Essential 4WD accessories for happy adventures
For many people, there's nothing like the thrill that a great 4WD adventure offers. Heading off-the-beaten track - either solo, as a couple or as a family - is the perfect antidote for the many pressures of modern living. However, there's much more to 4WD touring than just packing the car - there’s a range of essential 4WD accessories that every vehicle should be carrying.
If you’re new to 4x4 living or you’re simply thinking of giving it a try, the following list of essentials will ensure you’re equipped for whatever challenges your off-roading experience may send your way.
Recovery boards (or recovery tracks), are a must-have option for off-road touring and driving. Tracks give your steer and drive tyres the additional traction they often need to get out of sticky situations like being bogged in sand, snow or mud, or when you need extra grip on slippery surfaces. Most recovery boards are designed to be stowed within your vehicle without taking up too much space.
Fuel containers and jerry cans
When it comes to fuel range, you certainly get further on a full tank in a 4x4 than you would with a normal passenger vehicle. But, even with that additional fuel capacity, having fuel canisters or jerry cans handy is tantamount for ensuring a safe and enjoyable off-roading and camping experience.
Not only are fuel canisters great for storing vital supplies that can get you out of a jam between fuel stops but they also allow you to store fresh drinking water where bore or creek water requires treating to be safe for drinking or cooking. Canisters are also a great way to store fuel for your portable generator when travelling for extended periods.
Depending on the make and model of your 4x4, fitting jerry can holders to your vehicle could be an an ideal way to free up extra boot and cargo space. A pouring aid or funnel also minimises the potential for spills so you use every drop of your back-up fuel or water supply.
Roof racks engineered for Australia's unique conditions are essential for carrying additional equipment on your camping expedition. As well as storing your camping gear, roof racks can be used to transport snowboards and skis, kayaks and fishing equipment. Like fuel containers, the flexibility provided by having roof racks fitted to your vehicle enables you to make the most of your cargo space and give you the opportunity to add a few extra creature comforts to your camping pack.
When it comes to fuel consumption, weight always impacts on your vehicle's efficiency, so the roof racks you fit to your car will too. Take some time to think about the kind of equipment you'll want to transport (bikes, fishing gear, tents, etc.). That way you can talk with an expert about the options available to be fitted on your 4WD that won't bite into your vehicle's fuel economy.
Likewise, if you're buying a brand-new 4x4 through a dealer, discuss what after-market options the manufacturer has available.
Part of the allure of off-roading for many enthusiasts is accessing some of the more remote and off-the-beaten track camping experiences. Having a reliable GPS navigation device means you can not only find your way in to some truly spectacular locations but you can also find your way out.
Along with navigation assistance, there's a range of GPS devices to choose from, which include features such as turn-by-turn direction to campsites, national parks and popular tourist destinations. There's also access to real-time details on weather conditions, road works/road closures, the kind of terrain you'll encounter in getting to your destination and other vital information for planning a safe trip.
UHF/Satellite communication devices
Given the remoteness of some of our most popular camping destinations, there'll be many instances where your mobile phone will be without signal. In the case of an emergency like a mechanical breakdown or an injury or illness to someone in your travelling party, not being able to access your mobile phone network will only add to stress and anxiety levels.
Having a backup communication system, such as a UHF radio, is critical for contacting emergency services or sharing important information about road conditions with other travellers or truck drivers. Likewise, having a UHF communication device in your 4x4 makes it possible for you to lend a hand to someone who needs urgent help.
First aid kits
When you're off-roading, help (if you need it) is often a long way away. For those times when something goes wrong, a well-stocked, easily accessible and reliable first aid kit is another essential item you should store in your 4x4.
While you can't plan for everything, having access to a first aid kit that can help you treat burns, fractures, insect or snake bites until you can access proper medical care should be the bare minimum. If you're new to off-roading, it may even be worthwhile enrolling in a first aid course or taking part in a refresher course for your existing qualification level.
Taking these few 4x4 essentials into account could prove the difference between an adventure or nightmare of lifetime. Just keep in mind that four-wheel driving does not suffer fools - be prepared for anything and you're sure to be bitten by the 4WD bug!