If you plan on going offroading, overlanding, or camping in remote areas, you should always carry recovery gear and traction aids. You never know when the weather might turn bad bringing mud or your GPS is 30 yards off and takes you down a dirt road to a sand pit. It happened to me.
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Quick List: off-road recovery gear
- Traction Boards w/ metal grips – We use this one.
- Mini Shovel – Our preferred choice.
- Air down tire tool, and a way to air back up. My air compressor of choice.
- Recovery Strap Kit. This one has it all.
- D-Ring Hitch receiver from Curt.
See more detailed descriptions of these items further down this article!
Essential recovery gear for offroad and overland trips
We’ll take a look at some must-have offroad recovery gear that I keep in my truck. Let’s start off with the bare essentials.
Air Down Tires for more traction and floatation on sandy trails
Airing down tires is one of the most important things you can do when going offroad. Gives you better traction and smoother ride. Airing down to around 18-20psi let’s your tires get above the sand.
Deflate your tires with this $20 little tool from Teraflex. You can deflate all four at once. It deflates rather quickly so I usually just do two at a time. Be sure to have a good tire pressure reader to check on them while deflating.
More essential offroad recovery gear
- Traction Boards — I use Maxsa Traction Boards with metal grips ($160 at Amazon) and they worked great in a real-life scenario. Maxtrax costs twice as much and will also do the job. I mount these to my roof rack. Read our Maxsa Traction Board Review.
- Recovery straps and shackles — I usually have two in the truck with me. If you get stuck and want someone to pull you out at the very least have your own strap. Don’t use a tow strap — it’s dangerous. Get a snatch strap since it has a little flex in it. All-Top sells a kit that includes D Ring shackles and a bag for a good price at Amazon. I also have one made by ARB that is highly regarded.
- Shovel. Full size is best but I use a half length Bond shovel with a full-size scoop. It works great and fits in the bed of my truck mounted vertically to the bed rails.
A few notes. Make sure to know where the recovery points on your vehicle. For my Toyota Tacoma: On the rear I have a D-Ring shackle hitch receiver.
About $32 bucks at Amazon. Invaluable if you need someone to yank you out.
Up front there is a heavy duty recovery hook bolted to the frame. Every vehicle is different so do your research. Youtube is your friend for learning how to do offroad recoveries and use this gear.
Whether you have a 4WD or occasional go offroad with your 2wd truck, all of this recovery gear should be part of your arsenal at the minimum.
Advanced offroad vehicle modifications
If I am going to a remote area I will carry a hi-lift or floor jack with a solid base so that I can easily change a tire or lift one wheel to put rocks or traction boards underneath it. Some people mount a winch to the front of the truck to get themselves out of just about any situation. Rock sliders and skid plates help protect your vehicle from rocks and tree branches.
What else do you bring with you when going offroad with your 2wd or 4×4 vehicle?
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