You don’t need to be a mechanic to go overlanding! However you do need to be vaguely familiar with you vehicle. The most important things are preparation and maintenance.
– Do as much of the vehicle preparation yourself as you can. This way you will learn about your vehicle, as well as what tools you’re going to need
– I would recommend finding a friend/institution to teach you about your vehicle, if you’re not au fait with it already. We spent a few days with Dave in Devon (www.bushmechanics.co.uk). We gained knowledge, confidence, and a good friend.
– See below for maintenance schedule
The age old debate about weight vs. probability of use. Lists below assume a transcontinental trip of approx 20,000 miles, and are tailored to Land Rover Defenders.
X3-6 20L metal jerry cans, tailored to desired range. Do not transport on the roof if petrol/harardous offroading!
X2 paper air filters. Quickly destroyed in the desert. Consider a washable filter such as K&N if planning lots of desert driving.
X4 fuel filters
X3 oil filters for engine services
4L engine oil on board at any time
4L gear oil (EP90) on board at any time
2L DOT4 Brake/Clutch fluid on board at any time
2L Dexron III gearbox oil on board at any time
~3m of spare electrical wire
Loads of electrical connectors/crimps
Loads of fuses of different ratings
Headlight/starter motor relay. Can’t start the car without one!
Side light, indicator, brake bulbs. Can be a pain at a border if noticed to have a light out.
X2 sets spare car keys. Recommend wiring one to a hidden location under the car.
Chewing gum. Good for shoring up holes in a fuel tank.
Exhaust putty – wrap the tub in a plastic bag to avoid it drying out
Tyre inner tube
Tyre valves – if running tubeless tyres, a valve failure can be a pain.
At your discretion
Spare fan belt – can use tights/elastic in extremis!
Gasket glue – can use cardboard instead
Wheel baring kit
Try and do as much vehicle preparation as you can so that you get an idea for what tools you need.
Screwdrivers (remember a big flat head for those rear brake hubs!)
Spanners – work out which sizes you need, always worth throwing in an adjustable one too
Hammers – lump, nylon, and tack hammers are all useful
Grease gun – ideally one that you can refill from a tub, unless you want to carry all your cartridges with you!
3/8” socket set
1/2″ socket set
Tyre pump. Up to you if you want a faithful foot pump or a 12v pump (liable to melt and suck in dust in the desert). Consider an air compressor if lowering tyre pressures frequently
Hi Lift Jack
Sand ladders/waffle boards. Consider x4 if doing serious/solo offroad.
Tyre levers. Tyre repair places of varying professional standards available throughout the developing world (in varying quality!), but it’s nice to feel independent
Puncture repair kit. No point having levers without this!