19 Overlanding Gear to Help Your Vehicle Out Of Difficult Situations
Overlanding trouble isn’t reserved for off-roaders. Even on well-traveled roads, storms could leave your path scattered with fallen trees. An electrical fault could set your vehicle on fire. Prepare for the unexpected with the correct overlanding gear.
What are you going to do if you’re stuck in a ditch, with no phone signal, and nobody within 100 miles to help?
No need to be defeated - read on to conquer this scenario and many more!
Overlanding Gear for Getting Vehicle Out of Mud
You won’t need all this gear unless you’re headed off-road, but the basics like recovery tracks are useful for us all.
1. Recovery Tracks
What are they?
Boards that provide traction, helping vehicles get out of the mud.
How do you use them?
Remove enough mud, sand, or snow from around the tire so the track can be placed in front, then drive out.
Who are they for?
The traction is most suitable for off-road tire types, like all-terrain and mud tires. They’re not reserved for 4WD users though - there are options for other vehicles.
A great advantage of recovery tracks is you can use them when Overlanding alone, for a simple recovery where the vehicle doesn’t need towing.
It’s not recommended to go off-road alone – there should be two or more vehicles at a party. With that said, you never know what situations might arise, so it’s good to have this fundamental piece of gear.
Use a shovel to remove mud, sand, or snow around the tires, to make the recovery easier. It also helps if you get stuck in a snowbank, or if a heavy snowstorm piles up snow around your vehicle.
You can get shovels designed for recovery, but anything durable and weather-resistant will work. Carbon steel shovel heads are among the most durable.
3. Recovery Straps
If recovery tracks and a shovel aren’t enough, you need another strategy. These straps are strong enough to use in vehicle-to-vehicle recovery and won’t snap under tension.
To attach straps to recovery points on the vehicle, you need shackles. Types of shackles include:
- Screw pin shackles (also known as bow shackles) – the working load limit should be stamped onto them. These shackles are good for pulling at various angles, but they have a lower load rating than other types. They’re stronger if they’re forged, and not cast.
- D-ring shackles – they have a higher load rating and are best suited to forward/linear pulling.
- Soft shackles – they have the highest load rating of the three and can pull at various angles.
This electronic device contains a motor, which pulls a rope around a drum, pulling a vehicle out of where it’s stuck. There are lots of recovery techniques involving winches, and snatch blocks (aka. pulley blocks) can increase the efficiency of the process.
Winches are effective and versatile but can be extremely dangerous. Make sure you have training/experience testing it in different scenarios before using it for real and use winching gloves to protect your hands.
6. Tree Trunk Straps
Trees are helpful natural anchors to assist recovery and these straps are designed to prevent damage to their trunks.
They should only be used alongside a winch – not in a vehicle-to-vehicle recovery as they’re not strong and stretchy enough to withstand the force in this scenario.
Always check the trees for rot, deadwood, or anything that suggests it won’t be a safe anchor.
7. Air Jack
Lift your vehicle from underneath with an air jack. With their slim profile, they easily fit under your vehicle - great when there’s limited space.
They work fast and can lift up to 30 inches. Compared to some other types of jack, they have a higher load rating and are more effective in mud and other loose terrains. Just make sure it doesn’t get punctured, and have another type of jack ready, just in case.
Getting Vehicle Ready for Winter
As they say, prevention is better than cure. There are some things you can do to prevent difficulties in negative temperatures. Read on for more winter Overlanding tips and recommended gear.
8. New Battery – If Needed
Cold temperatures reduce battery capacity. Get your battery inspected before the season - if It’s not up to the job, don’t delay replacing it.
9. Winter Formula Fluids
Types of brake fluids and windshield fluids exist which are designed for winter. Brake fluid can get dirty in winter, affecting its performance. Both windshield and brake fluid winter formulas have a lower freezing point.
10. Snow Tires
These tires have increased traction on snow and ice, thanks to their tread design with larger gaps. Some also have studs for greater traction. How do you know whether you need studs or not? Some things to consider:
- Provide grip on ice and packed snow
- Do not perform well in deep snow
- Do not damage dry road surfaces
- Can be expensive
- Provide better grip on any slippery surface, compared to non-studded tires
- Provide traction in deep snow
- Can damage dry road surfaces
- Are illegal in some states, or restricted to certain months
Whichever type you choose, they’re a worthwhile investment for spending long periods in winter conditions.
11. Snow Chains
The cheaper alternative to snow tires. Snow chains:
- Provide the most traction
- Are easy to install and remove
- May reduce fuel efficiency
- Are more effective in deep snow than studded tires
- Cannot be used on dry road surfaces
12. Hard Bristled Brush
If you get stuck in a snowstorm or snowbank, snow may block up the exhaust pipe before switching the engine on.
A blocked exhaust pipe can cause carbon monoxide to get inside the car and cause fatal carbon monoxide poisoning, so it’s crucial to remove snow from the pipe and surrounding areas. Use a hard bristled brush (or another suitable tool) to thoroughly clear out the pipe.
More Overlanding Tips and Tricks
13. Vehicle Fire Extinguisher
They’re designed to combat fires caused by gas, overheating engines, and electrical issues. Make sure it can withstand temperatures where you’re traveling, and that it’s safely mounted and easy to access.
14. Tire Patch Kit
Basic kits may include:
- Plugs and plug insertion tools
- Valve stems, extenders, caps, and cores
- Valve core removal tools
More comprehensive kits also provide:
- Tire pressure gauge
- Utility knife
- And more
15. Spares and Tools
As well as your basic tool kit, include a spare tire and carjack extra nuts and bolts, and spares for parts that you had to repair in the past.
Use chains to move fallen trees and other obstacles on your path. (They’re also useful in some recovery scenarios). You can use axes or saws to remove some obstacles but chains are handy for anything you can’t cut, like large boulders.
17. Electronics Repair Kit
Don’t forget your basic electronic repair tools, including:
- Wire cutters
- Wire strippers
- Spare switches
- Spare wire
- Electrical tape
- Soldering gear
- Your vehicle’s wiring diagram
Of course, don’t mess with the electronics unless you’re trained. If you’re serious about Overlanding self-sufficiency, complete a training course before you set off. You don’t have to be an electrician to handle the most basic repairs, but you must know what you’re doing.
18. Emergency Gear
If you get stuck in a bad situation, you can’t recover your vehicle and you’re in the middle of nowhere, you’ll need:
- Signaling devices – such as flares, survival whistles, and Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs – these devices send an SOS signal to rescue services).
- Remote communication devices – radios, satellite phones, or satellite messengers (satellite devices are illegal in some countries, and so is GPS – check in advance).
19. Extra Fuel
Your favorite remote areas won’t have gas stations so bring extra. Store it in jerrycans, away from any electronics, at the back of the vehicle or on the roof. You can also use a long-range fuel tank, to easily pump fuel to the main tank.
Now you know what Overlanding gear you need to get started and conquer the most common obstacles. You know how to get out of mud, be ready for winter, and how to handle the worst-case scenario – with remote communications.
Hopefully you’re now psyched for victory over whatever the road throws at you. We mentioned how recovery tracks aren’t only made for the most hardcore off-road vehicles. The MAXTRAX Mini & Jackbase Combo are for smaller 4WDs and UTVs