The gear you carry with you will change and evolve as you learn what works better for you. These pages include some of the gear that has worked well for us.
Some basics things to always have with you
- Drinking water
- Tow strap
- Tool kit
- Tire plug kit
- Sleeping bag and a tent
- Toilet paper
- Food / snacks
- Folding chair
- 12 volt air compressor
- A garbage bag or two
You need a way to air up those tires after the trail. Here are a couple air compressor options that work well for us.
The ARB twin compressor is is much faster than other options, but comes at a high price.
The MasterFlow MF-1050 is a slower, but more affordable solution. Get two!
Whatever you choose, you will want a compressor that wires into, or clips directly to the battery. Anything that plugs into the cigarette lighter is going to blow fuses.
Dedicated GPS devices with pre-loaded topographical maps have been the most reliable navigation tools in my person use. The Garmin Oregon 650 is my go-to GPS, however a Garmin Oregon 600 would function just as well as a navigation tool.
Tablets with GPS and mapping applications can be better suited for navigating longer distances where the larger screen comes in handy. There are numerous paid and free applications available for Android and Apple tablets and smart phones. Back Country Navigator even integrates APRS into into its mapping app.
You will want a sturdy mount to hold your tablet in place while on trail. The Ram Mount X-Grip and Tough-Claw are the only mounts we have found that hold up to this type of abuse.
FRS Radios are useful for those not licensed in ham radio. The signal clarity is much better than CB and a pair of these can be purchased for less than $30.
It is recommended to keep plenty of spare batteries on hand or find a radio that includes USB charging so a 12V / USB charger can be used in the vehicle.
Ham Radios are king for trail communications. The ideal set up would inlcude a mounted "mobile" radio and an "HT" (Handy Talkie or hand held radio).
My personal radio set up consists of 2 mobile mounted, dual band radios and 1 or 2 handhelds at any given time.
...yes it's overkill, but I run APRS, monitor 2 repeaters or FRS channels and still have a channel left for local group communications on simplex.
The Coleman 6-person instant cabin is my tent of choice. This large tent goes up and tears down in minutes. This is important when running multi-day trails like the Rubicon or the Dusy, where you don't have hours to set up and tear down camp each day.
The down side of this tent is its size when packed. The tent is long and just barely fits the width of a Jeep Wrangler JKs interior.
The Black Diamond vista is a super light weight, super compact tent that works well when space is limited, but setup and tear down are much longer than the Coleman.
If you have the space, add a cot to your camping gear for more comfort while camping on the trail. In warmer weather, the cot may be all you need and the tent can be left behind.
Tarps are always handy to have available. Every 4x4 rig should have 1 or 2 tarps packed away for times of need.
From a simple ground cover to make crawling under your rig for a trail repair easier, to a rain cover, to an extra layer of insulation over a tent, tarps are multi-purpose, inexpensive and easy to pack into your rig.
A Trasharoo, an old large duffel bag, or similar trash storage system is a must while on the trail.
You can make your own or purchase something designed to attach to the rear of your vehicle. Either way, always pack out your trash!
For the high mountain lakes, rivers and creaks in the summer time, we keep a set of these inflatable river run tubes and a 12V air mattress air compressor around.
These are great to throw in your rig and inflate when your ready for some fun in the water. They deflate fast with a large hand-screw-in plug, so you can get them packed away quickly and keep moving on the trail.
Tire plug kit
Ice chests / coolers
Rope / Bungees
Duct Tape / Zip ties
Tow Straps / Yank Straps