Getting away from it all is what 4wd driving is all about. Just load up your faithful wagon and head out into Australia’s great wildernesses, and you’re in a different world. You’ll be far away from the crowds, able to just get on and enjoy yourself.
Of course being far from the crowds means you need to be completely self-reliant. If something goes wrong it can be a long walk to the nearest garage, and there are places in the Outback where a long walk is pretty dangerous. If you break down in the middle of the desert you’re in real trouble unless you can fix it. That means having the right tools and spares with you. With the right gear you can fix your vehicle at least well enough to get to the nearest town, and even if you have to cut your trip short that’s a lot better than being stuck in the middle of nowhere hoping someone comes along before the water runs out.
How much gear you need to carry depends on how many vehicles are in your group. The smaller the group, the more kit needs to go in each one. That’s because a lot of it can be shared, especially tools but a lot of parts as well. There will be stuff that’s unique to your vehicle and you’ll need to carry that, but standard items – stuff like shovels, recovery tracks, jump leads and lubricants – can be shared out among the party. That’s not to say you just need one of each, of course, but if every second vehicle carries an exhaust jack you’re not likely to be stuck anywhere for too long.
When you’re planning a trip the best thing is for you all to get together, work out what you need then make sure that between everyone you’re carrying everything you’re going to need plus at least one spare. Split it down into three categories – specific items for your own vehicle, stuff that can be shared between similar vehicles and stuff for the whole group. Here’s some suggestions for what goes in each category.
With that lot split between your group you should be able to sort out pretty much anything short of a major mechanical failure, and with a well maintained 4wd those are rare. Obviously you need to make sure everything’s in working order and at least somebody knows how to use it. That might sound like it doesn’t need saying, but we know a bloke who had to drive a Defender 15km on a flat tyre because when he tried to change it he found his wheelbrace didn’t fit the nuts.
Obviously we’re talking about a lot of gear here, but some of Australia’s more remote areas can be pretty harsh and you really don’t want to be stuck out there by yourself. Cramming all your tools and spares into a single vehicle can be tricky once you allow space for camping gear as well, so there are a lot of advantages in heading out with a club or just a group of mates. That doesn’t just go for safety either; it can be a lot more fun, too.