Are you preparing for your first off-road adventure or simply going further and for longer than you have before? Amongst the excitement, it can be easy to neglect the essentials that will best keep you safe and sound and getting back as planned. In this article, we look at the essentials you should pack for adventures whether ranging far and wide or close to home.
Hopefully, you have already inspected your 4×4 and everything is safe and ready to go, otherwise, plan ahead and book a vehicle service at your trusted local.
Start with the basics
The following list includes the 4WD essentials that you should carry when travelling off-road short and long distances (excluding food, water, shelter, a first aid kit and everything else that you’ll need to pack):
- A spare tyre and a changing toolkit
- Tyre pressure gauge and portable air compressor
- Recovery gear (see below)
- Jumper leads and rope
- Basic tool kit
- Spare car key
The basic tool kit suggested, would include tools with a variety of sizes and combinations, such as:
- Allen key, socket wrench and screwdriver sets
- A spanner, hammer and pliers
- Duct tape and WD40
For longer and remote trips, it is worth considering taking a form of emergency communication, such as a Sat phone and UHF radio.
Pack with purpose
It’s a good idea to pack your essentials first, even if you’re trying to keep the whole process simple. If you pack to meet your needs for each trip, you won’t be carrying unnecessary weight which will save you time, money and fuel.
Have a plan
Whilst sometimes it’s nice to set off without a care, it is much better to plan and prepare. That way you can focus your packing on the terrain that you will encounter. An example would be a beach trip compared to somewhere with rocky terrain. Do some research on your destination in advance and map out the route you would like to take.
It is always best to book your accommodation ahead of time, including paying entry fees where relevant. A trip can be tainted by arriving at campsites or other accommodation only to find it has been booked out or you have not paid camp fees.
Packing recovery equipment will allow you to extract your vehicle from a bogging situation, or another scenario in which your 4WD has become stricken. Vehicle recovery tracks and a shovel will assist greatly if your 4WD is bogged. Whereas a snatch strap, snatch pulley and a tree protector might also come in handy if there are other vehicles or trees nearby. Unfortunately sometimes these are not as close as you want them to be.
Ensuring your tyres are in good condition and being able to accurately modify your tyre pressures is crucial for off-roading. A quality tyre-pressure gauge and a portable air compressor are essential pieces of equipment. A tyre-deflator will allow you to get onto the beach sand or into the bush faster and aids in precise deflation for rapid vehicle recoveries.
AWDs may not have rated recovery points on their chassis, but you can still use things like vehicle-recovery tracks to great effect.
Maps & Fuel
Given we can be complacent with being able to use our smartphone maps and navigation, it’s always a good idea to have a physical map as a backup because you could be travelling to locations with little or poor reception.
Fuel for your 4WD vehicle is just as important as fuel for yourself. Always set off on your adventure with a full tank and have an idea of where to refuel your vehicle along the chosen route. A backup jerry can never go astray either.
Whether you are an experienced outdoor enthusiast or a novice, it’s always good practice to inspect your vehicle before and after every 4×4 adventure. If in doubt, you can always contact the team at Gino’s to inspect your engine and vehicle, ensuring you are ready.
On your adventure, be sure to leave the site as you found it – leave only your tracks.