What important vehicle-related equipment do I need to take on my self-drive trip through Namibia?
Whatever vehicle you’re driving, it’s essential to carry at least one good spare tyre, preferably two if you’re heading off road. Temporary ‘biscuit’ spares don’t handle gravel roads at all well and they’ll very likely last only a few kilometres before also puncturing. Tubeless tyre repair kits are cheap and, with a little practice, very easy to use. Punctures on the sidewall are usually the end of any tyre, but with a repair kit and compressor you’ll be able to fix most other holes yourself.
A compressor is indispensable both for repairing tyres and changing tyre pressure to suit the conditions. Make sure you also have a good vehicle jack, with some kind of base plate that’ll stop it sinking into sand.
Recovery/sand tracks are always useful when venturing into the wilderness, as is a spade in case you need to dig. A high-lift jack can be helpful in extreme situations, but treat them with caution – they can be very dangerous if misused.
A good 4×4 recovery kit should also include recovery/towing straps, ratchet straps, heavy duty duct tape, cable ties and spare fuses. A separate tyre pressure gauge is also useful – the gauges on compressors are not always very accurate. Depending on how mechanically minded you are, a basic tool box may be vital or superfluous, but some means of tightening loose nuts and bolts is always a good idea, as is a multipurpose lubricant spray and a tub of hand cleaner in case you do get stuck in.