Insuring your future: how tech will make your next off-road adventure safer [Sponsored]


Insuring your future‘ is a four-part series exploring how technology is working to keep you safe as you make your way through the world. In this, the first article in the series, we look at how a variety of technologies are coming together to make your next off-road trip safer.

This is it. You’ve been saving up money, and leave, for ages and you’re finally ready to take that off-road trip you’ve been dreaming about for years. As it draws nearer, the city seems increasingly claustrophobic and the relative peace of the bush that much more alluring.

Of course it does. Who wouldn’t rather watch a sunrise over the Indian Ocean from a Mozambican beach, or the sun set over a river in the Okavango Delta than face the daily onslaught of their inbox?

Of course, the wild comes with its own perils (and we’re not just talking about animals raiding your cooler box here), so you’d best be prepared. Step one is to make sure you’ve got comprehensive cover from and insurer like Santam. Step two is take a look at the latest in off-roading and adventure tech and assess what you’ll need on your journey of a lifetime.

This article aims to make that second step easier by showing you the advancements being made in tech when it comes to off-road motoring, camping, and wilderness survival.

The Wheels

Wherever your allegiances lie when it comes to vehicle choice (watch a debate between any two Land Rover and Toyota Land Cruiser drivers and you’ll see how deep those allegiances run), there can be no doubt that the world’s top 4X4 manufacturers are putting a heck of a lot of work into technology aimed at making their vehicles even more at home in their natural environments.

As Land Rover prepares to bid farewell to the Defender for instance, it’s introducing a raft of new technologies designed to go into future versions of its vehicles.

One of the most promising of these technologies combines a head-up-display with cameras located in the vehicle’s grille to effectively render your bonnet see-through. Anyone who’s ever gone over a steep verge and onto an unseen rock will appreciate the benefits of this. Aside from getting a clearer sense of the terrain at hand, the tech also allows you to see the angle and position of the front wheels, which will be a massive help when navigating tricky terrain.

Land Rover’s luxury division Range Rover appears to be making off-roading a heck of a lot more comfortable. Its new SVAutobiography special edition includes reclining seats, a chiller compartment (so you never have to suffer the indignity of a warm drink while on safari) and powered deployable tables. It’s also working on technology that will allow its cars to autonomously adjust to conditions.

Now your hardcore off-road fanatic may object to this kind of machine interference, but it seems pretty obvious that it could be life-saver, especially at the end of a tough day’s driving.

Advances in-car design have also allowed manufacturers to pack the kind of tech more typically found in big, lumbering 4X4s. Just look at the Jeep Renegade Sport, which is based on the Fiat 500L. It might not get you across the Kalahari, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Setting up camp

Once you’ve climbed every mountain and forded every stream in your high-tech vehicle, it’ll come time to set up camp at the end of the day. And here too it seems we’ve come a long way from the old canvas tents that leaked like sieves every time it rained.

If you’re a rugged outdoorsy type who still likes to have their tech comforts as they settle down for the night, you might be keen to get your hands on something like the tent mobile network Orange developed for the Glastobury music festival a few years back. Among the features included in the tent were a built-in heating element in the groundsheet and solar panels for recharging your devices.

Orange Tent

It may have been a once-off, but there are other tents with solar panels legitimately on the market. And if you want something with a little extra power for extended stays, there are options for that too.

Setting up a powerful shower is also a lot easier now too, thanks to equipment like the Helio high pressure shower. And if you find your water reserves running low, something like Camelbak All Clear Water Purifier means that you can purify water from sources you aren’t certain about in as little as 60 seconds.

Staying powered

When it comes to keeping your devices charged on your trip meanwhile, there are a whole host of options, ranging from using your car’s internal power to solar packs. One of the most interesting though is the BioLite Camping Stove, which allows you to charge a device at the same time as you’re cooking dinner.

BioLite Stove

The best part? It does so by burning wood.

Be Safe

Santam App

As you embark on your journey though, you might feel a little better knowing that your family and friends are aware of your location. In that case, you might want to try out the new Santam App with Be Safe, which allows them to keep an eye on your location while you’re out on the road. Using the app, you can set a different “guardian” for each journey. Once you’ve started your trip, they will securely be sent the relevant details, including your start and end points and how long you expect to get from one to the other. You can nominate Guardians from your phone’s contacts and they don’t even need a smartphone to follow you, as SMS alerts are sent out. The app is available for download on iOS and Android.



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