For the off-roaders out there, you know the thrill of getting your "special vehicle" equipped with steel truck bumpers, big-ass tires, and lift kits to hit your favorite off-roading trails. When venturing out into remote trail areas with any truck or Jeep, it’s also essential that you be prepared for any type of emergency.
Not wanting anything to damage your great off-road truck, you surely have a truck emergency and rescue kit ready to get your truck out of a bind. But what about human emergencies? All that equipment won’t matter much if you don’t also prepare for human necessities by bringing along some other important supplies.
----- Comprehensive Medical Kit - As essential as it is to equip your truck with steel bumpers to protect against major damage to your truck, it is also vital to have a well-equipped first aid kit on hand to cater to both minor scrapes that are typical and more serious injuries that are possible. Considering that help could be hours away, prepare for off-roading in remote locations with a comprehensive first aid kit that can handle concerns like major bleeding, broken bones, burns, heat exhaustion, dehydration, and other injuries that could happen on the trail.
----- Printed Maps and Compass - Technology like GPS and cell phones is great; however, out in the wild there’s a good chance it won’t do you any good. Never rely solely on electronic gadgets when heading out away from civilization. Always keep a set of printed maps in the truck as well as a compass to help you get back to a main road if you end up lost and can't use your technology.
----- HAM Radio - HAM radios are being used more by off-roaders as they can provide more reliable communication methods out in remote areas where there is no wireless signal. They can also be used to radio for help when used the right way. Amateur HAM radios do require obtaining a license.
----- Tarps and Shelters - Prepare for being stranded by packing waterproof tarps and some kind of shelter. Tarps can be hooked up to bumpers to shade sun or repel the rain, while emergency shelters, small tents, or even bivvy rolls can provide a protected place to spend the night. Pack some heat reflective emergency blankets to keep warm on the nights that the temperature dips.
----- Fire Starter - Whether used to heat water or start a campfire, every off-roading emergency kit should include a way to start a fire. Cigarette lighters are cheap and convenient, although they can get wet easily. Keep some waterproof matches or magnesium fire igniters tucked away in the emergency pack, too.
----- Camp Stove - Besides their main purpose, camp stoves can also be a critical source of heat in an emergency. Thermoelectric stoves work well in this case as they burn only small amounts of available fuel like twigs, leaves, and pine needles. Some of these stoves can even charge cell phones and small electronic devices by converting heat to electric energy.
----- Flashlights - As small and powerful as some flashlights are today, there should be one or two stashed in every vehicle. Flashlights always come in the handiest when one is needed, but there isn’t one around. They also help light a dark area to hook up the winch on your truck bumper to pull you out of trouble!
----- Solar Power Generator - It’s important to avoid running down the truck battery when stranded in order to get back home. A solar power generator makes it possible to keep charging electronic devices without draining the truck battery.
----- Straps, Bungees, Ties, Etc. - There’s always a need for a tie down, strap, or zip tie out on the trail. From simple vehicle repairs to other more serious uses, have a good supply of recovery straps that can hook to winch-mounted bumpers, strong bungee cords, zip ties, and even some fix-it-all duct tape. In the right situations, these items can be life savers!
----- Food and Water - Prepare for emergencies by bringing plenty of drinking water to prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion as well as emergency rations like energy bars, MREs, and dehydrated or freeze-dried meals. Dehydration can be deadly, so pack more than enough water to last a few days at the very least.
Though all this sounds like preparation for a camping trip and not a day off-roading, the truth is, you can never be too careful when driving more remote trails with trucks and Jeeps. If something goes wrong, your survival could depend on having these things with you. Play it safe and head out into the wilderness ready to survive any emergency, you and your special off-road truck included!