I remember my first 4x4 camping trip which was over a decade ago now. Maybe I’ve blurred some of the more unpleasant moments (and there were a few), but in a nutshell, it was very basic and simply awesome! Most young outdoor enthusiasts are so keen to hit the road for their first 4x4 camping trip that they forget the fact that any sort of help is a very long walk away. As for my first 4x4 trip, we travelled to a fairly isolated river in the mountains of northern NSW with a very basic setup - an esky, a few cartons of beer, some dry ice, fold up chairs, fishing rods, bait, and water.
Needless to say, I’ve come a long way since then and have some remarkable stories about how I’ve managed in the bush without certain essential items! Over the years, I’ve found that 4x4 trips are similar to hiking trails with a backpack. The more you bring, the more comfort you’ll have and the longer you’ll survive, but the harder it is to carry! You’ll either be one of those people that just bring the basics or everything but the kitchen sink. But either way things can and will go wrong. We looked at creating a checklist for the first category of people - what to bring on a 4x4 trip if you’re only concerned with the basics.
As with most things, preparation is half the battle, so being well prepared (even with a basic setup) can have a massive impact on your enjoyment. Your vehicle is by far the most important item, so the following outlines a series of basic vehicle-related checks that should be performed well before you leave:
- Engine oil
- Brake fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Transfer-case oil
- Hydraulic-clutch fluid
- Differential oil
- Power-steering fluid
- Grease all drive shafts, U-joints, and steering joints
- All lights and turn signals
- Radiator coolant level
- Tyre pressure
- Tow hooks for the front and rear of your 4WD
- Windshield-washer fluid
- Check for loose parts (lug nuts, engine and tranny mounts, suspension joints, etc)
- Extra petrol or diesel (at least two jerry cans)
It’s always a wise idea to bring spare parts and tools with you, along with some essential items that will make your trip easier and more comfortable. Even though you want to rough it, here are some suggestions that you should seriously consider:
- Duct tape and zip ties (the best fixer upper!)
- WD-40 (spray under the distributor if your 4x4 doesn’t start after hitting some water)
- Ratchet strap (reseat tyres and strap parts in place)
- Tow strap (very important!)
- Swiss army pocket knife
- First Aid Kit
- Spare tyre and jack
- Tree saver
- Basic tool kit (screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, wrenches, etc)
- Spare key to your 4x4
- Matches or lighters
Personal & Camping Items
The number of personal items you bring is really up to you and the tolerance of your family or friends, but there are some essential personal items that you will require, regardless of where you go.
- Esky and dry ice
- Food and water (beer is not water!)
- Tents and tarps
- Warm clothing
- Camping stove and billy
- Sleeping bag and/or air mattress (don’t forget the air mattress pump!)
- Toilet paper
- Mozzie spray
- Washing up gear
- Rags and towels
You should bring enough food and water to last double the length of your trip in case you get stranded. Every person should also have a minimum of 4 litres of water for each day of the trip.
There’s something very primitive within us all, especially when we’re younger, that makes us feel invincible and capable of anything. If you’re an outdoor and 4x4 lover, then you may feel the need to push the limits to see how little you can get away with on a 4x4 trip with your friends. While it may sound fun, preparation and precaution must be taken to ensure you get home safely. Whenever you head out on a 4x4 trip, it’s always a good idea to tell your mum where you’re going and your expected return date.
If you’ve had a look at this checklist and realised that there’s some 4WD products or accessories that could make your trip more enjoyable, then get in touch with specialists at TJM Australia. With over 80 stores throughout Australia, find the closest TJM store to you by using their handy store locator.