When you’re traversing the wild open country, miles away from your favorite Fort Collins auto repair shop, things can sometimes happen that you don’t expect. Flat tires, engine trouble, bad weather, and many other crazy things can catch you off guard, especially if you’re new to the off-road life. While it’s always a good idea to have your truck parts thoroughly inspected before hitting the trails, there are a handful of things you should always carry with you in case of trouble. With the right tools and preparedness, you can keep those annoyances from turning into disaster scenarios.
Every driver is probably aware of the basics they should have in their “emergency car kit”: extra food/water, emergency blankets, flashlight, booster cables, and a first aid kit are among the top items of importance. But for the off-road driver, their kit includes all the usual items plus several specialty ones to help them get out of tough situations or make repairs on the fly to their custom rig. So, before you tackle your next trail adventure, be sure you stock up on these ten things!
One of the most common things that trail runners have to contend with is vehicle recovery. Things happen: tires get wedged, the mud gets too deep, the slope gets too sketchy — and tow straps will help get you out. Make sure you and your traveling companions are carrying this inexpensive and crucial tool to save your off-road parts!
Slightly different from a tow strap, a tree-saver is a strap designed to wrap around a nearby tree to assist your vehicle over an obstacle or out of trouble. Since you never ever want to use a winch cable in these situations, a tree-saver is a safe and effective way to pop yourself free without slicing up the wilderness.
Spare tire + jack
One of those truck parts that is only useful if you know how to utilize it, the combo of spare and jack is a basic cornerstone of any off-road kit. Always keep a fully inflated spare tire aboard your rig and look for a jack that is especially made for trail or uneven-surface use.
Spare vehicle key
Seems like a no-brainer, right? But how many times have you left your spare key at home when you’re off to play in the mountains? Don’t be caught out in the middle of nowhere and lock yourself out — the guys at your Fort Collins auto repair shop won’t be able to help you. And AAA may not either. Be double safe and bring double the keys.
If you were to interview a group of seasoned off-roaders, chances are you’ll find at least one or two who have had to bust out the fire extinguisher during a trail run. Especially with older vehicles or those lacking the necessary modifications, things can get overheated quickly and cause certain offroad parts to spark. And a fire is serious business, especially when you’re miles deep into the woods. Mount a fire extinguisher in an easy-to-reach area on your truck.
Flares and reflectors
Reflectors help to keep you safe and visible, especially outdoors with minimal light, and are useful in not just rescue situations, but everyday driving. Plus, often times if you’re way out, the only way for others to find you is by using flares. Reconnecting with travel buddies or search crews may be crucial to your survival, so pack more flares than you think you may need.
Water purification system
While it’s not technically in the “truck parts” category, a water purification system can be worth its weight in gold for long cross-country trips or in disaster situations. Most wilderness areas have water sources available, but you must purify it for your own safety (Giardiasis is no fun!). Look for a light and compact tool like the Lifestraw and keep it easily accessible.
This multipurpose tool can quickly become your most-used and treasured tool over the course of several trail trips. A short, lightweight shovel (plus some elbow grease) can get you out of most tight spots; use it to remove snow, pile up gravel for traction, or forge a tire groove. They even make folding ones for minimalist travel.
Basic tool kit
We had to include this because it’s simply silly to head out without one. Basic 4×4 tool kits are easy to find or make yourself and have all the basics you’d need to perform simple repairs away from home. Look for one especially made for off-road, or ask your mechanic at your local Fort Collins auto repair shop to help you put together your own custom kit.
Duct tape + zip ties
Because, when in doubt, most things can be cobbled together with duct tape, and zip ties can hold your rig together if you need to limp home.