Whenever someone starts getting into off-roading, they tend to go one of two ways with their equipment: they either go underprepared or over-prepared.
Which type are you?
Do you take that off-road trip without the gears you’ll need to make it back in one piece? Does it add to the excitement? ‘That was the plan!’
Or do you tend to spend too much on unnecessary (and often flashy) off-road equipment that you later bring home good-as-new and unused? ‘But it was good for the photos!’
Okay, I won’t argue with either case. What we’ll do, you and me, is find that comfortable middle ground when it comes to tools in your 4x4 off-road checklist.
I think 10 is a good number to start building your off-road toolkit, so let’s start counting!
Your 10 Must-Have Tools for Off-Roading
#1 Off-roading Gloves
Let's start with one of the most basic off-roading tools: a pair of trusty gloves. Suppose this is your first-time to go off-roading, and you're not sure if it's going to be a lifestyle or just hobby for you. There's no need to break the bank to get the best gloves available.
All you need is a good pair of gloves to protect your hands from things like dirt and gravel while providing a good grip on anything you hold. Let’s be honest here; even a pair of gardening gloves will do the trick.
However, if you decide you want to take it a step further, you can buy a pair of off-roading gloves. The difference? Off-roading gloves typically offer more protection around the knuckles to prevent bruising, among other features uniquely tailored for off-roading.
Now, this is another category of off-roading gears where you can choose to go as straightforward or as complex as you’d like: your lighting.
You see, going off-roading doesn’t mean that you’ll be staying in your vehicle the entire time. You will need to step out and check your environment every now and then or perform repairs on-the-fly. Even in broad daylight, you’ll need some good lighting to see all the parts under the hood, which is why things like headlamps and work lights will come in very handy.
Beyond that, if you plan on setting up camp overnight, you’ll undoubtedly need better lighting to keep your campsite well-lit.
#3 Tyre Repair Kit
One of the challenges of off-roading is that you’ll be way too far from the nearest workshop, and roadside assistance won’t come out to save you if your car ever breaks down. A regular set of car tools for your vehicle may not be enough, which is why you’ll need at least one specialised off-road toolkit. For starters, you’ll undoubtedly need a tyre repair kit.
Remember: going off-roading means driving on unpaved and uneven surfaces, all of which pose a wide range of dangers to your tyres. Should you get a flat, you’ll need to be able to fix it on the spot, just enough to keep your truck mobile so you can get back out and head to the workshop for a proper fix.
#4 Compact Spade or Shovel
I know what you’re thinking—this off-road equipment list is beginning to sound a lot like one for camping (chuckle). I’m not digressing, believe me. Even though number 4 is a spade slash shovel, we’re right on track.
When you go off-road, you deal with untamed terrain, and dirt, sand, and mud come with the territory. Perhaps your tyres are stuck a few inches under the mud, or you couldn’t find a toilet in time and need to bury something the old-fashioned way. Whatever it is, a shovel will always come handy whenever you’ll need to dig a tyre or yourself out of a sticky situation.
These days, camping shovels also tend to double as cutting tools or axes, which expands the list of uses you could have for it.
#5 Basic Off-road Tool Kit
Now, we know what we said back in #3 about having specialised toolkits. But still, an essential mechanic's toolkit is a critical piece of gear when going off-roading. Simply put: you want to have the essential tools to perform simple repairs, so you don't get stuck in the outdoors because of a minor mechanical glitch.
#6 Battery Jump Starter
Imagine getting ready to make the trip back home, only to find that your battery is dead and your truck won’t start. Now, of course, you could use jumper cables and hook them up to your buddy’s truck. Still, you’d be much more self-reliant if you carried a battery jump starter instead.
These days, many people still don’t know that such things exist, but they’re actually a worthwhile investment. You’ll definitely think so if you ever find yourself alone with no other vehicle to use your jumper cables with!
#7 Recovery Kit
Talking about going off-road immediately conjures images of getting stuck in waist-deep mud, and that’s the reality of this adventurous type of driving. Now, most off-roaders rely on winches to get them out of challenging situations, but if you’re going off-roading without a winch, you must always have a recovery kit on hand.
What goes into a typical 4x4 recovery kit? Well, things like a winch hook, various types of straps, a tyre deflator, and so much more. The exact contents of the kit may differ by brand, but rest assured they’ll have everything you need to free up your vehicle.
#8 Utility Knife
Here’s another universal tool that’s good for a hundred different reasons: the humble utility knife. Sure, you’ll probably need it to quickly cut rope, straps, or things of that nature.
But don’t forget: if you plan on preparing meals while you’re out there in the jungle or wherever, a utility knife is just as effective at cutting meat and vegetables.
#9 High-lift Jack for Off-roading
You probably know how cars of all sizes can benefit from having a car jack in the trunk. So it’s a no-brainer that when it comes to off-road vehicles, you’ll need something a bit bigger. But do you have one? It’s a standard piece of off-road equipment that you shouldn’t drive off without, so go get yourself this off-road tool now!
As the name suggests, these jacks lift the truck much higher than any other, allowing it to lift your vehicle over a big rock or tree stump.
#10 Off-roading Rope
Last but not least, you’ll need rope when you’re going off-road. The list of its uses is endless. Perhaps you’ll use it with a winch, or maybe to pull your stuck vehicle out of a rut. A rope is a rope, but some off-roaders invest in a high-performance rope that’s explicitly built for off-roading.
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By Ray Hasbollah