If you’re going 4wding in Australia, you’re going to need more than a big 4×4 to get you there. There’s a huge amount of accessories and attachments you need to make sure you get to your destination safely, and get out of a jam if you find yourself bogged, stuck or in an accident. But with all the accessories and items you can jam into your 4×4, what are the most essential?
The most essential 4×4 accessories are safety gear like generators, GPS systems and first aid kits, and equipment like compressors, tyre deflators and recovery boards to make sure your 4×4 gets to its destination. Items like solar panels and portable fridges are also going to make your trip much more comfortable.
Of course there’s an endless list of things you could add into your 4WD, how could you possibly make room for everything? Don’t worry! In this article, we have broken down the nineteen most essential 4×4 accessories so you know exactly what to pack on your next big off-road adventure.
What Should I Bring In My 4WD When Off-Roading?
The most important things to bring on your 4WD trip are vehicle essentials, like repair kits and recovery boards, safety essentials like first and kits and portable generators, and any items that will make your trip easier and more convenient, like solar chargers and portable fridge freezers.
With limited space in your vehicle, you need to identify the best 4WD accessories and equipment to suit your needs. In this article, 4X4 accessories are listed into three major categories – essential, safety, and convenience. Essential 4×4 vehicle accessories are things that you can’t leave home without. They are important in solving common off-roading problems and getting your 4WD out of trouble.
Tools and devices labelled as safety accessories are the ones that secure personal safety during the trip. “Convenience 4×4 accessories enhance your overall experience and make off-roading more fun and worth doing. You can still go on an off-road trip without these accessories. However, many 4WD enthusiasts find these accessories make their trips more comfortable and worth doing again.
4×4 Vehicle Essentials
Air Pressure Gauge
An air pressure gauge is a tool that reads the amount of pressurised air (measured in PSI) of your vehicle’s tyres. For tyres to perform safely and optimally, they need to have the right amount of air to go through particular surfaces like mud and sand.
For most off-road conditions, tyre pressure should be lower than the standard amount in regular automobiles. Low-pressure tyres enable the 4WD to experience more traction and ride comfort on off-road surfaces. A pressure gauge will give you an accurate and reliable reading of your tyre pressure.
Our Pick: XTM Deflator Tyre Gauge
The XTM Deflator tyre gauge is one the best 4WD accessories available today because it has high accuracy and dependability readings. It has an ideal design for larger 4WDs. It has a dual scale that’s easy to read, a shock-resistant chrome-plated body, and a metalhead. and a solid brass screw-on valve fitting.
An air compressor is a mechanical tool that increases gas pressure and is often used to inflate vehicle tyres. Off-road tracks usually have more difficult surfaces for driving. These surfaces require varying tyre pressure for greater 4×4 driving traction and safety.
Our Pick: TJM Pro Series Twin Air Compressor
TJM Pro Series Twin Air Compressor stands out from other air compressor models because of its design and engineering. Manufacturers design this specifically to handle tough Australian road conditions. The TJM twin air compressor is easy to use because of its quick-connect alligator clamps and 2- metre power lead. This model comes with an unprecedented 170 lpm (litres per minute) flow rate, making it an incredibly fast and reliable compressor, perfect for any 4×4 enthusiast.
Tyre deflators are capable of deflating your tyres and lowering their air pressure quickly and accurately. In off-roading, the difference between tyre pressures really affects safety and vehicle performance on tricky surfaces. A tyre deflator is fully capable of lowering pressure to a specific and precise amount.
Our Pick: Staun Tyre Deflators
Staun Tyre Deflators is a great product because it is easy to use and quite reliable. You just need to screw the deflator onto a standard tyre valve system and the deflator will automatically deflate the tyre to a predetermined pressure. With this product, you can easily adjust the preset pressure for this tool from 6 to 30 PSI. Staun Tyre Deflators are made from heavy-duty brass that can resist corrosion and abrasion. The deflators also come with a stylish leather case.
Off-Roading Recovery Kit
An off-roading recovery kit is a collection of tools that you will need to recover a vehicle when it gets stuck in bog holes, mud, or sand. Some of the usual tools inside a standard recovery kit include shackles, gloves, recovery ropes, recovery tracks, and winch extension and snatch straps. Recovery tools will help make you and your vehicle safer as you go out to the wilderness full of uncertainties. You may even use your recovery kit to help your fellow off-road drivers.
Our Pick: XTM 7 Piece Recovery Kit
The XTM 7 Piece Recovery Kit is an excellent kit because it offers an all-in-one solution for recovery needs. XTM comprises a 9-metre recovery strap, a 10-metre winch extension strap, an 8000 kg snatch block, two 4,700 kg bow shackles, a 3 metre tree trunk protector, and a carry bag that can also be used as a winch dampener. All seven tools are made of durable materials that meet industry standards.
Recovery boards facilitate a better movement of a 4WD vehicle over hard and tricky surfaces like mud, sand, rocks, and snow. They are special-looking boards that you lay down on top of a difficult surface so they can provide better traction to the moving vehicle.
The boards provide a stronger grip on the tyres and prevent the car from sinking further into the soft and difficult terrain. You can also use recovery boards to raise the vehicle high enough to get over bulky obstacles like rocks.
Our Pick: MAXTRAX Mark II Recovery Boards
Matrax Mark II Recovery Boards is an excellent product for any hardcore 4X5 adventurer. These bright orange boards are made from the highest quality of reinforced Nylon so they are really tough and durable. Matrax boards are manufactured in Australia and come with a reassuring lifetime warranty.
Tyre Repair Kit
A tyre repair kit consists of easy-to-use tools you will need to repair a damaged tyre so you may carry on. This type of repair kit allows you to plug a punctured tyre with cold patches or a repair plug. Having a tyre repair kit will save you all the trouble of looking for a spare wheel during your 4WD trip.
Our Pick: Maxi Trac 47 Piece Tyre Repair Kit
One of the best 4X4 accessories in this category is the Maxi Trac 47 Piece Tyre Repair Kit. It features a complete set of tools needed for tubeless tyre repair. Some of the tools in this kit include zinc alloy T-Handle tools, vulcanising plugs, a spare needle, and a reamer. You can keep all the tools neatly in a heavy-duty carry plastic case, which comes with the kit.
Battery Jump Starter
Also called an emergency battery booster, a battery jump starter is a device that provides the necessary energy (amperage) to jump-start an engine. It’s possible to jump-start your vehicle by connecting it to a working battery of another vehicle. However, the assistance of another vehicle may not always be available in 4WD trips. The presence of a portable battery jump starter minimises the dependency on other people and the possibility of getting stranded in the wilderness because of a dead battery.
Our Pick: Repco 12V Compact Jump Starter 800A
The Repco 12V Compact Jump Starter 800A is a standout jump starter model as it’s designed to be durable, portable, and compact. Its 12V self-contained system can jump-start vehicle batteries in 4WD vehicles without the need to attach to another vehicle or a 240V power supply. The Repco 12V Compact Jump Starter 800A holds a charge for a decent amount of time, eliminating the need for frequent charging.
Off-roading puts a 4WD vehicle to work, so you should always be prepared for common problems like a flat tyre or a tyre that went off the bead. An effective vehicle jack allows you to change tyres easily by lifting your vehicle to a comfortable height. You can also use a jack for your off-road camper trailer or caravan. Before you head off, ensure you know about types of off-road jacks and how to use them.
Our Pick: XTM High Jack Lift
The XTM High Jack Lift is specially designed for 4×4 vehicles tackling hard terrain. This product has a working load limit of 1500 kg and can achieve a maximum lifting height of 1.30 m. The XTM High Jack Lift is strong enough to lift the 4×4’s chassis to change tyres or fill holes.
Off-Roading Safety Essentials
Some 4WD drivers rely on car batteries and alternators to power up their devices. However, if you are going on a big, remote, and long off-roading adventure, you will need a larger and more reliable source of power. This is when portable generators become an essential accessory.
Portable electric generators can power up communication devices, camping equipment, and battery packs. With this reliable source of power, you will feel more safe and secure camping without electricity. Inverter generators are the newer and more upgraded versions of portable generators. They are manufactured to be more fuel-efficient and quieter.
For long-term trips, you may even want to consider the benefits of solar power vs a generator.
The Gentrax 3.5kw Pure Sine Wave Petrol Inverter is a popular product because it combines two highly desirable traits of portable generators – compact size and high power output. It has a 149.5cc motor and fuel tank that can hold 7.5 litres of fuel. Gentrax’s design allows for high performance, low noise levels, and optimal portability. In addition, this product uses sine wave technology that is considered safe for digital equipment such as laptops and smartphones, without needing to buy an inverter.
First Aid Kits
Most of the 4WD tracks all over Australia are located in remote places far from urban areas. Minor injury and illnesses can happen anywhere but it is especially riskier when you need medical treatment while being in the middle of nowhere.
A first aid kit features medical supplies and equipment that you can use to treat common medical conditions. Some of these conditions include burns, fever, flu, minor falls, and cramps. You can purchase a standard yet reliable first aid kit and just add additional medical supplies like anti-allergy or EpiPens according to your current medical condition and needs.
Our Pick: SURVIVAL Family First Aid Kit
The SURVIVAL Family First Aid Kit is a comprehensive kit ideal for outdoor trips and long-term off-road excursions. This model caters to the most common medical situations and emergencies. The SURVIVAL kit comes with strips, plasters, bandages, wipes, pads, adhesives, and cream to treat wounds, burns, and fractures, as well as facilitate CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation). This comprehensive first aid kit comes with all of the clearly labelled first aid supplies you would ever need on any big 4×4 adventure.
A shovel is such a simple tool and yet it offers so much help during 4WD recovery situations. Having a shovel on hand when your vehicle gets bogged down or stuck in the mud will make the task of recovery so much easier. You can use the shovel to dig out soft materials like mud and sand underneath your tyres. It is also useful in filling out holes, digging fire pits and holes for makeshift toilets.
Our Pick: Mean Mother 4WD Recovery Shovel
The Mean Mother 4WD Recovery Shovel is a standout product because of its comfortable design and unmatched versatility. You can configure this shovel in five different ways to cater to various recovery situations. Mean Mother Recovery Shovel features a reinforced steel core that fortifies the structure. This feature makes the shovel strong enough to deal with tough conditions.
If you like the freedom of going anywhere with your 4WD, it is best to bring essential tools in case of breakdowns, wiring issues, and other emergencies. However, bulky tools can take up so much space so if you want to save space, opt for a multi-tool. Most models are easy to use and store. They are already equipped with standard tools neatly put together, eliminating the risk of buying then losing individual tools.
Our Pick: Leatherman Sidekick Multi-Tool
The Leatherman Sidekick Multi-Tool is one of the leading products in the market. This pocket-sized tool is portable but features 14 different spring-loaded tools to help with common tasks during off-roading and camping. The Sidekick multi-tool includes various pliers, cutters, knives, screwdrivers, a wire stripper, a ruler, a metal file, a saw, and can and bottle openers. These tools are made from high-carbon stainless steel. The Leatherman offers a 25-year warranty as a mark of world-class quality.
GPS or Global Positioning System uses orbital satellite signals to determine a device’s location and movement. In the off-roading scene, GPS is considered an easy-use and convenient device for navigating but it is also an important safety tool that allows people to track people and vehicles. Having proper navigational equipment is essential for your safety when 4WDing.
Our Pick: Garmin RV 890
A simple GPS device is only limited to sharing basic information like coordinates and few data. However, there are robust models in the market that combine other technologies for greater usability.
Out of the box, the Garmin RV 890 comes with street maps around Australia and NZ preloaded, with HEMA 100K topographic maps of Australia as well. It has a large, robust screen that gives you crisp details and images, no matter the light level or reception. Using advanced technology, you can input the size and weight of your vehicle, and the system will dynamically create and recommend route changes if the road ahead is going to be too hard or narrow for your vehicle.
Many vehicles run the risk of catching fire because they inherently carry flammable materials. Off-roading 4WDs carry an even greater fire safety risk because off-roading naturally increases strain on engines. In case of a fire breakout during your trip, you should be ready to manage the fire yourself. For this reason, a fire extinguisher is one of the must-have 4WD accessories for off-road trips.
Our Pick: 4.5kg Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher
The ideal fire extinguisher for off-roading is the kind that can handle liquids and electrical fire. This is why the 4.5kg Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher is a superior product. This extinguisher model is well-suited for 4WD excursions because it can handle fire classes A, B, and E. This means that it provides a high level of fire protection. The Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher has a compact design to fit into smaller spaces.
Convenience 4WD Accessories
A 4WD roof rack is one of the most convenient 4WD accessories because it provides greater storage capacity for your vehicle. The roof raft is installed on the top of the vehicle and can carry and safely put in place large and bulky items. Some of the key features to look out for in roof rafts are versatility, strength, and aerodynamic features to reduce drag and noise.
Our Pick: Ridge Ryder Roof Tray
Manufacturers of the Ridge Ryder Roof Tray follow the highest craftsmanship standards to make their products. Ridge Ryder is made from steel wire coated with a finish that has high resistance to abrasion and corrosion. It is made to withstand an enormous amount of weight without compromising the vehicle’s safety. The tray’s dimensions of 1250 x 950 x 145mm and weight of 17 kg make it handy and easy to install. Ridge Ryder Roof Tray comes with a universal fitting kit and an aerodynamic wind deflector.
Solar Powered Charger
For 4×4 excursions that include plenty of camping, bringing a solar-powered charger can prove to be quite beneficial. A solar-powered charger and system allow you to stay off-grid for an extended time because it can generate enough electrical energy from the sun to facilitate several electrical devices including portable fridges. Take note that this solar power device is a charger that needs to transfer energy to a battery pack.
Our Pick: XTM 200w Folding Solar Blanket
The XTM 200w Folding Solar Blanket is a superb product because of its lightweight and compact design, and advanced solar absorbing features. The XTM Solar Blanket uses monocrystalline solar cells that are known for their high efficiency. This model connects and disconnects to the battery quickly and easily and does not require regular maintenance. The large surface area of resilient solar panels make it the best way to get the most out of those daylight hours to charge any number of devices you have.
Bungee cords are a general utility item that has super stretching capabilities and shock absorbent features. They are usually sold with a predetermined maximum stretching length. Bungee cords are excellent yet cheap alternatives to expensive ropes and metal chains. During 4WD trips, you can use bungee cords to suspend and secure heavy or bulky items like generators and toolboxes in your vehicle without having to tie complicated knots.
Our Pick: SCA Bungee Cords
A SCA Bungee Cord pack offers so much flexibility and value for the money because each pack already contains 18 cords of varying lengths. The cords are colour-coded for convenient identification and equipped with durable chrome-plated steel hooks. Their assorted sizes will be able to address various needs.
If you want to be in the wilderness but would love the satisfaction offered by a cold drink, then bringing a portable fridge during your off-road adventure is an excellent decision. Although ice boxes or thermo-coolers are other cool storage options, a portable fridge lets you store food items like meat and drinks at a cooler temperature. This option is particularly more efficient on long trips.
One of the leading products in this category is the Dometic CFX3 75DZ Compressor Fridge Freezer 75L. This portable fridge is robust and versatile. It can be powered using AC, DC, or even solar sources. Despite being compact and low-voltage, Dometic CFX3 75DZ has a powerful compressor capable of fast cooling and maintaining a temperature of -22°C. Dometic’s other impressive features include full app integration, a large storage capacity (74L), and a high-resolution colour display that’s also waterproof.
If you always go camping or use your 4WD for long-term trips, installing a set of boot drawers is a smart move with long-term benefits. Boot drawers do not only provide much-needed space, but they also ensure that your various gear and equipment are safely stored. Boot drawers allow you to organise several items and access them easily.
Our Pick: XTM 4WD Modular Drawer with Slide
The XTM 4WD Modular Drawers are some of the best boot drawers available because of their superior design and functionality. They possess strong galvanised steel frames, a built-in fridge slide, and smooth roller bearings, with a convenient slide out cutting board, making it the perfect set of vehicle drawers for 4×4 and camping trips of all lengths. You can install the drawers to your 4WD vehicle using only a few hand tools in no time at all.
How Do I Plan An Off-roading Trip?
To plan a successful off-roading trip, you must choose your off-road track or destination and determine if it suits your driving skills. Decide on the date and duration of your trip. Make sure to have the right 4×4 vehicle and modifications to match the difficulty level of your chosen track. You also should think about the things (accessories, food, personal items) to bring and how to store them. Check other essential factors like weather, relevant rules and regulations, nearby campsites, towns, and points of interest.
Do I Need a 4WD For Camping?
You do not always need to drive a 4WD to camp, but 4WD camping does open up more options. Many camping sites all over Australia are in developed areas with dry and paved roads that are accessible to regular cars (two-wheel drive). But if you want to camp in remote areas with muddy, sandy, rocky, steep tracks, a 4WD vehicle is better suited to ensure safety and increase fun and excitement.
For dedicated 4WD camping enthusiasts, consider investing in an off road caravan – with so many models available, this can make your trips more comfortable and cost-effective.