12. Affordable items to have for every off-roader.
Winter is coming! Well, eventually but for now we can be excited for the best season ahead! This means off-roading season is here for most and we want to make sure you are ready with this list of items you should have. Most of these items are obtainable or you may already have them.
- Tool Kit: This one is very obvious for everyone with a vehicle. You should always have a working tool set in your car or somewhere where you can access it. Start with a good 3/8-inch socket set (metric or standard, ideally both), extender bars, Channellock pliers, screwdrivers, a breaker bar, Vise-Grips, and you definitely will need a hammer in this tool kit. You do not want to get into a situation where you are looking for the most simplest tool.
- Tow Strap: If you are an off-roader, you better have this. A tow strap will save your butt or others in those "stucky" situations. GET A HEAVY-DUTY TOW STRAP.
- Belts and Hoses: You do not want to see steam bursting through your hood while you are ripping through the trails but it could happen. A broken belt or a split hose will leave you stranded by wreaking havoc on your cooling or vacuum system. Find out what belts your vehicle takes—usually a larger serpentine and possibly a smaller, additional one. Rule of thumb is change your belts every 60k miles if it is an older model or else 100k for newer models. Your hoses can last up to five years but it's not practical to carry a spare of every hose; marine-grade silicone tape (there are several brands) will temporarily stop, or at least slow down, the leak.
- Lifted-truck Jack: If you've gone through the trouble of lifting your vehicle, the jack that came with the car won't work. There's no way you're changing that 31-inch tire with a an OEM jack - yeah, it doesn't work. You'll need a strong aftermarket jack that is tall enough for the actual height of your car. Be ready to break a sweat.
- Traction Mats: Self-explanatory for this one. You will get stuck in mud, sand and whatever you are willing to drive through. This item should be on you for the next trip. These mats will give your wheels enough grip to get out that that mud.
- Lights, lots of lights: You are about to go into the wilderness and it will get really dark at night. Make sure your truck is equipped with enough lights. You have many options in the market but most off-roading vehicles will install LED light bars or LED pods for added lights. There are rock lights available for your rock crawling adventures.
- Battery Jumper or Lithium Jump Starter: These little suckers are relatively new and they can pack a punch in such a small form. Not only will it help you jumpstart your wagon but it can charge your phone through USB when you're out in the middle of nowhere. Also, I suggest bringing a conventional jumper cables.
- Satellite Phone: Not many people will know where to get one of these but they can be a lifesaver when you are going off the grid. Your cell phone will not work out in the desert so this would be a great investment if your life is always out in the wilderness. Or you can rely on smoke signals.
- Power Inverter: It's a bad idea to rely on your vehicle as a generator, as it can waste gas and/or drain your battery. However, when needed, an AC/DC inverter will let you power up your 110-volt items like a laptop, camera charger, or radio. I usually use it for an electric air pump to fill up the air mattress for summer nights camping.
- Cords, straps and zip ties: You may be asking why you should have these items but trust me, they can hold your parts together when you need it most. Never underestimate the power of zip ties.
- Air compressor and tire pressure gauge: There are many portable air compressors out there you can get off amazon or a local hardware store. It is important to maintain the right pressure when traversing off road. Rolling over extremely varied terrain will require you to adjust the air pressure in your tires.
- First-Aid Kit and Thermal Blanket: This is the most important thing you should have. We listed this last on the list but it should be the first thing you purchase. In the event of an emergency, even a basic first-aid kit can be a lifesaver. In addition to the usual assortment of bandages, rubbing alcohol, and antibacterial ointment, you should also include a couple of thermal foil blankets and a supply of drinking water. Better be safe than sorry.
That is what we currently have on our top ten must have items. If we missed something, or you have other suggestions for this list. Please feel free to comment and let us know!