Call it off-roading, overlanding, or just car camping. Whether it’s a hobby or simply a means to get farther into the mountains, you can make it safer, easier, and more comfortable with the right equipment. Based on my two-plus decades of overlanding experience, this is the gear I swear by that’ll double as gifts guaranteed to improve the driving experience for anyone with a 4x4.
OnX Offroad App ($30)
This navigation app shows you accessible trails and then guides you through them. That may be a simple proposition, but it’s also one that will empower the recipient to better enjoy their 4x4.
Indeflate 2-Hose Tire Inflator/Deflator ($175)
Give the gifts of traction, ride quality, convenience, and safety—all in one package. Off-road, a driver needs to dramatically reduce tire pressures. When they return to pavement, those tires need inflation to adequate pressures. By deflating two tires at once (and by connecting to any air hose when it’s time to inflate), this tool makes both jobs faster and easier. More important, the large tires most 4x4s are fitted with make those vehicles incredibly sensitive to differences in pressures. By matching tire pressures across an axle, the Indeflate endows trucks with safer, more predictable handling.
MaxTrax MkII Traction Board ($325)
Getting stuck in sand, mud, or snow isn’t an “if” for people who use their vehicles to travel through remote areas—it’s a “when.” MaxTrax turns the job of getting unstuck from something that’s difficult and dangerous into a simple task. Just shove these boards under your tires, and you have traction to slowly drive over. Anyone who travels off-road will appreciate a set. Plus, you’ll be giving yourself peace of mind that they’ll be able to make it home.
FrontRunner Wolf Pack Cargo Box ($40)
Packing tools, recovery equipment, and camping gear can get disorganized really fast. FrontRunner’s Wolf Pack cargo boxes stack together to make efficient use of limited space. They’re equipped with lids that latch securely and are made of durable plastic. I use these to keep the bed of my truck organized while driving and pull them out at night to serve as a step stool for climbing in and out of the rooftop tent.
DMOS Delta Shovel ($239)
A shovel is a heck of a nice thing to have in your truck, but carrying one large enough to actually get the job done can be a real challenge. The Delta collapses to not much more than the size of its blade yet expands into a shovel that’s just as robust as the nonpackable alternative. I use mine to make sure campfires are thoroughly extinguished and to dig latrine pits on virtually every camping trip I take.
ARB Weekender Recovery Kit ($128)
If you ever get more stuck than your MaxTrax can handle, you’ll need to solicit the help of another vehicle to tow yours out of the obstacle. That’s not possible without a recovery strap and shackles, and relying on someone else’s equipment to perform such a dangerous task is never a good idea.
Factor55 Flatlink E Winch Shackle Mount ($159)
Buying a present for someone who has a winch installed on their 4x4? The open hooks that come standard on most are typically the weakest link in that system, and they just dangle there loosely, likely driving the owner crazy with rattles and clanks. This hunk of billet aluminum solves both problems by providing a closed shackle mount that’s designed to fit snug with the winch’s fairlead. Compared with Factor55’s standard Flatlink, the E adds a little versatility to its connection options. Available in a range of colors, it’ll also bring some bling to the front of anyone’s truck.
KC Flex Era 3 Light ($400 for 2)
At just 3.5 inches in diameter and producing one lux of illumination at 650 yards, the KC Flex Era 3 is the current king of pod lights. But it’s not just its power or diminutive size that makes the Flex Era 3 special—it’s also its ability to adapt to virtually any lighting need. Adding a $12 clip-on filter transforms the beam pattern from spot to flood (producing one lux at 325 yards), turning them into ideal fog lights. Bezels are available in a range of colors, so the recipient can match them to their truck. They’re a perfect fit for an otherwise stock vehicle because they can be easily mounted as ditch lights. On a heavily modified 4x4, the Flex Era 3 will fit inside virtually any aftermarket bumper to serve as a cornering light, augmenting any beams your recipient might already have.