Nowadays many people are interested in making a Ladakh Self Drive Trip in their cars and eager to know about how to prepare their vehicle for a trip to Leh – Ladakh. Every day I receive numerous questions related to a self-drive trip to Leh – Ladakh. Travelers are interested to know about what must have things they must carry in their cars as they drive to remote corners of Leh – Ladakh, and Manali – Leh Highway. They are also interested to know about how to prepare their car for a Ladakh self drive trip and any other precautions.
In the past, I have already written about 7 Useful Tips for a Self Drive to Ladakh. In case, if you have not got a chance to read about them, I will strongly recommend starting from that article and come back here. In today’s article, I will focus on the list of things to carry on Ladakh self drive trip so that it helps you avoid getting stranded in the middle of nowhere. I am sure this will prove useful in shopping the right set of items and tools for your upcoming Ladakh trip or in fact any other trip to the remote Himalayas. For your convenience, I have also provided selective online links to some of these products from where you can directly buy them. Please note that all these are affiliate links. It means if you purchase them at these e-commerce websites then DoW will get a small part of the sale. This helps us running this website and provide more useful contents for travelers like you 🙂
List of Things to Carry on Ladakh Self Drive Trip
I have come up with this list of 40 items or products that you may need for a successful self-drive trip to Leh – Ladakh. These items will help you mitigate the risks in a no-mans land where help is hard to come. The majority of the time on a Leh – Ladakh trip, you are on your own especially while driving on Manali – Leh Highway or Srinagar – Leh Highway or other remote corners of Leh – Ladakh less frequented by tourists. Hence, it is important to be self-prepared and ready for some DIY stuff with your car if something goes wrong. Some of the items listed will seem overkill but keep in mind that in the remote Himalayas like Ladakh or Spiti, finding a mechanic is one thing but he having a spare part for your bike or car is another ;). Hence, if budget is not a constraint, it is always better to buy and carry these items than being stuck in the middle of nowhere.
I have categorized this list of items into various heads which will help you understand why the item is recommended and what is the need of it by having a mention of the category. In case, you feel the list of items mentioned in a particular category will suffice your need, shop and move to the next category. However, keep in mind that some of the items may overlap between categories, so be aware of not missing such important items.
In the remote Himalayas like Ladakh or Spiti, finding a mechanic is one thing but he having a spare part for your bike or car is another 😉
Puncture Repair & Battery Issues
The most dreaded thing that can happen in the remote Himalayas like Leh – Ladakh or Manali – Leh Highway or Nubra – Shyok – Pangong Tso route, etc.. is the punctured tyre or flat tyre or you have battery issues or battery got dead. You must be prepared to repair or overcome the situation of puncture or battery issues without the help of mechanic as help will be hard to find on these routes. Below list of items may help you with the puncture and car battery situations in Leh – Ladakh.
- 1. Basic Toolkit including Jack & Spanner
- 2. Air Compressor & Foot pump. It is one of the most important thing to have because with sharp stones, puncture is bound to happen. Hence, a heavy duty metal based air compressor or air inflator will help you in dire circumstance. Do not go with plastic ones and at minimum go with a metal version so that overuse do not melt the plastic. You may want to have a look at the link: Car Tyre Inflator Heavy Duty Metal Body
- 3. Puncture Repair Kit including Tube patches. It has saved us numerous times along with Air Inflator. You can check something like Tubeless Tyre Puncture Repair Kit.
- 4. Puncture Sealant Kit. It really is amazing when the puncture is beyond repair and you are left with no other choice than using something like Tyre Sealent for all Type of Tubeless Tyres . It can buy you time so you may reach a safe place in case got stuck in a wrong place.
- 5. Hydraulic Jack
- 6. Spare Tyre in addition to Stepney (Optional – Check for punctures before leaving home)
- 7. Spare Tube
- 8. Tyre Removing Lever
- 9. Spare Tyre Valves
- 10. Valve Tube Removing Key
- 11. Jump Start Cables
- 12. Jump Start Battery Bank (Optional but helpful in case the car gets stuck in mud)
Fuel Issues & Refills
The next big thing that comes to mind when you are on a Leh – Ladakh Self Drive Trip is the fact of running out of fuel in the dearth of fuel pump nearby. You can read about Fuel Availability In Leh – Ladakh and why it is important that you must plan for contingencies for running short on fuel while driving on these routes. Below list of items will help you with fuel issues in Leh – Ladakh.
- 13. 1-2 Jerry Cans / Coke Bottles to Cary Spare Fuel
- 14. 10 Feet Pipe useful in transferring fuel from one vehicle to another
- 15. Funnel for transferring fuel
- 16. Thin Piece of Cloth extremely important to filter out the impurities especially when buying the black fuel from remote village shops/houses
Stuck in Water Crossings, Slush or Mud
Next on the list is being stuck with your car in a water crossing, slush or mud. It is the most common scenario of any self drive trip to Leh – Ladakh as people tend to neglect sometimes and get stuck in mud or slush. Sometimes, it is really that ferocious water crossings especially after noon that can catch your car from the knees and make it stuck. You may need below set of items in order to come out a situation when your car is stuck in Leh – Ladakh.
- 17. Tow Away Rope or Cable approx. 4-6 ton Capacity. You can buy something like 5 Ton 4M Steel Wire Towing Rope
- 18. Shovel (Optional but helpful in case the car gets stuck in mud)
- 19. Long Stick / Iron Rod
- 20. Tarpaulin for Carrier & Engine
- 21. Small Hammer
Windshield Issues & Patch Up Work
I am a very strong believer in taking care of my car’s windshield because it is the only thing that provides me a driving comfort, ease and of course, beautiful views outside. In case, you do not have a clean windshield or broken windshield, it will create all sough of other issues. Adhesives or tapes are always helpful in many patch-up work situations. Below list will help you with the situations that may go wrong with windshields on a Leh – Ladakh trip.
- 22. Colin or suitable windshield cleaner
- 23. Old newspaper for windshield cleaning
- 24. Spare Wipers in case original ones get broken. You cannot drive a car in rains with a wiper. So, worth the investment and can be used in future anyhow.
- 25. Adhesive Tapes both Double Sided & Insulation Tape which can be used to hold broken pieces and other purposes too.
- 26. 2-3 Packs of M-Seal, can be used to hold up a part and other purposes too.
- 27. 2-3 Packs of Quick Fix/Fevi-Quick/Elfy, can be used to hold up a part and other purposes too.
Lack of Availability of Car Spares
Carrying more spares is optional in case you are confident about your car conditions and own some Maruti or Mahindra vehicle whose spare parts are easy to find. You may find a mechanic or someone to help like army folks or fellow traveler, but if you do not have the spare or tools, they might not be able to help you out. However, I will strongly recommend carrying these spares in case you have other not so popular or luxury brands in the Himalayas.
- 28. Spare Headlight Bulbs, important from a contingency perspective
- 29. Spare Coolant & Engine Oil, important from a contingency perspective. May be a small puncture in engine sump leaked the fuel or puncture in coolant pipe leaks the coolant.
- 30. Spare Clutch Cable
- 31. Spare Accelerator Cable, I could not even find it for 50+ KMs even in Himachal and I own a Maruti 😉
- 32. Spare Air Filter (Optional in case you have a new one and you continue to clean regularly during the trip)
- 33. Spare Fuses including Master Fuse (Optional but helpful in case the need arise)
Other Miscellaneous or Multi-purpose Items
In the last, I will share a set of items that will be useful in numerous situations. Some of them will also help you with not only car related issues but other situations as well like a swiss knife or a fire extinguisher.
- 34. Swiss Knife or Cutter of your choice. I have a Victorinox Huntsman Red Swiss Army Knife which I have been using since 6-7 years. It has helped in many situations in mountains and still work as new. One of the best products I have bought in life.
- 35. Screwdriver Set
- 36. Spare Assorted Nuts & Bolts
- 37. DC to AC Inverter. It is an extremely useful item often neglected. It helps you keep the batteries of your phone charged, camera batteries charged and even laptop or iPhone or iPad charged too. I own a Targus 200W Power Inverter with USB Fast Charging Port and it has proven its worth in day to day life as well not just trips to the Himalayas.
- 38. Torchlight
- 39. Fire Extinguisher
- 40. Plenty of Drinking Water and Snacks/Dry Fruits
This completes our list of items to carry on a self drive trip to Ladakh. Did I miss anything? Well, do share your thoughts or additions/edits to help other fellow self drive enthusiasts planning their upcoming trips to Leh – Ladakh.
Have you checked our comprehensive list of things to carry when you travel? If not, you can read about them in the article List of things to carry when you travel
I hope the above list of things will prove helpful in planning your upcoming trip to Leh – Ladakh and make it a memorable self-drive experience. I will be here to answer any further questions you may have for your trip. Feel free to post them under comments or newly introduced Travel Questions section on this website from the main menu. In the next article, I will write about how to prepare your car for a self drive trip to Leh – Ladakh, so stay tuned 🙂 🙂
If you found above article useful, then PLEASE stay connected with us on Facebook or Twitter or Email Subscription for any himalayan travel queries or travel updates / tips / news / guides on Traveling to Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Kashmir and other parts of Himalayas. Travel, off the road with us...