If you are heading off-road, then you need to get yourself a decent overland jack. Your typical vehicle jack won’t quite cut it. Most normal jacks can’t quite with oversized off-roading tires, and they certainly won’t be able to deal with the perils of uneven surfaces. Thankfully, there is no shortage of quality overland jacks to choose from.
On this page, we want to introduce you to what we firmly believe are the best of the best when it comes to off-road jacks. Pick any one of these five jacks, and we are confident that will end up with a rather useful piece of kit. We hope that you never have to use it. Nobody should have to go through the headache of trying to repair a vehicle off-road. But, if you do, then you will be glad that you spent your time choosing a quality product.
Buyer’s Guide for Overland Jacks
Let’s start by talking about how you choose an overland jack. This will give you an idea as to how we chose the products on this page. It will also give you a bit more information about which one of these overland jacks is going to be right for you. Remember, while all five of these jacks are brilliant, some may struggle with certain jobs.
The whole reason why you are using a jack is to lift your vehicle. Therefore, you need to know that it is more than capable of supporting your vehicle’s weight. After all, if it doesn’t support your vehicle’s weight, that vehicle is going to come crashing down to the ground. You will be ‘enjoying’ a rather hefty repair bill if that happens.
Remember, you do need to take into account any additional weight inside of the vehicle. Most of us that are traveling off-road will be hauling a decent amount of luggage with us. We need to know that the jack will be able to support that too. Nobody wants to be unloading anything when they are stuck halfway up a hill, right?
Every single one of the jacks that we discuss on this page has been designed for lifting some pretty hefty off-road vehicles. However, you should still go through the specs for each of them to make sure that it is capable of lifting your vehicle.
The Type of Jack
There are several different types of jack on the market, each suited for a different purpose. It is important that you consider why you may need an overland jack. This way you can choose the best fit for your needs.
Obviously, the main reason why people pick up an overland jack is so that they can lift their vehicle out of a tricky situation when off-road. For these people, a Hi-Lift Jack is probably going to be the best bet. It works on all surfaces, including snow and mud. Pick a Hi-Lift Jack and you should be able to haul yourself out of some tricky terrain. All you need to do is ensure that the Hi-Lift Jack foot is stable at all times.
Hi-Lift jacks are more for a spot of temporary lifting, though. If your plan is to do a bit of maintenance while out there on the trails, perhaps changing a tire or doing a bit of under-vehicle maintenance, then Hi-Lift jacks aren’t for you. You need to buy either a hydraulic or floor jack. While both of these options are still going to work in most conditions (assuming you buy an overland jack), they aren’t so good unless the land is very flat. You probably won’t want to be changing a tire while you are halfway up a steep, rocky hill, for instance.
Finally, you can also pick up inflatable jacks. These are a little trickier for us to recommend. Obviously, an inflatable jack is not really going to be that durable. They are only going to be for temporary lifting too. However, for those that want an affordable, portable option then inflatable jacks are the route to go down. Since the vast majority of inflatable jacks on the market are going to be completely terrible for off-road use, we are only going to be recommending one on this page.
Tips for Using Overland Jacks
Using an off-road jack isn’t that different from using a normal jack. In fact, the only real difference is that you are going to be in slightly more treacherous conditions. This means that you will probably want to take even greater care when it comes to assuring that you are using that jack safely.
Practice Using Your Jack at Home
Before you head out off-roading, make sure that you know exactly how you should be using your jack. It is going to be a lot easier deciphering the ins and outs of the jack in your driveway than it is being stuck halfway up a rocky, muddy, hill.
It should probably go without saying that you will need to read the manual for your overland jack so you know all of the features it offers. You need to know how to lift it up safely. You need to know how to make adjustments. You need to know how to remove safely. If you don’t know how to do just one of these things, then it simply isn’t safe to be using the jack.
Know Where to Put the Jack
Your vehicle will have several locations where you can place a jack. it is important to know where these are. Only ever place the jacks in these locations. If you don’t, then you run the risk of damaging the vehicle’s chassis.
Use the Jack on a Flat Surface if Possible
We know that this is not always going to be possible when using overland jacks. The very nature of off-roading means that you are not always going to be on flat land. However, if you can, try to position the jack so it is as flat as possible. It will reduce slippage and help to ensure that using the jack is reasonably safe. Although, we probably wouldn’t suggest crawling under that vehicle if you are trying to support it on rocks, soft ground, or a hill.
Chock the Tires Not Being Moved
This is something that may not always be possible when you are off-roading. However, if you want to be safe, you may want to try and chock the wheels whenever you can. It will help to prevent the vehicle from rolling which, of course, can be quite dangerous.
Check the Car is in Park
If you are planning on crawling under the vehicle, then you need to make sure that it is in park. If it isn’t, then you are just asking for a rather nasty accident. Most people will check several times just because of how important this is.
Use a Jack Base
A jack base is a small piece of plastic designed to stop the vehicle jack from sinking into the snow or mud. It will also help to prevent vehicle slippage while lifting. Most off-road jacks on the market will have a separate jack base that you can buy. For a small amount of extra cash, you will make using that vehicle jack a whole lot safer.
Safety with Hi-Lift Jacks
We do want to give a bit of extra special attention to safety using hi-lift jacks. This is because we have seen some horror stories from people that have used them incorrectly. We are talking injured faces, severed fingers, and crushed feet. If you use a hi-lift jack wrong, then you are looking at a rather serious injury.
The same basic safety rules as normal jacks apply. This means ensuring that you chock the wheels and practice using the hi-lift jack before you take it off-road. In fact, these rules are more important for hi-lift jacks than your standard jacks as there is a lot that can go wrong here.
Check the Minimum Lifting Weight for the Jack
For the most part, this probably isn’t going to be that much of an issue. However, if you are planning on lifting anything other than your vehicle, it is important.
Hi-Lift Jacks only work when they have a constant load being applied to them. If there is no load, or the load is too light, then that Hi-Lift Jack will come crashing down.
This is another reason why it is so important that the jack is attached to the vehicle properly. If it slips, then not only is that vehicle going to fall, but the jack is going to fall too. Many fingers have become trapped like this.
As you lower the vehicle down, it is important to remember that, at some point, there won’t be enough weight being pushed onto the jack. This is because that weight will be spread to the tires that have returned back to the ground. At some point, the jack mechanism will ‘give way’ as you are lowering things. Make sure that you are not underneath the jack handle when that happens.
Stand Far Away from the Jack
Don’t get too close to that jack when you are lifting the vehicle. Stand as far away from the jack as the handle allows. When you are off-road, there is always that risk of slippage and, trust us, you don’t want to be too close to the jack if that happens.
Move the Handle Through its Full Range of Motion
It is important that you move the handle through the full range of motion. This means moving it all the way up, and then all the way back down. If you don’t, then the jack could get stuck, and this poses a serious safety issue.
Do not Place Your Head or Legs Below the Handle
Due to the design of the jack, the weight of the vehicle can sometimes transfer directly to the handle of the jack. If this happens, the handle will swing with a great deal of force. If your head is above the handle, you will be knocked out.
Maintaining control of the jack handle at all times should help to prevent this.
Make Sure the Jack Foot is Stable
This is vital with a Hi-Lift Jack. Their design makes them naturally unstable in every direction. It is more important than ever to ensure that the jack is well-supported. An off-road jack base is a necessity here.
The Best Overland Jacks
Now we have gone through the criteria of choosing a good overland jack and given you a bit of safety advice, we can jump into sharing what we believe are the best products on the market.
Remember, each of these has been designed for a slightly different purpose. It is important that you understand the situations where the jack should be used. We have tried to highlight the most common uses for each jack type. However, always double-check the jack’s spec to ensure that it is the right choice for you.
ARB Off-Road Jack (Hydraulic)
You will find a couple of different off-road jacks from ARB on this list. This is because they are fantastic, durable pieces of kit. If you want something designed for quick lifting on uneven surfaces, then the ARB Off-Road Jack may be the right choice for you.
One of the brilliant things about the ARB Off-Road Jack is that you are able to adjust the supporting foot a full 360-degrees. This allows you to find a position where the Jack would be at its straightest. The adjustment is nice and quick, which ensures that you will be able to get your vehicle lifted up fast. You will be back on the trail before you know it.
The ARB Off-Road Jack is 48″, which can help to get your vehicle out of the trickiest of positions. Once it is attached to your vehicle and everything is set up properly, a single push of the lever will lift you up a full half-inch. When you want to remove the Jack, there is a two-stage descent. Descent is a nice, smooth, and above all, safe action.
The Jack is constructed from tough aircraft-grade aluminum. This means that not only is it capable of withstanding years of use, but it also ensures that the Jack is lightweight. This is great because nobody wants to be lugging around a heavy jack everywhere they go.
Despite being light, the Jack is capable of supporting up to 2000kg / 4,400lb of weight. This means that it should be suitable for most trucks, even when they have been loaded up with heavier gear.
You can even tell that ARB has put a huge amount of thought into the design of their product. The ergonomic handle negates the need for you to be kneeling down in the mud while jacking your vehicle. You have a bumper on the jack to protect your vehicle from any damage if something goes wrong, and you have nine different height settings to suit the situation. This is pretty much one of the most feature-packed hydraulic jacks on the market.
We recommend the ARB Jack when you are looking to temporarily lift up a vehicle when you are stuck off-road. The unique pivoting foot means the surface doesn’t even need to be flat. This can make it brilliant for use on hilly terrain. Pair this with the ARB Jack Base and you have a match made in heaven.
Hi-Lift Off-Road Jack
The Hi-Lift Off-Road Jack is a tricky product review. Not because it isn’t brilliant. It is. It is more the fact that there are eight different products in the range, each designed for a slightly different purpose. Most off-roaders are probably only going to be paying attention to two of their products, though:
- Hi-Lift Cast Steel
- Hi-Lift All-Cast
Feature-wise, there isn’t that much difference between the two. The former is the cheapest product in their range, while the latter adds a bit of extra durability for those that may be using the jack a bit more often. Beyond this, the specs are pretty much the same.
The most popular length for each of these models is 42″, which offers the following:
- Minimum lift height of 4.2″
- Maximum lift height of 32″
- Rated load of 4,660lbs
- Tested up to 7,000lbs
Connecting the Hi-Lift Off-Road Jack up to your vehicle is effortless. The long handle and well-constructed components make lifting your vehicle even easier.
The large footprint of the jack helps to keep things nice and sturdy while you are lifting. It isn’t really prone to sinking into the softer ground either. This makes it ideal for use in both the mud and snow.
Despite this jack being a rather simple design, it is even able to function at small angles. So, if you are stuck on a hill and you need to free yourself, then this jack is more than up to the challenge.
Perhaps the only real downside is the weight. It comes in at 25lbs. While it certainly isn’t the heaviest jack on this list, you probably wouldn’t want to be pulling it out of your truck too often.
Torin Off-Road Jack
The Torin Off-Road Jack isn’t really anything spectacular. It is a rather basic off-road jack. However, it gets the job done. It is the cheapest overland jack on this list too, so it is going to be great for those that want something good but don’t really want to break the bank.
The Torin Off-Road Jack claims that it can support up to 6,000lbs of weight. However, we would probably say that it is better for vehicles that are far below this. We wouldn’t really recommend using the Torin Off-Road Jack for anything above 4,000lbs. This is because it is a ridiculously cheap jack, and you don’t really want to be pushing it to the limit all that often.
That being said, there is no denying that this 48″ long all-steel jack is strong. If you give it a good wipe down after every use, then there is no reason why this wouldn’t be able to last you a good number of years, even with regular use.
For the low price, it is surprisingly stable on uneven and soft surfaces too., Again, probably not the best for those that need to be lifting their vehicle regularly, but for those that may be off-roading a couple of times per month, it is perfect.
Sadly, there is not much more to say about this piece of kit. As we said, it is not really spectacular on the feature front. It is there to lift your vehicle and that is it. Don’t expect adjustable supporting feet or bumpers. Just expect a jack that can lift your vehicle quickly without fuss.
ARB X Jack
The ARB X Jack is a little bit different from the jacks that we have talked about. This is because rather than being a rather large, metal piece of kit, it is nothing more than an inflatable bag. Although, it is probably one of the toughest inflatable bags that you are ever likely to use.
When you need to lift your vehicle quickly out of the mud or snow, you need the ARB X Jack. This jack comes with a hose that connects directly to the exhaust of your vehicle. Although, if you are not a fan of connecting equipment to your exhaust, you can always attach it to an air compressor. However you do it, the end result is the same. You will end up with an inflated jack.
This won’t be a weak inflatable jack either. It is capable of supporting up to 4,000lbs of weight, and it can lift the vehicle to a whopping 75cm in height. This means that the ARB X-Jack can pretty much deal with any tricky situation that you throw at it. It is quick to inflate too, which means you won’t be stuck in the road or snow for too long.
One of the brilliant things about the ARB X Jack is that it has a larger footprint than most other jacks. This means that the weight of the vehicle is spread out a little bit more. This helps the ARB X Jack from sinking into soft ground. So, you don’t have to worry about digging the jack out after a successful recovery attempt.
The unique shape of it also helps to ensure that the ARB X Jack can be used on even the most uneven of surfaces. It probably isn’t going to be the most stable if you are looking to recover your vehicle on a steep slope, but it will certainly get the job done.
Of course, since it is essentially an inflatable bag, the ARB X Jack does have a few limitations. For starters, it is not going to be anywhere near as durable as any of the other jacks we have talked about. You can’t expect it to last forever. While we doubt that you will be puncturing it, it is certainly a piece of kit designed for those that may not be using a jack all that often when driving off-road but still want to have something to hand just in case.
Finally, you should also remember that this is purely for vehicle recovery, not for carrying out repairs. While this is a pretty touch inflatable jack, perhaps one of the toughest we have seen, we certainly wouldn’t trust it if we were crawling underneath a vehicle, and that is all down to the fact that it is not as durable as the other options here.
Smittybilt Trail Jack
If you have paid even the smallest amount of attention to the world of off-road accessories, then you will have heard of Smittybilt. They have been around for well over 50-years now. While they mostly focus on the Landrover market, their off-road jacks can be used by just about any vehicle that is planning to head off-road.
While the Smittybilt Trail Jack isn’t really packed with features, it doesn’t need to be. It isn’t designed for the people that want a ‘top of the line’ overland jack. It has been designed for those that want something that will get the job done with the minimum of fuss.
Don’t expect lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum here. The Smittybilt Trail Jack is made of zinc-plated steel. It weighs a whopping 30lbs, but it is tough as nails. It has a rated capacity of 4,660lbs. This is the highest-rated capacity on this list. However, it has been tested up to 7,000lbs. Pretty much any off-road vehicle that you are driving can be lifted up with the Smittybilt.
Connecting it up to your vehicle is nice and simple, particularly if you have a Landrover. The long handle will help you lift that vehicle quickly and with a minimum of effort. Bringing it back down is a little bit trickier, but after a little bit of practice, you will get the hang of it.
If you are planning on using the Smittybilt, then you will want to ensure that the surfaces where you use it are as flat as possible. While it can cope with a small hill, you probably don’t want it to be too rocky. Beyond this, it doesn’t really matter if you are putting the Trail Jack on rain, snow, or sand. No matter the surface, you can be sure of stable support.
While the Smittybilt Trail Jack is a brilliant overland jack, we don’t really see it as the type of jack you would use regularly. Even if you put the heavy weight of it to one side, it is something that will rust easily. This is due to a lack of a protective coating. This means that it does need to be wiped down after every use, particularly if you are using it in muddy conditions.
The Smittybilt Trail Jack is probably best for thóse that know that they need a decent overland jack but don’t want to spend tons of cash on one. You are still going to end up with a quality overland jack if you pick up the Smittybilt, it is just going to be a bit tougher to haul around.
If you are off-roading a lot, then you need to get yourself an overland jack. It is one of the most useful pieces of kit that you can have in your vehicle, and you will be glad to have it if you end up getting trapped in some sticky mud or deep snow. All you need to do is make sure that you choose the right jack. Pick any one of the five products we just listed, and we are confident that you will end up with something that you are going to absolutely love using.