cape’s high country. It’s a journey through dew-covered valleys, snow-speckled passes and quiet villages (home to friendly country folk and delicious pub grub). The editor’s email grabbed my attention straight away, “I’ve been thinking about running a story about driving the mountain passes of the Eastern Cape in the new BMW X6. Do you think it’s viable?” Well, I’d been up to this area many years ago and had never forgotten

Words and pictures by Adam Cruise. The other kgalagadi In a quest to feel more a part of nature and less apart from it, Adam Cruise visits the Botswanan section of the Kgalagadi Transfontier Park, a place which doesn’t feature on too many itineraries. It’s an area that personifies wilderness, where you don’t need a passport, just a reliable 4×4. Us humans seem to be becoming less and less part of the natural world, and conversely, nature has is being forced into a place where it’s part of our world, almost like a shopping mall or an amusement park. We

Words and pictures by Grant Spolander PRODUCT REVIEW: ALU-CAB LUNCHBOX Here’s the scenario: you’re about to cross the Zim border, and up to this point you’ve done everything possible to ensure a smooth border crossing. But unfortunately, there’s little you can do about the corrupt border official asking you for a bribe. So what’s the solution? You’re a man of principle and you don’t want to pay for a dodgy deal. Well, I’m not kidding when I say this, but you’ve gotta make yourself a cup of coffee. Getting upset will do you no good. In fact, crooked border officials

Here’s a question: what’s the most indispensable item you can take with you on an overland journey? A spare tyre perhaps – it would be really stupid to venture beyond the confines of your suburb without one. Even so, it’s quite possible you won’t end up needing it. Some might say good after-market suspension to get you over those tough bits, or a long-range fuel tank, or maybe a reliable GPS, or an electric tyre pump and compressor, or a dual-battery system. What about an on-board fridge to keep those all-important beers perfectly chilled? These are important items, but are

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