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Off-roading is good fun, but it’s no joke — you can get very stuck, very lost or very hurt, and you may be hours away from help.

Here are 10 tools every off-road explorer needs to have on board their rig … just in case.

Air Compressor

Dropping the air pressure in your tires is a great way to increase traction off-road — but what about when you get back on the road again? Driving at highway speeds with low tire pressure can lead to a blowout. A simple air compressor will get you aired up and ready to go, while a more elaborate unit can fill a tank to power air tools — a boon for repairs on the trail.

Shop for an air compressor here.

Hi-Lift Jack

If you get a flat off the beaten path, the spare jack that came with your rig probably won’t be much help. Even if you don’t have big tires or a suspension lift, you may well be on uneven ground. A Hi-Lift jack gives you the reach you need to get your rig off the ground in a pinch.

Find the right Hi-Lift jack for you here.

Fire Extinguisher

We’re of the opinion that every project vehicle should have a fire extinguisher, but for off-roading, it’s especially important — because if watching your rig burn miles away from the nearest fire department isn’t bad enough, starting a brush fire can really ruin your day. Buy an extinguisher and mount it within easy reach, but remember that if a fire gets out of control, keep yourself safe and don’t be a hero.

Shop for a fire extinguisher here.

Recovery Straps

Every off-road vehicle, no matter how capable, can get stuck. A set of recovery straps is the difference between using your buddy’s rig to tow you out of the muck and waiting (and paying for) a tow. Along with the strap, you’ll need a good set of D-rings and solid, easy-to-access attachment points on the vehicle.

Browse the inventory of recovery straps here.

First Aid Kit

You know how, back before the days of modern medicine, people used to die from silly things like bad cuts? Well, out on the trail, miles from help, that can happen to you and your companions. No one should even think about venturing off road without a first aid kit. You don’t need to carry a portable emergency room, but get a comprehensive kit and take a class so you know how to use it.

Shop for first aid kit for your vehicle here.

Tire Repair Kit

We all know Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will. As in, when you get a flat and have to use your spare, you’re more likely to get another flat. Repairing a tire on the trail isn’t the simplest thing to do, but it can get you going in a real pinch — and the repair kits are reasonably priced. Why not get one just in case?

Don’t go off-roading without one of these tire repair kits.

Recovery Ramps

As we’ve said before, even the most capable rig can get stuck. How are you going to get out? If traction is the problem, a set of recovery ramps (also known as extraction ladders) may be able to give you the grip you need to get moving again. They aren’t very expensive … especially compared to the cost of an off-road tow (assuming you can find one).

Find the perfect set of recovery ramps right here.

Paper Maps

In these days of hand-held and car-mounted GPS units, the paper map is an anachronism — but batteries can die and electronics can break down, while paper maps need nothing but a skilled eye to use. Carry a set for any trip you plan.

Be safe, and pick up some paper off-road maps here.


…because those paper maps work best when you know what way you’re pointed (and besides, it can never hurt to know which direction you’re facing). A vehicle-mounted compass is a good thing to have, but keep a hand-held one in the glovebox in case the vehicle is at an angle that makes reading the mounted compass difficult.

Find a compass for your adventures here.


Let’s be clear: We don’t recommend cutting up the landscape (tread lightly, and all that). But if you go far enough off road, you may be in a situation where you need to cut yourself out of trouble — or where you need wood to build makeshift ramps or a fire to keep warm (or to dispose of your rig when it really gets you angry). A small hacksaw is a great just-in-case tool.

In case you need it, pick up your hacksaw here.

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