The third entry in our series on off-roading basics brings us to the supplies that you should keep with you when off-roading that are a little bit past the essentials, but are still considered necessities for anyone serious about their truck. In part 1 we talked about the basic vocabulary
needed to get into off-roading and in part 2 you learned about the essentials needed
to safely off-road. For part 3 we’ll round out the list of basic supplies with safety and maintenance items that you won’t use often but when you need them, they’ll seem like dire essentials pretty quickly.
High Lift Jack
A high-lift jack does a lot more than your stock jack could ever dream of. With more capacity to lift than a stock jack and a much longer range of lift, these are what you want with you when you’re broken down on the trail.
A high-lift jack comes in handy in two ways. First, if you’ve lifted your truck at all, the stock jack probably won’t lift you high enough to take off a tire safely and second, if you’re dealing with rocks, ruts, or odd angles on the trail, you need a jack that can work around these while keeping you and your truck safe. Jacks like these from Hi-Lift Jack Company
are a pretty great way to make sure you can actually change those spare tires you brought with you.
A winch would be considered a top-priority essential
in this list if it wasn’t for their high cost. Winches are extremely useful off-road tools that can not only get you out of being stuck, but can help stabilize you as you climb a tricky hill as well as get friends that don’t have winches out of trouble.
A good winch can clear a tree from blocking a trail and can even be used to get a person up or down from a steep hillside in an emergency. Check out this post for tips on how to choose the best winch
for you, and when you have the funds to do so, get yourself a winch.
With talk of winches and high-lift jacks, the common shovel doesn’t seem like a valid entry in this list, but a simple shovel can be your best friend in a bad situation.
With a shovel, you can dig out buried tires, move fresh dirt and gravel from one place to another to get you some much-needed traction, as well as moving mud and/or snow if there’s too much of either in the way. Basically a shovel is the best tool around when you’re in need of one.
Extra Water and Fuel
Every time you hit the trail you should assume that you’re going to run into an issue and prepare for that. Whether the issue is a blown tire or a blown engine, you need to prepare for the possibility that you’ll be walking home at some point. This is why keeping water with you is so important. You can go a week or more without food and still survive, but after a day or two without water, you’ll be so dehydrated that walking will probably be too much work for you.
Along with survival needs, keeping some water with you is great in case your truck overheats. Having water to fill your radiator back up with can mean the difference between driving and walking out of the woods. For both reasons, at least 1 gallon and ideally 3-4 gallons are ideal to keep with you when off-roading. This will make sure you have enough to fill your truck’s radiator up with and have some to drink. Remember, if something were to happen and you were to say, break a leg, you could be stuck for days until someone finds you. That water could be the only thing that keeps you going until help finds you. Along with water, keeping a Jerry can of extra gas or diesel is a very good idea. Fuel gauges break and fuel lines tear, so once the problem is fixed, that extra fuel will get you out of the woods and back to civilization.
This is pretty much a no-brainer, but having a form of communication that isn’t dependent on cell towers is a really good idea. Since you’re heading into the wild it’s a pretty safe bet that your phone will lose signal pretty quickly, so having a citizens band radio will keep you in touch with other off-roaders as well as police and park services.
Choose a quality unit that’s dust, water, and shock resistant so when you need it, it’s actually working.
If you’re unfamiliar with having a train horn on your truck, you might think this is kind of a crazy addition to the list, but keep reading and you’ll change your mind.
Train horns on trucks have been considered a novelty in the past, but in actuality they are just as useful on trucks as they are on trains. If you’re lost in the woods or broken down, a train horn is a great way to signal anyone around for miles where you are. If your CB radio and cell phone are all out of service, a train horn could be the only way to signal someone. Since these work on air stored in a compressor, you’ll even get a few blows of the horn even if your power system is fried.
2 Fire Extinguishers
Finally, you should keep at least two fully charged fire extinguishers in your truck at all times. There’s not much explanation necessary here, but keeping two of these with you means that if one is faulty, you still have a back up to get the fire under control. A second extinguisher can be used on larger fires, too.
With something as important as a fire extinguisher, it’s only smart to have two.