Back-Road 101Before You Go

Equipment List

Whether it's an easy run down a forestry road or a rock crawl to a summit, you need to have the right equipment in your rig to make sure you get home safely.

Basics - for 2wd capable dirt roads where help is not far away:

  • Spare tire and tire iron
  • Jack capable of lifting your vehicle (if you have a lift or larger tires make sure the jack is tall enough)
  • First aid kit
  • Survival blankets
  • Extra food (protein bars are good) and water
  • Flashlight
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Whistle
  • Recovery strap (you do have tow points, right?) 
  • Compact tree saw or axe
  • Gloves
  • Folding military style shovel 
  • Trash bags
  • Spare key
  • Basic tools
  • Spare fuses
  • Jumper Cables
  • Rags
  • Blanket
  • Toilet paper (biodegradable)
  • Maps
  • Compass or GPS (with spare batteries)
  • Hand held VHF/HAM radio 
  • Duct tape,  Rubber-weld tape (for radiator hoses), Metal repair putty (eg: Quik Steel), Radiator stop-leak, Gas tank repair putty, Zip ties, baling wire


Tougher trails - where 4wd is needed but walking to help is an option add:

  • Spare tire cannot be a "compact" style
  • Tire repair kit
  • Air compressor (or at least a tire pump)
  • All fluids for your vehicle
  • Tarp
  • Food & water for 24 hours 
  • Waterproof matches, candles, fire starter kit, dry wood or presto log
  • At least one vehicle in your group needs a winch or at least a come-along. 


Difficult or Remote trails - when your group could be on their own add:

  • Spare tire must match the size and tread of your other tires
  • Chainsaw or a very good hand saw
  • Food and water for 3 days for each person (consider a small camp stove)
  • Tent or other shelter
  • Hi-Lift Jack (learn to use it - they can be deadly if mishandled)
  • Extra gas
  • All engine belts
  • Full set of tools
  • Common repair parts like drive shaft U-joints 
  • Repair manual for your vehicle
  • At least one vehicle in your group needs a winch and winch kit including straps, snatch block (pulley), shackles, and tree saver
  • Extra dry wood or presto logs

If you are going to a particularly remote area or if you are wheeling alone then you should strongly consider having a Rescue Beacon such as the Delorme InReach or ACR ResQlink.