Best Off Road Accessories: Helping You On and Off the Trail

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Off-roading can be a highly rewarding and extremely frustrating hobby, all in the same trip. That’s the sad truth. One way to make sure a trip is more enjoyable involves bringing along the right accessories. Get caught in the middle of nowhere without the gear you need, and you’ll be cursing all sorts of things. Including your stupidity. But get caught with some of the best off road accessories? You’ll be thanking past-you for the helping hand.

It’s amazing the difference some seemingly insignificant items can make. Even if you don’t use them for months or years at a time. When you’re in need of any of the following accessories, having them on hand can turn what would be disastrous into a manageable situation.

Compact Shovel

You’ve probably seen off-road rigs with shovels attached to somewhere. Like the hood, the roof rack, or maybe even one of the fenders. While it looks cool, taking a shovel with you on the trail is more than a fashion statement.

Shovels come in handy when you or someone else is stuck. While other recovery devices get all the glory, shovels are still an essential accessory.

If you don’t want to make a fashion statement with your off road accessories, there are plenty of folding shovels or models with a telescoping handle. Just remember that the wider and deeper the blade, the quicker you can dig a stuck off-roader out.

Traction Mats

If you really want to hit rugged trails, you should have the proper off-road tires. Some guys tow their rig on a trailer, while others choose to swap out the tires. There are even some who just ride on the road with their super-knobby tires. Whatever you do, and no matter how mean your tires are, you should take some sort of traction mats along for each trail run.

When you get in a spot where your knobby tires can’t quite get the grip they need? Traction mats can be a quick solution. You’ll need to dig some to get the mats under the tires. But the idea is to provide just the right amount of traction to get out of the situation. Unlike floor mats, these off road accessories can actually do the job.

While off-roaders will argue which kind of mats are the best, it really depends on the type of terrain and the exact situation where you’re stuck. Most people don’t want to take several kinds with them. Thankfully other rigs on a trail might be willing to provide an alternative, if yours aren’t working well enough.

Tire Deflator

Perhaps the most important component on any off-road rig is the tires. They’re what provide the correct amount of traction to move the vehicle forward, even in slippery, challenging conditions.

While you might think it’s just a matter of buying the right tires, then keeping them rotated and balanced to achieve optimal trail performance, that’s actually not true. When you hit soft surfaces like sand and mud, it’s necessary to let much of the air out of those big tires. That makes the contact patch, or the area of the tire which touches the ground, larger, spreading the vehicle weight out. This trick helps keep the tires from sinking deep into whatever surface you’re driving over.

Letting the air out of 32-inch tires can take a really long time, if you don’t have a deflator. This handy off road accessory allows you to take out the valve core, so the air flows quickly out of the tire. An attached gauge lets you know when to put the core back, so there’s no guesswork.

Tire Inflator

If you’re going to air down your tires on the trail, once you return to firm ground you’ll need to pump them back up. Sure, you could do this by hand, but if you want to get back home before the wee hours of the morning, get an inflator to do the work.

Some off-roaders secure an inflator in the cargo area of their rig, so they always have it with them. That way it doesn’t become a destructive projectile when you hit a bump, etc.

First Aid Kit

Injuries happen on the trail, whether it’s cutting your hand on a recovery line or smashing your thumb with a tool. If you have a first aid kit, you’ll be able to manage all but the most dire of circumstances, at least enough until you return to civilization.

A basic first aid kit is a must on your off road accessories list. Even better, get a more advanced medical kit with more than just some iodine and bandages, just in case. Hopefully you never need to use it, but if you do, you’ll be glad it’s on hand.

Cargo Straps

You might think those heavy-duty straps you can cinch down and that have hooks on both ends is only for hauling stuff in the back of pick-up trucks. They’re actually quite essential for off-roading. While they’re certainly great for keeping your stuff from flying out of a truck at highway speeds, they’re useful for keeping your gear firmly in place in the back of your off-roader.

If you’re on a particularly rugged trail, things in your vehicle can jump as your rig is jarred by big hits. You might even roll your vehicle. Tools, food, and other items in the rear that aren’t secured can go flying. Breaking windows, hitting people in the rig, and causing all sorts of mayhem. Cargo straps prevent this serious threat.

Fire Extinguisher

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Mounting a fire extinguisher in your rig is just a smart idea. After all, you’re rolling around in something which contains several gallons of highly flammable fluid. There’s also the risk of an electrical fire, especially if you have a lot of electrical off road accessories like a winch, inflator, auxiliary lights, etc. Of course, your tailpipe, catalytic converter, etc. could even catch underbrush on fire. With an extinguisher on hand, you’re prepared to stop the spread of flames.

Since a fire could be from the engine/fuel system or electrical components, you need a fire extinguisher which is B-rated and C-rated. Some are small enough they can be mounted to the A-pillar in your ride. Although putting them on the tailgate or somewhere else is just fine. As long as you know where the extinguisher is located and can reach it quickly.