Survival Equipment To Go - Off Road Camping Accessories & GearPosted in Features on August 1, 2006
Going to the outback in a truck is a little different than going out on foot. You can bring many more supplies, and cover 10 times the ground that you would on foot. But that also means you can be 10 times farther out when something goes wrong or stops your progress. You need to be prepared when heading out into the wild where no one would find you for days at a time. And lucky for us wheelers, we can take so much stuff with us that we could be out for a month before having to turn around if we pack it all right. We thought we'd let you in on some of the basic necessities that we bring when out in places where concrete doesn't grow. There are a lot more items you should pack for yourself to suit your own needs, but every truck should be fitted with at least these following supplies. And yes, this is a good excuse to tell your wife you need another chainsaw. One just to keep in your truck.
Surviving for days at a time means being prepared to eat more than what your intended trip packing provides for. You should have a backup supply of water, gum, nuts, candy (quick sugar rush for energy), and health-food bars in your 4x4. Some dried fruit is good too if you get the type that won't spoil after sitting for months. You should never break into this pack of goodies until it's absolutely necessary. This is not for snacking. This is to be utilized only after all the food you packed in your cooler is gone and you're stuck somewhere and hungry. It's amazing how long you can stay alive on some high-protein nuts, health-food bars, and some candy. Also, having refillable water bottles and microfilters like this can be great if you're near some water. Chemical water-purifying kits are available as well.
You can always shed layers if it gets warm, but if it gets cold, you better have a way to add covering to yourself. Having an extra jacket or sweatshirt in the back should be an automatic, but you should also have a blanket or sleeping bag or both in your truck, in case you're spending some cold nights in the truck. And it might not hurt to have a tarp or a small tent you can use for shelter as well. If something happens to the truck to prevent you from sleeping inside it, then a small shelter could save your life.
A means of communicating with others can often dictate if you're getting help out of the situation you're in, or helping yourself out. Every truck in the outdoors should have a CB, and a cell phone should be stuffed into a glovebox as well. And speaking of electronics, it doesn't hurt to have an AC/DC power inverter with you either.
A good, fixed blade knife should be one of the first things you put in your truck. Don't get some whimpy one; this is your chance to get something Rambo would carry! A knife can be your most important and utilized tool when in the sticks, and you don't want some cheesy as-seen-on-TV special that will snap the first time you put a little side load on it. We state fixed blade because they're just more heavy-duty and safer than a folding knife. You should probably have a folding knife on you too, but you need a bigger, fixed blade to handle big tasks. This Benchmade Snody-designed fixed-blade knife has a blade just over 5 inches, and features partial serration. Having a straight and serrated blade gives you the best of both worlds when it comes to cutting something.
You should have a bevy of tools at your disposal. Extra parts are smart too. If you don't like carrying an entire tool set, then carry sockets and wrenches for the bolts that are on your suspension and drivetrain, plus some pliers, screwdrivers, and adjustable wrenches for anything else you forget about. If you're not carrying entire driveshafts and complete inner and outer axles for the front, then at least carry U-joints, lube, U-bolts or straps, extra belts for your engine, extra hoses in case something blows, and multiple fuses. Wire would be a good idea too, but you can always pirate off your own taillight wiring if you need some wire badly enough.
Having a good flashlight is important too. We know a lot of you have been carrying around the same model flashlight for the last 20 years; it doubles as a good beat stick, and it's hard to change old habits. But we're now into the 21st century, and there are some great LED flashlights that will last for over 100 hours on a few AA batteries. They're lightweight and easy to carry, and will not take up much room, though you'll have to carry a separate beat stick if you want to whack anything. Bring a ton of spare batteries as well. Matches and multiple lighters should be standard in every 4x4. Keep 'em in a container or baggy that won't let them get wet either. At the very least, you need these to light the M-80 and other firecracker "signals" that so many guys seem to have in their trucks these days...
We won't even bother mentioning a winch because you know you should have one, so let's skip right to the recovery kit. Most recovery kits like this one from Warn should have a snatch block, a tree strap, some gloves, a shackle, and some chain. If you get creative, there's almost no situation you couldn't get yourself and your truck out of with these things (as long as your winch is still running).
If you have nothing to attach your winch to, then you might be more stuck than you think. Stuck is stuck, whether it be a little or a lot. If nothing is around but ground, try this Pull Pal winch anchor. It digs into the ground like a shovel, but is angled so it sticks in the ground and gives you a winch point to pull your vehicle from.
Ah, the Hi-Lift Jack. This is the do-it-all tool that can be used for lifting, compressing, and even pulling with the right accessories. We've seen the handles used as tie rods before, and they can make a darn good hammer too. It can also be the most deadly tool you have if you don't use it right. Make sure the Hi-Lift has good stable ground under it, and that you're not using it at an angle. If that jack starts to tip and spits out from under a truck, it could seriously ruin your day. Like with any tool, the Hi-Lift needs to be used properly and its moving parts maintained.