With my hiatus of travel since October 2011, I decided to take a day drive near my home this past weekend. I headed out to the hills behind my house and popped out near Vail Lake. Though this wasn’t a huge trip, it was nice to get back on dirt and just go.

The day after my little trip I decided to clean the truck as I hadn’t touched anything since November. I parked the truck on a small concrete pad that use to be a dog run or something. This concrete pad might also be a little project for myself. Hopefully I’ll be building myself a small garage out of it. For now its a nice clean flat surface to work on.

Once I pulled all my gear out of the truck and Action Packers, I laid it all out. Figured I’d do another one of those here what I use photos. I’ve slimmed down what I carry big time. Lots of the tools and gear was really not necessary. Now I’m down to two bags. The first bag (black, lower row) contains tools. The second bag (grey, top row) contains tire repair tools.

In the tool bag are smaller pouches that contain like items. One pouch is for wrenches, one is for metric sockets, another is for standard sockets, specialty items and extensions are in one and the final pouch is an electrical repair kit. Of the tools I only carry the exact sizes the truck actually has. I also only carry 3/8 ratchet sized sockets. This allows me to limit carrying items that are really not needed. I have a breaker bar, mainly for change tires, though I carry the 1/2 to 3/8 adapter if I need some extra leverage on a stubborn bolt.

Tool Bag

Wrench Pouch
– Slim 3/4in-1/4in Wrenches
– Slim 18mm-6mm Wrenches

Metric Socket Pouch
– 18mm-9mm Deep Sockets
– 15mm-10mm Sockets (12 Point)

Standard Socket Pouch
– 3/4in-3/8in Deep Sockets

Specialty and Extension Pouch
– 3in x 3/8 Extension
– 6in x 3/8 Extension
– 1/2 to 3/8 Adapter
– 1/2 stubby extension
– Spark Plug Socket
– Spark Plug Gap Tool

Electrical Repair Kit Pouch
– Digital Multimeter
– 20 Feet Extra Wire
– Electrical Tape
– Heat Shrink Tube
– Cable Ties (Zip Ties)

Loose items in the Tool Bag
– Pick Hammer
– Pliers
– Needle Nose Pliers (with cutters)
– Phillips Screwdriver
– Flat Screwdriver
– Hex Key Wrenches
– 1/2 Inch Chisel
– 1/4 Inch Chisel
– Adjustable Wrench (8in)
– Ratchet (I carry two, so if one breaks)
– Stainless Steel Wire

Tire Repair Bag

– Coil Air Line with Quick Release Fittings
– ARB Air Chuck with Gauge
– Tire Plugs
– Tire Plug Reamer & Install Tool
– Extra No-Loss Valve Caps
– Extra Valve Stems
– Valve Stem Tool
– 3/4 Lug Nut Socket (use with breaker bar)
– Extra Pressure Gauge

Other Items

– Air Compressor
– Breaker Bar
– 1 inch Steel Strap (comes in handy removing pulleys and other uses)
– Bottle Jack (Taped to keep from leaking)
– Long Cable Ties
– Folding Shovel

Other Items not picture

– Recovery Strap
– Gorilla Tape

Onto the spare parts and fluids. I haven’t slimmed down in this area, though I’ve never carried too much to begin with.

Spare Parts

– Alternator
– Serpentine Belt
– Upper & Lower Radiator Hose (these are hard to find for my motor)
– Front Brake Pads (In grey pouch)
– Head Light Bulbs (In plastic case with electrical tape holding it closed)
– Fuses and Small Bulbs (small pelican case)

Fluids & Extra

– One Quart Oil
– One Quart ATF (Ford manuals use ATF)
– Hand pump for ATF
– 0.5 Liter Brake Fluid (Fiji Water Bottle doesn’t like like the original brake fluid bottle)
– 0.5 Liter Power Steering Fluid (In another Fiji bottle for same reason)
– RainX
– Gasket Maker (I usually have coolant system problems)
– Extra Hose Clamps
– JB Weld
– Scotch Bright
– Rope (Bull Line)
– Terry Cloths (I like these as they suck up fluids/grime better)
– Jumper Cables (was easier to fit in this case rather than tools)

One of the big area’s I’ve axed unnecessary junk is in the cooking department. For a larger rig that can handle weight I’d still prefer a larger kitchen setup. Though with the Ranger needing to be light I had to cut back to the necessities. One item I do continue to carry is my Jet Boil. That is the best for quick meals, and I use it the most. Especially when the weather rolls in, you can cook inside. My more elaborate cooking setup has slimmed down to fit all in my GSI Bugaboo kit. I’ve learned to pack everything in this thing, minus the stove fuel. And on that note, I’ve ditched propane all together and gone with an alcohol stove and a 50 pesos Colombian coin. This alone frees up a larger stove, propane bottle and the extra items along with it. The stove, stand and lighters fit in a small pouch. The actual fuel I use is denatured alcohol.

All the small items floating around in the last photo all fit into the cook set. Spices, utensils, can opener and all.

Nice and simple.


– Jet Boil (with one fuel can attached, which last a long time)
– MSR Fuel Can with Denatured Alcohol
– GSI Bugaboo Cook Set for 2

Inside the Cook Set

– Two Sea to Summit forks/spoons/knives
– Can Opener
– Alcohol Stove (aka penny stove made from aluminum soda cans)
– Stainless Steel Wire Stand (thin wire on one side connects the 2 pieces and allows for folding flat)
– Two Lighters (have matches too)
– Spices
– Two Aluminum Plates (not in picture, though can be used as a flat surface for penny stove or eating)

Time to pack it all back in the truck. I’ve gone back to using the MDF box I originally built for the Ranger. It weighs in at 63 lbs, so it has some mass though not too terrible. I covered the box with tan carpet, close to the same color as the existing interior. This keeps everything hidden at first glance. I think the coolest part of the box are the hinges I used. I just happen to come across them when someone I knew had the contract to get rid of all the items in a few retail stores that closed. The hinges allow for a near seamless lid. On the driver side I also will continue to carry the tan/green Action Packer. That will contain all of the spare fluids and parts to prevent any leaks from going all over the interior of the truck.

In the left compartment I have my sleeping bag, pillow, cold weather jacket, beanie, clothes, maps and my backpack. My backpack usually has my clothing. I carry enough clothing for 3 days, so that’s 2 sets packed in the bag and what I’m wearing. On some trips I carry my netbook which also fits in the Maxpedition bag. Over to the right is the center compartment where I have all my tools, tire stuff and all the items in the tool photo. Other items in the center compartment are; Orange filters for Lightforce Lights, couple Rest Stop bags for #2, Nalgene 1 liter bottle for #1, recovery strap and gloves.

The far right compartment has all the cooking stuff and a Fiji bottle with dish soap. Yes, another Fiji bottle. I like them because the plastic is thicker than most bottles and the lids don’t leak even with brake fluid. I’ll also use the extra space in the compartment to toss in a few days worth of food. Longer trips I’ll just keep food that doesn’t fit behind the seats or utilize the unused space in the tool compartment. Even if I’m home I still keep a couple cans of chili and some granola bars. Better to have it and not use it than not have it and need it.

There’s some extra space behind the Action Packer. Perfect size for a second battery, which I’ll be adding at some point. I’ll be using a regular size battery since I don’t have the fridge on the truck anymore.

All packed up and lids closed. Looks nice and clean.

From the initial concept and build of the MX2 I ended up going a different direction that I planned. I was under the impression you had do have a bunch cool gadgets and parts for expedition rig. I fell into the bullshit trap as well as pushed in that direction to some degree. I lost sight that all my successful adventurers were in this truck when nearly stock. There’s some minimal gear you do need to go on a trip, but really most of the cool gear it is excess weight and never used. Now I’ve condensed everything down a bunch, though I could probably keep going if I wanted. For now everything fits nicely in the cab and is all I need.

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