Nowadays, more and more people are taking adventure and exploration into their own hands. When it comes to getting deep into the outdoors, most people might not realize there's a vital list of truck gear to keep on hand.
This truck gear is not just for improving accessibility or quick repairs. It's for safety as well. Make sure you don't forget vital tools – like a chainsaw from our partner STIHL – to keep you on the move and out of trouble.
The NEW AGE of Adventure has begun
Planning a camping trip or road trip is a great way to get out of the house, break up monotony, and discover new things outside of your own community. Recently, people are discovering the luxury and freedom granted by such travel, as most facilities and establishments are a little less accessible and enjoyable.
Traveling into nature off-road is giving the most adventurous people a chance to get deeper into nature and further away from the “average crowd.” In pursuing those above-average experiences, it's important to remember that the scenery is better but the trip itself requires more self reliance.
Every Adventure should start with the Right Truck Gear
Traveling with my truck, I've learned a lot over the years. I still know that I have more to learn, though! I've gotten stuck in the sand/mud, I've run out of fuel, I've snapped off wheel studs (the things that hold a wheel on), and I've broken multiple wheels (on a single trip, no less).
I've had multiple dead batteries, more flats than I can count, and a whole list of other issues or mishaps. Through all of that, I've learned to handle and fix most of them. I've also learned the importance of having the right truck gear on hand to help.
Simple Protection for the Best Truck Gear
After moving back to the Pacific Northwest, I realized that “off-road” adventures here are a bit different than those found in Southern California. There are two new elements to contend with far more often: water and trees. I needed to be able to handle getting stuck more often and – with northwest storms – be able to handle down trees and limbs. This happens far more often than you might think.
A World of Possibilities and Beauty Awaits
There is no denying that I love my children. I spend a great deal of time thinking about giving them new experiences and enriching their lives with the natural world they live among. This is why I absolutely love being able to pack them up in the truck and take them out to explore.
The only traffic they hear or see out there runs on grass power and makes mating calls instead of honking. Geese are the obvious exception…they honk at everything. This type of mobility and accessibility is part of what makes America so great.
American Adventure Problems and American Made Solutions
Last year, I got stuck in two separate situations where I needed a STIHL chainsaw to help get me out. After that, I decided to keep a STIHL Powered Chainsaw in my truck as part of the truck gear I always keep on hand.
Ever since I was a kid, I've know STIHL to be the premier chainsaw producers in the United States, with many STIHL products and saws made right here in America. I have their battery powered chainsaw at home. My dad's even been known to keep a gasoline powered STIHL chainsaw handy to help the community.
I was recently trying to back out of a snow blocked road in one of the forests here in the Northwest, and promptly slid into a ditch. My traction boards failed to supply any traction, and I was forced to turn to my Warn Winch and Factor 55 Close Link system to pull me out of the hole. This of course meant I would need to find a suitable anchor point. In a forest, that's actually pretty simple. Trees!
Cutting and Clearing to Pull
One important thing to note is that not all truck gear works for all situations. Being stuck alone in a sandy desert or at the beach doesn't lend itself to the use of winch much, unless you know some tricks. Similarly, being stuck in a forest with a winch may not fix lack of access to a tree due to scrub brush, etc. Environmental factors inevitably make things a bit more difficult, so it's always good to consider your environment and be prepared for just about anything.
Good History Repeating
I was thankful to be prepared with a STIHL Chainsaw and other truck gear, and this situation was actually a positive for another reason. As a father, it gave me the chance to show my son that getting into this type of situation is okay. I realized that I could show him an example of keeping my cool and taking my time. He enjoyed taking pictures of me and the truck to send to his grandma, Oma.
Of course, I knew that Opa would also be looking at the pictures and wondering if I was using the same STIHL Chainsaw I got him a few years back. For the record, this one's my new MS 251!
Safety Gear for the Truck Gear
One major factor that I learned through all my time working with STIHL is the importance of safety. Far beyond the quality of their bar and chain, air filter, gas chainsaws, or other power tools, STIHL sets SAFETY at the top of their priority list. That's why I make sure to wear STIHL's Performance Apron Chaps, which go WAY beyond keeping saw dust and wood chips off my pants.
I learned that these special chaps are actually made for stopping the chain of a full speed saw in the smallest fractions of a second to help prevent the user from being cut by the chain. Along with these amazing chaps, I wear a full boot with a composite toe, long pants, gloves, eye and ear protection, and a helmet with a face shield to keep branches from bumping my head.
Know when Less is More
In this case, it's important to note that despite having enough power and fuel in my STIHL Wood Boss to cut down 20+ trees, I did not. When using a saw, one important factor to adhere to (along with good safety practices) is moderation. Knowing when and what to cut to do the least amount of damage to the environment is important. Outside of extreme circumstances or emergencies, standing trees should NEVER be cut without express permission or a permit from the National Park System, US Forest Service, or Bureau of Land Management.
The Soft Touch
If for some reason you find yourself needing to use a winch and are going to anchor to a tree, here's a vital piece of truck gear you may want to have handy. A “Tree Saver” by Bubba Rope will help keep trees unharmed and unmarked by disbursing the pull tension on a wider area with a soft strap instead of a cable. This also helps keep any winch cables from getting unnecessary bends in them.
Nature's Toll Bridge
Some of the best parts of driving deep into nature are the abundance of fresh air, the absence of civilized noise, and the ample lack of crowds. Of course, you might also find roads blocked by one of Mother Nature's storm gates. That's right, look out for a downed tree after a storm or heavy winter snow. These obstacles leave explorers with three options; turn back, go around (if possible), or find a way through. This decision is simplified for those with the right truck gear on board.
It doesn't take a lot to get the job done. Sometimes a rope/chain, sometimes a winch, and other times the good ‘ol STIHL Wood Boss. Frankly, just about any of their American made gas saws will get the job done. It's fantastic knowing that I've seen these saws built from the ground up in Virginia Beach.
This is one of the smallest trees I've used a saw on to clear the road. Regardless of its size, I was more than willing to take the time to set myself up and clear the once-promising branches and trunk from the tracks so no one else would have to turn back. Also, some lucky camper would have easy wood for s'mores in early summer!
Sometimes it's about the Journey
No matter where you want to go, it's always good to be prepared. Sometimes that means sun tan lotion when teaching toddlers to swim. Other times it means a winch and chainsaw. As long as you have fun, take your time, practice safety, and come back in one piece, a well prepped journey is always destined to make for great memories.
What truck gear do you keep with you?