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8 Critical Recovery Gear You Must Have Off-Road and Overlanding

8 Critical Recovery Gear You Must Have Off-Road and Overlanding

Going off-roading or overlanding can be a fun and exciting adventure. However, if you don’t have off-road recovery gear, you’re putting yourself and your vehicle in danger of really getting stuck. Depending on where you’re traveling, you may be unable to call for help, and it may be quite some time before someone passes by to help. Having your own gear ensures you are self-reliant and able to tackle whatever off-roading throws at you.

We’ve compiled a list of critical off-road recovery gear items we think you should have. Let’s winch it up and see what you might need to add to your vehicle!

What Are the Key Differences Between Off-Roading and Overlanding? 

Off-roading and overlanding are two different types of traveling styles. Off-roading typically involves pushing the limits and capabilities of a vehicle and its driver. The more technical and difficult the terrain, the better the adventure.

We Renovated A 20 Year-Old Truck Camper Into A Luxury Overland Vehicle

However, overlanding often involves off-roading, but is the intended purpose of the adventure rather than pushing the limits. Many overlanding vehicles usually have some incredible off-roading capabilities, but drivers are on extended journeys and live out of their vehicle. Overlanders typically don’t look to push the limits of their vehicle because it also serves as their primary residence during their adventures.

Want to learn more about overlanding? Check out our deep dive: What Is Overlanding All About? Why People Do It, and How

Is Off-Roading and Overlanding Safe? 

Overlanding and off-roading can be safe if you have the proper equipment and know how to do them. It’s also important to know the limits of your vehicle and your limits as a driver. You can find yourself in some dangerous situations if you don’t know these limits.

If you’re inexperienced with either type of travel, you’ll likely want to avoid remote locations or only travel with others. Having some sort of support system is helpful because anything can happen and unexpectedly go wrong. Taking the proper precautions can help ensure you stay safe while enjoying your adventures.

Morton's off-roading in overland truck camper
Off-roading and overlanding is safe if you go prepared with the right gear.

Most Common Dangers During Off-Roading and Overlanding 

There are several risks of off-roading and overlanding. Awareness of the potential risks is important so you can appropriately prepare and know how to respond should you encounter them. Let’s take a look!

Vehicle Troubles

Off-roading and overlanding vehicles are like any other vehicle; things break when you least expect them. There’s no telling what car troubles you might face while adventuring. But the more knowledge and mechanical skills you have, the better chance you have at fixing them and getting back on the road.

If you can’t fix the issue, you could find yourself stranded. This is why we recommend you avoid traveling alone and communicate your travel plans with loved ones. You need to also have the proper overlanding and off-road recovery gear. If something were to go wrong, this could mean the difference between life and death in some situations. 

removing valve cover of engine on the trail
Tom disabling a failed injector…If in a very remote location when Overlanding, you should know how to work on most parts of your vehicle. We have had to make some extensive repairs on the trail before. Hopefully, you don’t have to dig into your engine like this tho.

Running Out of Essential Supplies

Running out of essential supplies in your overlanding and off-road recovery gear can be incredibly frustrating and even dangerous. Depending on where you are traveling, there might not be a convenient place to resupply. Some remote areas of the country could be hours (or days if on a rough trail) to the nearest grocery store or other shops. Planning for your essential supplies is crucial and one mistake you want to avoid making at all costs.

off-road recovery gear and supplies
Pack thoroughly and thoughtfully. You don’t want to run out of supplies at an inconvenient time.

Road Accidents and Traffic

Sometimes things are simply out of your control. One great example is traffic. You never know when you will encounter an accident or construction that will cause you to detour or change your plans. The weather may force you to change your off-roading and overlanding adventures as roads may be impossible to navigate in some areas.

While these types of situations can be stressful, you must take a deep breath and maintain your level of patience. Failure to do so will often result in road rage or taking out your traffic-induced frustrations on your fellow passengers.

No Cell Reception in Remote Areas

Some off-roading and overlanding adventures will take you into some of the most remote portions of the country, where cell phone service is nonexistent. Even if you’re not in a remote area, there are plenty of less populated areas where cell phone providers haven’t established coverage. This can make it difficult, if not impossible, to call for help should you experience an emergency.

person with no cell phone service
Have a backup communication plan for areas where you might not have cell service.

If you know that you’ll be traveling in an area where cell reception might be iffy, share your travel plans with your loved ones. Let them know where you plan to be and when you hope to have cell coverage again. Regularly checking in with loved ones can help ensure authorities or anyone needing to find you can with minimal effort. We also recommend carrying a reliable portable locator beacon while Overlanding or off roading.

Pro Tip: Need reliable internet and cell phone service while overlanding? Here’s How To Get Reliable RV Internet On The Move.

8 Critical Overlanding and Off-Road Recovery Gear You Need

Having the appropriate off-road recovery gear is important if you want to enjoy your adventures. Not having the proper gear can result in less enjoyable memories of your adventures and force you to cut your journey short. Let’s look at what we think are essential items for overlanding and off-road recovery.

1. Off-Road Communication Devices

Since some of the best places you can overland or go off-roading may not have cell reception, you’ll need a way to communicate. Satellite communicators like the Garmin InReach can be extremely helpful to help you stay connected and for loved ones to be aware of your location. However, the number of spots where you can’t get or receive communication is shrinking with the advancement of Starlink’s satellite-based internet service.

Garmin 010-01879-01 InReach Mini, Lightweight and...
  • Small, rugged, lightweight satellite communicator enables 2 way...
  • Trigger an interactive SOS to the 24/7 search and rescue...
  • Access downloadable maps, U.S. NOAA charts, color aerial imagery...

An off-road communications device can save the day, especially if you’re stranded. While they can be expensive equipment, they’re worth every penny. It’s better to have an off-road communication device and not need it than to need one and not have it.

off-road recovery handheld communication device
Satellite communication devices and personal locator beacons are a must-have for overlanding.

2. Emergency Medical Supplies

Getting hurt may not be on your to-do list for the day, but accidents happen. Emergency medical supplies can help address minor ailments like bug bites, falls, and burns. While they are great for minor ailments, they can be tremendously helpful when it comes to buying time until medical professionals arrive or you can get the injured individual to a hospital.

You must check the inventory of your emergency medical supplies and off-road recovery gear before each trip. You need to replace any used items as soon as possible. Discovering that you don’t have a sufficient supply of first-aid items will not help your stress levels during an emergency.

3. A Portable Air Compressor

Off-roading and overlanding often require drivers to add and remove tire pressure to maximize traction and avoid getting stuck. As a result, carrying a portable air compressor is practically essential. You may not need it to air down your tires when driving on sandy or loose gravel situations, but failing to air up your tires when you reach a paved road can destroy your tires.

off-road recovery air compressor being used to fill tires
Be ready to increase your tire pressure with a portable air compressor.

Adding a high-quality portable air compressor to your off-road recovery gear can reduce the amount of time it takes for you to air up your tires. Some smaller units may air up a single tire relatively efficiently, but doing multiple tires might require extended breaks between tires. You don’t want the process to take any longer than necessary.

Pro Tip: Invest in the best if you want to save yourself time and hassle. Here are the 7 Best Off-Road Air Compressors for Overland, Trucks, and Jeeps.

4. Reliable Off-Road Recovery Kit

Just like you don’t plan to get hurt, you don’t typically plan to get stuck while off-roading either. Having a reliable off-road recovery kit is a must for anyone doing serious off-roading or overlanding. A solid recovery kit will include tow straps, a tree saver, gloves, and a winch or other pulley.

Maxtrax MKII Safety Orange Vehicle Recovery Board
  • The original, Australian-made recovery board with a lifetime...
  • Manufactured from Australian-made fiber-reinforced engineering...
  • Six glove-friendly handles, with a built-in shovel on each end.

Many drivers will also carry traction boards they can put under their tires to increase traction in sand or loose gravel. A capable off-road recovery kit can allow a driver to rescue themselves and not depend on assistance from other drivers who may or may not come along in their time of need.

Troubles With Mud On Our First Overland Adventure In Utah - Truck Camper Adventures Episode 2

5. Tire Repair Kits

Tire issues happen when you least expect them. A tire repair kit allows you to buy time until you can get the tire to a professional to repair or replace it. Nails and other hazardous objects litter both paved and dirt roads. You could be in a difficult situation if you get one in your tire and not have a repair kit. You may get lucky and be in a location where roadside assistance may be able to help, but that’s not always possible. Even if it is, there’s no guarantee they will arrive quickly. 

Rhino USA Tire Plug Repair Kit (86-Piece) Fix...
  • Tire Plug Kit (86-Piece) repair punctures and fix flats with...
  • Stop waiting on a tow truck - Quickly plug & go on the road...
  • Works with any tubeless tire - Emergency patch for truck, bike,...

6. A Basic Toolbox

Having a basic toolbox on hand and easily accessible can be extremely helpful. Something like the BOXO USA Heavy Duty Universal Tool Roll can be extremely helpful. With various tools and a compact design, you’ll have plenty of tools available when you need them. If the price has your stomach churning, you can just as easily buy a small tool bag and assemble your own kit.

Always carry a toolkit when off-roading in case you need to do repairs on the trail.

7. A Strong Jump Starter

There are various reasons why a car battery can die or lose its charge. However, having a quality jump starter will ensure you’re not left looking for another vehicle to give you a jump. The NOCO Boost Plus is a great option to give your vehicle’s battery the boost it needs to get you back on the road. We like this option, as it also duals as a power bank and LED flashlight should you need to use either of those features.

NOCO Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12-Volt UltraSafe...
  • Start Dead Batteries - Safely jump start a dead battery in...
  • UltraSafe - Safe and easy to use car battery jump starter pack...
  • Multi-Function - It's a car jump starter, portable power bank,...

8. An Off-Road Navigation System

Those who enjoy off-roading and overlanding spend a lot of time off paved roads. Many standard GPS units may not include unmarked trails or remote terrains in their map database. A navigation system designed for off-roading can ensure you stay connected no matter where you travel. You’ll quickly learn that while off-roading and overlanding, Google or Apple maps on your phone will be of little use when you don’t have service.

Be Safe and Prepared When Overlanding and Off-Roading With Recovery Gear

Overlanding and off-roading can be fun and safe ways to travel when you do it right. Having the right overlanding and off-road recovery gear and taking the proper precautions are essential for optimal safety and enjoyment for everyone. Don’t head out on an overlanding or off-roading journey without first preparing for the trip. Failing to do so can put yourself and others in a very serious situation.

Morton's Overland Truck Camper

In addition to recovery gear, add these essential items to your must-pack list: What Gear Do You Need for Overlanding? 11 Top Essentials

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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