5 Must-Have 4WD Accessories You Should Never Leave Home Without
Whether you’re heading out on a day trip, weekend adventure or outback trek these are the top five 4WD accessories you should never leave home without:
Easily the most useful and powerful 4x4 accessory ever made, the humble tyre gauge will never let you down (pun intended). Yes, it’s old school, but the right tyre pressure can get you out of a bog or through an obstacle before you can even unpack and lay down your recovery boards.
I’ll never forget an early 4WD trip, being bogged in soft sand on K'Gari (Fraser Island) with my dad in a hired 4x4; and a helpful bloke soon coming along with a tyre gauge. He promptly deflated our tyres to 18psi and we simply drove out. I didn’t even need to push!
While an analogue gauge will never go flat (there I go again!) a digital gauge with nice big numbers and a press-lever for deflation is the way to go – even better when attached to a 12V portable compressor so you can easily reinflate them. It’s also worth calibrating your gauge from time to time against a digital service station gauge.
Hema 4WD Maps App
The simplest and most popular 4WD mapping app of all time, the Hema 4WD Maps app is 100% offline, dead-easy to use, and comes with a range of built in seamless and regional topographic map layers including all the big names such as Cape York, Kimberley, High Country and the Great Desert Tracks map series.
It’s awesome on a big-screen tablet device for planning and dreaming and perfect on a mobile device for navigating and tracking.
Open the app, centre the map on your location, zoom into the map you want and then hit record to start tracking. And, because it uses the built-in GPS in your device you never need a phone connection to know exactly where you are.
All Terrain Tyres
Good quality all-terrain tyres are the 4WD equivalent of your favourite hiking boots. They are comfy to ‘wear’, will help you carry heavy loads with safety and confidence and will take you just about anywhere. A LT (Light Truck) construction is essential as it’s thicker, stronger and has a squarer tread / sidewall design. Choose a tyre with large tread blocks to carry heavy loads on dirt at speed and match your trailer and vehicle tyres so you won’t need a second vehicle spare.
While they don’t look as tough, all-terrain tyres are better that mud-terrain tyres on almost every surface (except for mud and steep rocky slopes). Rotate your tyres regularly and if towing or fully loaded, put your newest tyres on the back as they’ll handle the load better, push you up and over obstacles and help with emergency braking on dirt.
There’s nothing quite like being the quick-thinking legend who instinctively reaches for the snatch strap (and shackle) when your mate gets stuck, some newbie’s bogged on the beach exit track ahead or reality strikes as someone’s $100k+ 4WD starts sinking mid-stream in Nolan’s Brook. Having a quality snatch strap at the ready and knowing how to use it is the easiest way to make new friends and be the one to save the day (and a potential vehicle write-off).
While you may well use it more to recover others, choose a quality rated strap to match your vehicle (+trailer) weight, ensure you have recovery points both front and rear and have the shackles and any load-sharing bridles you need stored together in easy-reach, such as under or behind the driver’s seat. Keep your strap clean and dry and use modern soft shackles for a projectile-free recovery.
If you’re travelling solo, then make sure you’ve packed a set of recovery tracks (MAXTRAX or Treds). Two is enough for a vehicle but four is essential when towing. Doubled up, they also make handy ramps over a big hole or washout or easy leveller for your camper trailer or roof top tent.
Front End Protection
Outback travel teaches you to expect the unexpected and sooner or later one of our fury or flight national emblems is going to jump or run right out in front of you!
With little time to react you want to have the confidence to brake hard and straight, or worst-case, hit or run over the animal head-on. Most times that’s simply all you can safely do. Kangaroos are solid, muscly creatures and even a mid-sized roo can do some serious damage to your front-end, but with a decent bar fitted you’ll hardly notice a scratch.
At over 500kg, cattle and wild camels are a different story altogether with a collision at speed with one of these still likely end your adventure prematurely but at least you’ll live to tell the tale.
Bullbars are also very useful for mounting driving lights, aerials, winches etc (all within transport guidelines) and a well-engineered bar should be airbag compatible, have shackle-accessible recovery points, and provide decent underbody protection for your front end.
At Hema Maps, we strive to provide the most comprehensive and accurate maps and guides for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore Australia's natural wonders.
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