Off-roading is great fun and enables you to explore much more of the Great Outdoors when you’re not restricted to the roads.
However, off-roading also throws your vehicle around much more than the even surface of a well-maintained road, which means you’re more likely to run into trouble.
And, when you’re miles away from anywhere, you must be prepared to get yourself out of trouble. Here are 5 tools that will rescue you from trouble on your off-roading adventures.
#1. Jump Starter
When you go off-roading, you may find yourself powering lots of extra gadgets from your 4×4’s battery, such as off-road fog lights, camping equipment, and an air compressor. This increases the possibility that your battery will fail when you need it most. If your vehicle battery dies when you’re miles away from the nearest road, what do you do?
A portable jump starter will save the day. As long as you keep it fully charged, a high-capacity lithium-ion battery pack can crank your engine when your battery fails.
Many modern portable jump starters feature USB charging ports so that you can also use it as a portable power source for your cell phone and other gizmos. Many of these devices are lithium ion-based jump starters and they can hold a lot of charge and cranking amps from a relatively small, lightweight battery.
Alternatively, if you’re off-roading with more than one vehicle, you can carry jumper cables that enable you to jumpstart one 4×4 using the engine of another.
#2. Recovery Kit
Adventurous off-roaders love to push the limits. Sadly, this also means they often end up in a ditch they cannot escape. That’s why a recovery kit is essential.
Ideally, your 4×4 comes with a built-in winch. Your recovery kit contains the other items you may need to help pull your out of deep water…literally.
A good recovery kit will include durable shackles, a snatch strap, and safety gloves. Look for a snatch strap that offers at least 3 times your vehicle’s weight in breaking strength.
Well-designed snatch straps stretch to buffer the strain on your winch over the roughest patches.
When off-roading, keep your recovery kit in a bag that’s accessible from your driver’s seat. You see, when you slide down into a ditch, your other doors and access points may become blocked by exterior obstacles.
If you can’t exit from your driver’s seat, you have bigger problems than freeing your vehicle!
If your vehicle isn’t equipped with a winch, you need a come-along (hand-operated winch with a ratchet) in your recovery kit.
These clever devices use a lever and pulleys to transform your feeble human strength into mammoth, vehicle rescuing power.
#3. Tire Repair Kit
When driving over rough terrain, there’s a high risk you’ll damage your tires. Of course, you can always drag out your spare wheel. But what if 2 or more tires get damaged?
A comprehensive tire repair kit will include everything you need for an emergency repair, including spare valves and dust caps.
A can of tire-weld spray combined with rope plugs will keep your tires together until you need to replace your all-terrain tires.
#4. Air Compressor
Once you’ve repaired your damaged tires, you’ll need a reliable air compressor to bring them back up to pressure. But air compressors are useful even if you haven’t suffered a puncture.
When driving off-road, you can achieve better traction over mud, sand, or snow by dropping air pressure in your tires.
However, when you need to get back onto the road, low pressure becomes a disadvantage and you risk damage to your tires.
A portable tire inflator that plugs into your vehicle’s battery makes it quick and easy to bring your tires back to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressures.
#5. Mechanic’s Tool Kit
The bumps, vibrations, and occasional collisions with obstacles when you’re off-roading can easily shake loose important nuts and bolts around your vehicle.
A tool kit that includes an impact wrench, a selection of socket wrenches, Allen wrenches, drivers, and pliers will enable you to tighten up any loose connections while you’re off-road before they develop into a more serious problem.
What you carry in your toolset depends on the vehicle you’re driving. Some engines require specialist tools for basic maintenance.
It’s in your own interest to get to know your vehicle and its engine so you’re ready and able to tackle simple problems that arise when you’re miles away from anywhere that the AAA can reach.
Other 4×4 Accessories
Take a look at these other articles for 4×4 truck tools and accessories: