Have you ever gotten stuck boondocking? Do you have the right equipment for offroad recovery? If you are a full-time or part-time RVer that likes to boondock it’s bound to happen eventually.
We can’t tell you how many times we have seen or heard about RV boondockers stuck in the sand, mud, or a ditch. In this article, we cover what gear you should have to make an off-road recovery while boondocking and get yourself back to the highway. When making an off-road recovery, tools that will save the day include tire deflators, traction boards, soft shackles, recovery rope, shovel, and of course common sense. Let’s explore further…
Tire Deflation Tool
It’s very common for heavy vehicles to get stuck in sand, mud, or snow if your tires are set to highway-apprproriate PSI. While having your tires inflated to the proper PSI is VERY important on the street for safety, mileage, and wear, those higher PSIs will get you stuck eas on rugged terrain. Lowering your tire pressure gives each tire a larger contact patch with the ground and increases traction. Airing down your tires can be critical for this reason. We are fans of this tire deflation tool.
Tire Plug Kit
Driving a heavy rig down dirt roads increases your chances of a flat tire. Thorns, sharp rocks, or nails can easily create a small puncture on your vehicle’s tires. We highly recommend carrying a tire plug kit like this one and knowing how to use it. Most kits include tools, plugs, and spare cores. We cannot tell you how many times we have used one! These can save you headaches on the highway too if you pick up a nail in your tire!
Traction boards do have many uses but are not required. They can be useful in sand, mud, or snow when placed under your tires to help give your RV or tow vehicle the traction it needs to get out of a sticky situation. They can also be used as a shovel alternative for digging in sand or snow. BONUS TIP: You can also use traction boards to level your RV if you run out of leveling blocks! Traction boards are often thought of as an optional item. We recommend getting a less expensive model, which will be great insurance in times when they might come in handy. We like this style of traction boards.
Shackles and Tow Strap
If your adventure vehicle gets stuck in the mud or sand, shackles and a tow strap are a necessity. Shackles are used when tethering two vehicles together for an offroad recovery. A tow strap is added in between so one vehicle can be used to tug on the other, helping it to break free from the obstacle. Since these items require the use of another vehicle, they aren’t exactly considered self-recovery equipment. Regardless, it’s always smart to carry them with you and the cost is significantly less expensive than a winch system.
Air Compressor 110 PSI
We mentioned earlier that airing down your tires improves traction and stability on uneven and soft terrain. But airing down means you’ll need to re-inflate your tires to the correct levels before hitting the road again. We like this Viair compressor because it gives us the self-sufficiency to do so.
This standard household item comes in handy if you need to dig your tires out of the sand, mud, or even snow. Any shovel will work, but a foldable, lightweight shovel is ideal to save space and weight.
Roadside assistance won’t save you off-road. If you decide to venture down an unknown path, it’s a good idea to equip yourself with the gear and knowledge to recover from an unsafe situation.
Pay attention to the weather and anticipate road conditions. At the end of a big rainstorm or snowy season, trails can be muddy and soft, prime conditions for getting stuck!
If you’re new to boondocking or unsure of your abilities, try to plan to bring a friend or book a professional guide. If possible, venture out with someone more experienced than you. You’ll have more fun and can pick up tricks and tips along the way!
Check out this full list of our preferred offroad gear or our video covering this topic!