My grandfather’s hunting truck was a 1971 two-wheel-drive, Chevrolet pickup truck with a Positraction rear end. His only modification was a handmade, plywood camper top. It had a shelf in the back for us kids to sleep on, multiple hooks to tie up coon hounds, and a roll down canvas cover for the back window. Times have changed. If you know where to look, you can perfectly customize your hunting rig to crawl rockslides, ford rivers, and provide damn near five-star accommodations in the field. Here are a dozen aftermarket accessories priced from $100 to $65,000 to trick out your hunting rig.
1. Tailgater Tire Table
With the Tailgater Tire Table, you can use your tires productively even while they’re not rolling. This clever device mounts on your truck, SUV, or car tire and provides you with a sturdy table. With no tools required, you can attach this less-than-14-pound, 23×29-inch platform to your truck tire in seconds. It will hold up to 50 pounds so you can use it for meals, processing game, to hold a cooler, or for your toolbox while you work on your broken-down hunting truck. It’s a must for hunting SUVs that do not have tailgates, and it retails for $140.
2. Hi-Lift Jack
Regardless of what kind of tires you might have, some hunters think they can drive their hunting rig like it’s an M1 tank. As a result, they defy all off-road logic and get stuck, get a flat, or break something. The recovery of a seriously stuck or broken-down truck is not a job for the factory jack; you need a serious lifting mechanism. The Hi-Lift is the only all-cast jack manufactured in the world today. Hi-Lift offers five different lengths of jacks to service any truck no matter how big the tires are, and they have a rated capacity of more than 4,000 pounds. Winch and chain connectors also let the jack be used as a come-a-long, and lockable mounting hardware, recovery kits, gearboxes, and tow straps are also available. Prices start at less than $100.
3. BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 Tires
Hunters live by their boots and trucks live by their tires. The first and most important thing you can add to your hunting rig is a good set of tires, and for off-road performance, in the most varied terrain, it’s hard to beat the BF Goodrich Mud Terrain. These tires have won the Baja 1000 in Mexico, so they should be able to get the average sportsman anywhere he wants to go. An improved version of the original Mud-Terrain T/A originally launched in 1980 with tougher sidewalls and a special tread that will crawl over any terrain you can throw at it. The new version of the KM3 is available in 54 sizes. Prices range from $174 to $484 per tire.
4. GT Treads
This ingenious invention has the capability of getting you unstuck from sand, mud, or snow. Each two-pack of GoTreads weighs less than 6 pounds, and they fold up and can be conveniently stored behind the seat in your truck or SUV. When you get yourself in a bind, you simply unfold the GoTread, slip it in front of or behind your tire, and drive away from the problem. A two-pack retails for only $119.
5. Lion Safari LT Generator
With the Safari LT Generator, you can run a lamp for 90 hours, an iPhone for 68 hours, a laptop for nine hours, a mini-fridge for six hours, a TV for five hours, or anything else that requires less than 550 watts. But here’s the cool part: It measures only 12×6.5×7.3 inches, and weighs only 10 pounds. The Lion Safari LT Generator does not run off of gasoline; it’s actually a battery that will hold a charge for up to six months, and it can be charged with solar panels. The generator retails for $599, and a kit with two solar panels retails for $1,199. With this super battery, your campsite will never be in the dark. But, most importantly, if the battery in your hunting truck dies, you can even use this thing to jump-start it.
6. Warn Winch & Bumper
If you drive with some common sense, outfit your hunting rig with the right tires, and throw in some GT Treads and a Hi-Lift Jack, you’ll probably never get somewhere you cannot get out of. But your buddy who doesn’t have any of the above probably will. For ½- to ¾-ton Ford, Chevy, and Toyota trucks, Warn offers their Ascent front bumper which can handle a winch rated up to 12,000 pounds. It’s also strong enough to withstand the highway impact of the biggest whitetail walking the Earth. Pair it with the Warn ZEON 12 winch, which is waterproof and has incredibly fast line speeds, and after you winch your buddy out of the mud hole, you can make him buy all the beer. The ZEON 12 winch retails for $1,207, and Ascent bumpers start at $1,440.
7. Rhino-Rack Pioneer Platform
A modern hunter takes more gear to the field than an infantry squad. This stuff tends to eat up all the storage capacity of even the largest trucks or SUVs. Thankfully, with the help of Rhino-Rack, you can store many of the essentials you need for an extended hunt on the outside of your vehicle. With the Rhino-Rack Pioneer Platform—which will attach to rails on top of most any vehicle or camper shell—there’s plenty of storage opportunities. Rhino-Rack offers special mounting hardware for everything from off-road lights, propane tanks, gas cans, spare tires, shovels, expandable canopies, and they even have a carrier for a ladder to allow access to the rack. Prices start at about $500.
8. ARB Intensity Driving Lights
Engineered in Australia and manufactured in the United States, the ARB Intensity V2 LED lights might be the best driving lights in the world. They produce a white light that is as close to sunlight as possible, require no time to warm up, and feature a virtually indestructible polycarbonate lens. The AR32 Spot version will reach past 1500 meters, and the flood version spreads to 59 feet. You’ll see road-crossing deer in plenty of time and never be at a loss for vision in the dark. Oh, and just in case you get caught fording a deep river, these lights are waterproof to a depth of almost 10 feet. Prices start at about $500.
9. ARB High-Performance Twin On-Board Compressor
We need air to function, and so do our truck’s tires. But, have you ever tried to hand-pump a truck tire? That’s a heart-attack waiting to happen. Even blowing up a modern air mattress can have you teetering on the edge of cardiac arrest. What you need—and what every hunter’s truck needs—is an onboard air compressor. This on-board unit from ARB mounts under the hood and will inflate a tire, run air tools, is waterproof, and dust-proof, and will run off of either 12 or 24 volts. It’s a $559 accessory that should be standard on every hunting truck.
10. Bundutec Bundutop
Rooftop tents are nothing new. Overlanders have been using them for years. However, nowadays hunting rigs are getting higher and higher off the ground. Trying to erect a pop-up tent while perched eight feet off the ground could lead to hunt-ending fall. Not with the Bundutec Bundutop. This pop-up tent is operated by an integral winch. You plug the cord into your 7-way hitch connector, push a button, and it erects itself. It includes a sliding aluminum ladder, an internal light, and multiple USB charging plugs. With three sizes to choose from, you can sleep out of the reach of snakes. Prices start at $3,800.
11. Off-Grid Expedition 2.0 Trailer
If your hunting adventure is taking you to the outer reaches of civilization, pulling a camping trailer is not an option. But that doesn’t mean you have to rough it inside a pup tent. The Off-Grid Expedition 2.0 Overlanding trailer might be the ideal pull-behind for hunters. It has a full electrical system, queen bed, onboard 31-gallon freshwater supply, full kitchen galley, 21 inches of ground clearance, and a dry weight of only 1,800 pounds. A furnace, extra storage, solar panels, and an awning are extra. This rig is ready for doomsday survival or a backcountry elk hunt. Starting price: $23,900. www.offgridtrailers.com
12. Port-Lite Expedition One Camper
Port-Lite has taken the concept of the on-truck camper and modernized it for the 21st century. The Expedition One is a fully-molded composite camper designed to be mounted on a flatbed pickup truck. In fact, it even comes with a flatbed to replace your factory stock bed. It has all the amenities of home, with hot and cold water, a cookstove, a toilet, an outside shower, a dinette, a bed, and can even be had with air conditioning. If “roughing it” is not in your hunting vocabulary, the Port Lite Expedition One Camper is the answer. You’ll have to find a butler or concierge on your own. Starting price: $65,000.