Off-Road Tools and Automotive EDC
Off-Road Tools, Accessories, General Gear, and Every Day Carry
We had a question come in about what we carry with us at all times, our every day carry bag.
Below you will find an overview of every day carry items that I roll around with, some pictured and some are not. This is not a list of what everyone should carry, just a list of what I think is important. Everyone is going to have a different set-up for their every day carry setup for their vehicle.
Whether you are an offroad expert or just bought your 4Runner, below is a general guide to off-road tools and gear. From the basic items to the more advanced items, we cover all our top picks for general tools and gear. In a previous post, we covered the top 10 4Runner mods. This article covers more of the smaller tools and accessories as opposed to the larger mods.
Off-Road Tools & Every Day Carry
- MOLLE Panel
- Fuel Storage (Jerry Cans/ RotoPAX)
- Shovel/ Axe/ Hammer
- Jumper Cables
- First-Aid Kit (Surviveware): Check Price
- Bic Lighters/ Matches
- Fire Extinguisher
- Tow Straps/ Recovery Straps
- General Tools (Metric for 4Runners)
- Small Pocket Knife/ Large Travel Knife/ Utility Knife (razor)
- Flashlights (Small, Medium, Large & Headlamp)
- Toilet Paper/ Paper Towels/ Wet Wipes
- Air Deflator/ Air Inflator
- Hi-Lift® Jack – Or an Off-Road Jack W/ Stand
- Off-Road Recovery Tracks
MOLLE Panel (Rago Fab/ Orange Boxx)
A Molle Panel is a must have for anyone who wants to maximize space. These Panels mount on the left or right quarter window and made out of metal that have a checkered pattern. Every other space has a hole so you can mount gear, tools, and accessories to them. They are great for mounting Lights, Fire extinguishers, Rope, Bags, hatchets and even Firearms. The two main companies to look at are Rago Fabrication and Orange Boxx Fabrication.
These are perfect for anyone who uses their vehicle as an offroad or even a rescue rig. But don’t get confused and think they’re limited to only being used for offroad and rescue uses.
You can mount your emergency essentials, your offroad gear, your every day carry items and even basic mom travel items all while not losing trunk space.
GPS and Navigation Systems
A GPS or navigation system is a must-have for your 4Runner. Have you ever found yourself out wheelin’ or trekking in the middle of nowhere only to find yourself lost? If not, you don’t want to! A decent GPS or Navigation system will prevent that.
GPS or navigation systems are also great for figuring out your elevation or coordinates. Another reason to have one is in case of an emergency. When cell service is down, satellite service is always in range. On certain GPS systems, you can make your own trails as well. Those GPS systems may be limited map wise but you can have your own trail guide which is great.
You can also purchase systems that have a full map of the U.S. and other countries and allow you to download custom trail maps. Those GPS units are typically pricier than your standard system. But they are great to own because you’ll have your own personal maps along with other worldwide maps so you’ll never get lost again.
A GPS or Navigation system is something you can buy cheap or you can pay a lot for, just make sure to do your research on what you purchase. You never want to purchase a cheap one that you know nothing about because it could end up getting you lost or cause you to get stuck somewhere.
Options for GPS (Wheelin’ – Off-Road) Systems:
NOTE: All off-road apps are best ran on iPad with an iPad mount. The Ram Mount 2.5-Inch Composite Round Base is a good option for mounting your iPad for navigation. The RAM Mounts can be found all over Amazon and other websites.
- APP – Hema Maps
- APP – Gaia GPS
- APP – MotionX-GPS
- Garmin – GPSMAP® 276Cx
- Magellan eXplorist TRX7
- RAM Mount X-Grip For iPad – Check Price (Also, buy the Ball Mounts and Arms)
At the end of the day, your GPS accessories are completely up to you. The most common system these days is an app in which you can download maps to your iPad and then access this data with satellites when you are off-road. The Garmin – GPSMAP® 276Cx and Magellan eXplorist TRX7 are both quality products but at the end of the day, wouldn’t you rather have an iPad that you know how you use?
The other GPS systems like Garmin and Magellen just take some getting used to, which we all don’t have time for and really, we have no need for. Just grab an iPad and a great app, like the Gaia or MotionX. This combined with a really good RAM mount system should have you set for off-road perfection.
Spare Fuel Storage (Jerry Cans/ RotoPAXS)
Spare Fuel Storage is something every rig should have even if it’s a small amount. There are many options available for fuel storage for your 4runner. The top two commonly used are Jerry Cans and RotoPAXS. Jerry cans and RotoPAXS are both great for Fuel storage. For both of these solutions, you should probably have a rear bumper or a roof rack. If you do not have a roof rack or a rear bumper with a swing out gate, it doesn’t make much sense to throw them in the backseat.
RotoPAX Vs. Jerry Cans
- RotoPAXS are more expensive and hold less gas then the standard Jerry Can. But while RotoPAXS are smaller they are great because they lock together and can be fitted into spaces jerry cans may not be able to. Top Selling RotoPAXs
- Jerry Cans are cheaper and bulkier but they are great if you do long rugged trails. Jerry cans are typically a thick metal so they don’t damage easy. You can also go a lot further with jerry cans due to them holding more fuel. The con is you may not be able to fit them as easily as the RotoPAX. The Mans Portable Fuel Storage Solution (Check Price)
Overall Both are great additions to add to your rig. The only other option for spare fuel storage is a fuel cell. That get’s into finding a spot to put it adding an easy way to refill it etc.. Its also more expensive to do so Jerry cans/RotoPAXS save you from the hassle of doing that.
A Shovel, Hatchet, and Hammer are 3 must-have 4Runner accessories as well. They can easily be stored due to having so many foldable tools now of days. They can even be mounted to the previously mentioned MOLLE panel.
- Shovel: A shovel is the absolute must-have out of these 3 tools. It can be a foldable shovel or a full size depending on what you choose. A foldable is the best route to go due to storage and the uses they have. The main reason you need a shovel in your rig is in case you ever get stuck. You can easily dig yourself out or add dirt to a hole to gain traction.
- Military Style Folding Shovel – Check Price
- Hatchet/ Axe: The hatchet or some type of axe is key! This is an all-around great tool for those who do offroading/camping. You can use the hatchet to cut wood for a fire. You can also use it to gather wood to put under your tires if adding dirt to a hole does not provide you with enough traction. An axe also comes in handy when you hit tight sections on trails. If you are driving a newer 5th Gen 4Runner and you don’t want scratches, bring an axe and cut your way through it.
- Hammer: A hammer, while not needed, is a great tool to always have in your 4Runner. You can use it to Hammer in any parts that get stuck due to becoming damaged. A good example of its use would be if you have a fender that becomes dented and it starts rubbing on your tires. It is also great to have for camping and such so you can use it on tent spikes.
- Super Compact Hammer – Check Price
Jumper Cables/ Battery Jumper
Jumper cables are something you should always keep in your 4Runner if you trek off-road or mostly drive on-road. Jumper cables are part of your 4Runner accessories list you absolutely NEED to buy. You never know when you or a friends battery may die. It could be from using a winch without your engine running, or even accidentally leaving an aftermarket light on while you go hiking. Or, leaving your iPhone charging while your ignition is on (that one happened to us on a recent camping trip – thankfully we were the only ones that had jumper cables).
- Jumper Cables: Check Today’s Price
Now for those who don’t trail with others or a crew, you will want a Battery Jumper. What good are cables without another battery? Battery Jumpers come in many sizes they even sell Battery Jumpers that connect to your phone. Both the Battery Jumper and Jumper Cables are good to have if you have the space for both.
- Battery Jumper: Check Today’s Price
Every vehicle owner at least has a set of jumper cables. These are an absolute must-have off-road tool and accessory.
A first aid kit is something you should always carry. Like jumper cables, this accessory is important for anyone to have at all times in their SUV. First-Aid kits come in many sizes and options so the one you need will be completely dependant on how you plan on traversing. They have kits that just include band-aids and wraps but there are also first aid kit companies that include sewing kits, scissors, ointment, and survival tools.
Options for a First Aid Kit:
- Commercial 50 Person First Aid Kit – Check Price
- Every Day 299 Pc First Aid Kit – Check Price
- Very Robust First Aid Kit (Surviveware): Check Price
We recommend one with lots of variety because you never know what will happen on the trail. If you are a soccer mom or a dad, you need a full First-Aid Kit more than anyone.
I can’t count how many times we have used our first aid kit for our daughter in the most basic of situations.
Whether a ball joint fails and causes an accident or anything else happens outside of your 4Runner, you really should be prepared at all times. So be sure to alway’s carry a quality first aid kit and be safe.
Lighters or Matches are something you should always keep on you. Either option does not take a lot of space so there’s no reason not to carry one in your rig. They can be used to start signal fires in case you become lost or stranded.
They can sterilize needles in case you need to sew something due to an injury. You can also use them to burn rope ends that are frayed.
Most of all you can use them to create a source of light and start a fire. These things are key when you are hundreds of miles from civilization.
A Fire Extinguisher, while not being a must have, is something we highly recommend. This is something you can easily fit in your 4Runner, and also mount it on your MOLLE Panel. A quality fire extinguisher also provides you a little bit of insurance.
While trailing you may strain your engine or damage something underneath so much that it causes a fire. You can even have a wire fire caused by aftermarket accessories or even a wire fire from the factory wiring.
So having a Fire Extinguisher provides yourself a little bit of insurance because in most cases you can stop the fire early on.
Tow Straps/ Recovery Straps/ Tie Downs
Tow Straps and offroad recovery straps are something you should keep in your 4Runner even if you trail alone. You may be able to get ahold of someone to help recover your rig but they may not have straps. You might even have to recover someone who doesn’t have straps them self.
Another reason to have them is that you can wrap a strap around a tree to use as an anchor for a winch. You can also use them to extend your winch cable. Tow Straps and offroad recovery straps are small and lightweight as well so you can easily store them.
Best Recovery Straps
- Rhino Straps: Check Price
- Shackle Mounts: Check Price
- ARB Recovery Straps
- Gloves Are Important: The gloves we use
Tie Downs for Roof Rack
If you are an owner of an off-road truck, odds are you need some tie downs. There are hundreds of options for Tie-Downs out there but only a few really stack up. We love the Tie-Downs from Pro Taper. Maybe because we mobbed dirt bikes in another life or it may be because they really do kick ass!
Best Tie-Downs & General Straps to Carry
- ProTapers Kick-Ass: Check Price
- Don’t be fooled by stuff from China in this category
General Tools (Metric for 4Runners)
A small metric socket set is something you should keep in your 4Runner as well. It does not have to be anything fancy, just a basic set. You never know when your battery cable may come loose, or you have an aftermarket upgrade that decides to come loose.
You can also use the socket set if you need to remove your air intake due to getting water in it from going to deep. A philips head and flat head screwdriver are two other tools that are good to keep in your 4Runner as well. With both of these screwdrivers and a small metric socket set (possibly a universal wrench), you are able to fix most minor things that might break while trailing your 4Runner.
Small Pocket Knife/ Large Travel Knife/ Utility Knife (razor)
A small or large pocket knife, survival knife or utility knife is always good to have.
You can use pocket knives and utility knives for many things like cutting rope, stick ends, preparing meals along with many other common outdoor activities.
Knives can also be a good survival tool to keep in your 4Runner in case of a crash. With a knife close by, you would be able to cut yourself free of a seatbelt or any other tight situation. This is why it is important to keep a small pocket knife in your glovebox or center console.
You can also break a window with many knives in most cases. They are also perfect if you need to cut fabric or any material due to an injury or making a temporary repair to your 4Runner.
Flashlights (Small, Medium, and Large – Headlamp Lights)
A flashlight is something to always keep in your 4Runner. Flashlights come in all size’s now of days so you can carry a mini one or you can have a full-size mag light, or both preferably. You can never have too much light on a trail or in your 4Runner.
Flashlights: The MOST important EDC Item?
- Durability (think mag-light)
- Ease of Use
- Dependable (long run-time)
- Common Uses
- Safety for People Around you
- Wide variety of sizes
- NOTE: Always carry extra batteries
A flashlight is good to have in case you are stuck somewhere at night and need to set up camp. They are also good to have in case you need to make a repair on a trail to something underneath your 4Runner. Or, the most common reason, it’s dark and you need light.
You can purchase clips for a flashlight that allows you to mount them in many locations including under your seat, on your keychain, on your MOLLE Panel or almost anywhere else in your 4Runner.
The key to your flashlight, whether small or large is that it holds a charge and provides plenty of light. This is why it’s important to always carry extra batteries; AA and AAA.
Best Flashlight Options
- Maglite – Maglite (Price)
- J5 Tactical V1-Pro Flashlight The Original 300 Lumen – This light is Bad Ass – Check Price
- Ultra Bright Tactical Flashlight – Check Price
- Maglite Mini – Must-Have (Cheap – Awesome)
- Energizer Vision HD LED Headlamp (Love This!) – Check Price
Toilet Paper/Paper Towels/ Wipes
NOTE: Stop what you are doing, and just throw a roll of both in your 4Runner right now. You will forget if you do not. This is the most common accessory you want to carry at ALL TIMES. I can’t stress this enough. You will always spill something and you always need to wipe your ass. So important.
Toilet paper, paper towels, and wet wipes are all items we use off-road. You can buy automotive blue paper towels if you’re worried about space. Paper Towels are perfect for both use’s due to being soft plus they can clean up oils and many other general purposes. Toilet paper is just straight up important. When you are in the woods and have to take a Sh**, you will want some toilet paper and some wet wipes.
Air Deflator/ Air Inflator
An Air Inflator/ Deflator is something to keep inside or mounted to your 4Runner as well. You never know when you might need to air down or air up. You also never know what is in mud or sand or even water. We, like everyone else in the 4Runner world, recommend this product.
- Air Deflators: If you hit the trail, you will have an easier ride if you deflate your tires. This is a proven fact. If you hit a trail with full air in your tires, you’re gonna have a bad time.
- Air Inflator Adaptor: An Air Inflator Adaptor, like the ARB Inflator is an adaptor that you use at the gas station to gauge the air going back into your tires. These things kick ass. With this, you don’t have to keep screwing on your ARB EZ deflator to keep checking tire pressure. They save you time.
- Air Inflator (On-Board): With onboard air, you can air-up anywhere. No waiting to get back to the gas station with these. The onboard air systems, like the ARB kick ass! We will be mounting one of these soon.
When on a trail you may get a flat tire, have to swap in a spare and then deflate and inflate your tires. What good is a repair kit if you can not inflate your tire again? With onboard air, the possibilities are endless. Onboard air is also nice to have if you go camping because you can inflate an air mattress easily.
Best Off-Road Air Deflator Options
- Trailhead Deflators
- Staun Deflators
- TeraFlex Air Deflators
- Extreme Outback Products Mil-Spec Multi Choice Deflator
- Slime Four-Way Valve Tool
- Smittybilt Tire Deflators
- ARB E-Z Deflator
Hi-Lift Jack- Or an Off-Road Jack W/Stand
A Hi-Lift Jack/ Offroad Jack with a stand is something you should have. A regular jack may work in most cases but for offroading, a jack like this is the best. Using the mounting plate you gain a sturdy base and you can lift your 4Runner a lot higher than with a regular jack.
They are great if only one tire becomes stuck. Then, you can lift your 4Runner up and out of deep holes, ruts or slopes. They are also great if you need to lift your front or rear end back out of a spot that it may get stuck in.
Best Off-Road Jacks
- Harbor Freight Pittsburgh 1½-Ton Rapid Pump
- Baja Designs Kwik Jak
- King Screw Jack
- Hi-Lift 48-Inch X-Treme Jack
Off-Road Recovery Tracks
Off-Road Recovery Tracks are something to have when offroading. They come in many sizes and can be mounted to your roof or stored inside of your 4Runner. There is a large debate over the TREDS Vs. Maxtrax offroad recovery tracks, but most can agree that the Maxtrax are the best (they do come at more than double the price of the TREDS, though).
Offroad recovery tracks are placed in front of your tires and give you traction in order to free yourself.
With Offroad recovery tracks, you almost never have to worry about being stuck unless you’re doing high-end mild trailing or full-on heavy trailing.
Best Options for Off-Road Recovery Tracks
- Maxtrax Off-Road Recovery Tracks – More or Less The Best (Check Price)
- TREDS Off-Road Recovery Tracks – Check Price
5th Gen 4Runner Accessories, Gear, Tools and EDC Items
All of these accessories are great to have on your side. But honestly, it all depends on what you use yours for. While this list may be geared towards offroading they are still useful for weekend trips.
When you have a lot of gear on your 4Runner people may look at you weird. Just remember, you are prepared for any situation, no matter where the road takes you and these people will be counting on you when they are stuck in a ditch or their car dies on the side of the road. Most of what we prepare for is for others around us. So, grab some gear and be prepared for your next adventure.
We hope this guide helps you choose accessories that makes exploring better, safer and more enjoyable.
Please Comment below and let us know if we forgot anything. If you are thinking “Why didn’t they add that to this list?” – Please tell us what you are thinking and we will get it posted.