How to Prepare Your SUV or Vehicle for Hiking Adventures

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Article Categories: Travel
Article Tags: Travel Gear

Are you an outdoor enthusiast who loves to go hiking? If so, you know that it’s important to be prepared for any kind of terrain or weather conditions. One of the most important pieces of equipment for any hiker is their vehicle. In this article, we will discuss ways that you can prepare your SUV or other vehicle for your next hiking adventure!

 

Car Maintenance Gear & Procedures

One of the most important things that you can do to prepare your vehicle for a hiking trip is to make sure that it is in good working condition, and that when issues arise, you are prepared.

  • Check your oil level and tire pressure before any trip. You should also probably check all other fluids, oil, transmission, wind shield wiper, etc.
  • Check your gas levels, and know where your gas stops are for your trip.
  • Make sure you have a spare tire and you know how to change it.
  • Bring jumper cables.
  • We highly recommend bringing a portable car battery charger/jumper in case your car dies.
  • Bring a tire pressure gauge.
  • Bring a bike pump, or electric tire pump.

 

Packing Your Vehicle

Another important aspect of preparing your vehicle for a hiking trip is packing it properly. You’ll want to make sure that you have enough space for all of your gear, and that everything is securely stored.

 

Here are a few tips for packing your vehicle:

  • Organize your gear so that it is easy to access. For example, keep snacks easily accessible, and sleeping gear or gear you may not need until later at the bottom.
  • Make sure that all of your gear is securely stored and won’t roll, flip, or move while driving even on rough roads.
  • Using storage containers or bins can be a good way to organize, make access easier, and protect both the car and gear.
  • Read our article that goes over the complete car camping checklist.

 

Packing Add Ons & Gear

 

External Racks

Roof racks can be be a great way to store all types of gear on top. Racks are generally exposed to the elements, but are super versatile, and just about anything can be strapped down.

Ski racks, fly rod racks, bike racks, kayak racks, and other racks can be used to bring your gear everywhere.

Rooftop carriers that are waterproof can also be a great addition to your vehicle for storing gear. They come in tons of different sizes capable of storing a substantial amount of gear.

Hitch racks can hold bikes, coolers, and other gear. This can be a great way to store tons of gear.

 

Internal Storage

Some gear lovers may purchase or build racks or drawers in their trunks to store gear in a more organized manner. This can be done in hundreds of different ways for different types of gear.

 

Safety & Emergency Gear

Your care should always have several pieces of gear for safety reasons.

 

First Aid Kit

It’s critical to have one in your automobile in case of an emergency, from insect stings to scratches or contusions.

 

Multitool

A good multitool is an investment that will help you in many different ways. From opening a beer to cutting wood, you’ll be happy to have it with you when the time comes.

 

Lighter

These are great for both your campfire and your stove, especially on windy days when they don’t want to stay lit.

 

Headlamp

This is especially useful when the sun sets and the fire has burned down or gone out. Headlamps are a must-have.

 

Duct Tape

It’s a truth of life that things break, but don’t worry – duct tape can fix almost anything.

 

Bear Mace (where applicable)

Bears may be attracted to campsites in search of any leftovers. Having bear mace is a good idea in bear country.

 

Bear Canister or Rope (where applicable)

In bear territory, you should store your fragrant goods outside of the vehicle in a bear box or on a line hung up. Bears have been observed scratching or breaking into automobiles.

 

Knife

If your multitool knife is already sharp, you may skip this step. It is essential to have a specialized knife for cutting rope or butchering meat, no matter how sharp your multitool knife is.

 

Paracord

If you know how to tie knots, paracord is an invaluable tool.

 

Car Maintenance Gear & Procedures

One of the most important things that you can do to prepare your vehicle for a hiking trip is to make sure that it is in good working condition, and that when issues arise, you are prepared.

  • Check your oil level and tire pressure before any trip.
  • Check your gas levels, and know where your gas stops are for your trip.
  • Make sure you have a spare tire and you know how to change it.
  • Bring jumper cables.
  • We highly recommend bringing a portable car battery charger/jumper in case your car dies.
  • Bring a tire pressure gauge.
  • Bring a bike pump, or electric tire pump.

 

Packing Your Vehicle

Another important aspect of preparing your vehicle for a hiking trip is packing it properly. You’ll want to make sure that you have enough

 

Packing Add Ons & Gear

 

External Racks

Roof racks can be be a great way to store all types of gear on top. Racks are generally exposed to the elements, but are super versatile, and just about anything can be strapped down.

Ski racks, fly rod racks, bike racks, kayak racks, and other racks can be used to bring your gear everywhere.

Rooftop carriers that are waterproof can also be a great addition to your vehicle for storing gear. They come in tons of different sizes capable of storing a substantial amount of gear.

Hitch racks can hold bikes, coolers, and other gear. This can be a great way to store tons of gear.

 

Internal Storage

Some gear lovers may purchase or build racks or drawers in their trunks to store gear in a more organized manner. This can be done in hundreds of different ways for different types of gear.

 

Safety & Emergency Gear

Your care should always have several pieces of gear for safety reasons.

 

First Aid Kit

It’s critical to have one in your automobile in case of an emergency, from insect stings to scratches or contusions.

 

Multitool

A good multitool is an investment that will help you in many different ways. From opening a beer to cutting wood, you’ll be happy to have it with you when the time comes.

 

Lighter

These are great for both your campfire and your stove, especially on windy days when they don’t want to stay lit.

 

Headlamp

This is especially useful when the sun sets and the fire has burned down or gone out. Headlamps are a must-have.

 

Duct Tape

It’s a truth of life that things break, but don’t worry – duct tape can fix almost anything.

 

Bear Mace (where applicable)

Bears may be attracted to campsites in search of any leftovers. Having bear mace is a good idea in bear country.

 

Bear Canister or Rope (where applicable)

In bear territory, you should store your fragrant goods outside of the vehicle in a bear box or on a line hung up. Bears have been observed scratching or breaking into automobiles.

 

Knife

If your multitool knife is already sharp, you may skip this step. It is essential to have a specialized knife for cutting rope or butchering meat, no matter how sharp your multitool knife is.

 

Paracord

If you know how to tie knots, paracord is an invaluable tool.

 

Durability & Cleanliness Tips

Durable rubber mats are highly recommended for any adventure vehicle. Inevitably, you’ll be getting in your car with mud, snow, water, rocks, sand, and dirt. Your vehicle will be easier to clean, and the carpets will stay protected if you use a durable mat for your floor material. They can be purchased for any type of vehicle from SUVs, to sedans at reasonable prices.

This becomes even more necessary if you are also a pet owner. Pet owners may want to invest in some type of cover beyond the rubber mats normally seen on the floor. Here is an example of a Toyota 4Runner cargo liner, that helps protect and keep a vehicle clean when pets are often in the back seat.

Use industrial vacuums at local car wash facilities as frequently as you can. They allow you to vacuum your vehicle thoroughly which will help maintain your seat and floor integrity longer. Combine this with rubber floor mats, and the interior of your vehicle will thank you.

Equip your vehicle with a solid battery rated for colder temperatures than you think you’ll have to experience. This may not be for everyone, but adventurers that are often in cold environments should spend a little extra on a high quality car or truck battery. This will save you when the temperatures drop, and avoid you from needing to get a jump from another vehicle (if you even can).

 

Car Abilities & Features

Your car may only be suited for certain types of terrain, so you should consider all of the following:

  • Do you need all wheel drive for the conditions you may be driving in. This is particularly necessary for snow, ice, or very rough dirt / rock roads.
  • Do you need snow tires or all season tires?
  • Do you need to bring chains for your tires?
  • How much clearance does your vehicle have?
  • What is the height of your vehicle with and without items on top.

 

Adventure Vehicle Upgrades

There are some very common things that people do to upgrade their adventure vehicles. Here are just a few:

  • Upgrading your tires
  • Lifting your vehicle
  • Adding roof racks or hitches
  • Adding a winch system
  • Adding extra gas tanks
  • Rooftop tents
  • Extra lights or flood lights
  • Mud flaps
  • Car snorkel

All of these things will help you be prepared for your next adventure, whether it’s a hike, camping trip, or something else. Be sure to do your research and plan ahead so that you can enjoy your time outdoors without any worry.

Max DesMarais
Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about