Off Road Truck Emergency Must Have Items - Save YourselfPosted in How To on October 1, 2008
One of the reasons most of us wheel is to get away from the hustle and bustle of civilization. There's no feeling quite like conquering a tough trail and being rewarded with a unique view from the top of a pine-scented mountain or a windswept deserted beach.
When planning one of these forays, we have to be cognizant of the fact that when we leave civilization we're also leaving its conveniences. Out in the "sticks," even the simplest of breakdowns can turn into a major drama. We go where wreckers and rollbacks fear to tread, and if they do tread, it's going to be very expensive to have 'em come rescue our hide. And don't think you're immune because you drive a brand-new rig. Breakdowns and stucks happen to both new and old rigs alike.
Bottom line: We have to be prepared to fix or recover our rigs without any outside help. In an effort to help you reach that goal, we've compiled a few products that will help you save yourself.
Tires have a much higher failure rate off-highway. We're all painfully aware of that fact. Make sure you have a spare tire and that it's aired up and ready to roll.Since there's no guarantee that the spare won't go flat too, it's also a good idea to carry along the Safety Seal Off Road Tire Repair kit. The kit comes with everything you need to plug a tire including a T-handle probe spiral, a T-handle insertion tool, lube, and Safety Seal repairs. Naturally you'll need a way to refill the tire with air. A good option is the Quick Air 2 portable air compressor by Sun Performance Products. This mid-priced unit includes hose, air chuck, and power cables, and it'll give you a limitless supply of compressed air. Another cool option for backcountry tire repair is the 48-piece Slime PowerSpair kit. It includes everything you need to get moving again including a 24-ounce bottle of Slime tire sealant, a heavy-duty 12-volt inflator, and 25 feet of air hose. The kit also has everything needed to plug a tire, and it even includes valve cores and a valve-core removal tool. The best part is: all of its contents are housed in a rugged hard-sided case.
When exploring the backcountry, you may need to be able to recover your vehicle without any outside assistance. We highly recommend outfitting your rig with a winch. The price you'll pay up front will be worth it the first time it saves your bacon. You'll need a winch accessory kit like the one offered by Warn (PN 29460). It includes a recovery strap, gloves, a shackle choker chain, a snatch block, a tree trunk protector, and a camouflage case. Another good winching accessory to consider is the Pull Pal. This foldable portable anchor creates a solid winch point in almost any type of terrain. This device ensures that you have something to hook your winch cable to even if there are no trees or boulders available. We've used it and it works great. Whether you have a winch or not, a Hi-Lift jack should also be a part of your recovery arsenal. We recommend ponying up the cash for the optional Off Road Base because it alleviates jack sinkage on soft ground. We also think the optional new Lift Mate is pretty slick because it allows you to lift your rig by the wheel using the Hi-Lift jack. The Hi-Lift can also be used as a hand-operated winch. The Max Multi Purpose Tool by Forrest Tool Company is a good trail recovery investment. At its core is a Hudson Bay-style axe with 34-inch handle, and this axe can be morphed into seven different tools. Finally, at the very least you need to pack along a stout snatch strap. ARB offers three straps that range in strength from 17,500 to 33,000 pounds. The elasticity of these straps creates kinetic energy that will actually aid in the recovery, and it also helps decrease the likelihood of vehicle damage.
It's funny how mechanical items choose the most inopportune times to fail. We've all experienced what happens when our rig, "Old Faithful," decides to break a belt or suffer some other mechanical malady deep in the backcountry. For this reason, it's a good idea to pack along a new serpentine belt as well as extra engine oil, transmission fluid, and gear oil. Some of us pack along the major stuff like extra axleshafts and hubs, but what happens if something much simpler goes south, like if your battery pukes? Jumper cables won't help if you're alone, so it's a good idea to pack along a self-contained "jumper box" like the Black & Decker Electromate 400. This rechargeable unit has 12-volt jumper cables so you can get going again. As a bonus, it also has a built-in air compressor and a fan-cooled inverter, among other things. Packing basic handtools is also a must, and if your rig takes vehicle-specific tools, make sure you have those along as well.
When you say goodbye to civilization, it's OK to take a little of it with you. Zip-ties, duct tape, and a small roll of baling wire are worth their weight in gold if you have to MacGyver your rig back together. Another mandatory must-have is Rescue Tape. This stuff is like duct tape on steroids. First used by the U.S. military, it is self-fusing and boasts a 700psi tensile strength. It insulates 8,000 volts per layer, withstands 500 degrees F., and is flexible to -85 degrees F. Not only that, it resists most every oil and chemical and creates a permanent air- and water-tight seal in seconds. Of course, your safety is critically important above and beyond everything else. For this reason, you should pack a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit. Bring along a CB radio or some sort of two-way radio for short-range communication. A cell phone is a must for long-range communication. And if you're not a person who uses text messaging, learn. Unlike voice calls, text messages can be sent with just minimal signal. And here's the most important thing: get a GPS unit. This will allow you to pass along your latitude and longitude if you're lost, broken down, or injured. There have been instances where rescuers could talk to folks via radios and cell phones but couldn't get to them in time because they couldn't find them. It doesn't have to be an expensive GPS. We always pack an entry-level Garmin Etrex unit that offers basic operations, including latitude and longitude.