Off Road 101: Emergency Gear Part 1 - Survival

Off Road 101: Emergency Gear Part 1 - Survival

2008 was a great year for Off Road 101. We covered all the basics that a new FJ Owner should know:
January: Know your FJ
April: Tires & Wheels
July: Trail Armor
October: Suspension

Now that your FJ can handle most trails, we want to talk about being safe on the trail. We've divided emergency gear into Survival and Recovery (Part 2 April 2009).   Contents of emergency gear is always debatable. Some of the items included in your emergency kit will ultimately come down to personal preference, however, there are a few basics that virtually everyone agrees on. Please keep in mind that the items included in this article are what we feel are a good place to start. Some of them may not apply to everyone, and most people will certainly include additional items. Our objective is to give the new off road enthusiast a jumping off point for emergency preparedness.

Our basic survival list includes:
First Aid Kit – either personally built or pre-packaged
Communications – to include CB, HAM, and Cell Phones
Maps – Paper maps and possible GPS / Laptop maps
Extra Water – 1 Gallon per person per day
Extra  Food  – enough for at least 3 days, non-perishable. Usually granola bars will do.
Extra Fluids – Oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, etc.
Jumper Cables – A good set that have been tested
Gloves – Leather, heavy duty.

We keep our emergency gear in a few bags (pictured), but some people prefer to use one large tote to keep everything together. Items that we carry depend heavily on the time of year, the expected weather, and the location we’ll be visiting. We fine tune our gear nearly every time we hit the trail. Another thing to keep in mind is that some items will expire (especially food & water), so rotate those out frequently.

Beyond this very basic kit, advanced gear such as a full survival kit, recovery equipment, and replacement parts for your FJ are great things to think about. The tool kit you carry will be very specific depending on how your FJ is modified. For example, we require a special allen wrench to remove our snowboard rack.

Multiple communication options are always best as well. We carry FRS, CB, HAM radios, and Spot messenger in addition to two cell phones. Additional important items to consider include an axe, air compressor and/or CO2 tank, and emergency signals.

We’ve really just covered the tip of the iceberg when it comes to emergency 4x4 gear. We’d love to hear about what you carry in your FJ. Please leave comments to this article at to let us know what your kits consist of.

Other resources:
For more information and ideas for emergency off road gear, Google is a great resource
And 4WD and Sport Utility magazine has a great article as well.