- Always travel in groups of 2 or more vehicles
- Always alert someone back home where you are going & when you expect to return
- Take at least a basic supply of tools and gear (see The Basic, Minimal Offroad Checklist)
- Air up to recommended tire pressure for highway driving, air down at trail head, air up prior to trip home
- Straighten winch cable if necessary
- Fire Extinguisher - Should be mounted in the vehicle in an easily accessible location.
Pre-departure Maintenance Checklist
Check engine oil
Check transmission oil
Check brake fluid
Check radiator coolant
Check windshield wiper fluid
Check fan belts
Check air cleaner
Check seat belts
Check tire air pressure
Check for tire wear or damage
Tighten drive shaft u-bolts
Check and tighten lug bolts
Check for frame cracks
Check brake pads/shoes adequate pad material, in good condition w/out contamination
Check for loose bolts or nuts throughout vehicle
Grease all fittings - u-joints, steering, driveshaft
Check gear oils: transfer case/differentials
Check Winch for proper operation,
Check winch cable for kinks, frays/damage straighten
The Basic, Minimal Offroad Checklist
The minimal list is the basics that you should always carry in your vehicle when offroad. These items are good to have in the vehicle at all times.
First Aid Kit (See Safety and Survival below)
Basic Personal Essentials (water, food)
Spare Tire, Full Size
Jack and tire iron to change your tire
D-ring or Soft Shackles
Basic Tool Kit
Spare Key for vehicle
My 5 Must Have's: As a new Jeeper or off-roader it can be very overwhelming trying to figure out what to buy and where to start. These 5 items are a great start to building your Off-Road recovery kit.
You need a good quality recovery strap. Make sure it’s a recovery strap, not a tow strap. The recovery straps are designed for the rigors of pulling out a stuck vehicle, a tow strap is designed for flat road towing.
Soft Shackle / or Shackle A.K.A D-Ring
**Make sure these items are rated for the proper load.
Click Here - Jeep Momma Blog Post - OffRoad Recovery Gear
Click Here Road Safety & Weather Emergency Kit
Click Here 5 Must Have Kits for your Jeep
Safety and Survival
First aid kits come in many shapes and sizes. You can buy them, or you can make your own kit. Whether you buy a first aid kit or put one together, make sure it has all the items you may need. Include any personal items, such as medications.
Activated Charcoal (only if instructed by Poison Control)
Alcohol swabs, individually wrapped
Band-Aids (assorted sizes)
Gauze Pads and Roller Gauze (assorted sizes)
Scissors and Tweezers
Small Flashlight and Extra Batteries
Syrup of Ipecac (only if instructed by Poison Control)
Snake Bite kit
Disposable emergency blanket
Instant Cold pack
Instant Hot pack
Medications: Anti-diarrhea medication, Tylenol ( fever reducer), Ibuprofen (Nuprin, Motrin, Advil) inflammation reduction, sprains bruises, etc, Benadryl for mild allergic reactions, Epinephrine in the form of an Epi Pen to treat more serious allergic reactions that might otherwise be fatal.
- Jumper Cable
- Fire Extinguisher/Mount
- Road Safety reflectors/Flare
- First Aid Kit - Items to put in your kit
- Weather Emergency Kit
- Made of black Nylon, durable and reliable. It is very easy to install
- 3 adjustable straps to any size what you want. Suitable for different fire extinguisher
- All accessories attach to roll bars using hook-and-loop fasteners.
- Bundle includes pair of ultimate grab handles and fire extinguisher holder.
- Works with 3-inch roll bars. Can be held one 3 pound fire extinguisher
- High quality,
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Color Choice to match your Jeep
- Fits both padded and non-padded roll bars
- Fits PALS webbing as a MOLLE accessory
Basic Personal Essentials
Water - At least one Gallon per person, per day if not more. Drier, hotter climates may require more. Remember: Alcohol doesn't hydrate. In fact alcoholic beverages dehydrate since it take more water to metabolize alcohol than the beverage contains.
Food - Bring food for twice the amount of time you are planning on being gone. Should you be delayed and have to spend a night out on the trail, you wont have to worry about going hungry. Good ideas for trail food: trail mix, beef jerky, fruits, dry/canned food, etc.
Extra Cloths - Nobody likes to sit in wet cloths or an extended period of time.
Personal items - This includes toilet paper, anti- microbial hand cleaner, etc
Communication devices - Cell Phone, CB Radio
Power inverter if necessary (e.g. Cell phone recharger, battery recharger for communication devices and camera)
Trash bags - Keep your trails clean
Maps, information about the area
Compass or GPS
Water purification tablets
Blanket – wool or survival
Glow sticks – Flares – Warning Triangle
Quick Spark Fire Starter / Tinder
Matches - waterproof
Basic Tools for Repairs
Vehicle Fire Extinguisher
A good Knife / multi tool
Tarp 9×12 feet (to construct a makeshift shelter)Change of clothes
Food - protein bars or MRE's
Jumper Cables –
Beyond the Basic Offroad Checklist
What goes beyond the basic checklist are items that depend on many factors. Factors like what form of offroading you will be doing, your driving style, the terrain you will encounter, how much room you have for packing gear, how remote you will be traveling, how long you will be gone as well as many other factors you should consider. However three primary things you should gear up for are Safety and Survival, Vehicle Recovery and Vehicle Breakage.
Vehicle Recovery Items
Recovery & Tow straps - 2 or more, 2" wider, 20' or longer
Come-along (one or more)
Chainsaw and bar oil, 2 cycle engine oil, spare chain (can be handy in recover situations, as well as for trail clearing on wooded trails)
Winch Kit: tree strap, hi-lift jack, snatch block, pickle fork, shackle, gloves
Snow tire chains (if tires don't cut it)
Basic tools are the versatile, essential tool sets that consist of a variety of sizes and combinations of commonly used tools such as socket sets, wrench sets, Allen wrenches, Torx sets and screw drivers. Your tool sets should cover the variety of sizes found in your vehicle. Regardless of whether your vehicle is American made or an import 4x4, when it comes to socket sets and wrenches, it's sometimes wise to carry standard and metric socket since sometimes there are a mix of both standard and metric on custom vehicles not to mention helping a fellow 4wheeler.
#1 BFH - Hammer
#2 Adjustable Wrench
#3 Big Screwdriver or Pry Bar
#4 Socket Set and Ratchet
#5 Vice Grip Pliers
#6 Screwdriver and Bits
#7 Zip Ties
#8 Duct Tape
#9 Bottle Jack
Complete Socket Set - Standard) & Metric w/ 3/8"& 1/2" drives. Deep and standard sockets.
Crescent, open end combination box wrenches Standard & Metric
Torx sockets (especially if you own a Jeep)
Standard & Phillips screwdrivers, large, medium, small
Versatile tools are those that have many uses.
Large Hammer (a.k.a. the "BFH")
Pliers (various sizes)
Needle Nose Pliers
Vice Grips, various sizes
Large channel-lock Pliers
Pipe wrenches - having 2 medium of these can be useful for tie-rods.
Utility knife or razor blades
Crescent wrenches (medium & large)
A BIG pry bar or length of strong metal pipe, inside diameter of pipe large enough to slip over a wrench or socket drive for extra leverage.
Snap ring pliers
Air Pressure Gauge
Portable air pump
wood blocks - Useful as chock blocks, jacking platforms, ramps, suspension supports (for broken torsion bars)
Bungee cords, several in multiple sizes - good for securing gear, temporary repairs, etc.
Work Gloves, leather
And don't forget to take fluids for yourself and passengers. Water and Gatorade were big vote-getters. Save the adult beverages for back at the campfire. Never Ever wheel and drink so many horrible accidents have happened because of mixing alcohol and driving.
Spare Parts / Repair Items
Extra Fan / serpentine belts
Hoses, fuel line, coolant hoses
Tire repair kits, plugs
Extra Lug nuts, tire star wrench or lug key with key socket
Cotter pins / keys - various sizes
Valve stems, Valve stem remover
Nuts & bolts assorted standard and metric sizes
RTV or Hylomar HPF - form-a-gasket
Radiator stop leak - silver flakes in tube
Spare Hub (and hub fuses if applicable).
Electric fuel pump
Coil / electronic ignition
Spare Universal Joints (U-joints for drive shaft & axles)
Spare Drive Shaft (rear and front)
Extra spark plug wire (size of longest wire)
Electronics Repair Kit
Volt ohms meter (multimeter)
Wire cutters / wire crips / wire strippers (multi-tool)
Spare fuses of all sizes and types used in your vehicle
Spare wire - lengths of various gauges
Spare relay if you use relays
crip on ends (male and female, various gauges)
Small pocket sized needle point blow torch (handy for soldering wire)
Flux core solder for repairs
Wiring Diagram of your vehicle
The Expanded list includes items for the extreme wheeler with tools and gadgets that you may want to consider if you are serious about offroading.
Winch and Winch Accessories
Onboard Welder, welding supplies and welding gear
Spare axles (rear left / right, front left / right)
Spare tie rod assemblies (tie rod, drag link, ball joints, ball joint nuts and cotter pins)
Spare Idler Arm
Parts that have broken twice before (if you can't carry it, you should have upgraded it)
Camping List for Extended Stay or Remote Excursions Maps, information about the area
Compass or GPS
A knife of some sort
Water purification pills
Cooler with beverages
Cooking Pans for breakfast
Folding camping chairs
Sleeping pad or air mattress
Stove or grill and fuel
Tarps, lots of tarps
Flip flops or swimming shoes
Funky fishing hat
Sunglasses and/or goggles
Ice and ice chest or cooler
Camera, case, film and batteries
Here are my Top 5 Modifications to make to your Jeep Wrangler for off-road readiness. These Top 5 aren't all the modifications you can make, but a great basic start.
#1 Tow Points
When you go off-roading there is always a possibility your Jeep could get stuck. To help in your recovery efforts you should have good, strong tow points on your Jeep. I decided this was the first place for me to start. I replaced my plastic bumper and hook type tow points with a steel metal bumper from Extreme Terrain, The Barricade Trail Force HD Front Bumper.
While I off-roading in my stock Sahara my plastic side step would get caught up on a rock. One time a rock pulled off my side step. However, I was able to knock it back into place. I would have been better off with out them. My suggestion is to remove the stock side steps if you plan on doing any sort of trail rides with medium sized rocks.
If you are getting into some more serious rocks you may want to consider rock sliders like my Barricade Rock Sliders. They help to protect the body of your Wrangler.
#3 Diff Cover
It seems I am always running into rocks. The first thing they hit are my diff covers. I replaced mine with the Riddler Diff Covers which are cast from high grade iron with a lip free transition. This helps prevent a rock from 'grabbing' the cover.
#4 Skid Plates
Your stock Jeep is outfitted with some skid plates and they hold up well in mild to medium rock crawling. Your transmission and oil pan are not protected. I added the M.O.R.E oil and tranny skid plate.
I also added skid plate to the rear control arm and shock mounts. That's another place I tend to get hung up on. I used the EVO Rear Lower Control Arm Skids.
#5 Air Dam Removal
What is an air dam? It is a piece of plastic under the front of your Jeep. Some say it's to help hood flutter, some say it's to prevent debris from flying up into your engine or possibly to keep your engine cooler. Whatever it does I ended up removing mine when I installed my new front bumper. This plastic piece also has a potential to being ripped off while rock crawling.
Should I remove my Jeep Wrangler Air Dam Jeep Momma Blog Post - April 2014