OK, you're planning an overlanding adventure. You know you're going to hit the trails of the wilderness. What you may not know is what those trails are going to be like when you get out there. Trails can be fraught water crossings, deep muddy pits, other overlander ruts, and more that could potentially leave you stuck in the middle of nowhere without the faintest of phone signals or any idea when the next passerby could give you a hand. So what do you need to bring to get yourself out of a sticky situation without breaking the bank?
Traction Pads Maybe start with traction pads as they can double as a vehicle leveling system when making camp for the night. Traction pads leverage themselves between the vehicle and the ground providing traction to the vehicle and wedging themselves against or into the ground so you can drive out.
Hi-lift Jack Traction pads are great but they can't do it all. If you need something more than that, for instance you are high-centered on something, consider a hi-lift jack. Their height will allow for you to easily pick up your vehicle high enough to stack rocks under the wheels so you can free yourself. As a bonus, with chains or cables, you can use your hi-lift jack as a winch, albeit a manual winch. It is a great arm workout as well!
Shovel Depending on your needs, there are a variety of types you can choose from. Consider construction material types from traditional wood, fiberglass, or metal construction and other features like handle length and collapsibility. Regardless of what you choose, bringing a good shovel with you should be considered absolutely paramount!
Recovery Points & Shackles Whether you are getting yourself out of a mess on your own or using another recovery vehicle, you will need some place to hook up your ropes. This comes in the form of shackles and recovery points! In some cases you won't need to make major modifications to your vehicle to attach a recovery point though, at minimum, you may need to bolt on some kind of attachment like a built up bumper with integrated shackles or a receiver hitch.
Tow Ropes Yes, I said tow ropes and not tow straps. They may be more expensive but tow ropes will outlast straps many times over. Don't believe me? Check out YouTube as there is plenty of evidence of tow strap failure to be seen and even a few good head to head comparisons of straps to ropes.
Most important of all, you should know how to use your gear as it will do you no good on the trail if you have to spend the time figuring how it works or worse, wrecking your best chance at recovery because you ruined your gear through unapproved uses. You may not want to run out and get everything all at once but you should start with something and might even try to build pairs of items that compliment each other. If you are planning to travel solo, try a shovel, traction pads, and maybe a hi-lift setup for winching. If you are with a group, bring a shovel, recovery rope, and anything else you might make use of with another vehicle around. No matter what you choose, there are plenty of items out there to make your recovery a success without breaking the budget just don't leave home without it!