Here’s the thing – I’m always amused by a man who is the weekend warrior. His shoes have been out together by a machine and made from synthetic material. He (or she) is wearing the best and latest moisture shedding clothing – and they’ve usually got a Leatherman or another multitool strapped to their belt. (head on here for the best multi tool these days)
The truth of the matter is that they wouldn’t have a clue how to use that tool. And trust me – I’ve lived in Africa for my entire life.
We don’t wear those because they’re cool – we wear them because without them you might be dead.
Imagine a situation where you 4×4 breaks down. You’re in a dry river bed. Plenty of water (if you dig), trees and bush will enable you to build a shelter. Sounds great.
Have you ever tried to take down thorn bushes? That’s where the Leatherman comes in handy. Most of them have both blades and saws. Takes a bit of time – but beats being cut to pieces.
Here’s another hint. Don’t sleep in river beds. A sudden thunderstorm in a river bed will sweep you all away. Strip out everything from the 4×4 and abandon it. I’m talking about stripping everything.
All the car seats – strip the covers. And if you don’t have a multitool good luck with doing that. Break off the side mirrors. They’re great for signalling.
Take the carpets – cut them out. If you’re in any sub Saharan semi desert environment it’s going to get cold – sometimes below freezing during the night. Those carpets need to be laid down as sleeping mats. Cut open the seats and remove the lining and the stuffing – you’ll be much more comfortable and warmer in the evening with those under you.
You could of course stay in the car – but when you hear the thunder and the car is stalled in a dry river bed you’d be a fool to stick around.
Africa is completely unforgiving of people who don’t have the right equipment. A multitool will probably save your life.
If you have the time before the storm hits cut through the rubberized material that holds on the front windscreen. Remove it and take it to your new campsite – it’ll be the best reflector you’ll ever have when the rescue planes come around.
Fire is your best friend. Once the bonnet is open look for any containers and piping. Undo them or cut them out. Piping is useful – use the oldest trick in the book and suck out the diesel or gas and keep it in a container made from a windscreen wiper fluid dispenser or brake fluid container (getting them out of the engine compartment is almost impossible without a multitool) – these are your best bet if you can use the container and the fluid to light a rescue beacon. Dirty smoke is your friend.
Every single part of that automobile is absolutely essential for your survival – gut it. Take it all to the bank of the river – and do it fast.
This may seem like fantasy – but for those who have spent their lives in Africa it’s reality – a Leatherman or multitool can save your life.