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1,616 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm curious what safety gear you guys and gals keep in your vehicles. In this thread we'll discuss trail safety, emergency preparedness, vehicle break-downs, and what to do in case you need to abandon your vehicle.

You'll learn How-To assemble a bug-out bag to keep in your vehicle for emergencies, and how and when to use these supplies.

I got this extensive list from Rick on MJR and it was compiled by New Image 4x4. Their knowledge of search and rescue, trail safety, and emergency preparedness is unsurpassed.

This list isn't an end-all be-all for everyone and should be used as a reference resource on what you should have with you.

1,616 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Check List for Off Road Safety

Pre-departure Maintenance Checklist

Check engine oil
Check transmission oil
Check brake fluid
Check radiator coolant
Check windshield wiper fluid
Check fan belts
Check hoses
Check air cleaner
Check seat belts
Check tire air pressure (air up to recommended pressure for highway driving, air down at trail head, air up prior to trip home)
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 braking pad material, in good condition and without contamination)
Check for loose bolts or nuts throughout vehicle
Grease all fittings (u-joints, steering)
Check gear oils: transfer case/differentials, replace if necessary
Check Winch for proper operation, check winch cable for kinks, frays or damage, straighten winch cable if necessary
Check shocks

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 (3 day survival pack)
Spare Tire, Full Size
Jack and tire iron to change your tire
Tow strap
Tree saver
Basic Tool Kit
Spare Key for vehicle
1 gallon of water

Safety and Survival

The First Aid Kit

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.
Here are suggestions for the contents of a first aid kit:
Activated Charcoal (use only if instructed by Poison Control Center)
Adhesive Tape
Antiseptic Ointment
Alcohol swabs, individually wrapped
Band-Aids (assorted sizes)
Cold Pack
Disposable Gloves
Gauze Pads and Roller Gauze (assorted sizes)
Hand Cleaner
Plastic Bags
Scissors and Tweezers
Small Flashlight or head lamp and Extra Batteries
Syrup of Ipecac (use only if instructed by Poison Control Center)
Triangular Bandage
Burnaid gel
Snake Bite kit
Disposable emergency blanket
Instant Cold pack
Instant Hot pack
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.
Safety Items
Safety Glasses
Leather Gloves
Fire Extinguisher - Should be mounted in the vehicle in an easily accessible location.
Matches / lighter

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 takes more water to metabolize alcohol than the beverage contains. Plus it may cause you to require the above mentioned First Aid Kit.
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
Sun block
Rain Jacket
Communication devices - Cell Phone, CB Radio, GMRS/FRS radios
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
Survival - Seasonal Specific
Extra clothing
Warm outer layers (jacket, wind breaker)
Head gear (warm hat, hooded jacket)
Emergency blanket (compact survival type)

Sun Block
Insect repellent
Mesh Tarp

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

Recovery Items
High lift Jack
Tow straps - 2 or more, 2 inch width or wider, 20 foot or longer
Tree saver
Come-along (one or more)
D-rings, Shackles
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)
Snow tire chains (if tires don't cut it)


Basic Tools
Basic tools are the versatile, essential tool sets that consist of a variety of sizes and combination 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.
Complete Socket Set with SAE (standard) and Metric with 3/8" and 1/2" drives. Deep and standard sockets.
Crescent, open end combination box wrenches SAE (standard) and Metric
Allen Wrenches
Torx sockets (especially if you own a Jeep)
Standard & Phillips screwdrivers, large, medium, small

Versatile Tools
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.

Specialty Tools
Snap ring pliers
Air Pressure Gauge
Portable air pump
Co2 Tank
Jumper cables

Additional Items

Versatile Items
Duct Tape
Bailing wire
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.
Rope lengths
Super glue
Tie wraps
Work Gloves, leather

For the Vehicle

Engine Oil
Brake Fluid
Power steering fluid
Automatic transmission fluid
Coolant or Water
Bearing Grease
Starter Fluid
Extra gas
Funnel, siphon hose
Spare Parts / Repair Items
Lug Wrench
Extra Fan / serpentine belts
Hoses, fuel line, coolant hoses
Spare Tire
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)
Spare points
Electronics Repair Kit
Volt ohms meter (multimeter)
Wire cutters / wire crimps / wire strippers (multi-tool)
Spare fuses of all sizes and types used in your vehicle
Electrical tape
Spare wire - lengths of various gauges
Spare switches
Spare relay if you use relays
Crimp 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

Expanded List

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
Onboard Air
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
Duct Tape
Propane Lanterns
Mosquito repellent
Lighter, matches
A knife of some sort
Toilet paper
Water purification pills
Cooler with beverages
Cooking Pans for breakfast
Paper plates
Paper towels
Folding camping chairs
Sleeping bag
Sleeping pad or air mattress
Stove or grill and fuel
Tarps, lots of tarps
Bathing suit
Flip flops or swimming shoes (no bare feet while swimming)
Funky fishing hat
Hiking boots
Rain jacket
Bottle opener
Cooler cup
Pocket knife
Trash bag
Extra keys
Sunglasses and/or goggles
Ice and ice chest or cooler
Camera, case, film and batteries
Maps: Sidekick Off Road Maps, state, county, Forestry, BLM Desert Access Guide, etc.

1,616 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
So please feel free to share what you carry in your vehicle, any stories related to trail mishaps, and how you dealt with it.

I know many of you keep supplies in your rig but I've noticed several people who don't have much at all. I understand that we normally travel in groups for safety but there are times when we wheel alone. For instance, you have no emergency supplies with you on a group run, ok, but after the run you feel a little spontaneous and take a trail you see on your way home and you break down. Do you have a jacket? A signal mirror? Water and food? A tarp to make a shelter?

1,616 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I suggest picking up a small backpack, like the kind kids use for books, and filling it with a few basic things that will only be used in case of emergency.

A backpack is best because you can take your supplies with you in case you have to abandon your vehicle.

Water purification tablets.

Granola bars, the more sodium the better.
Packaged nuts, salted.

Tarp for shelter.
Para-cord/550 cord.

Water proof matches.
Ferrocerium Flint or Mischmetal Flints FireStarter rod and striker.
Zip-lock bag with dryer lint for tinder.
35mm film canister with Vaseline soaked cotton balls for tinder.

Compass and maps of the area you're going to be in.
Signal mirror.
Multi-tool like a Leathermen.

First-aid kit.
Hand sanitizer (also good for starting fires)
Tooth brush and tooth paste.
Toilet paper.

Rain poncho.
Sun hat.
Warm beanie hat. Not cotton.
Gloves. Not cotton.
Wind breaker jacket. Nylon.
Wind breaker pants. Nylon
Wool socks.

Hand crank flash light.
Hand crank radio.

This is just off the top of my head, with out even looking at the list, and I'm sure there's more that will fit in your pack.

All these items will go in your small backpack and should be stashed somewhere out of sight for use only in emergencies.

1,340 Posts
I carry almost everything on he above lists.
I keep a tote ready full of that stuff ready to go.
I also take a battery jump box since I wheel alone a lot.

3,233 Posts
I know I don't go wheeling, but I started putting together a kit for our Jeep

2 sets of rope (15'-20')
First Aid kit (not getting into details)
Philips and standard screw drivers
Adjustable wrench (crescent?)
One of those ratcheting screw drivers with the case full of bits
Mity Lite flashlight (one of those little floruscent yellow/green ones
Socket set (use your imagination)
Small multi tool kit w/ pliers
Rain ponchos
Wet wipes
Hand Warmers (this Jeep drives to a lot of HS football games)
Usually two sets of lighter weight winter gloves and a hat or two (even in summer :shaking:)

In winter:
Couple of heavy quilts
Snow brush/scraper
Will have snow shovel in back one way or another

Will be getting another Mag Lite soon and mounting it in the cargo area.

EDIT: Just because you carry a lot of stuff with you, doesn't mean it takes up a lot of space. Most of the stuff I listed (tools, tarp, rope, trash bags) are stored in this... It's meant to be mounted to the bedside of a Yamaha Rhino UTV. I still have plenty of room, but didn't have the Jeep at home so I couldn't grab some of the things in the cargo area.


25 Posts
I'm a newbie to wheeling, but pretty experienced in backpacking.

I didn't see anything here about the #1 safety item: an itinerary shared with a responsible party not going on the trip. That way if you don't call in when you're expected back someone immediately knows something didn't go as planned and knows exactly where you're supposed to be. That sort of info is invaluable to Search & Rescue and can get them looking for you much sooner.

3,233 Posts
Yes, that is a very important part, but I think the original topic is what to carry in your Jeep kind of thing.

1,167 Posts
I think whether you can carry it with you or not is not as important as the fact that it is good advice. When I go wheeling I always tell my family where I am going and give them a "call someone time" That is a time that if they don't hear from me or someone in my group to call for help. The one thing that I am bad at but working to get better at is getting the phone numbers for the local FS office near where I wheeling. The initial contact for an emergency should be as close to your location as possible.
And the most important thing that you need to take with you on the trail is....common sense. That gets forgotten quite a bit:)

EDIT>> Just a heads up, after school starts you can pick up pretty good back packs at KMart, Target, WalMart really. really cheap. That where I get mine.

1,616 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Yes, that is a very important part, but I think the original topic is what to carry in your Jeep kind of thing.
No, Not really.

The most important survival tool we have is our brains, so, knowledge is power.

Leaving an itinerary is very important.

This thread is open to all ideas and practices related to trail safety.

If you're stuck in the desert and have to abandon your rig and your supply of water is limited you should only walk at night. Find a rock formation for shelter and shade if you can, and if no rocks are available you need to find a bush with some shade. You can cut branches from several other bushes to add to your shade bush. Stay still, stay calm, try not to sweat, breath through your nose to decrease the water you exhale, and try to sleep.

If you're going to stay with your rig and wait for rescue you should use the rig for shade and even dig under it for shade.
A spare tire will make an excellent signal fire and can be lit with gas (let the air out first). Your rear view mirror can be used to signal aircraft.

At night you can flash your headlights in patterns of three for a signal.
Everyone knows, signals of three-come rescue me.

S.O.S. Doesn't mean 'save our ship'...it was chosen because in Morse code the S and the O are all patterns of three. Any pattern of three is an international distress signal. Like three signal fires shaped like a triangle, a triangle made of rocks, etc.

725 Posts
I sell a lot of that stuff, would you guys be interested in first aid kits? I sell a lot to local contractors and keep one in every car i have.
you should start building off road kits for people like a recovery bag with all the stuff you ned that might be a bit much but could be worth some thought
i have recently decided that i am going to get some storage bags that i can mount on my nets in the rear having the two door really makes you minimize what you take imo

2,531 Posts
you should start building off road kits for people like a recovery bag with all the stuff you ned that might be a bit much but could be worth some thought
i have recently decided that i am going to get some storage bags that i can mount on my nets in the rear having the two door really makes you minimize what you take imo
I have actually given it a lot of thought, i just have never gotten around to doing it. We sell the bags you are talking about and every other tool and supply known to man:D

3,233 Posts
I have actually given it a lot of thought, i just have never gotten around to doing it. We sell the bags you are talking about and every other tool and supply known to man:D
You sell recovery straps, right? Will probably need to pick some up when we finally get tow hooks and a hitch.

1,616 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
you should start building off road kits for people like a recovery bag with all the stuff you ned that might be a bit much but could be worth some thought
i have recently decided that i am going to get some storage bags that i can mount on my nets in the rear having the two door really makes you minimize what you take imo
This thread was made to help people make their own off road kits, hence the list. People can get a small back pack and start filling it with the survival equipment they need as they can afford it. And they can read the list and determine what extra parts and supplies they need for their rig, put those items in a leak proof box and take it on runs.

I'm glad we have a vendor here that sells first-aid kits and tow straps but lets not fill this thread with vendor pimping, please.

I'd still like people to chime in with what they carry. Stories of emergencies and how they were dealt with, etc.

30 Posts
I once was teased about how much stuff I brought with me. That very afternoon we were almost stranded due to a storm and rising water.

I carry:

HAM radio in vehicle and a hand held
solar panel for radio
First aid kit - loaded and have taken several first responder courses
5 gallons of water
Gatorade packets
Sleeping bags (40 degree in summer, 0 in winter)
MSR Dragonfly stove and fuel
Mountain House freeze dried foods (3 days worth)
Ax and shovel
Internal frame back pack
Extra clothes to fit the season
Rain Gear
Sunscreen and bug spray for warm months
Several flashlights and waterproof headlamp
Backpacking tent (Golite)

And I'm sure that I have left plenty out.

I plan to stay with my vehicle if possible. We wheel with a top and doors for this very reason. I rarely go places where I would not be stumbled upon in a day or so, and never wheel with just one vehicle

Call me paranoid :D:beer:

440 Posts
I carry gum. I like gum.

Seriously those are some comprehensive lists and leaving the itinerary or flight plan as I call it is at the top of the list, in my opinion.

My Hi-Lift jack, shovel (real one with a handle), axe (real one with a handle), broken down maddox/pick (real one with a handle), and tree saw all fit nice and secure under the rear seat. I carry my tool kit and recovery bag on the rear floor secured to the seat frame in case of a rollover. They are easy to get to in this position. Pump is in back along with the spare, jack platforms, camping/survival gear, and extra water. Spare is strapped down and all else is held in place by my net.

The freeze dried food is not something I usually carry but I don't know why not. Weighs next to nothing, is tasty, and easy to prepare. You really don't even have to cook it. Good idea. I have also not usually carried a backpack but this too makes a lot of sense if you have to hike out. The GPS is nice but always have a map and real compass and know how to use it. Sometimes GPS computers are really dumb when it comes to routing.

I have spare axles in our motorhome but I do not usually carry them in the Jeep on the trail. I figure I can remove the broken axle, lock the locker and drive out with three wheel drive. I guess I could slide them under the rear seat also but this is an area I comprimise on. Weight does become an issue. I expect my gear weight approaches 300 pounds or more. And that does not include extra water or fuel.

Of course, the best thing to take along is another Jeep. One family we met at Moab last year all had their own Jeeps. They were there own caravan.

219 Posts
There is already an extensive list here. I'll just address the diaster scenerio for now. I carry so much tool stuff going to have to think about what is minimum necessary.

I often drive trails solo vehicle. Sometimes I am 40 or more miles from the nearest highway, let alone a town. If it is going to go badly for me - it is likely to go way bad.

The first rule I have out there when solo vehicle - is never do something that is a stretch. You've got to know your limitations - stay well within the safety margins. Plan a future trip with a group if there is something you see that makes you want to take chances.

I can be very resourceful - but that is not going to help in the middle of nowhere without basic supplies. I always have multiple days worth of food and water and a backpack to carry them in. Hiking boots are a must, so are proper clothes and ways to keep both cool and warm. First aid kit - with ace bandages since a sprain/strain is more likely than a wound.

I have a GPS and CB radio - so I can radio exactly where I am. The MyGIG has a GPS too. I keep a 14.4V 10ah battery pack (for portable HID light I use in mines, my hobby) that would power the CB if I wanted to walk up a mountain with the antenna. Or I could make a dipole antenna from wire I carry (Channel 9 is 8 feet 7 3/4 inches each leg) I have electronics skills and keep basic test and repair items in the jeep. Amateur Radio has a lot more possibilities - I use to talk to the world on just 25 watts. It is my bad I don't carry one in the Jeep. I have a cell phone of course but even on a mountain top I don't like the chances of getting a signal.

1,009 Posts
This is a great thread about what you need, it's got me thinking now about updating my gear.:beer:
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