When you go off-roading, there are a number of items that should not be missing in your standard equipment. So what do you take with you when you go off-roading? In this article we list 10 of our most important pieces of equipment. Keep in mind that this list is not all-inclusive, but is based purely on our own experiences. All items listed here are items that we use ourselves.
The absolute number one on this list is a shovel. Why? Because it is simply the most used item within every trip. If you’re stuck in sand, mud or any other terrain, the first step is often to dig yourself out and that’s where a shovel comes in handy. You also need a shovel to, for example, make a hill to get on top of something.
The shovel also comes in handy in many other camping situations. You can think of going to the toilet in the woods (making a hole) or extinguishing a campfire with a pile of sand. The shovel is a frequently used tool on any camping or off-roading trip and is therefore a real must have.
When purchasing a shovel, make sure that it is made of a strong material preferably a composite. For example, a shovel with a wooden handle can break more easily than one with a plastic or steel handle. We have been using the Fiskars Telescopic Shovel for a long time now. You can adjust the height of it making it easier to take with you.
This particular shovel is made of boron steel, which means we don’t have to worry about a broken shovel somewhere along the trip. Finally, it is also very competitively priced on Amazon.
Number two on this list are the walkie-talkies. Communication between a spotter and driver is very important when offroading and must be as efficient as possible to avoid misunderstandings. Sometimes a misunderstanding in communication can cause you to get stuck even more instead of the other way around. A spotter is often outside the car when you are in a difficult situation and guides the driver from outside.
Of course, you can yell at each other or you can signal with your hands, but a simple walkie-talkie set is much more convenient. The spotter and driver both carry one walkie-talkie so they can talk to each other. These walkie-talkies don’t have to be very special or expensive as long as they have a two-way system. Two-way means you can talk and listen. We are very satisfied with this set.
A good recovery kit is your personal insurance to free yourself or others from difficult offroading situations. A 4×4 recovery kit consists of at least the following items: a hard or soft shackle, a towing belt with a breaking strength of at least 10 tons, and a (hand) winch. With this kit, you can drag yourself or others away from a mud puddle or loose sand for example. This kit is everything you need for sketchy situations.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is essential and should not be missed. There are many different kits available on the market, but try not to skimp too much on this part. Make sure that the kit is always complete and easily accessible. We have a rule here: if you take something out you write what you’ve taken. We replenish the first aid kit after every trip so that we don’t miss anything on the next one. This is a set similar to the one that we use as our standard first aid kit.
Sometimes it is necessary to take the pressure off your tires to make them a bit softer. You do this so that the tires get a larger surface area, which generates better traction. This applies especially to sandy roads.
You don’t need any equipment to deflate your tires. This is possible by pressing a twig in the right place on your valve. At some point you will have to inflate the tires again and then the air compressor comes in handy. You can go for a high-end compressor from ARB, for example, or for a simpler (and cheaper) compressor. This is a compressor (similar to ours) of the more affordable category and it works great!
Navigational resources (paper and GPS)
You need navigation maps while driving, period. Not only for your route, but also to see which facilities are nearby. For example, if you go off-roading abroad, you don’t always know whether there is a gas station within reach somewhere on your route. This puts you at risk of running out of fuel. With the available navigation tools, we can avoid these kinds of situations. That is a pleasant thought when you’re in the middle of nowhere.
We use both digital and paper solutions. We use three applications to search for beautiful off-road routes: Wikiloc, Gaia Maps, and OsmAnd. An off-road route is often stored in a GPX file and these mobile applications can display them onto a map. For the paper maps, we always go to a local shop in the country where we are.
You may be wondering why you need water to off-road. This point may not always apply in the Netherlands because we are a fairly densely populated country. However, if you are going off-roading abroad, taking enough water with you is really a priority.
You take water with you in case you get stuck somewhere permanently. Perhaps you have suffered engine damage or you can no longer get out of a mud puddle on your own. There’s nothing you can do at that point but call in help and wait. A person can go without food for quite some time, but a maximum of three days without water. Therefore, always take enough water with you during a trip. We have a Frontrunner Jerrycan of 20L filled as standard on trips on the side of our car.
In case you have to do an emergency repair, change a tire, or do something else, it is advisable to have a basic set of tools with you. You can think of a hammer, wrenches, screwdrivers, and so on. We store these tools in a so-called ‘Tool roll’. When needed, we simply take it from the truck and we have all the tools we need. We use this tool roll which is very rugged.
We also have a standard jack (4000 kg lifting force) with us to jack up the car. Many people already have most of the tools in their garage or shed. Turn it into a package and take it with you on your trip.
In addition to the tools, we always take a set of accessories with us. This box contains tie-raps, cloths, duct tape, lashing straps and steel wire. We have this with us to carry out quick repairs on the car. For example, you can temporarily secure a loose or vibrating exhaust with steel wire until you reach a garage.
Decent spare wheel
A spare wheel is often standard mounted on a 4×4. Sometimes people forget that this spare wheel must always have the same tire size as the tires that are under your car. So never forget your spare wheel when you change size. It does not have to be the exact same brand, as long as the dimensions are the same. A spare wheel can also dry out, making it unusable. So make sure you always check your spare wheel for cracks before you go off-roading.
Whether you are going on a short or long trip, make sure you are always prepared for unexpected situations. A basic kit with these 10 items won’t take up a lot of space, but it can save you a lot of time and aggravation if you get stuck. We have some extra stuff with us such as recovery boards, a jump starter, and spare parts. Do you have any other suggestions regarding items that should not be missing from the standard equipment? Let us know in the comments! And while you are here, maybe you like this article as well: The ultimate 4×4 approach-, departure- and breakover angles list