Research the ‘known faults’ for your vehicle, and address them after comparing various recommendations

A well maintained and recently serviced 4X4, with low-range gearing. The service must include all filters (air, oil & fuel) and all oils (engine, gearbox, transfer case, differentials)

Professional underbody inspection especially transmission, driveshafts, axles, wheels, brakes, steering, suspension, exhaust

Professional engine bay inspection especially water pump, radiator, alternator, starter motor, manifold, belts, hoses, battery mounts

Quality mud-terrain or all-terrain tyres in good condition, definitely not low profile tyres or retreads, deflators for airing down and a portable compressor for airing up

It’s a good idea to carry a fire extinguisher, make sure it’s secured tightly

Spare parts and fluids, as appropriate for your particular make of vehicle

Plus the following: hoses, jubilee clips, baling wire, large cable-ties, fuses, bulbs, belts, duct tape, WD40, nuts & bolts, tyre valves etc

Carry a reasonable selection of your most commonly used tools

Your vehicle must be equipped with a UHF radio, in proper working order

20L jerry cans of diesel, mounted on the outside of the vehicle

Recovery gear including straps and shackles, and a good shovel

Water Blind for river crossings and Scrim Net for long grass and spinifex

Inspect your engine bay, undercarriage and the condition of your tyre sidewalls, at the end of each day’s driving

It is good practice to blow out your air filter after a day of dusty driving, and check oil and water levels at the same time

Inspect your undercarriage and the ground under the vehicle every morning, to check for any oil, water or fluids leaking or terrain damage.

Do not over-prepare your vehicle. Weight can be the great undoer dramtically shifting the centre of gravity and increased strain on the whole driveline, transmission and balance.



Vehicle registration

Letter of permission if you are not the registered owner

Drivers licence

Debit and credit cards, cash

Vehicle breakdown and recovery insurance

Medical insurance

Destination map(s), it’s good fun to mark up the route at the end of the trip

Keep handy in the vehicle a list of important contact numbers.


Sleeping bags and a tent, we recommend a quality canvas roof-tent, which has been well secured to the roof of the vehicle

If using a ground tent, you will need mattresses or camping stretchers, and a heavy-duty groundsheet

Remember we’ll be camping in the wild, so consider your lighting requirements when preparing

Camping chairs are a necessity and so is a travellers picnic kit incl bowl, for the cutlery and crockery you will need

Shovel, loo paper, plus the usual bathroom necessities and creature-comforts, wet-wipes and a shower towel

Camera and binoculars

Sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and suitable protective clothing and footwear, as appropriate for the terrain: sandals and boots or trainers

Insect repellent

It’s worth bringing a selection of outdoor clothing to cover all eventualities, some nights and mornings will be cool

Carry your own snacks and drinks for the longer spells in the car, these can regularly be purchased in the larger villages and towns

Bottled water and carry plenty to avoid dehydration by drinking it frequently

Ensure that you carry enough water to be able to do your washing up etc.

If you like a drink (alcohol) at the end of the day bring it along sensibly packed out of sight. Buying alcohol en route is usually not possible.


Never travel alone. Go with friends, a club, or a professional ‘tag along tour’ operator

Tell a friend or family member where you’re going and when you’re expected back

Plan ahead – be well equipped

Know the capabilities of you and your vehicle

Carry extra spare parts for your vehicle and your van/camper trailer

Plan your route carefully taking into consideration such important aspects as road conditions, weather forecasts, overnight stops, fuel stops, availability of food, water etc.

Carry detailed maps and/or a GPS and know how to use them

Install a vehicle-mounted UHF two-way radio and learn how to use it

Consider installing an HF radio and joining the HFOz radio network

Carry a satellite phone – know how to use it and make sure it’s charged (mobile phones will only have limited reception in remote areas)

Don’t take unnecessary risks – check out unfamiliar tracks or river crossings first, either by walking them or by asking other travellers you may meet on the road or via two-way radio

Carry extra water and moist tinned food

Make sure you are physically fit enough to undertake an outback journey

If you’re on any special medication, take extra supplies

Allow more time to get from A to B in the outback

Learn basic bush survival techniques

Complete a basic mechanical course

Complete a basic first aid course and carry a first aid kit

Carry a tool box and know how to use it

Take a 4WD training course and carry appropriate recovery gear

Take out appropriate travel and/or health insurance

In tropical areas, don’t swim, paddle or fish unless you are 100% sure that the water is crocodile-free

Drink plenty of water as you travel

Don’t travel at night when wildlife or livestock may be on the roads

Finding that perfect shady spot and parking under a large tree is tempting, but beware of large branches which could drop & injure you or damage your vehicle, camper or tent

Obtain relevant approvals in advance if you plan to visit or traverse farms, stations or Aboriginal Reserves

Don’t take alcohol in or near Aboriginal communities

Don’t take photos of indigenous people without their permission

Leave gates as you found them – if they are open, leave them that way

Move aside for road trains

Don’t enter roads or attempt water crossings that have been closed by officials

Keep calm if things go wrong

And finally, if you do get stranded or have a breakdown or other emergency, call for help and stay with your vehicle until assistance arrives. Do not leave your vehicle!