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 tour 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 on desolated roads of 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.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
What should I carry on my self-drive trip to Ladakh?
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 the 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 any other trip to the remote Himalayas.
For your convenience, I have also provided particular 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. These links help me in running this website and provide more useful contents for travelers like you 🙂
You should always carry your water bottle and refill it as many times as you need water. It will not only keep you hydrated always, but you will also help in saving the Himalayas from plastic garbage. Remember, every tiny step counts, and you can help save the Himalayas too !! 🙂 🙂
In case you are planning the Ladakh road trip covering both Manali to Leh and Srinagar to Leh then do not forget to check this most common itinerary for a Leh Ladakh trip by road.
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 Srinagar – Leh Highway or Manali – Leh Highway or other remote corners of Leh – Ladakh less frequented by tourists.
Hence, it is vital 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 Valley, finding a mechanic is one thing. Still, he had a spare part for your bike or car is another thing altogether. 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 things into various heads, which will help you understand why I recommend the item and what is the need of it by having a mention of the category. In case, you feel the list of things mentioned in a particular group will suffice your requirement, then shop, and move to the next group. However, keep in mind that some of the items may overlap between categories, so be aware of not missing such essential items.
In the remote Himalayas like Ladakh or Spiti Valley, finding a mechanic is one thing, but he had 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 tire puncture or flat tire. 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. A list of items mentioned below may help you with the puncture and car battery situations in Leh – Ladakh.
- Basic Toolkit including Jack & Spanner
- Air Compressor & Foot pump. It is one of the most important things to have because, with sharp stones, the puncture is bound to happen. Hence, a heavy-duty metal-based air compressor or air inflator will help you in dire circumstances. Do not go with plastic ones and at minimum go with a metal version so that overuse does not melt the plastic. You may want to have a look at the link: Car Tyre Inflator Heavy Duty Metal Body
- 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.
- 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 the wrong place.
- Hydraulic Jack
- Spare Tyre in addition to Stepney (Optional – Check for punctures before leaving home)
- Spare Tube
- Tyre Removing Lever
- Spare Tyre Valves
- Valve Tube Removing Key
- Jump Start Cables
- Jump Start Battery Bank (Optional but helpful in case the car gets stuck in the 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 shortage of fuel pump nearby. You can read about Fuel Availability In Leh – Ladakh and why you must plan for contingencies for running short on fuel while driving on these routes. The list of items mentioned below will help you with fuel issues in Leh – Ladakh.
- 13. 1-2 Jerry Cans / Coke Bottles to Cary Spare Fuel
- 14. A 10-Feet Pipe useful in transferring fuel from one vehicle to another
- 15. Funnel for transferring fuel
- 16. Thin Piece of Cloth crucial 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 afternoon, that can catch your car from the knees and make it stuck. You may need below set of items 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 the mud)
- 19. Long Stick / Iron Rod
- 20. Tarpaulin for Carrier & Engine
- 21. Small Hammer
If you are planning only to cover Ladakh from Manali Leh Highway then do not forget to check this most common itinerary for a Ladakh trip via Manali.
Windshield Issues & Patch Up Work
I am a firm 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. The list of items mentioned below 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 the 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.
If you are not one of those who want to make a self-drive trip to Ladakh, then better check this list of taxi drivers in Ladakh region for making a trip.
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 travelers, but if you do not have the spares or tools, they might not be able to help you out. However, I will strongly recommend carrying these spares if you have unpopular brands or luxury brands in the remote Himalayas.
- 28. Spare Headlight Bulbs, important from a contingency perspective
- 29. Spare Coolant & Engine Oil, important from a contingency perspective. Maybe 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)
If you are planning to fly in to Leh and then cover Ladakh region, then do not forget to check my most recommended Ladakh trip itinerary by air.
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 as 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 for 10 years. It has helped in many situations in the mountains and still works 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
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
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.
You can also check this short video on DevilOnWheels YouTube Channel about some practical tips for making a self-drive trip to Leh Ladakh. If you like my video, please do not forget to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel.
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 about your trip.
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Hello Dheeraj Bhai
I’m planning a trip from by this route,
It will be a great help if you can tell me that Do i require some permission ( pass) during this trip. If Yes, than from where i have to get these.
Thanks in advance.
No Rohit, if you are planning to travel from Shimla to Spiti, then you do not need any permits !!
Thank u so much dheeraj. Good to hear. Also pls tell me if its possible to the below places in a DL regiatered self drive rented car. If not pls guide me where all its possible to visit on srinagar leh highway.
Maitrey at Mulbek, Lamayuru Monastery, Lunar Landscape, Redzong / Rizong Monastery, Alchi Monastery, Likir Monastery, Basgo Palace, Confluence at Nimmu, Magnetic Hills, Pathar Sahib Gurudwara, Phyang Monastery, Spituk Monastery.
Most of these places fall on the route to Leh from Srinagar. You can skip Spituk and Phyang monasteries, rest should be fine to visited on delhi rented car
Hi Dheeraj.. Hope you’re doing great.. We are planning to do leh by sep mid.. entry via srinagar and exit via manali. We are planning to hire a self drive car from delhi. We are already aware by reading ur blog about local taxi union. So we have planned to park our car in leh town and hire a bike for all sightseeing in ladakh. Let me know if this will cause any problem? Or ok to do and safe..
Venkat, it is completely safe and you can surely use the rental car to drive to Leh and then out of Leh.
One more clarification bro, planning to exit leh via leh manali highway by oct 1st week beginning. I read in ur article regarding possible snow fall and road blocks due to himalayan motor rally. Please advise how we can plan. Many thanks in advance.
Nowadays snowfall is not that frequent in October but possible. Keep an eye on weather updates and I do not think rally is in first week of October this year.
Hi dheeraj, we planned our trip on sep 22nd to oct 6th. Planning to enter via srinagar-leh and exit leh-manali.. Hearing some news that there is a early snowfall now. Please give me an update on the same.. Whether it can be done wid out any delays. Where exactly it is snowing or possible snow fall.. I agree v cant predict nature however ur valuable suggestion will b helpfull for us.
There is snowfall and it is usual to that snowfall starts in September at all high passes in the Himalayas. Even on your dates it may be possible that snowfall happens, if it happens heavily the pass might close for a day or two at max. but this snow does not stay too much. Keep a tab on weather updates.
Your post is sufficient in itself but still have some doubts left.
*Me & my gf planning to visit Spiti valley in mid-August (do you recommend this time?) by SUV.
*In total we have 6 Nights and 5 Days. Is it Doable?
*Tentative total budget for Delhi-Spiti-Delhi keeping in mind to stay in medium budget accommodations at max.
*We are using Shimla route for going and Manali route for coming.Your suggestions for itinerary? Place to visit?
Thanks in advance sir
I will suggest you read: 10 Tips for a Trip to Spiti Valley in Monsoons
I am going Spiti through Shimla then Manali with my car (EON) on 18th May. Is that okay to go with EON or shall I switch to some SUV.
For hatchback/sedan taking on Manali – Leh Highway, Spiti Valley and Ladakh, I will say Possible = Yes, Difficult = Yes, at quite a few place:
You will indeed face few tough challenges on the route. The hatchback/sedan will increase the level of every challenge even further, sedan is the worst candidate. My suggestion will be to go via Srinagar route as it will help you feel comfortable with the driving, provide more acclimatization and then once you have done the local Leh-Ladakh, then come back via Manali side. Secondly, since you are in hatch/sedan, then you need to drive with extra care as well. There will be some sections on the Manali – Leh highway in which you might need to sacrifice some scratches on the underbelly. Just make sure you do not bump the engine sump (know it before where it is placed in your car). You need to protect it all around the trip. Thirdly, whenever in doubt do not rush into the section rather park aside and feel the section with your foot, see how other vehicles are crossing it and make a planned route in your mind to cross that section. At the very least do carry Mseal, quick fix, funnel, jerry cans and towing rope with you all the time.
Also, I will strongly suggest that you go through and read my series on Ladakh Self Drive tips at the links below:
7 Useful Tips for a Self Drive to Leh – Ladakh, Routes and Road Conditions In Leh – Ladakh | Ladakh Self Drive Tips, Fuel Availability In Leh – Ladakh | Ladakh Self Drive Tips
Thanks a lot for the prompt reply..all your articles are awesome and knowledgeable.
I am not going to Ladhakh just the 360 degree tour from Delhi – Shimla- Kaza- Manali-Delhi.
Friday 18-delhi to Shimla night
Sat 19_ shimla to kinnaur(stay)
Sun 20 – kinnaur to nako/tabo(stay at tabo)
Mon 21- spiti/kaza
Tue 22- hiking komik langza
Wed 23 – kaza monestary and all local stuff
Thurs 24- kaza to chandratal(stay)
Friday 25 – chandratal to kasol(stay)
Saturday26 – kasol to Delhi 9pm ..Sunday morning will reach Delhi
Monday morning 28-delhi to mumbai
Let me know if there is any issue with above plan with EON and also Chandratal will be frozen in May or we can go to Manali from KAza or not.
Thanks in Advance,
Replied to your other comment.
Pingback: Trip to Kinnaur Valley in Winters - Important Tips - Devil On Wheels™
Hi Dheeraj Bhai,
One more thing: Also, any bike service available in the Leh – Manali route?
2) Is Motul Aerosol tyre inflator reliable one?
Thank you so much
No Dennis, there is no service available on Leh – Manali route. The tyre inflator does help you buy sometime and few KMs.
Hi Dheeraj Bhai,
Any workshops/ tyre repair shops available for enfield bullet at any place in Nubra Valley?
Dennis, you will get the mechanic at Deskit.
Thanks…I have changed my itenary and added Hanle…also I have decided to breakup Day 13 and will take a night halt at upshi….Did not want to leave Tanglang la….Are there any stay options at upshi…..
Yes Sunil, Upshi and Rumtse both have basic home stays and guest houses. But do not expect much from these places.
I am planning a trip to Leh in September. Earlier I was planning one to Spirit but got a few more days and decided to take it to Leh. My itenary is as below..
Day 1: Delhi- Ludhiana
Day 2: Ludhiana-Jammu
Day 3: Jammu- Srinagar
Day 4 : Srinagar – Kargil
Day 5: Kargil- Leh
Day 6: Leh
Day 7: Leh- Nubra via Khardungla
Day 8: Nubra
Day 9: Nubra to Pangong via Wari La
Day 10: Pangong
Day 11: Pangong to Tso Moriri
Day 12 Tso Morir
Day 13: Tso- Moriri to Sarchu
Day 14: Sarchu- Manali
Day 15: Manali- Ludhiana
Day 16: Ludhiana- Delhi.
Is this good….Any inputs?
Sunil, this is a nice plan. All I will recommend is that you skip the extra stay either at Pangong Tso or Tso Moriri or add one day to include Hanle in the trip. It will also help you split the long journey from Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri as well plus will let you visit one of the most beautiful villages in Himalayas or Ladakh 😉