10 things you’ll probably forget to bring on your next 4×4 adventure

By Unsealed 4X4 6 Min Read

We’ve all been there, hours away from home, somewhere between the middle of nowhere and the corner of lost, only to discover that we’ve forgotten something. Whether it was a cloudy day and you didn’t think to grab the sunnies, or it was an absolute scorcher and the idea of a jacket was comical – it happens to the best of us, and we all know that it, well…sucks. So we’ve sat down with a few of our readers and developed a list of the most-forgotten items on 4X4 touring adventures with the hope that it’ll at least make one person’s trip a little bit better.


Let me through

I didn’t so much forget as fail to allow the required number of weeks rather than days for permits and passes to be processed. A 2,000km detour made me swear not to repeat that mistake. My defence is we were on an extended trip and weren’t sure what dates we would be travelling the Great Central Road. Also keep in mind the growing trend for National Parks to remove self-registration stations and require you to register for your campsite online and print the permit. (Or pack a printer and hope you have internet).

Get me out of here

And the award for the best story goes to the mate who went solo on a sand drive with a 7-month pregnant wife. With his exhaust jack and shovel safely at home; he frantically dug himself out with a lunch box, praying that her enthusiasm for their predicament wouldn’t bring on the baby.

Shovels seem to like to stay at home, along with snatch straps, tyre deflators and gauges, air compressors and jumper cables. The hand held for the two way and winch controller are always in the glove box…. aren’t they?

Where am I?

Final trip reviews at the dining room table the night before you’re scheduled to leave have nearly resulted in more than one trip to the divorce courts. It’s not the stress of the route changes that’s the worry, it’s the fact that you left the map sitting at home and your navigator is trying to remember the way without the precisely marked up maps, guidebooks or GPS.



Forgetting the satellite phone and locator beacon can have deadly consequences in an emergency. Fortunately for my mates, this hasn’t resulted in anything worse than near-fatal arguments. Remember that when you’re in the bush, worried spouses can’t be advised that although the road is underwater, the off-road wanderers they’re trying to keep track of are safe.

Blinded by the light

Leaving home in the pre-dawn dark makes it easy to forget the sunglasses. Why? Because the last thing you’re thinking of in the dark is covering your eyes. Actually, it would seem the last thing you’re thinking about is glasses, period, so let’s not forget about those who need them to read. Buy a spare set and keep them in the truck. Trust us, if you don’t forget a pair, someone you’re travelling with certainly will.

Doctor Doctor

More than one vehicle has been turned around to collect essential prescription medicine. But the first aid kit can be forgotten until it’s urgently required. Make sure you add antihistamines to the kit, as well as diarrhoea and motion sickness pills. The latter can save a back seat passenger from a miserable day on winding roads and allow you to enjoy those same curves from behind the wheel.

More power please

To avoid carrying dead weight, make sure you have the charger cables or spare batteries for phones, GPS, iPads, laptops, cameras and torches. Yeah sure, you’re getting away from it all…until you have to send that text, or take that picture or check that work email.

Ooh that itches and burns

DO NOT forget the insect repellent unless you want the sacred sound of silence in the bush interrupted by yelps, curses, slaps and the ssskkk-ssskkk of continual scratching. Never, ever forget the sunblock and hat, as the charm of a swag under the stars is instantly forgotten as a sunburned back tries to get comfortable on a thin mattress on hard ground.

Is it ready yet?

The camp kitchen is fraught with opportunities for memory failure and everyone has a tale of forgotten can or bottle openers; stoves without cartridges or grill plates; cylinders without hoses (another personal oops); or tea, coffee and cups… but no billy. Or everything but the matches and firelighters.

But don’t they travel in pairs?

The fatal brain bomb of many is packing component A and assuming that component B has also been racked and stacked. Think tents without poles or pegs, swags and sleeping bags without pillows, fishing rod and tackle but no reel, bathers without towels, or bikes without helmets.

And finally, it just has to be said because everyone’s done it…. don’t forget your toothbrush! Or the duct tape; you can fix almost anything with duct tape.

Intro by Matt Scott, Story by Ray Cully

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