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4x4 Trail Gear & Camping Checklist - Sockets, Spares & Space

Posted in How To on November 1, 2008 Comment (0)
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Hitting the trail in your 4x4 is similar to hiking the trail with a backpack. You'll survive longer with the more stuff you bring along, but you'll also have a harder time getting anywhere with too much gear on your or your truck's back. If you've never been wheeling before, then you'll likely fall into one of two categories-the guy that doesn't bring anything or the guy that brings every spare part under the sun. Either way you could be in for a rough trip.

We've found that the perfect balance of tools and spares to allowable space can make or break your wheeling fun. Having a spare transmission and rear-axle third member isn't uncommon, but taking them up the trail with you isn't going to help your rig get over that gnarly obstacle. Driving your 4x4 to and from the trail head requires spare parts to get you home, while towing it allows you to store spares (like a transmission or third member) close by in your tow rig while out on the trail. We've printed this list before, but we added some things to remember this time.

B-4 U GO
Check these items so you may avoid making some repairs in the rocks or mud:
Engine oil
Transmission fluid
Brake fluid
Hydraulic-clutch fluid
Transfer-case oil
Differential oil
Power-steering fluid
Belts
Grease all driveshafts, U-joints, and steering joints
All lights and turn signals
Windshield-washer fluid (helps clean off mud)
Radiator coolant level
Tire pressure and look for leaks or gashes
Tow hooks (front and rear) of your vehicle
Tell someone where you are going and when you'll be back
Check for loose parts: Lug nuts, driveshafts, engine and tranny mounts, suspension joints, and U-bolts

View Slideshow

Bare Necessities
Bring this stuff and some ingenuity and you will get out of many trail mishaps:
A buddy with either a history in long-distance running to go get help, or his own 4x4
Duct tape (fixes everything)
Baling wire (prehistoric duct tape)
Zip-ties (modern-day duct tape)
WD-40 (spraying under the distributor helps start trucks that have splashed through water)
Ratchet strap (reseat tires, helps strap parts in place)
Tow strap (useful if you get stuck or need to be drug home)
Leatherman type utility tool and/or Swiss Army pocketknife
Piece of 1/4-inch-or-larger chain 4 feet long (good for fixing suspension and motor mounts)
Jug of water
Warm jacket (being cold makes being stuck and broke worse)
First aid kit (loss of blood makes trail repairs challenging)
Granola bar or candy bar (food is important to survival, helps you think straight)
Fire extinguisher (our friend watched his truck burn to the ground and then walked home)
Flashlight (hard to walk home in the dark without one after your truck burns to the ground)
Matches/lighter

Spare Parts
These parts start adding weight, but it's better than the long walk home:
Tie-rod end or Heim joints (spherical rod ends) for steering
Heim joints for your custom linked suspension
Engine belts
Front axleshafts
Rear axleshafts
Front axle U-joints
Driveshaft U-Joints
Spare tire
Spare locking hub or set of drive flanges
Spare bolts of commons sizes found on your truck
Fuses for your truck (some fuse panels have spaces to store spares)
Radiator hose
Hose clamps
Electrical crimp kit
Valve cores
Lug nuts

What We Always Bring
If we're going wheeling for the day, this is a good list of tools and stuff to bring:
Tool bag containing:
Screwdrivers (three different sizes)
Pliers (Dikes, needle-nose, channel locks, snap ring, adjustable, locking grips)
Hammer (ball-peen)
Wrenches (standard and metric-we bring both, you decide what you need)
Adjustable wrench
Sockets (standard and Metric-we bring them, but often wrenches are enough)
Spark plug socket
Pick tools (handy for fixing hubs)
Test light
Prybar
Jack of some sort (Hi-Lift, bottle, or floor-depending on the terrain and size vehicle you own)
Tire repair kit
Electrical tape
Allen wrenches
Hacksaw

Camping gear is solely up to your personal preference for how comfortable you want to be and how much room you have. Your local camping store sells everything from portable chairs to camping espresso machines and mobile showers. Having all that stuff is nice, but we've also had great trips where we slept on a plastic tarp under the stars and had nothing but water and some stale potato chips.

Camping Gear
Basic stuff for staying in the dirt:
Warm clothing and rain gear
Tent or good tarp
Camping stove and fuel
Sleeping bag and pad
Cooler

Personal Stuff
These items will make the trip more enjoyable:
Toilet paper
Sunscreen
Bug spray
Food and water (no, beer doesn't qualify as water)
Extra jacket
Rags/towels

Lubes
Different goo to help you go:
Oil
Power-steering fluid
Brake fluid
Automatic-transmission fluid
Gasoline or diesel
Form-a-gasket or RTV silicone to reseal gaskets
Water
Gear oil
WD-40

View Slideshow

Bonus Stuff That We Like Having Along
Many of you get along without these, but they are very useful, especially if you need to do extreme trail repairs:
Air compressor or CO2 tank
Impact gun and impact sockets
Underhood welder

Get Out Of A Stuck Situation Stuff
Bring more of these the longer and farther from civilization you are going:
Winch
Winch control
Shackle or two
Spare cable (especially if you see yourself doing really long winch pulls)
Chain (Grade 70)
Snatch block
Hi-Lift type jack
Pull-Pal recovery anchor
Shovel
Ax
Tree protector
Snatch strap
Gloves
Winch bag (something to put over the cable or rope to keep it under control should it snap)

Navigation
If you don't like asking for directions:
Maps
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Compass
Citizens Band radio
Cell phone
Gas station guy, so your wife can ask directions when you won't

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