If you plan to use your vehicle in bad weather, in remote or off-road areas, expect trouble. Fortunately, this problem becomes more manageable the more prepared you are. Here are seven things to keep in your vehicle at all times.
Tire repair kit
Tires are the most essential and frequently damaged components of any car or truck. But fixing a flat tire is quick and easy, and the equipment needed to do it is cheap.
Why not just rely on your spare wheel? Many vehicles are now fitted with only a space-saving spare tire, which will be smaller, lighter, and provide less traction than a regular tire. If you have to ride one, you’ll need to reduce your speed, avoid difficult terrain, and get back on the pavement as soon as possible.—where you will have to go directly to a tire repair shop. And that store could be far away, closed for the night, or not have a spare tire in stock. You will face a real headache, and probably at the end of your journey.
Even if you have a matching full-size spare tire, as any adventure mobile should, it’s still possible to have two flat tires at once, or two flat tires in a single trip. You cannot rely on the American Automobile Association (AAA) or similar roadside rescue service, as outside of major metropolitan areas they may take several hours to reach you, or you may not have a mobile phone service to call them. The equipment needed to repair a tire yourself costs a fraction of an annual AAA subscription and takes just a few minutes to use.
I use and recommend $38 Boulder Tools Heavy Duty Tire Repair Kit. The size of a coffee table art book, it will fit in any vehicle, and I show you how to use it in the video below.
air on board
You will also need a way to inflate a flat tire after you hook it up. That’s where an air compressor comes in. If all you’re doing is preparing for that inevitable flat, a cheap little option, like this $18 Slime Brand Item, will do the job. But it will take a long time to fill even the tires of economy cars.
If you need a source of air to use more often, so you can adjust the pressures when you go off road then back in, or if you’re using plus size truck tires, spend up a quality compressor or compressed air tank will save you a lot of time. On my own truck, I rely on a feed tank (from $500), which uses compressed carbon dioxide to provide the fastest possible inflation times, as well as the ability to reinstall tires that come off the wheel.
Don’t fall for the cheap prices promised by fakes. Genuine Maxtrax use a proprietary fibrous nylon polymer that flexes to prevent cracking and will withstand years, if not decades, of repeated use.
If your vehicle gets stuck in sand, snow, mud, or just about anything else, all you have to do is shove a pair of Maxtrax’s under your wheels and then get out of the way. obstacle.
Easier to use and exponentially safer than any other recovery method, Maxtrax belongs in every adventure mobile. They are available in three versions—MKII ($300), Extreme ($500) and mini ($200). Normal MKIIs are suitable for most SUV and truck drivers. The Extreme are equipped with metal teeth to better withstand very intensive use. And minis are sized to fit in the trunks of small crossovers, like the Subaru Crosstrek.
Strap and shackles
If Maxtrax is not enough to free you, you will have to enlist the help of another vehicle to get you out of trouble. But with one vehicle weighing several thousand pounds pulling on another, it becomes dangerous very quickly.
Rather than a tow chain or strap, which do not stretch and therefore create very high momentary loads, a bungee strap or kinetic strap or rope will help reduce the forces and actually make unhooking the vehicle easier. The stretch built into the straps or ropes allows the pulling vehicle to move slowly, which stretches the strap and distributes the forces over a longer period. The strap then contracts, which actually pulls the vehicle out of the obstacle.
I prefer steel shackles to soft items for their much higher breaking points and imperviousness to abrasion and cuts. In my own truck, I transport a pair of Gear America Mega Shacklesas well as the brand’s $180, American Made Kinetic Recovery Rope.
But there is a big problem with relying on a snatch recovery. Many vehicles do not come equipped with appropriate factory recovery points. And if you don’t have those recovery points, it’s dangerous and unwise to venture into places where you might get stuck.
I should note carefully that the tow and recovery points are not the same. Towing a vehicle creates a much weaker force than pulling a vehicle out of a deep or sticky substance. Don’t attempt to use those little screw-in tow eyes as an off-road recovery point.
Luckily, you can add proper and tough (read: safe) recovery points to many popular trucks. Australian 4×4 accessory manufacturer ARB manufactures a big choice, and since its products are manufactured to Australia’s high safety standards, you know you can rely on them. You can even buy now rated recovery points for select Subarus.
Even if you can’t equip your vehicle with proper recovery points, there’s still hope. Any two inch hitch receiver will be strong enough and you don’t even need a shackle to use one. Simply insert the pin through one end of the strap (inside the receiver), and you’re good to go. Of course, that means your vehicle can only be recovered backwards, but that’s better than nothing.
A real Jack
The small scissor jacks that come with most vehicles can be enough to perform a tire repair on a stock vehicle on a hard, flat surface. But even then, they aren’t as stable, secure, reliable, or easy to use as a quality bottle jack. Add weight or large tires to your vehicle, and you may find that scissor jacks break the first time you try to use them.
While the aftermarket is full of a variety of rugged-looking solutions that promise all sorts of new uses, the safest and easiest way to lift a vehicle’s wheels off the ground will always be with a simple jack. – bottle like this one from Pro-Lift for $43. Look for one designed to lift at least half of the vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (printed on a sticker inside the driver’s door jamb), and short enough to fit under the frame, control arms, or tailgate. axle of your vehicle, even with a completely deflated. tire. Pair this bottle jack with a set of safe jack extensions and braces ($109) will help it interface better with your vehicle, while one of those generic jack bases can add both height and stability.
Full size shovel
I use my shovel to dig fire pits, put out campfires, and create poop holes on almost every camping trip. And if you ever get stuck, unblocking yourself, even using one of the methods described above, will likely involve some digging.
Don’t be fooled by any of those tiny collapsible entrenching tools. A good full-size shovel will multiply the force you can apply without it breaking.
Any quality shovel from any home improvement store will more than do the job, starting at around $20. But they take up a lot of space. The Delta DMOS Excavator collapses in on itself and folds, but paired with a mount, does so at a truly ridiculous starting price of $510. But I must admit that it is a very useful tool that takes up very little space on my truck.