offroad essentials


The bush can be a dangerous place if you haven’t got the right equipment to handle any situation that can be thrown at you. Here’s a list of the essential items you shouldn’t go on an off-roading adventure without.


Factory-issued tyres might be perfect for cruising around city streets and dropping your kids off at school, but they won’t get you very far in seriously rugged terrain. Tyres of at least eight-ply equipment will do the job much better. You will also need spares. I personally prefer to use six 10-ply BFGoodrich tyres. With six I know I can have a couple of mishaps and I’m fully prepared for any eventuality.


The go-to response to punctures. A tyre repair kit will plug the puncture and allow the tyre to be reflated. I usually carry a foot pump with my repair kit as well in case there are any issues with the onboard air compressor.


A reliable tyre pressure monitoring system will a must for any serious off-roader. It will alert you early enough if a tyre is losing pressure and allow you to plug any puncture before the whole tyre blows out and could leave you in a sticky situation. There are many options for tyre pressure monitoring systems, some require wheel-mounted senders or there are cheaper indirect tyre inflation level monitoring options. Doran sensors have served me well over the years and prevented at least four blow-outs on my trips.


A spare battery under the bonnet or in the boot and a charging method other than the alternator could save your life in an emergency situation. A spare generator or solar panel would be ideal to ensure the battery has an alternative point of charge and a faulty generator doesn’t kill off both your batteries in one go, especially if you’re running electronics off your second battery.


Bush driving at night is never recommended, but if needs must then you will want to change your standard issue lights. Spotlights are a useful addition but if not your factory issue lights can be enhanced with some globe lights.


For when those roos with a death wish come out of nowhere, it is worth having a steel bar fitted for protection. There are some good deals on bar fitting and models so shop around but a strong steel bar provides excellent value for money.


If you don’t have a lot of weight in the vehicle then you may get away with using your standard suspension, especially if it’s top-of-the-range air suspension. It is often advisable to invest in some springs and shock absorbers to make your off-roading a little more comfortable. I personally use a set of King springs.


This goes without saying but I would always leave home with enough water to last an extra few days just in case. An onboard water tank is a convenient option and won’t break the bank too much.


Check your vehicle, European manufacturers have to include a first-aid kit as regulation but you might want to buy a more Aussie specific kit. A snake-bite bandage, burns pad and stick-on patches should make sure you’re covered for the Australian conditions. Keep it stocked and know how to use it.


Relying on jerry cans can be a hassle and dangerous with petrol sloshing about in the back of your 4WD. A long-range tank is often the better option which feeds into your vehicle’s main fuel tank. Brands like LongRanger provide good performance for your dollar.


Depending on your location, your mobile phone might get a signal, but a satellite phone and high-frequency radio ensure you are only a moment away from contacting the emergency services. Similarly, I always keep an Australia atlas in my 4WD so I always have a map, modern GPS units are of course recommended, but I like to have my atlas there just in case the technology fails.


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Oli Ward

Oli has camped and hiked his way around Australia and most of Europe. He also loves writing about his experiences and sharing his knowledge.