Tools You Need to Off-Road, Part 2

tools for offroading john's 4x4 boulder

Off-roading can be a wild and unpredictable adventure. From driving up rock infested trails that lead to some of the coolest views in Colorado and elsewhere to finding yourself with an insane stream crossing , everyday is different when you off-road. Due to the inherent unpredictability of off-roading, you need to be prepared for the unexpected mishaps that can occur, such as a flat tire or a mechanical problem.

John’s 4×4 in Boulder offers the best off-road preparation for your next off-roading adventure, from performing routine maintenance in our 4×4 repair shop to installing a lift kit and winch. Our team of expert technicians have years of experience in helping you be prepared for some of the best times of your life. In our last blog post, we began this series with 4×4 off-road part preparation (if you missed it, click HERE). Today, we’ll look at more essential tools you’ll need to have on hand when you go off-roading. Contact us today to get started!


Tool Kit

One of the most important things you can have on your 4×4 off-road vehicle is a tool kit. After all, how are you going to fix anything if you don’t have any tools to fix it from. Most standard roadside assistance kits will not be enough.  You need to build a kit that is specific to your vehicle.  You will need wrenches and sockets that match the size of bolt heads associated with common failure points such as drive shafts and u-joints/cardigan joints.  You will also need a hammer, medium pry bar, vise grips, screw drivers, allen or maybe torque bits depending on your vehicle.  I would also recommend a cordless drill/impact driver.  Other items that can prove helpful are: duct tape (don’t laugh), PB Blaster or WD40, electrical tape, knife, zip ties, and smaller ratcheting straps.  You should also consider spare parts if you are more of an extreme off-roader that tackles more aggressive trails ad obstacles.  Oh…don’t forget the need to have a good roll pouch to store your tools in!

Tire Repair Kit

I would call this optional at best.  Your first defense is a spare.  We all know that flats on a trail usually means you clipped the edge of a rock with the side of your tire.  Fix-a-flat or a tire plug kit will not help you.  A jack capable of lifting a lifted vehicle, lug nut key and wrench, and a good spare is priceless.

Portable 4×4 Off-Road Air Compressor

Before you go off-roading, you normally drop your tire’s air pressure for better traction. However, when you’re ready to get back on the road, you’ll need something to air it back up. An off-road, compact air compressor will fit the bill. 18-20 PSI is where most people go, but you can go lower (12-15 PSI), the caveat being the lower your air pressure, the more likely you could spin a bead while out on the trail. John’s 4×4 in Boulder recommends that you invest in an off-road air compressor (portable or on-board systems) with a long hose that can reach all four tires.  If you chose a portable one…get one that can connect to your battery rather than your cigarette lighter power point, which can cause a fuse to blow and usually are not powerful enough.  SmittyBilt makes a great little portable unit that works pretty good.  ARB makes a great on-board system.  On-board systems are usually coupled with other needs such as air-lockers.

Jumper Cables And/Or a Jump Starter

As cliche as this is, jumper cables are an essential tool to have in any vehicle that runs primarily off a battery. Batteries work for years, unless you end up running other gadgets off your battery, something gets left on, such as a light, or you simply let it age without checking it regularly.  But a simple jump from another vehicle or a jump starter will usually get your 4×4 off-road vehicle moving in no time.  Alternatively, you don’t need to rely on another vehicle to jump your own anymore. A simple, affordable, high-capacity lithium ion battery pack will do the trick. As a bonus, it’ll charge off your cigarette lighter and can provide portable power for your phone and other gadgets, too.



Protecting your hands while operating a winch, strap, or chain is important.  Cables on winch can “shred” friction from cables or straps can burn, and the same can slip/move rapidly on a tree or boulder and take off fingers!  The last thing you need is a medical emergency to go along with your mechanical or otherwise crisis you are dealing with on your 4×4 off-road adventure.  Invest in quality, and you’ll be glad you did when you have to use them.


Some of us weren’t all that good with compasses when we were kids, but that’s all we had at the time. Now that GPS is affordable and available on most newer electronic devices, GPS navigation has become an essential tool to have while out on a 4×4 off-road adventure. Many of us have been there: at a trailhead that forks and unsure which direction to go. Your hand-held map may be of poor quality, and even if it’s of good quality, you are still unsure which 4×4 trail to take.

Now, there are many great GPS map apps that will show you in detail 4×4 trails that hand-held maps just can’t do. The one caveat is to be sure these maps will work while you are off-line or have no internet service, which is often the case in the middle of the deep woods in Colorado.

Your Cell Phone

Most likely, you are attached to your cell phone anyways so you’ll have it with you on-person. However, just in case you don’t remember to take your cell phone, you should, especially when you are on a 4×4 off-road trail. For many reasons, you may not be able to move your 4×4 vehicle, and you may need to have to call for help, even if you have to hike a ways to find cell service. Your cell phone is one of the most important safety devices you can have with you on a 4×4 off-road adventure and should not be left behind.


As the best 4×4 repair shop, John’s 4×4 in Boulder has seen it all in our 40 years of business. When you partner with us for your 4×4 off-road adventure, we can ensure you will be well-prepared for whatever comes your way out on the trail. We can help ensure you have all of the 4×4 off-road parts and accessories you will need. We can help you create the 4×4 vehicle of your dreams that is lifted with the best wheel and tire package available. We can help outfit you with the necessary 4×4 tools you’ll need to ensure you are safe on the trail and to extricate yourself from sticky situations.

Off-roading is fun, and we want to ensure that it stays that way for you by helping you prepare your 4×4 vehicle in our 4×4 shop. Visit John’s 4×4 in Boulder today!