What do I need for my first time off roading?

LJRubiconGuy

TJ Enthusiast
Oct 15, 2015
110
41
#1
I'm new to the world of off-roading, and being as though I intend to take my Wrangler out pretty soon I want to make sure that before I do I have everything I need.

What would you guys suggest for things I should bring off-roading? I guess I'm trying to make a list of sorts...
 
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StG58

Backwoods Amateur
Supporting Member
Oct 29, 2015
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5,763
Orygun, the wet side...
#2
First thing...what picture is in your head when you say "off road"? What you need differs drastically by region, season and the roads / trails you want to drive.

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LJRubiconGuy

TJ Enthusiast
Oct 15, 2015
110
41
#3
First thing...what picture is in your head when you say "off road"? What you need differs drastically by region, season and the roads / trails you want to drive.

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I don't plan on any serious rock crawling. I plan on mostly mud, sand, and some smaller rocks.

In other words, I want to have fun, but this is a daily driver so I'm not trying to completely beat the crap out of it!
 

StG58

Backwoods Amateur
Supporting Member
Oct 29, 2015
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Orygun, the wet side...
#4
Alrighty then, I would start with making sure your Jeep runs as well as it can, meaning it doesn't need a tune up, the brakes don't need attention, etc.

Have a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Water, enough for you and the Jeep.

First aid kit and know how to use it.

Tow hooks front and rear. A snatch strap. Note that a snatch strap is not the same as a tow strap. The snatch strap is elastic, the tow strap is not.

A shovel.

TP in a plastic bag.

Lunch, and a few more snacks.

Leave a note or tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Better yet, go with a buddy.

That's about the minimum to get started. Please don't go buy that stuff and head off to Moab or the North Cascades.

Give me a little and I'll list what I take and where I go. That may help you out more than a basic list of stuff.
 
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LJRubiconGuy

TJ Enthusiast
Oct 15, 2015
110
41
#5
Alrighty then, I would start with making sure your Jeep runs as well as it can, meaning it doesn't need a tune up, the brakes don't need attention, etc.

Have a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Water, enough for you and the Jeep.

First aid kit and know how to use it.

Tow hooks front and rear. A snatch strap. Note that a snatch strap is not the same as a tow strap. The snatch strap is elastic, the tow strap is not.

A shovel.

TP in a plastic bag.

Lunch, and a few more snacks.

Leave a note or tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Better yet, go with a buddy.

That's about the minimum to get started. Please don't go buy that stuff and head off to Moab or the North Cascades.

Give me a little and I'll list what I take and where I go. That may help you out more than a basic list of stuff.
This is an awesome start, basically I'm putting this altogether in a list so I will know what to get before I go!
 

StG58

Backwoods Amateur
Supporting Member
Oct 29, 2015
5,669
5,763
Orygun, the wet side...
#6
Well, LJRubiconGuy, here is what I take with me, and the conditions that I off road in. Let's start with where I go Off Road. I live in the Pacific Northwest. My territory is from the east side of the Cascades to the beaches on the Pacific. Geologically speaking the terrain is steep to very steep. There are literally thousands of miles of un-maintained blacktop, gravel and dirt roads within that area. BLM, Forest Service, and the State Department of Forestry lands make up more than half the area in the region. Add in the private timber lands and I would guess that 80% of the area is forested to one degree or another. The coast range is covered by triple canopy temperate rain forest. The Cascades are covered in climax evergreen forests. With that said, the trail conditions are close. More than 90% of the time the trails are actually narrower than the Jeep and much steeper than anything you will find with normal travel on normal roads. Dry and dusty to wet and muddy to covered in snow. The Wrangler is way more capable of navigating these conditions than anything else I've ever owned. The big BUT is, you need to use good judgement. Don't ask yourself "Can I?", ask yourself "Should I?".

With all of that being said, here is a list, from memory, of what i throw in the rig each and every time I head out. It's been pretty much the same since I was doing this same thing with a 1973 Chevy Cheyenne Super one ton. (That was a good rig, wish I had never sold it.)

First off, I have a well maintained 1999 SE with a manual transmission. It was bone stock when I got it. Less than 80,000 miles. I keep it tuned and repaired. Tuned and repaired is important.

I added front and rear tow hooks. Stock Jeeps don't come with appropriate attachment points for recovery gear. You need to be able to pull from the front and the back.

I put a good set of all terrain tires in the stock size on it. Street or Mud and Snow tires won't cut it. Note that mud and snow is not the same as Mud tires.

I have a basic set of mechanics tools and supplies in a surplus canvas mechanics bag.

A five gallon bucket contains a tree strap, a tow strap, 25' of 3/8" binder chain with chain hooks on both ends. Several shackles in appropriate sizes, a lift-mate attachment for the farm jack, two shorter pieces of chain set up for converting the farm jack to a winch and a farm jack base plate.

I throw a good d-handle shovel, an axe and occasionally a machete behind the front seats.

2 1/2 gallon water jug.

First aid kit.

Farm Jack, maasdam jack-all (this is really controversial and it's a dangerous tool)

A day pack with enough basics to keep me going comfortably for 48 - 72 hours.

A multi tool in the glove box. (Best invention EVER!)

Detailed map book, compass and good GPS. (I've had my GPS hack a hairball on numerous occasions for one reason or another. USE A PAPER MAP!)

Coat, down vest, extra set of socks and wear good boots. At some point you are going to have to do a bit of hiking.

Good flashlight, or two.

Make sure your spare is in good condition and at least is the same size as your road tires.

I carry a firearm. That is entirely up to you though. We have predators, both two legged and four legged. It's a low probability that you would ever have a problem, but if you do, it's a serious one. There is essentially no Law Enforcement out there. Period.

Fire extinguisher.

Tire patch kit.

Good, small 12 volt air pump.

Oh, a roll of TP in a plastic bag. (this is getting to be kind of an inside joke, but it is important.)

I hope this long winded post helps you a little. Adjust according to your local conditions and venture forth! You are going to have more fun and adventure than most anything else will provide.
 

StG58

Backwoods Amateur
Supporting Member
Oct 29, 2015
5,669
5,763
Orygun, the wet side...
#8
We may need to break it out by region and season as well. The stuff we need here on the wet side probably makes no sense to someone who runs in the desert. It would make a good sticky though. Maybe one for the day pack, one for the first aid kit, a discussion of recovery gear, etc.
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
30,262
18,255
Salem, Oregon
#9
We may need to break it out by region and season as well. The stuff we need here on the wet side probably makes no sense to someone who runs in the desert. It would make a good sticky though. Maybe one for the day pack, one for the first aid kit, a discussion of recovery gear, etc.
I agree. Although, there's always the stuff that everyone needs regardless of region or season. For instance, while a winch is not 100% required, I think it's one of those things that anyone who plans on making a hobby out of off-roading should have. Tow hooks and a recovery strap should also be mandatory as well!
 

StG58

Backwoods Amateur
Supporting Member
Oct 29, 2015
5,669
5,763
Orygun, the wet side...
#10
Yup. Say, how do you want to organize that? We were talking about a clean way to get the information out. Maybe something along the lines of Basic Gear to Get Started. With a link to intermediate and advanced gear. Links to Day packs, First Aid Kits, Tool Kits? That way someone searching for the basics could get what they wanted easily without having to dig through a bunch of stuff and more advanced Jeeple could easily move on to more advanced topics. Just a thought.
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
30,262
18,255
Salem, Oregon
#11
Yup. Say, how do you want to organize that? We were talking about a clean way to get the information out. Maybe something along the lines of Basic Gear to Get Started. With a link to intermediate and advanced gear. Links to Day packs, First Aid Kits, Tool Kits? That way someone searching for the basics could get what they wanted easily without having to dig through a bunch of stuff and more advanced Jeeple could easily move on to more advanced topics. Just a thought.
I think setting it up like this thread I made would be a great idea: http://wranglertjforum.com/threads/wrangler-tj-stock-specifications.71/

You'll see I made the first post an 'Index' of sorts, but if you click on any of those index links it takes you down the page to the appropriate post. This way it could be one thread such as 'Off-Road Checklist' and it could have an index of sections such as Day Packs, First Aid Kits, Tool Kits, Recovery Gear, etc.

Make sense?
 
Oct 31, 2015
2,454
2,249
Kootenays, BC, Canada
#13
cell phone, AAA, and credit card...

plus if you are off road, remote... a buddy in another Jeep.
and a recovery system... even if it is just a chain or cable.

and know where you are going, map, gps? whatever. know where the roads/trails lead. getting lost is worse than stuck or broken down.
 
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Kevin E

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Nov 1, 2015
729
460
Wharton, TX
#15
Taking supplies is absolutely necessary. My suggestion is also learning what your Jeep can do. If you can have another vehicle go with you at first that really helps. When I was young I had the smash on the gas philosophy! Now I pay attention to what the vehicle is actually doing. Take it easy at first and it will be a lot more fun and less expensive in the long run. Good luck and DO have fun and Tread Lightly:)
 
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LJRubiconGuy

TJ Enthusiast
Oct 15, 2015
110
41
#16
Taking supplies is absolutely necessary. My suggestion is also learning what your Jeep can do. If you can have another vehicle go with you at first that really helps. When I was young I had the smash on the gas philosophy! Now I pay attention to what the vehicle is actually doing. Take it easy at first and it will be a lot more fun and less expensive in the long run. Good luck and DO have fun and Tread Lightly:)
One thing I always hear from people is not to smash on the gas as that usually breaks things (notably axles). Is there any truth to that?
 

Kevin E

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Nov 1, 2015
729
460
Wharton, TX
#17
One thing I always hear from people is not to smash on the gas as that usually breaks things (notably axles). Is there any truth to that?
Probably.LOL I never broke any axles but I got to be an expert on snapping and replacing u-joints on my rear driveshaft. Back in the late 70's early 80's in the mountains of Colorado. Had a Full time 4wd 1977 Chevy Blazer that was a beast!
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
30,262
18,255
Salem, Oregon
#18
Probably.LOL I never broke any axles but I got to be an expert on snapping and replacing u-joints on my rear driveshaft. Back in the late 70's early 80's in the mountains of Colorado. Had a Full time 4wd 1977 Chevy Blazer that was a beast!
I love those old Blazers, I still think they're cool to this day!

I recently put RCV axles on the front of my Rubicon. I hadn't snapped any u-joints (yet), but my biggest fear was that I would. The CV style joint takes care of that.

The only downside is the insane cost!
 
Oct 31, 2015
2,454
2,249
Kootenays, BC, Canada
#19
One thing I always hear from people is not to smash on the gas as that usually breaks things (notably axles). Is there any truth to that?
Yes, lots of truth there.

Speed is for 2WD where momentum is necessary. 4WD and LowRange are about maintaining traction, going slow, treading lightly. I used to drive rally cars. Things were always breaking. 30 years of driving 4WD off road... I have never broken anything. Admittedly lots of the breakage is caused by bigger tires, higher lifts which create stresses beyond what Jeep intended. Learning to tread lightly can save anyone from broken parts and carnage.

But yes, smash the gas pedal will result in broken parts.
 
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Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
30,262
18,255
Salem, Oregon
#20
Yes, lots of truth there.

Speed is for 2WD where momentum is necessary. 4WD and LowRange are about maintaining traction, going slow, treading lightly. I used to drive rally cars. Things were always breaking. 30 years of driving 4WD off road... I have never broken anything. Admittedly lots of the breakage is caused by bigger tires, higher lifts which create stresses beyond what Jeep intended. Learning to tread lightly can save anyone from broken parts and carnage.

But yes, smash the gas pedal will result in broken parts.
Rally cars? Ahhh, that's impressive! I watch those guys race and I just think to myself that they must be breaking stuff so often. I mean there's no way you can drive that fast on that kind of terrain without breaking things.

Still, I agree 100%! I see some of these guys (usually the newbies) out on the trail who put it in 4WD and just smash on the throttle. Usually they'll have their wheels stuck in mud or something and for some reason they feel that the best way to get out is give it as much throttle as possible.

Almost every single time that ends up resulting in a broken axle or u-joint. I personally believe that doing well off-road is more about driver technique and skill than it is raw power. But then again, the same thing can be said about almost any type of motorsport.

A good driver with the right skill driving a bone stock Wrangler Rubicon could easily outperform a newbie, unskilled driver in a fully modified Wrangler Rubicon. What it comes down to is that driver skill and ability is indeed a huge factor!
 
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