› Off road equipment

Off road equipment for your trip around Oz

Which off road equipment do you really need for your trip around Australia? Make safety your top priority, then see how much space and money you have left to choose from the rest.

Whatever you decide, learn how to use your equipment before you go. There’s no point having a snatch strap if you don’t know what to do with it! Also...think about which 4WD accessories you want to fit to your vehicle (if any).

Crossing the Pentacost River in the Kimberley (with our off road equipment safely in the boot!).Crossing the Pentacost River in the Kimberley...with our off road equipment safely in the boot!

Don't leave home without some essential recovery gear.

Here’s the off road equipment we wouldn’t leave home without:

  • Jerry cans (fuel and water) – keep them full.
  • A shovel.
  • A snatch strap (and D shackles) – don’t rely on someone else having one to pull you out!
  • A tyre gauge – Your tyre pressure is the single most effective recovery tool you have. A tyre gauge allows you to measure it accurately all the time. It’s the best $12 investment you’ll make.
  • An air compressor – To pump your tyres back up when the nearest service station is 200km away! You need to get one that pumps out at least 72 litres per minute, even though they are bulkier. Anything less will overheat frequently when you have to pump up 4-6 tyres by 15-20 PSI in the hot sun.
  • A tyre puncture repair kit – We never actually used ours, but we took comfort having it (even if it might have taken an hour or two of hard labour to fix a tyre with it). Especially comforting when we were 300km from a tyre repair shop, and we were out of spares!

Other really useful stuff...but it's up to you!

Here’s the extra off road equipment we think is really useful, but perhaps not essential –

An equaliser strap – This works with your snatch strap to pull you out. It equalises the weight of your vehicle across two recovery points, which makes it easier to pull in a straight line. If you have multiple recovery points on your vehicle, like we do, consider getting one.

Jumper leads – Better to be self-sufficient than to assume someone else has these. Particularly if you are prone to battery troubles, like we were at one stage!

A second spare tyre (with or without a rim) – It’s bulky, but buys you more distance between tyre repair places. Essential on long-distance 4WD or gravel routes, if you’re travelling them.

Maxtraxx – These ‘sand skis’ for your 4WD help give you traction where none exists. We never had them, but wished we did a couple of times. On the other hand, we dug ourselves out without them – and they aren’t cheap!

What about spare parts?

Most vehicles are somewhat computerised these days. Kumar is pretty handy, and an engineer – but he still wasn’t confident he could change parts on our car. We asked a few mechanics and they all agreed carrying spare parts is not as practical as it used to be, particularly if you can’t fit them.

You’d be surprised how cheap and fast air couriering is, even if you find yourself stuck with a damaged engine sensor 50km outside Bamaga, Cape York – as we discovered!

Decide what you really need, and choose carefully.

Off road equipment is often expensive, but important. Whatever you take, you’re stuck with it for the rest of the trip, whether you use it or not. It’s easy to buy equipment along the way…when you know you need it.

› Off road equipment