Getting Ready

My 4Runner arrives in less than two weeks, and already, I’ve created a “Pile” (as my wife calls it) of equipment, add-ons, mods, and other items for it already. I want to be ready on day one for this amazing vehicle.

Taking from my experience with military vehicles both on active duty in the Marines and in the National Guard, I’ve put together a list of items I knew I was going to need, so I started purchasing these items to be ready.

Recovery Points

I talked about these yesterday, but they are probably the biggest/most permanent mod I’ve purchased so far. I got these from Apex Overland, and I will be putting them on the first weekend I have the 4Runner

Yakima SlimShady Awning

This will be another mod that I will attach very soon after I pick up my 4Runner. This will be mounted on the passenger side and will give my wife and me shade from the sun and protection from rain (as it’s waterproof) when we are out and about on the trail and settling down for a break or for the night. I’ll also get use out of it when I go to the flying field for my RC planes. I will have my own protected area for my planes to sit under to protect them from the sun if all the tables are already taken when I arrive at the field.

Air Compressor

I purchased a dual-pump air compressor to keep in the 4Runner for those times I need to reduce pressure in my tires for rocks/sand and then need to refill the air in my tires. The one I purchased isn’t inexpensive, but it’s on the less expensive side of compressors that don’t require permanent affixing within a vehicle. It will require connecting directly to the vehicle’s battery, though.

Large Vehicle First Aid Kit

Being ready for anything is important when you purposely leave a populated area and head into the wild. Things happen. Sometimes, these things are bad things. I purchased a large first aid kit that is well laid out and labeled while adding some additional items I felt were good to have.

Shovel and Axe

These will both be mounted to the roof rack when I head out for overlanding. I will likely not keep these on the vehicle when I’m not overlanding because they are easy to steal and can even be used as implements to get into the 4Runner or (in the case of the axe), as a weapon. On the trail, however, both tools are indespensible and every Pioneer Kit in the military on every military vehicle has these items.

Winch Cable/Tow Strap Blanket

This is a small piece of heavy (possibly weighted) plastic that drapes over a winch cable or two strap to keep it from flying wildly in the event of a break/snap. I purchased two of these and will never snatch/pull without them.

Recovery Boards

My son gave me a pair of recovery boards for Christmas, and I’ll be mounting those to the roof rack on the left side when my 4Runner is finally home. I will make my own mounting hardware, as the prices for pre-made recovery board mounting hardware is exhorbitant (well over $175 US). I’ve watched numerous YouTube videos where people have fabricated their own mounting hardware for under $20 US, so I will go that route. Besides, I prefer the custom mounts as they will be guaranteed to work with my rack.

Internal Storage Organizer

I purchased some inexpensive storage organizers that are used for the center console and glove compartment. The 4Runner has large open spaces that can be better organized by using storage organizers to compartmentalize these spaces. My one concern with these is any noise they may make after they age a bit, but time will tell, and I’ll report back on my findings after I have some experience with them.

LED Lights

I purchased LED lights to replace all incandescent lights on the vehicle. The headlights, brake lights, backup lights, and all internal lights will be traded out with the LED lights. My son did this on his 4Runner, and the difference is staggering. This will likely be the very first mod I do (after putting in the internal storage organizers, only because they’re so easy to install).

Key Fob Cover

This is a funny one, and not really on the vehicle, but the fobs the 4Runners come with are very basic, boring, and honestly, rather cheap. The company AJT Designs makes a very nice Injection Fob, and I purchased one of each version. Version 1 holds the keyless entry internals as well as the physical key, while version 2 is slightly smaller and does not hold the physical key. They are available in a variety of colors and you can even customize the color of the buttons and screws. I think these look much nicer than the stock ones. I even purchased the Army Green version of the fobs to match the color of my 4Runner!


This one doesn’t seem too intuitive to many people, but if the military has instilled anything in me regarding off-road vehicles, it’s that wheel chocks should always be in place when the vehicle is parked. In the Guard, we always complain about having to do it, but I’ve seen it actually come in handy when a vehicle was allegedly in park but started to roll. Turned out, the person driving left it in neutral on accident. That wheel chock saved the day. There are many practical uses for wheel chocks, and I won’t have a large vehicle without them. I won’t use them in parking lots, but I will always use them off-road.

LED Battery Powered Shop Lights

These are too useful and affordable to not have. They are like normal shop lights, only LED and battery powered. These are great if you ever have to work on your vehicle in the dark or change a tire at night. When I had a blow out a few months ago in my Audi A4, I was fortunate to find a well lit location to change my tire. Otherwise, I’d have been changing my tire in the dark. Having a light or two like this one would be very welcome. They also have a red/blue flashing feature which is great for use as an emergency light if pulled over on the side of a busy road as a warning to other drivers.

Tool Roll

I have a lot of tools, so I didn’t buy any specifically for the 4Runner, but I did purchase a tool roll that I will be able to put tools into and wrap it up to keep them from making noise in the vehicle. This is another trick I learned from the pioneer kits in our military vehicles; keep the tools in a roll and they won’t clatter and make noise. I have a list of the tools I’ll be carrying that I will post about later.

Recovery Straps/Bow Shackles/Trailer Hitch Shackle & Pin

I received a very nice bag containing a recovery strap, a trailer hitch shackle, and a locking pin from my wife for Christmas. I purchased two additional bow shackles that I’ll mount to the front recovery points after I get them on the 4Runner. These are incredibly important, and I covered their necessity in the previous post.

There are still a few more things I’m going to be purchasing in the lead-up to receiving the 4Runner, but many more things will be purchased and added to the vehicle post-receipt. Some of these are the roof-mounted water container, 5 gallon water containers (2), gas cans, shower tent, and more. I will not only post about these items in more depth, but I will be getting video of me adding them onto the vehicle to post onto YouTube with links from this blog for reference.

By PaleoMarine

Former active duty Marine who went from 170 lbs to 328 lbs and decided that he had to change his life or die. He lost 130 lbs in 1 year through Whole30 and adopting the Paleo Diet without doing any exercise at all. Since starting running, he's lost an additional 20 lbs and is comfortably back in the 170 lbs range. He is a Warrant Officer in the Army National Guard and writes multiple blogs about topics he is passionate about.

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