Gear up for 2018 – Part 2 (Highly Recommended)

Gear up for 2018 – Part 2 (Highly Recommended)

25/01/2018 Uncategorized 0
A Sailor works on inflating a tire

A Sailor works on inflating a tire. flickr photo by Official U.S. Navy Imagery shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Welcome to Part 2 in the recommended gear series, in this article we’ll cover some of the recommended but non-mandatory recovery equipment and gear that you might need to look into if you want to hit the tracks on club trips.

Be sure to check out part 1 in the series – Gear up for 2018 – Part 1 (Mandatory Must-Have)

Don’t forget to support local businesses – the club also has agreed discounts with, and recommends the following local businesses in Bendigo – Harrisons 4WD Centre and Bendigo Towbars & TJM 4WD Centre


Must Haves (Mandatory) – continued

We accidentally left out one item that is on the mandatory list in last week’s article –

A good quality air compressor and tyre gauge


You’ll have to reduce tyre pressures for off-road driving, so you need a means to pump the tyres back up to highway pressure when you hit the bitumen again. You also need a gauge to check pressures.

A tyre deflator is also handy, to air down to the right psi quickly and easily (and is much more convenient than attacking the valve with a match)


Good 4WD businesses will generally stock air compressors as well as auto parts and online retailers. You can go for the permanent install option (if you get air lockers, they also have a dual purpose), or get a standalone unit that clips on to your battery terminals. Professional install is recommended if you go the permanent option because they get hot and have ventilation requirements, and not all units will be suitable for installation in the engine bay.

Pay attention to the specs on how quickly it will inflate a tyre and how long you can run them for, the cheaper units take longer and perform poorly when they heat up.

Additional viewing / reading

Highly Recommended

You can probably get away without these for easy rated trips, however if you are going on trips regularly and attempting medium – hard trips these items will become important in getting you un-stuck and preventing you getting stuck in the first place (they also may be required by the trip leader depending on the trip / area).

Basic Recovery Kit

Snatch Strap and rated Shackles, and a strap/cable dampener (blanket). An equalisation bridle may also be a good idea depending on how robust (or not) your front recovery points are.

snatch strap


A snatch strap is tool for extracting a bogged or immobilised 4wd when you have another vehicle present. It’s often the go-to recovery device and is very useful when used properly, however when misused can be dangerous. Club members can give you guidance on the correct technique for snatch recoveries.

Rated shackles have lots of uses for recoveries, and it’s always advised to have one or two shackles that are load rated to cater for the weight of your vehicle and a good safety margin (3.2T – 4.7T are common).

cable dampener is a blanket that goes across the snatch strap or winch cable as a safety device in case the cable breaks to absorb the energy and prevent the cable from whipping through the air and injuring anyone or sending a shackle flying at someones head.

An equalisation bridle is used between two front recovery points to share the load between the two points, and equalises the load across the two chassis rails. Useful if the front recovery points aren’t rated for higher loads.


You can buy what you need individually, or get a “recovery kit” these typically include a snatch strap, shackles, cable dampener, tree trunk protector, winch extension cable and pully block for winching, and this can be a good option.

Good 4WD businesses, auto retailers and online, just make sure they are certified to Australian standards, rated for your vehicles weight and avoid buying second hand.

Additional viewing / reading

A good video, covering many key points about snatch recoveries

What can happen if a winch cable snaps (without a cable blanket)

All Terrain (AT) or Mud Terrain (MT) Tyres

Mud tyres flickr photo by talk2santosh shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license


Standard passenger tyres (Highway Terrain – HT) will be okay in some conditions, but when the going gets tough, they don’t really perform very well, and are prone to failure.

AT / MT tyres have more aggressive tread patterns to handle off road conditions better, eject dirt / mud and grab on to rocks. They also have thicker and more durable sidewalls to resist punctures and allow lower inflation pressures. On the flip side they are harsher and noisier when driving on the highway or around town, have reduced life and lower your fuel economy. MT Tyres are the worst for these negative aspects, but are also the most capable off-road. AT are a good compromise, and are a mid point between HT and MT tyres.

The other consideration is size – larger tyres are more capable, but you need to understand what you can fit on your vehicle (both practically and legally), how it will affect your gearing and fuel economy.

Most club members who attend trips regularly are running an aggressive all terrain or mud terrain tyre, some members use standard size, and some opt for 1-2 inches larger than standard in diameter, which is generally done with at least a 2 inch lift to ensure good clearance from the guards.


Once you’ve worked out whether you want an AT or MT tyre, and what size, ask a club member what brands they recommend, research online or ask for advice at a tyre shop – once you have a good feel for what you want, you can shop around on price or find out who’s got something on special. In my experience I’ve often found the independent tyre stores can give you better deals so don’t just stick with the major brand stores.

Additional viewing / reading



river crossing 02 flickr photo by StuRap shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license


Will dramatically reduce the chances of you getting an engine full of water doing a river crossing, and are also useful in reducing the amount of dust going into the air filter when in a convoy.


Fitting a snorkel involves cutting holes in body work – leave this one to a professional and get in touch with your 4WD mechanic.


Suspension Upgrades

Pro Comp lift kit flickr photo by simonov shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license


Suspension upgrades will raise the height of the vehicle for more clearance, allow you to fit larger tyres and carry extra loads.

In Victoria the maximum legal lift is 2 inches, and for the type of driving that the club does, this is well sufficient and will allow you to fit 33″ tyres on a full size 4WD.

The second consideration is weight – a winch and steel bull bar generally requires heavier duty on the front. Towing heavy loads and a lot of gear in the back will generally require heavier duty in the rear.

It is recommended that you work out a plan for what you plan to do accessory & weight wise, and get professional advice from your 4WD mechanic on what to get.


Get in touch with your 4WD mechanic.


The third and final instalment in the series will cover useful / nice to have (but you can probably get away without it)

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