10 Must-Have Items For Your Off-Road Vehicle

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10 Must-Have Items For Your Off-Road Vehicle

Post by forum-guru » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:31 am

1. Training
Everyone should take at least a basic off-road course from an instructor certified by the International 4-Wheel Drive Trainers’ Association. In those courses you cover a number of important topics, including safe four-wheel drive techniques, vehicle safety, trail etiquette, and environmental awareness.

2. Safety
Four-wheeling by its nature is done in hostile environments. At a minimum you can get some bumps and bruises. Cuts and sprains are possible too; even bug bites. A good first aid is comprised of at least four categories of products: tools, meds, wound care, and fracture kit, all stored in a water-proof container.

I also highly recommend you take a Wilderness First Responder course. They pack a lot of good information into the 72-hour course, such as how to deal with dislocations, severe cuts, anaphylactic shock, and even fractures.

3. Communication
You need to stay in touch while on the trails. CB is really popular out there. There are lots of brands and models to choose from, but I’ve heard good things about Cobra brand radios. You could also consider getting licensed as a ham radio operator. That would give you access to more radio frequencies, which extends your options.

Regardless of the route you go, make sure you mount your equipment well. Off-road driving creates a lot of vibration inside the vehicle, which affects any equipment you are carrying.

If you decide on CB, buy the standard ¼-wave antenna. Those long whip-like antennas you sometimes see are not practical off-road, and in fact can be quite dangerous.

4. Recovery Strap and Tow Point
Have a 20,000-pound-rated strap (ultimate breaking strength) with loops sewn in the ends as opposed to metal hooks. Remember that this is a recovery strap, not a towing strap. They’re two inches wide and available in 20- and 30-foot lengths. I usually buy one of each to give myself options on distance. But you can get by with one, to start.

5. Tires
Replace the passenger tires with a good set of all-terrain or mud-terrain tires suited to your vehicle. Those provide better performance and hold up much better off road. Drive your vehicle for at least a year before making major modifications, such as adding traction control aids, bigger tires, and other mechanical aids. This way you will develop your driving skills.

6. Tire Kit
Included in a kit should be a good tire gauge (one that reads from 0-60 in 1 lb. increments), a deflator, and a plug kit. Tires, as you can image, take a pounding on many trails, so you must be able to plug small cuts and holes.

7. Hi-Lift Jack
Extremely useful for off-road recovery and tire repair. A stock jack just won’t cut it. The only drawback is that the nose (lifting point) is straight and flat, so it does not work with curved or round bumpers. But, adapters exist that work with curved bumpers.

8. Winch and Accessories
A winch is not absolutely necessary, but it provides peace of mind on the trail. I prefer that you spend your money on a winch rather then on lockers, lift, etc. until you have honed your driving skills. When it’s time, get one that’s rated at least 1.5 times the GVW. Mount it so the bumper does not obscure a clear view of the full top of the winch.

You’ll need a winch kit, also. At a minimum this kit includes a tree strap, pulley, two D-rings—I recommend four—and a pair of gloves. The pin inside the D-rings (often called a clevis) should be at least ¾”. Any brand will do; all manufacturers sell quality winch kits.

9. Air Compressor
There are various options. Some fit in a bag, others can be installed permanently and mounted to the vehicle. Get one that taps directly into the vehicle battery. Those designed to be plugged into the cigarette lighter take too long to operate. Other alternatives are CO2 tanks and engine drive compressors. A really neat product is the “dual force,” a combined winch and compressor from Warn.

10. Vehicle repair tools
A basic tool kit is fine. But be sure to include the 4-wheeler’s ultimate tool, a BFH (Big Frickin’ Hammer). As they say on TV, don’t leave home without it!
Weekend Warriors Off-Road Expedition Unit
President / Forum Guru

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