The Ultimate 4WD Checklist You Need Before Hitting The Open Road | Part 2

Hopefully, you have already inspected your 4×4 and everything is safe and ready to go. If you haven’t already done so, check out how to ensure your vehicle is ready for its next trip in part 1 here.

In this article we will run through the basic essentials you should have at all times, tools and survival gear, and what spares to bring with you on each expedition.

Each checklist will feature a number of items for adventures that range far and wide or close to home, so pick out what you think is necessary for the length of your trip and destination.

And don’t forget to stock up the cooler with a couple of cold ones! 

Basic survival

  • Bring plenty of water! If you plan on going anywhere isolated where access to drinking water is hard to come by, bring at least 2-6 litres of water per person, per day. You may need to bring more if you are trecking it through the desert.
  • Equally as important as water is food. Pack lots of it. Ideally, you want to bring twice the amount of food for the time you plan on being away.
  • Bring extra clothes including warm outer layers, waterproof jacket,  headgear and an emergency blanket
  • Personal hygiene and sanitary items including toilet paper, antibacterial wipes or gel, toothbrush and paste, soap, shampoo and conditioner
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Medications/vitamins
  • Communication devices with charges, such as mobile phones, UHF radios and Satphones
  • Rubbish bags
  • Maps, compass and information about the area you plan on travelling to
  • Water purification and hydration tablets
  • Cooking utensils including frying pans, tongs, bottle opener
  • Basic tableware such as plates, bowls and cutlery.

Off-road basics at all times

The following list are the essentials that you should always carry in your 4×4 at all times when travelling off-road short and long distances.

  • First Aid Kit (next section)
  • Emergency communications such as a Satphone and UHF radio
  • Basic survival items as mentioned above
  • Spare tyre, tyre repair kit and tyre changing toolkit
  • Recovery equipment — at least a snatch strap or maxtrax, although a winch is recommended.
  • Basic tool kit (will be explained further down)
  • Spare car key
  • Safety Kit (will be explained further down)

What’s in your first aid kit

You can never pack too much when it comes to your first aid kit because you and your passengers safety are paramount. You can buy basic first aid kids that contain the essentials but feel free to add extra items or construct your own one. Here’s what you should have:

  • Antiseptic cream or ointment such as betadine
  • Bandages and gauze dressings/ pads
  • Bandaids
  • Disposable gloves
  • Antibacterial gel or wipes
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Adhesive tape
  • Burnaid cream
  • Snake bite kit
  • Blanket
  • Hydration tablets
  • Medications including paracetamol
  • Instant cold and hot pack

Safety kit

Realistically, most of the following items are more suited for those who plan on spending a weekend away camping and exploring the Australian outback. However, you can never be too sure when these items might come in handy.

  • Flares
  • Fire extinguisher that is mounted in an easily accessible location of your vehicle.
  • Tarp
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Matches, fire starters, and a lighter
  • Safety glasses
  • Heavy duty gloves
  • Hunting knife or an axe

Tool box

Basic tools that consist of a variety of sizes and combinations that cover the sizes found in your vehicle should be kept on hand at all times. Your tool kit should have the following:

  • Allen key tool set
  • Complete socket wrench set
  • Adjustable spanner
  • Standard and phillips screwdriver set
  • Hammer
  • Pliers and wire cutters/strippers/crips
  • Vice grips
  • Tyre pressure gauge
  • Jumper leads
  • Portable air compressor
  • Electrical and duct tape
  • WD40
  • Cable ties
  • Ockey straps in several sizes
  • Super glue
  • Rags
  • Work gloves
  • Various lengths of rope
  • Wooden blocks, can be used for jacking plates, suspension support and wheel stoppers.

Engine spares

What you determine is needed for your trip will depend on how far and long your expedition is going to be. If you’re only heading down to Mundaring for a day then you may not need some of the following:

  • Gaskets
  • Electric fittings, crimper and heatshrink
  • Brake hose clamps
  • Mixed nuts and bolts
  • Hose clamps of various sizes
  • Heater and coolant hoses
  • Drive belts
  • Oil and air filters
  • Extra fans
  • Valve stems and remover
  • Radiator stop leak
  • Extra spark plugs


This category falls under engine spares and is essential that you carry extra.

  • Coolant or water
  • Engine oil
  • Power steering and transmission fluid
  • Starter fluid
  • Funnel and siphon hose


Keep your expedition alive by ensuring you have spares for all your electricals.

  • Fuses of all sizes used in your vehicle
  • Spare bulbs for all lights used in your vehicle
  • Spare wire
  • Spare switches
  • Batteries and chargers
  • Multimeter

Recovery gear

  • At minimum, you should have maxtrax and a snatchstrap
  • Shovel
  • Rated recovery points bolted to chassis or your bullbar
  • Winch
  • Rated D Shackles
  • High lift jack or exhaust jack
  • Tree protector and snatch pulley

Camping essentials

  • Tent, swags, and awnings
  • Air beds and pump
  • Blankets, pillows and sheets
  • Portable gas stove and spare gas canisters
  • Lighting such as lanterns, torches, head strap lamp and spare batteries
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Lighters, fire starter and matches
  • Toilet paper and paper towels
  • Cooking utensils, tableware and cutlery
  • Water purification and rehydration tablets
  • Foldable chairs
  • Plenty of tarp
  • Suitable clothing for all weather types including thongs, thermals, swim suit, rain jacket, sunglasses and a hat
  • Hunting or pocket knife
  • Plenty of rubbish bags
  • Fully stocked cooler
  • Maps, compass, GPS, flares and safety beacon
  • Extra vehicle keys
  • Long range fuel tank
  • First aid kit (as mentioned above)
  • Tool kit (as mentioned above)
  • Recovery gear (as mentioned above)
  • Engine spares and electricals (as mentioned above)

Total 4×4 is here to help

Whether you’re an experienced outdoor enthusiast or a novice, it’s always good practice to inspect your vehicle before and after every 4×4 adventure to ensure you and your passengers safety. The last thing you’d want to happen is to be stranded in the middle of nowhere because you forgot to check basic elements on your forbie. If you’re in doubt, you can always contact the professionals at Total 4×4, who are happy to inspect your engine and vehicle to make sure you’re good to go.

Missing some essentials from part 2 checklist? Check out our some of our products to see how you can get kitted for your next 4WD trip.

Looking for some new 4WD tracks to explore close to home? 

Top 10 4WD Off Road tracks in Western Australia

WA’s Top 11 Beach Accessible 4WD Tracks

Top 5 4WD Off Road Tracks in Perth

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