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If you are planning on hitting the trail off-roading on the weekend or planning on traveling the globe on an Overlanding expedition, you need to be prepared with the perfect tool bag. No matter how cautious you are, if you take your ride off-road, you are prone to encounter some trouble.

When you are off-roading, calling a tow truck to tow your car in case of a breakdown is not an option. So, if you run into trouble you need to work on the repairs yourself. This is impossible without the required tools. Here, we shall discuss, how to build the perfect tool bag for the trail. Thus, even if you fall into trouble, you are armed to get yourself out of it.

What Kind Of Trouble Can You Expect When You Hit The Trail

Vehicles are meant to stick to the streets. Even if it was made to go off-road, you’d be pushing your vehicle to the limit when you step off the road. When pushing your limits as well as your vehicles, problems are bound to arise. But these are the risks that you take in order to get the most exciting, adrenaline-pumping adventure. 

When you are wondering, how to build the perfect tool bag for the trail, you need to think about the problems that you might face on the trail. By doing so you can prepare yourself for the worst and pack the right tools to get out of that situation.

Here are some of the common problems that you might face.

Getting Stuck

This is the most common issue that you would run into when you go off-road. Depending on the environment, you are sure to encounter deep mud puddles, snow, or sand. One slip up when driving through them will leave you stuck. If you are planning on taking off-roading to the extreme, you could even end up stuck between two boulders. 

Often the reason why you get stuck in the lack of traction. When your tires are unable to grab the ground below, you are unable to move forward. 

No matter how cautious you are, there is a good chance that you’ll end up stuck at some point in the journey. So, you need to know how to get yourself out of such a predicament. Having quality Traction Boards on hand is a necessity.

Jeep TJ stuck in snow

Tire Damage

Unlike the paved streets, when you step out of the road, the harsh terrain is sure to hurt your tires. Therefore, it is crucial to have a spare in case your tire pops. Having a spare alone is useless if you don’t have the equipment to replace the tire. 

A proven way to reduce tire damage is by reducing tire pressure. Having a pressure gauge will allow you to monitor your tire pressure. Once you get back on the road, you need to get your pressure back up. So, packing an air compressor will come in handy. 

Tire in dirt handing over hole

Alignment Issues

While off-roading, you tend to drive through holes, ditches, hills, and other forms of uneven terrain. Your suspension is pushed to its limit when you drive through such rugged terrain. This could eventually lead to misaligned tires. Misaligned tires will lead to rapid tire wear. Though there is not a lot that you can do to fix this yourself, make sure to get your tires back to alignment as soon as you get back to civilization.

Undercarriage Damage

It is safe to say that the undercarriage is the most exposed part of your vehicle. When you step out of the paved roads, the undercarriage is constantly bombarded with rocks and other forms of debris that are flung at it. 

This could damage vital components of your vehicle. Again, there is not a lot you can do about it with a tool kit. But you can protect it by investing in skid plates. They are made from toughened metal and they are capable of absorbing any damage intended on the undercarriage.

These are just a few of the troubles that you could run into when you are off-roading. Depending on the trail that you choose, you would have to encounter a unique set of challenges. Try to do some research and find out what to expect on that specific trail. By doing so you can prepare for the challenges thrown at you. 

Organizing The Perfect Tool Kit

Though you cannot avoid the complications that you might run into, most of these problems can be solved by having the right tool kit. You should also be wary about the room. You cannot carry every tool in your house. You need to pick the tools that are likely to be used.

Your car is not the only thing you need to worry about. If you are planning on spending the night, or even setting up camp, you need to pack some tools to make that experience easier. So, let us focus on how to build the perfect tool bag for the trail.

Tool box open with wrenches

Recovery Kit

While off-roading getting stuck is a common issue. So, you need to have a recovery kit on hand to get yourself out. While packing the recovery kit, keep it in a place where it can easily be accessed. You don’t want to rummage through your stuff in the mud. Try to avoid those messy situations.

One of the most important tools to pack for recovery is a tow strap. Getting stuck happens, but having the appropriate tow strap will prevent these situations from becoming a nightmare. Learn more at our tow strap buyer’s guide.


A hammer can come in handy in many ways. Whenever you need to apply some brute force, the hammer is the go-to tool. Sometimes car components can seize up due to rust or lack of lubrication. In such a situation, a blow from a hammer should be enough to assist in those repairs.

hammer laying on desk

Allen Wrenches

With all the hits that your car will be taking on your drive, some nuts and bolts will definitely be lost at the end of the day. An Allen wrench is a must-have in order to tighten those loose nuts and bolts. If you have the room, you can throw in an Allen key set in there as well. The Allen key should be useful to tighten smaller nuts and bolts. 

Allen wrench set

Set Of Open-Ended Wrenches

One of the most useful tools you will need is a set of open ended wrenches. Having a set of both metric and standard should have you covered to fix just about anything that you will come across.

Open ended wrench set

Socket Set

Another basic yet important tool is the socket set. A ratchet with its accompanying socket set makes the job a whole lot easier. Low-quality socket sets tend to break easily. So, when purchasing a socket set, opt for a high-quality socket set. 

Along with a socket set, you will also need a drive socket kit. Drive sockets come in a variety of sizes. For most automobile repairs you will need either a ½ inch or a ¼ inch drive socket.

complete socket set with breaker bar

Socket Extension

A socket extension will allow you to use a socket wrench to reach into hard-to-access places. Choose the appropriate length for your needs.

Adjustable End Wrench

An adjustable end wrench is basically an open-end wrench with an adjustable jaw. This can be used to tighten nuts and bolts of a wide range of sizes. Rather than putting this in your toolbox, you should have it in a place that is easier to access. We’ve all been there when we wish we had one more 10mm wrench or a 20mm+ socked that we just don’t have on hand. Having an adjustable ended wrench will always come in handy.

two adjustable ended wrenches stacked

Breaker Bar

There are few repairs that require a high amount of torque. You might find nuts and bolts that are welded into place by rust. Muscling is not an option in some cases. A breaker bar would provide that extra torque to break the shackles and loosen those tough nuts and bolts.


No tool kit is complete without screwdrivers. To work on your ride, you will need both Phillips and flat head screwdrivers. Pack a set of screwdrivers with a wide range of sizes.

two screwdrivers on top of each other

Needle Nose Pliers

You cannot reach every inch of your car with your fingers. This is where you need the assistance of a pair of needle-nose pliers. In the automotive world, they are mainly used to install O-ring seals and to remove hose clamps. 

needle nose pliers

Vise Grips

There are a variety of uses that you can get through vise grip pliers. They are mainly used to clamp things in place. But you can also use them to remove stripped or broken screws and even to open a zipper when the pull breaks off. 

vice grip pliers held in hand

Utility Knife

There is no need to explain the way that a utility knife would come into use. This is a must-have if you want to set up camp. 

utility knife held in hand

Tire Pressure Gauge

When you are going off-road, the best way to protect your tire is by deflating it. Lowering the pressure will reduce the impact the tire takes from the uneven terrain, thus protecting it. But you need to have the right amount of pressure. This is where you need a tire pressure gauge. Deflate your tire to about 20 psi when you step out of paved roads. 

Having a tire deflator will also be useful. That will allow you to precisely deflate your tire to your requirements. Once you exit the trail, if you have a long way to drive through paved roads, you might also want to think about having an air compressor. Driving with 20 psi on a paved road is not such a good idea.

If you look at the shelves, you’d find a few different types of air compressors. Choose an air compressor that directly connects to your battery through alligator clips. This means you would also need an air hose to reach from your battery to your tires.

man checking the tire pressure with gauge


When camping a tarp has a variety of different uses. If the ground is too muddy or not suitable for sleeping, you could use it as an additional groundsheet. If the weather is bad, you could pitch it above your tent to get some extra waterproofing. There are countless uses for a tarp on a campsite, so do not forget to pack one. 

Zip Ties

On the trail, you will constantly need to latch stuff onto your ride. Though rope or para-cord will serve this need, nothing is more convenient than zip ties. You might need to pack both metal and plastic zip ties. Plastic zip ties will melt if you use them on hot surfaces.

Zip ties bundled together

Duct Tape

Who doesn’t love duct tape? There are numerous ways in which duct tape can come into use. In the trail, you would mainly need it for repairs or to patch up your equipment.

roll of duct tape

Bottle Jack

A bottle jack will allow you to lift up your car for inspections or repairs. More often than not, you’d end up using it for tire repairs. 

Bottle jack


All the work mentioned above takes a toll on your hands. To protect your hands and to have a good grip during these procedures you need a pair of work gloves.

mechanic gloves laying on table


Why do you need an Off-road shovel Because things happen and that is why you should always prepare for the worst-case scenario. Can you dig it?


Don’t want to source all the parts yourself?

It’s a lot of work to source each tool yourself so it’s often best to start with a preassembled tool kit with the basics that you will need and you can always expand on it as you go. Here is our suggestion on a great tool kit to get you on the trail.

Great Value
DEWALT Mechanics Tools Kit and Socket Set, 168-pc
  • Great starting tool kit with sockets, wrenches, and Allen keys
  • Comes with well-organized case
  • Affordable and great quality

Final Words

The use of tools is considered a major step in human evolution. They make everyday life easier. And if you want to make your adventure through the great outdoors easy, you need to build the perfect bag for the trail.

Along with these tools, you also need to have a good navigation tool in hand. Paper maps won’t suffice. Here you have two options. You can use a mobile app that works through GPS or buy a navigation kit that mounts to your vehicle. Choose what fits you best.

The tools discussed above are the basic tools that you must have on your tool kit. Packing the perfect tool kit revolves around you. You need to customize your tool kit according to your needs. If you are planning to go off-road, you probably have enough experience with automobiles to know what you are doing. Build your tool kit according to the room you have. Do not throw in every tool you own. Only choose the tools that are most likely to come into use. This is especially true if you are planning on an Overlanding adventure. You cannot let your tools own more real estate than you can afford as you need room to carry supplies as well.