From the “Be Prepared” motto of the Boy Scouts of America to the “Go Prepared” of Warn Industries, the message is clear: backcountry trips require readiness and equipment. But how much is too much, and how much is not enough?
There’s no set formula for what constitutes preparedness and what does not. When prepping for a trip, you need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your vehicle, the duration of your trail trip, the terrain you’ll be encountering, and the number of other people and vehicles also along for the ride. Based on these variables and your own judgment, you can begin to pack your tools and spares.
To illustrate the two ends of the spectrum, we paid a visit to Poison Spyder Customs’ Larry and Cheri McRae, and then took a close look at the payload inside a personal daily driver/trail rig.
Larry and Cheri personify the “light traveler.” Cheri’s new JK is packed with a minimalist-style selection of tools and gear that leaves plenty of room left over inside for passengers. It feels clean and uncluttered.
On the other hand, the equipment found inside the 4Runner bears strong resemblance to a gas. Unlike a solid or liquid, a gas expands to fill its container. While well-equipped for the solo adventures often undertaken, it turns out that there are some definite opportunities to pare down the 4Runner’s payload. Yep, I’m an “over-packer.”
Take a look at what we bring, and then decide how much is right for you.
The Light Traveler
Cheri McRae’s 2012 JK Rubicon Unlimited is built with a smart selection of bolt-on suspension parts and bolt-on Poison Spyder hardware. Since the McRae’s usually ’wheel with groups and quite often have their tow rig waiting in the main camp area they don’t need to load the JK very heavily.
I know I’m not the only one, but since I’m so good at it, I feel I’ve earned the right to the title “Der Overpacker.” There’s some method to the madness, though. Solo trips are taken frequently, and neither tow rig nor trailer exists in my world. Everything that’s going goes in the 4Runner.
A second reason for the heavy loading is that I don’t wrench at home most of the time. All the tools have to make the trip to the wrenching session. It’s easier to bring everything than it is to show up wondering whether something vital has been left behind.
One thing’s missing, though: a proper first-aid kit. While shooting photos, I jabbed my finger and started bleeding, only to realize I didn’t have first aid kit with me. D’oh!