Hi folks: This is not meant to insult anyone's intelligence, only to help people who are new to off-road fun. I've read a few threads that include questions and comments about off-road gear. A tiny bit of relevant personal history; I've downsized to my 2016 Colorado Z71 from a 98 AMG Hummer. My old truck had built in air deflation/reflation and a 1200lb winch plus 37" tires and over 16" of clearance. It was great fun off-road if not just a little too wide for most of the trails out here in Western Canada.
Here's my 2c:
- Subscribe to the Expedition Portal (Expedition Portal
) it really is the best place to learn about everything to do with off-roading and expedition vehicles, equipment and planning. Some of us are already there.
- Either team up with friends or join an off-road club for your own safety; getting stuck or hurt in the middle of the bush by yourself can kill.
- Never go off-road without the basics to get out of trouble; a spare wheel, equipment to change it, a small shovel, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, blankets, warm clothing. I know that some of this sounds obvious but it amazes me how many people drive in sub zero weather with nothing but a T shirt and light jacket because they have a warm truck to sit in and lots of optimism. Other stuff I always carry when off-road: an axe, a collapsible saw, something to make fire with (fire starters and a lighter work great). Walkie talkies are a cheap alternative to a CB radio.
- Practice changing wheels before going off-road; again this sounds obvious but it's really common for folk to upgrade to bigger sizes only to find that the stock truck jack will not work and that the oem spare tire will not fit, even just to hobble home. I have only had my truck about three weeks; it has a BDS 5.5" lift and the oem spare wheel will not even fit on the axle. My first purchase of the new year will be a full size spare and rear carrier.
- Hi-Lift jacks are a great tool but they are also very deadly. If you go this route, learn how to use it properly and practice at home before having to use it for the first time in an emergency. Also secure it properly to your truck. Spend some time scaring yourself on the Internet then go play. You may need to get some attachments to enable the thing to lift your truck. I have not had a chance to take a good luck at my truck yet but I don't see an obvious place to lift using a Hi-Lift. Any comments?
- Learn where your winch/tow points are front and back. It's a great idea to keep a few decent shackles in the truck but I strongly advise against keeping them hanging on a tow point if not in use; they will bang around while driving and chip paint and plastic. Having your own shackles makes it easier to connect to someone else's rope/strap. Take a look at the new soft shackles; all rope. These will not bash around
- Even better, get your own straps. My ARB recovery bag contains a tree protector, a tow/winch extension strap and a snatch strap. I use the bag as a recovery damper; if you don't know what this means watch some YouTube recovery videos.
- Even better get a snatch block ( I have 2).
- Now you have almost all you need except a winch so get one of these too. Winches are great but also deadly so if you go this route, practice at home or in the bush before you get yourself into a real emergency. There are loads of Internet reference tools on winching technique. I miss my winch and will be getting one of these next year after my bank account recovers.
- Other really good stuff to carry: Maxtrax or similar (the more the better), an air pump so you can air-down and back up again after.
This list is not exhaustive; there are loads of YouTube vids about recovery gear. There are also some really great YouTubers. One of my favourites is Ronny Dahl (https://www.youtube.com/user/RonBacardi666
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