About Rough As Guts

Starting an outback tour business was inevitable for Toby Richardson. 

Growing up in the remote Pilbara and later the Kimberley, he was first reported missing at the age of 7 and again at 10. Both times, he had no idea he was missing, he was just out exploring.

A lot has changed since then, and his communication systems while on an adventure are much more sophisticated. What hasn’t changed is a total love for the outback and a love of being able to show it to people.

What's the go with the Rough As Guts blog?

Extending Rough As Guts into a content website came from our increasing frustration with the amount of bullshit advice that’s out there when it comes to 4×4 and camping.

The internet has created a lot of great things. Readily available information and entertainment can be found for any niche, including for off-roading. Unfortunately, what it has also brought is a surplus of amateur opinion espoused as fact as well as prominent influencers endorsing whichever products have the biggest marketing budget.

We’ve been doing this a long time and have seen the scene and the industry change a lot. There’s thousands of products that are being sold or recommended as essential that we did perfectly fine without, before they were being made.

The covid lockdown surge of 4WD, camping accessory and caravan sales has changed the landscape more than ever. More people own a wider range of products than we have ever seen and while it’s good to see people giving it a go, a lot of manufacturers have jumped at the opportunities that an amateur user base have presented.

There’s now such an abundance of useless blog spam targeting this market, as amateurs have been looking for advice. 
What frustrates us the most, is just how much “advice” there is recommending “must have” or “essential” products that are nothing more than luxuries, but newcomers to four wheel driving are being told they have to buy all this crap.

The Rough As Guts blog is our answer to the current madness. A loud, opinionated and unapologetic source of information that covers everything to do with four wheel driving, overland touring, camping and anything related.

We might be loud and a bit obnoxious, but we’ll never bullshit you.

Independently Endorsed by Rough As Guts

Our endorsement program is where we independently rate and review the best four wheel drive and camping products by category and/or value.

We are totally independent and do not receive any payments for any of our reviews or endorsements. Our whole brand is built around saying it like it is with total honesty, often to the point of being brazen and audacious. Our endorsement program is where we concentrate on this approach the most.

How Are Our Reviews Different to Canstar Blue, TrustPilot and Others?

There are existing ratings and endorsements for a lot of products and businesses. Canstar Blue is such a source, for independent, unbiased ratings. However, is unbiased what we need and is their methodology sufficient?

Canstar Blue determines who gets their 5-star badge based only on the customer satisfaction rating. In the event of a tie, only then do they look at individual categories such as durability or value to determine a winner. Their recommendation of Michelin as the best tyre brand for 2023, is only based on customer satisfaction which is an arbitrary metric that is no doubt being reviewed by grannies, weekend cyclists, and even Prius drivers.

After all, if you survey everyone about what the best sparkling wine is, you’ll end up with Yellow because it pleases the masses for a cheap price, or Dom Perignon, because that’s what people think they should say. Instead, if you consulted the Halliday Wine Companion, you’re not getting a democratic consensus, but you are getting an informed opinion. While the bottle of Dom I was once given was indeed a cracking shampers for the brief moment it lasted, if they’d read Halliday and bought me 5 bottles of Gilbert’s Blanc de Blancs for the same price, it could have become a whole day of it.

By the same token, most coffee connoisseurs wouldn’t nominate a McDonalds cappuccino as their favourite brew, but if you survey the masses, it’s probably the answer you’ll get, because it’s a very unoffensive (non-distinct) blend and most people have tried it. However, if you’re after a recommendation for an excellent coffee, that’s not going to cut it. This is why vanilla is the most popular flavour of ice cream by miles, but is it anyone’s favourite?

In the same way that democracy somehow let an Anthony Albanese led Labor party with a 32% priority vote form a majority and take parliament, non-selective user generated reviews rarely give you good advice and instead give you terrible PMs. Canstar’s use of customer satisfaction ratings to determine the winner of best car tyre, seems flawed to say the least.

Afterall, the average punter likes a tyre that lasts a long time. This can be achieved by using a harder rubber compound that doesn’t wear as quickly, but the problem with this is that it reduces traction. My ex-girlfriend trying to save money while driving a Toyota Yaris, was always happy with cheap tyres that lasted a long time, regardless of the fact that they were terrible tyres. Furthermore, her tailgating other people during the first rain of the year and having to stomp the brakes coming into a roundabout, would lead to user generated feedback of poor performance in the wet, even if they were great tyres (which they weren’t).

Ultimately, while we are a less subjective source than a company such as Canstar Blue, we do know what we’re talking about when it comes to four wheel driving and camping. You don’t have to use our advice, but we happily give it.