When you go off-roading a set of tools is essential and sometimes can save you in a difficult situation. You will need gear for fixing, repairing, and maintaining your vehicle. There is no hard-set rule about which equipment you should have because your vehicle is part of you and only you know what will be best. But we can give you some basic guidelines from where you can start to collect your toolbox for off-road trips.
Before starting on your trip mark fueling stations on the map, especially as you approach not very populated areas. Before going off the road fill up your tank. You should also have extra fuel, and keep it easily accessible. You can use plastic 5-gallon cans or metal ones. Plastic ones are lighter and don’t create much noise in the trunk. As far as the amount of fuel, it is always better to overestimate and take more. Remember that while off-roading you spend more fuel.
No matter what navigation technologies you use, you must have them. A good old paper map is a must. It will not break, it will not go bad and it will save you in situations when everything else fails. You can buy a map of the area in a visitor center or download it and print it out. And don’t forget to learn to read the map, otherwise, it will be a useless piece of paper.
There are many smartphone apps and GPS technologies that you can use for navigation, from such manufacturers as Garmin, Overlander, and others. They have big screens and are easily mountable in your car. You can save your pre-planned routes, mark the points that you are interested in, and they will stay connected where regular phone service doesn’t work. You can also navigate to places of interest that you find on the map.
You can use GPS or radio for communication. If you need short-range communication (for example, between the members of your team in different vehicles) use CB radios. You can also send emergency messages with the short-range radio network. The biggest disadvantage of CB radios is that they work only in short-range, and they are not private. HAM radios work in a longer range, and they are much higher quality. You can also use GPS satellite communication from Garmin, which is the leader in this area. You can use these devices for communication, getting weather notifications, viewing maps, etc.
Shovel and Ax
A shovel and ax will be your helpers when off-roading in many situations. You can use them for digging in front of your tires, piecing off a brand, digging snow, or making room for traction boards. And they will be useful at a campsite for preparing the fire, chopping wood or making a place for a tent. These tools must be weatherproof, and the manufacturer doesn’t matter. And you can get an upgraded ax – a chainsaw.
A jack can be used when you need to change a tire. You would need a bottle jack or floor jack for this purpose. A Hi-Lift jack is ok for recovery. Choose the size of the High-Lift jack depending on your vehicle. The bigger jack will be useful in many off-road situations, for example, when you need to go deep in the mud or snow. A floor jack is perfect for a tire change. The drawback is that they are rather expensive and take up much space. A bottle jack is simple and reliable. It is smaller and easy to store in the car. However, it requires you to climb underneath the vehicle.
Winch and Recovery Kit
A winch is a must-have. You should take a synthetic rope for a winch because it is lighter and still does its job. There are many recovery kits at the market with all kinds of tools, you can also add the items that you need. Also, take a recovery strap with you. It has loops on both ends and can be used for various purposes, not only for towing. It is also good to have a snatch block that will help you recover your vehicle or help others.
Tools and Spares
Most off-roaders have a set that is a combination of a factory-made set with some added items that are used most often. To know which tools to take you must know how your particular vehicle works, which parts of the car are vulnerable. And you should know how to solve problems that might arise. The basic tools everyone should have are various wrenches, drive adapters, a hammer, pliers, wire cutters, etc.
Traction boards can be used in many situations, so you should buy a set for your off-road trips.
Traction boards/mats are unique, and their uses are fairly endless. So, get a set, or make a set, and learn how to use them. When you need to dig under your tires, throw a traction board underneath. You can use them together with strap-recovery or a winch.
There is a variety of lighting options on the market so it is easy to get distracted and buy things you don’t need. First of all, take care of all interior lights, markers, reverse lights, and turn signals. Secondly, take care of the headlights. You can also have a light bar mounted to the roof rack. Also, consider having some lights under your truck to illuminate this area when it needs fixing.
Having mobile air lets you adjust the air in the tires during your trip. It is also great for preparing recovery points and cleaning tools. You can use stationary or portable mobile air. Some mobile air kits offer packages with everything you need to use them – hoses, mounting devices, hardware.
When preparing your vehicle for the trip make sure it can carry everything you mount into it, from lights to power stations. Take a power battery to recover your engine in emergencies. If you bring along a fridge or similar gadgets, a second battery is a must.
To conclude, if you go off-roading you should really enjoy it. And to do that the number one rule is being well-prepared. But no matter what preparations you have made, things do happen. So don’t get upset because you are ready to deal with any situation that might arise.