This is the shovel that the British military use so I thought I would take one on the road with us. It's big yes and this size has helped no end when I've needed to use the shovel for its intended purpose; digging out a Landrover in soft mud. It's a bad enough situation to be in with a proper shovel let alone the shovels that many people take on the road; a small collapsible entrenching tool. The down side to this shovel is the wooden Handel that, after 6 months, has started to show signs of wear but is still strong and works perfectly. The head of the shovel also has a spade end that is good for digging and shoveling. This spade can also be used to aid in a wheel swop helping with the reseating of a new wheel onto the hub studs if needed. Please take a full size shovel if you are going on a trip like ours!

Uses: Most days when in the vehicle mainly for the toilet but 3 times on recovery.

Hilift jack

Hi Lift

This is a heavy and potentially dangerous device that some will argue you don't need. We have used ours when changing our shock absorber bushes in a car park with it taking the weight of the body when the shocks were removed. We have also used it in self-recovery and to help a Russian get his car out of a ditch. We carry the working parts in the car as low as possible and the bar lives outside on the roof rack. Hilift is the market leader (I believe) in making this type of farm jack. It is showing signs of were and some rust but still works perfectly. We have the extension bar so it fits into our front and rear bumpers. It's a very versatile tool that can lift, separate/prise and winch and a worthy member of our on the road tools when traveling solo. I think if you are part of a team the perfect solution is to carry one between vehicles. If the working parts of the jack are stored outside dust and dirt will be a problem.

Uses: 3 times for recovery 1 for taking the weight of the body when changing bushes in a car park

Sand ladders

Sand ladder

Our sand ladders are dual purpose and we use them as a quick table more often than we use them for recovery. However we have used them in every case we have been stuck where there hasn't been any trees to winch off. We have also used them for bridging when crossing very wide/deep lorry/truck ruts at 90 degrees to help us getting out of a bog and back on to a track in Mongolia. After this they were bent and we had to drive over them the other way to straighten them out. They are extremely robust. Sometime they can be a little wide as you have to dig a wide hole to get them under the tyre. We have used the Hilift jack to lift the car clear and then placed the sand ladder under the tyre and lowed the car back down into the sand ladder. This has worked very well. At times I wish we had four as we don't have diff lockers front or rear and they could provide a little more aggressive traction tread/grip. The table function is great for quick dinners and a cup of tea when on the road. We have tried to make sure that most things we carry have dual uses.

As stated, they are slightly buckled but as they are aluminium they have no rust but do show signs of wear and tear. I think the perfect set up would be to have these ladders and 2 maxtrax sand ladders on the roof maybe, finance permitting.

Uses: ​As a Table 50% of days when driving/camping. Recovery 3 times.


warn TI 9.5 winch price excluding bumper  £1000 approx LEGNTH OF WIRE 37m

The winch has saved me digging the Defender out on several occasions and when you need a winch there is no better tool. It has saved me hours of digging and is a real piece of mind tool for recovery. We are at 3 tons fully laden and we have been to our diffs in bogs. I have used the snatch block/pulley to aid in a straight line pull once just in case the winch struggled. The rest of the pulls I have just done a single line pull and have had no issues whatsoever and it pulled us clear every time with ease. We have kept the wire rope on the winch as it was in very good condition but we will replace it to dyneema synthetic rope when the wire needs changing. We carry a wireless remote control and as a back up the standard wired one. The car came with the wireless one and I don't think you need it but it's handy. Driving on expedition like ours on your own, a winch is great for confidence if you are trained and know how to use it safely and I recommend a course if you are going to buy one. It will also give you confidence to go a little further and explore. The winch came with our vehicle and it's working perfectly with a few signs of rust but nothing major.

Uses: ​7

Pulley block

Goodwinch snatch/pulley block.
Weight: 2kg

A must in every recover bag apparently. We have used it to half the load on the winch when bellied out. I'm not sure if we really needed it as our winch hasn't struggles once. At the time we were very lucky there was a tree very close as it halves your pulling distance which isn't very long. If you can use them you should as it puts less strain on you expensive winch and can be used for directional pulls and recovering other vehicle. I do believe you should carry one if you have a winch. They are not very big or heavy and gives you more options when in the mud. Still looks brand new. A little oil was used after its first use. 

Uses: ​1

Tyre deflator 


As previously stated, I wanted to take the effort out of airing up and down so I purchased these from the US. They are preset - 4 at 18psi (1.2 bar) and 2 at 12psi (0.8 bar). You screw them on to the tyre valve and wait until they stop hissing and then you know you are at the correct pressure. You don't need to then check them and by the time you have secured all 4 to the valve you wait around a minute and then unscrew them and you are good to go at 18psi. Lower pressures will take longer. I've had no issue with them blocking or not working and these I believe are good quality ones. They don't remove the core of the valve like other deflator so nothing can get lost and you a can screw them on without having to squat and wait. I think they are great.

Uses: ​10+


Glass hammer, seat belt cutter, fire extiguiser

We carry one glass hammer within arm's reach of the passenger with a seat belt cuter integrated into the handle. Both front window are un tinted and do not have any anti smash covering applied. We also have 2 more seat belt cutter 1 in reach of each person in the car including the rear passenger. We have a 2kg fire extinguisher attached securely on a quick realises bracket on the rear door. We failed to get an extra fire extinguisher in reach of the driver and this was an oversight before leaving and will be rectified. The med pack is at the rear of the car and is clearly label when the door is open. We carry a warning triangle, 2 high visible yellow vests and all doors have day glow orange panels on the edges as to be visible when the doors are open with red reflective tape also applied to all doors including the rear. We also keep a head torch handy in the front.

Uses: ​Never

Door security

Fitted door plates

Before you leave on a big overland expedition you really worry about security and rightly so. The doors lock on Defenders are not the best so we purchased these to add extra security to the door with the use of keyed alike (one key fits all) padlocks. It does give us pice of mind along with other security features we have added. When stopping away from the car, however, these do attract a lot of attention when they have the padlocks attached. We get the feeling people find it offensive. We have spoken to a few locals about it as they have asked why we have them and they laugh and say people would just smash the window. (You could fit security film to your windows to prevent this) Granted, but every Item inside our car can be secured via lockable cupboards and/or boxes and if you can't open the door it's going to make life a little harder. It also means that if they want to break in they have to make a lot of noise. With standard Defender locks, they can break in without a sound within a few seconds. It really is a double edge sword with the extra attention it brings and for that reason I can advice for or against. What I can say is that we hadn't even had the slightest inclination that anybody wants to break into our car and have felt safe 100% of the time. After speaking to fellow overlanders most thief the happens in Europe and the US when you return or are about to leave.

Uses: ​10+


There are many products on the market and I'm not going to go into great depth of what we have on our car. But we have tried to cover as many bases as possible with the use of mechanical, electrical and tracking devices to try and slow the thieves down. If they want it bad enough they will get it. 

When shipping there is another problem that you have to leave the keys with the crew if using RoRo (roll on roll off). This is something you should consider when thinking about security. All our cupboards are lockable inside and outside of the vehicle. However, on a ship they can have weeks to steal what they want and will be well underway by the time you get your car. Expensive lights, winches etc should be also thought about when shipping.

You also need to have a plan of what to do if you loose your keys or if they are stolen. If you require our solution please email us.