Tools of a bush mechanic

Fencing Wire, Zip Ties, 100mph Tape and Blocks of Wood when travelling on the road?

I see a lot of posts on social media asking what tools people need to carry.

I guess we all carry the basics such as spanners, screw drivers, jacks and wheel wrench etc.

But, I’m often reminded why I carry so much shit…

Yes, I could wait for the breakdown service to come and help if I don’t happen to have something special. But, I also believe that I’d like to be somewhat self sufficient.


Beach off road mishap

I was reminded of this when I came off the beach and onto the southern beach access road on Bribie Island after a weekend camping with my camper trailer.

Focusing on a straight line in the soft sand, I found myself heading unavoidably for a step-up with a hard lip.

With a bump and a crash – I thought, “Phew! That was close”… or words to that effect.

Well, it wasn’t 50 metres before my Tyre Pressure Management System (TPMS) (refer to my previous blog click here) screamed at me, yelling that my camper trailer’s tyre on the passenger’s side had dropped to a big fat ZERO there and then!

Camp and travel with Dayv

Repairs to vehicle when 4wd


How to change a tyre

Tyre Repair with tools I carry

It was just after 5:00pm and the sun was setting. On the good side, I was off the beach and on the track.

I pulled over as best I could and assessed the situation. The rim was part buried and the tyre was all scrunched up, I had a spare, I had a four tonne hydraulic jack and a wheel brace. Check!

How did I handle this breakdown?

First problem – The rim was so close to the ground (read buried), that I needed some breathing room to get access to what I needed. So, I paced my two Chinese rip-off tracks under the front of the trailer wheel and drove up and on to them. Solved.

Second problem – The tyre mechanic had tightened the wheel nuts too tight and I knew this may be the case because I had reason to remove one of my spares the previous week. Yes, I had planned to loosen them before I left home. So, out with the breaker bar I carry – an extended 1/2” driven with a wheel nut socket on it. Solved.

Third problem – I still needed room under the suspension to get the jack under. So, out with the shovel I carry. Solved.

Fourth problem – The jack needed a more solid base as it was all on sand albeit hard the further I went down. So, out with a small timber board (actually the seat of a swing I built the kids about 20 years ago) I carry with me for just this purpose (or any similar issue). Solved.

And the problems continue

Fifth problem – I must have missed loosening one of the wheel nuts because it was still too tight – and, with the wheel off the ground, the wheel was spinning. I put the handbrake on, but it was still not enough. So, I put the track under again and prised it up like a wedge and packed sand under. This eventually worked and I was able to loosen the nut. Solved.

Note to self… if you put the handbrake on, remember to take it off.

Root Cause problem – After taking the wheel off, I found that the alloy rim on the trailer wheel had cracked off when it hit that step-up on the track. I’m off to buy new rims. Almost solved.

Are you a bush mechanic?

I suppose the message is that you never really know what you may need on the track. But, you can certainly try to cover some of the bases with the basic bush mechanic type stuff. This collection of ‘shit’ will grow as your experiences grow – and your rig will get heavier.

Ask anyone that looks like they’ve been around the traps a bit and ask if you can have a look in their ‘tool’ box. You may be surprised that you don’t recognise some of the stuff as bent screw drivers take on a life of their own that proved essential some 300,000 kilometres ago (and in another car) and may be needed again – one day.

So, what do you need…? Well, really it’s usually the thing you left at home or the thing you lent your son a few years back. The best you can do is try.

Oh, and yes, I do carry a short length of fencing wire, zip ties and 100mph tape – and more.

Safe travels and have fun. Every problem is really just an opportunity waiting.

PS – Thanks so much to all those who stopped and offered a hand or simply exchanged a quick chat and a smile.

Camp and travel with Dayv

[us_gallery ids=”2282,2281,2280″ columns=”3″ indents=”1″ img_size=”tnail-1×1″]

Tools of the bush mechanic – Out&About with Dayv

Previous articleCamp and Travel Planning Resources
Next articleThe New Normal for Grey Nomads Today