This list doesn’t include a serious toolkit or a four-wheel driving guide because that’s just common sense. Likewise, if you overload your truck with electronics you may need a second battery, and if you are going for a long trip, then a long-range or second fuel tank is probably a good idea. But the following are some other investments that will take your further and help you out of trouble.
What to buy is a point of contention for would-be advice givers. And the problem with opinions is they’re like noses. Everyone’s got one. So what do you do? Well, buy something with a real ‘4WD’ mode, and not an a 2WD SUV or an all-wheel drive (for serious off-roading). Also don’t be afraid to buy something a bit older. Some old Hilux’s seem expensive for their age, and it’s generally because they’re super-reliable and if it has been maintained will last for a long, long time.
If you’re a 4WD enthusiast, you’re probably going to get stuck. Especially when you’re just starting out. Now not everyone has a winch on their truck and many times you can dig yourself out (note: also get a shovel) or use some clever driving to get out of trouble. But a winch will get you out of a ditch much easier than digging your way out.
A tire pressure gauge and compressor
If you’re planning to go on the beach, letting your tires down is a must. And yet some people still don’t do it. A pressure gauge is an inexpensive and small tool for you to accurately reduce the pressure in your tires, so driving on soft sand is easier. You’ll also be less likely to get bogged. Afterward, it’s certainly possible to limp to the servo to inflate your tires, but investing in a compressor is worth serious consideration.
Again, this is more of a salt water issue for driving on the beach. But let’s face it, that’s definitely the easiest place to go and it’s enjoyable for the whole family. Don’t make the mistake of thinking just putting the sprinkler under the car when you get home will do it. There are places that just won’t get to. And you don’t want to destroy your car because you forgot to give it a good wash after a long day four-wheel driving along the beach.
A good CB radio with decent range is always a good idea. There’re few things lonelier than being stranded far from anywhere with no phone reception. Get a radio and you’ve got a better chance to hailing assistance in times of trouble, or finding a stranded fellow adventurer. That, and you can listen to the truckies chat to each other on the highway.