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Jan 12, 2021

In this episode, Gary and Gary discuss essential items and gear to bring with you on your wheeling outings. And lots of work going into our rigs you have to catch up on. Per usual there is listener feedback and a Jeep of the week. Tune in to hear a fresh new episode of the Northwest Jeepcast. Look for bonus content at

The NWJEEPCAST Original 10 Essentials

0.5 Wheel with buddies

We can not understate the importance of wheeling with other people. It makes all of these other essentials easier. You can share tools and other emergency supplies if necessary. If something catastrophic happens with your rig or self, you have far greater options for survival with other rigs with you to assist. 

  1. Navigation (map and compass)

For wheelin, having a map and compass are good, especially if you run out of power.  Maps in this case can be Topo like hiker/backpacker/mountaineers, but given the distance our rigs travel that could be many maps.  For us it is more practical to have MUVM type maps or others similar to that; or guide books/trail reports.  For the most part we have to stay on offroad trails or forest roads and maps with these are best for us.  Given that we can usually carry sufficient power, using GPS and mapping software such as Gaia or Avenza which can also import Forest Service digital maps. And finally having radio equipment on board our rigs is very helpful in keeping a group of rigs navigating the same course of trails/roads.  The minimum is a CB for short range (a mile or two) communication, but better yet is Ham (requires certification) or hand held dual band radios which can communicate5-50 or more miles.

  1. Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)

 For wheelin, both sunglasses and sunscreen are needed.  Additionally having some form of shade for our rigs is important when we are wheelin open air; Softop up, Safari/bikini on, or spider shade.  These will protect us in our rigs from getting baked and burnt when we've had too much sun running topless.

  1. Insulation (extra clothing)

For wheelin, we have much greater carry capacities than people on foot do.  Bringing along rain gear, wind gear, jackets and heavy blankets is not much of an inconvenience for us, nor will it slow us down much if any.

  1. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)

For wheelin, having a headlamp/flashlight is also essential.  I can count may times I've come off the trail at night due to breakdowns on the trail.  And then of course there is actual night wheelin.  In addition to having personal illumination, our rigs need sufficient lighting for the kind of night wheelin we intentionally or unintentionally do.  At a minimum we need sufficient forward and side lighting to see safe distances to find the trail and avoid obstacles.  The faster you intend to trail off road the greater the lighting requirements with desert racing at night requiring the most illumination, plus for dusty day racing having warning rear lights is essential as well. For rock crawlers having some rear lighting and under carriage rock lighting is also very useful. Vision X provides great off road illumination products for all conditions.

  1. First-aid supplies

For wheelin, again having more carrying capacity we can afford to carry larger first aid kits than foot travelers can.  At a minimum we should carry a good wilderness first aid kit and manual like the mountaineers do as we too can be quite far from professional medical help.  See our show notes for wilderness first aid kits and manuals. Also having Ham radios with emergency repeaters programmed in  is very useful in emergency conditions for contacting medical personnel when cell service is not available.

  1. Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)

For wheelin, at a minimum we need to carry at least this much fire capability with us.  Depending on the season and fire restrictions we can bring wood with us as well and often do except mid summer; including winter snow wheelin. 

  1. Repair kit and tools

For wheelin, this is where we have the biggest enhancement to the 10 essentials.  Not only do we have personal repair kits and tools including items such as Leatherman tools, but we minimally carry fluids, small tool kits and spare parts.  For longer multi day trips we carry larger tool kits and more spare parts.   See Episode 106 Tools for Trail Fixes (May 7, 2018), Episode 107 Trail Repair Box & Spare Parts (May 14, 2018) and Episode 108 Recovery Gear Deep Dive (May 21, 2018).

  1. Nutrition (extra food)

For wheelin, again given our greater carrying capacity we can and should bring enough extra food for a day delay in the back country. 

  1. Hydration (extra water)

For wheelin, again given our greater carrying capacity we can and should bring a minimum of 1 gallon of water per person per day.  If water is not available along the trail to be filtered and in hot conditions, more water per person is advised, like say 2 gallons extra per person for the trip.

  1. Emergency shelter

For wheelin, this depends on what kind of rig we are in.  If it is totally open air then for sure bring a tarp that can be fastened to the rig to ride out storms and/or nights.  If the rig can be completely closed up, including softops/doors then the rig can serve as the primary shelter.  It is always a good idea to have an personally portable emergency shelter such as a tube tent with you in case you have to hike out for help.

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