Ford F-150/F-250: Truck and Supplies Guide for Off-Roading

Your Ford F-150 or Super Duty is capable of some serious off-roading; just make sure you have the proper equipment with you.

By Scott Deuty - November 14, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (2004-2014) and F-250 Super Duty (2005-2014).

Preparing for an off-road trip involves advanced planning for the route. This way, you know the conditions that you will encounter, including various types of terrain or weather. Having a good map and knowledge of the route is essential. It is also a good idea to inspect your vehicle for any potential problems such as belts or worn parts. Top off all of the fluids and carry extras just in case you develop a leak. Preparation also includes extra gear to make the trip easier. This includes the ability to communicate between vehicles as well as to the outside world via cell phone or HAM radio. GPS units are helpful in navigation as well as for identifying your location in the event you get lost. An emergency kit is a must as well.

Emergency Kit

  • Extraction devices
  • Tools
  • First aid kit
  • Spare parts
  • Survival essentials

Hi-Lift Jack

Extraction devices such as a tow strap, come-along, and or Hi-Lift jack can get your truck out of a lot of binds. The most versatile item is the Hi-Lift jack, which can lift you off an object or be used as a come-along to pull your vehicle. Don’t expect your factory jack to work in most situations as it usually does not lift the vehicle high enough to do any good.

  • Figure 1. Hi-Lift jack securely mounted in the bed.
  • Figure 2. A stock jack only lifts the vehicle so far, making it useless for off-roading.

Receiver Hitch

The receiver hitch is a great location for mounting accessories, although putting them on the back of the vehicle is recommended.

Figure 3. Receiver hitch holding accessories.

Tow Straps and Other Tools/Gear

Basic tools can help you if your truck breaks down in unfavorable circumstances. These include wrenches and screw drivers. It's recommended to carry extra items such as a pickle fork, pry bars, a hammer, a volt meter, and specific sockets for plugs, such as those on the transfer case. Also useful are spare parts such as tie rod ends, hoses, belts, filler plugs, fuses, an old fuel pump, specialty nuts and bolts, wire, and any other worn parts that are still in working order. An air hose with clamp on valves at either end for transferring air between tires, as well as a shovel and an axe are also beneficial. The axe can double as a hammer. Additional items include a bow saw and trailer towing chains to hook onto various parts of the vehicle.

Survival gear includes food, water, dry clothing, a sleeping bag, and winter items such as coats, snow pants, boots, gloves, and hats. It's recommended to keep a moving blanket in the vehicle for extra warmth and to lie on should you need to perform a repair. You can also use floor mats for this purpose as well as for keeping the base of a jack from sinking. Keeping matches or fire place starters in your truck is recommended, too.

Figure 4. Tow strap recovery technique using the receiver hitch.

Common Questions

What should I bring with me off-roading?

Bring the items that will keep you comfortable and get you back, or at the very least allow you to survive in case of a break down.

What type of off-roading is right for me?

Only do the off-roading that your vehicle and experience can handle. Never go out alone, and always leave information on your destination and expected time of return in case you need to be found.

What upgrades do I need on my truck to off-road?

Upgrades to your tires and suspension can increase traction. Stronger bumpers and rock sliders will protect your truck and can offer additional jacking points. Tow hooks help as well.

Pro Tip

Tie your gear down well as off-roading can cause items to become flying objects especially in the event of a roll over. Never try to stop the vehicle from rolling with your hands and legs. Instead, tuck your hands and protect your head. Always wear your seatbelt.

Your vehicle will not move if the airbag is deployed. In some instances, the fuel will shut off as a safety precaution. Ford F-series have an Inertia Switch that triggers so fuel does not pump in the event of an accident. Research your owner’s manual to see if your vehicle has a fuel pump reset button. Do an advanced search on the web and watch the featured video below that explains how to check the inertia switch on your vehicle's fuel system.

Featured Video: How to Check the Inertia Switch on Ford Fuel Systems

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