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4WD accessories for your trip around Oz

Which 4WD accessories do you need to get fitted to your vehicle? Everyone is likely to answer this question differently. It depends on your experience and appetite for off-road adventures.

Our Pajero had none of the typical extras you usually see on 'bush-bashing' four wheel drives.

We often wonder if we are the only family who traveled Australia with a ‘straight from the showroom’ 4WD. It took us everywhere we wanted to go...and more. But everyone's different. So, here are the accessories we think top the priority list.

A cargo barrier...for safety and peace of mind.

A cargo barrier allows you to stack gear in your boot all the way to the roof, without difficulty. But more importantly, it protects passengers from that gear flying around in an accident. When bumping around on 4WD tracks and bad corrugations, we felt safe that our compressor wasn’t going to hit one of the kids in the head. It’s a comfort worth having.

Upgraded suspension…for a smoother ride.

In the perfection of hindsight…this is one of the 4WD accessories we would have invested in, but didn’t. We covered thousands of kilometres of corrugated and rough roads. An after-market suspension tailored to suit these conditions will definitely make your ride smoother. A lifted suspension will also improve your ground clearance.

But we survived, and our original suspension is still going (only just)!

A long range tank…to go the extra mile.

Would a couple of 20L jerry cans be a cheaper, space-saving option?

Some 4WD vehicles have these as standard. If you are considering fitting one after-market, first look at:

  • The space you’ll lose by installing one
  • Your existing tank size
  • Your fuel economy
  • The distances between fuel stops on your major routes

Our Pajero has an 88lt tank. We carried one 20L jerry can. We didn’t always have much choice where we filled up, but we always had enough fuel to get to the next service station.

Heading out to Steep Point is tough when you're towing a large camper trailer.

Winch (hand or power) …for sticky situations.

A winch gives you more independence when 4WDing, if you know how to use it. We met plenty of people with winches, but only one (a 4WD action seeker) who used one. After all, when you’re on a 40,000km trip, you are more cautious with your vehicle to start with.

A safe (and cheaper) alternative is to team up with other people on difficult or remote routes. After all, two vehicles are always better than one in a recovery situation.

A bull barfor bulls?!

Most people seem to fit bull bars to attach a winch, or protect their vehicles if they hit wildlife. We decided against buying one when we were told they are designed to crush on impact. It seemed to defeat the purpose. Plus it adds more weight, which reduces your fuel economy. They do look tough though. As it was, we only hit one small bird in the Northern Territory (poor thing).

We generally avoided driving really early or late in the day, and when we did we drove more cautiously and slowly.

A snorkel…for fresher air.

A snorkel raises your 4WD air intake to the roofline, instead of under the bonnet. When you are travelling off-road, it reduces the dust being taken in with the air. This gives your vehicle more power, and better fuel economy. It can also be very useful when going through deep water crossings (if you have a diesel vehicle).

Roof racks …to store more stuff.

If you have a tent, you will most likely need roof racks for storage unless you are towing a trailer. If you have a camper trailer or caravan, you may actually be able to do without them. Try your best to pack only the essentials, since anything on your roof increases your overall height and wind resistance. Simply having roof racks will tempt you to pack more.

Our veteran 4WD trainer gave us the best off-road advice.

1. Know how to handle your 4WD vehicle. It’s more important than any 4WD accessories you have.
2. Never leave home without some basic off-road equipment.

Get these things right…then take a look at what 4WD accessories you think you’ll use.

If you have a great set-up already, with a fully kitted 4WD vehicle…that’s perfect. If not, think about your own experience and comfort travelling off road before you decide. Happy driving!

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