If you trail your 4×4, it is recommended to always be prepared. To do that, there are certain things that should always be in your rig. Some of them are must-haves, others are optional, but they are all in my rig, I can tell you that.
1. Tow strap
I see folks skimping on this all the time. A good tow strap is essential off-road gear. I carry a 20,000 lb one in my rig at all times. You can get cheaper straps rated for less weight, but why? Stronger is always, always better. I also get the tow straps without metal hooks because they can be dangerous.
2. CB Radio
If you venture out into the wilderness with any regularity, I highly recommend installing a CB radio. Not only do they allow you to speak with your peers while on the trail, they can literally save your life if you get into trouble. You can get a cheap radio almost anywhere for forty dollars or less.
3. Basic Tool Bag
If you don’t have any tools in your rig, you can’t fix it should it encounter problems. Even the bare essentials like a crescent wrench, hammer, zip ties, and duct tape will work, but of course the more tools you have, the better your chances of fixing a broken down rig. Read more here: Stuff for your off-road tool bag
4. Jumper Cables
Even if you have a killer Optima battery that is brand new, take cables along. They store easily and can get you or a wheeling buddy out of a heck of a jam. I don’t recommend getting the cheapest pair you can find, either, because broken cables aren’t jumping anything. Get a nice set, fold them up, and keep them behind the seat. You’ll eventually be glad you did.
5. Working Jack and Full Size Spare
If your rig is running 35″ rubber, don’t carry a stock spare tire; doing so is literally useless. Along with the correct sized spare tire, a jack that will actually lift the rig is essential. Many carry farm style bumper jacks in their rigs because they are strong and store easily. Check the spare tire pressure before each outing. And keep a lug wrench that fits your lugs in the rig.
6. First Aid Kit
This is a must for my rig. Someone is always getting scraped or bruised on the trail, and so a first aid kit comes in real handy. A basic kit will work fine but again, the bigger the better. I like to be prepared for emergencies.
7. Fire Extinguisher
Most clubs require a fire extinguisher to be on board in order to run trails with them. Even if your rig never catches fire, someone else’s might. Be the guy who’s ready, not the guy who has a burning rig.
It doesn’t matter if the flashlight in your rig is a six-cell monster Maglite or a AA-battery mini LED–just carry something. Flashlight holders can be purchased very cheaply or even made from things like PVC pipe or hose clamps. Put one in your rig, put fresh batteries in it, and stow it away. On top of the flashlight in my rig, I also carry a mini on my belt, right next to my Leatherman.
The importance of gloves cannot be overstated, especially for the off-road lover. Use them when operating a winch, when working on the vehicle, when cutting wood for a campfire, when setting up camp, even when just hiking around out there. I use the Mechanix style gloves because they fit well and are light, but just about any type of gloves will work in a pinch.
10. Water and snacks
If you wheel often, then you know how it is when your rig or someone else’s breaks on the trail and you have to wait for hours while it gets repaired or moved. It’s a real good idea to stay hydrated and comfortable in situations like that because unexpected incidents can delay dinner for a long, long time.
There are other things that are always in my rig like duct tape, a GPS, rain ponchos, ratchet straps, at least one big blanket, a small shovel, a 110v power inverter, and a tire plug kit to name a few. I’m rarely caught in a situation that I’m not prepared for, and I like it that way just fine.