So you’ve just bought a 4-wheel drive vehicle with a lift kit and oversized tires. Now you’re ready to head into the backcountry for a day of off-roading, right? Wrong! You don’t want to be that guy that is borrowing tools from another off-roader to fix a flat or the man who has to bum water off his friends because he didn’t bring anything to drink with him. It’s not a good way to keep friends, and you could get yourself into a lot of trouble if you go into the backcountry without being prepared. Here are some tips to make sure that you take all the things you need to be self-sufficient, you when you go off-roading.
What type of off-roading you do is going to have a definite impact on what you need to bring with you. Where you go, and how rugged the terrain is, will determine what parts you tend to break on your vehicle and how frequently those breaks occur. You’ll benefit by networking with other more experienced off-roaders who can advise you about what parts you’ll want to carry with you, and the tools you’ll need to install them.
There are also some things that every off-roader should have along when the tires leave the pavement, regardless of the type of off-roading they do. Having them will prevent a lot of frustration and hassle for the entire group, assuming that you aren’t going out alone. While working together to navigate through significant challenges is a bonding experience for the team, wasting time with what should be a quick fix for a self-sufficient person is one of the reasons why people will stop inviting you to join them on off-roading trips.
If you have this list of must-haves with you before you drive off-road, your buddies will respect you more, and your experiences will be more enjoyable:
Something To Put Your Stuff In
Do not underestimate the value of having something sturdy in which to keep your gear. If you don’t have something to store your gear in properly; everything that you bring will get tossed around inside your truck, and you’ll have to search for the tool you need. In the worst case scenario, such as with a roll-over, your loose gear could actually turn into dangerous projectiles. Getting hit in the head with a tire wrench won’t only potentially end your outing for the day, it could end your life. Be sure to buy a sturdy box that can be bolted in.
What To Put In Your Off-Roading Tool Box
*Snatch Strap – Choose one that has a rating 3 to 4 times the weight of your vehicle. Nylon is best to allow the strap to stretch.
*Shackles – Used to attach the snatch strap to the vehicle at its recovery point. Choose one with at least a ¾ ton rating.
*LED Flashlight – You’ll wish you had one the first time you get in trouble and run out of daylight. Buy one with either magnets or hooks to attach near your workspace, and make sure your batteries are charged before you go out.
*Recovery Boards – You can choose from a variety of them. They are used to provide additional traction when you get stuck. They can also be used to dig a fire pit or latrine in a pinch.
*Old Boards – So useful in so many ways. You’ll be glad you have them if you need to repair a tire. They’ll provide a solid surface to place your jack on, and make the process much safer.
*Tire Repair Kit – This one pretty much speaks for itself.
*Air Compressor – Use to replace air you let out of your tires for additional traction.
*Jump Starter – There’s not always another vehicle around to jump your battery.
*Hand Tool Kit – Buy a comprehensive kit with everything you’ll need to work on your vehicle.
*Work Gloves – Spare your hands, wear gloves.
*GPS Navigation – Make sure yours provides off-road navigation. You never know when you’ll get lost.
Another item to take with you would be a good backpack in the event that you are planning a hike in the area where you are doing your off-roading or getting to your favorite hiking and backpacking destination spot by way of using some off-roads. In a more extreme scenario, you may find yourself having to hike out of the backcountry where you are off-roading should your truck become disabled. Having said that, it is not necessarily recommended that you leave your truck if it becomes stuck or inoperable. However, in extreme circumstances, there may be a need for you to do so and having a good backpack with you will allow for you to carry the necessities of your hike.
Head into the field with all of these tools, and you’ll be set up for success. Your buddies will be impressed with your level of preparation, and you’ll always have peace of mind that you’ll be able to get out of most situations unscathed.