From the RubiconTrail.org website:

This information is intended to give the reader an idea of what type of vehicle is needed to run the Rubicon Trail. These are recommendations only; it is up to you to be safe and thoughtful when using the trail.

If you have the driving skills, a brand new stock Wrangler can be driven through the Rubicon, taking the bypasses. Most people should expect sheet metal damage, at a minimum. Larger tires (33”), a lift kit (3”), body protection (rocker guards) and a locking or limited slip differential should be considered to prevent damage.

Vehicle accessories you should consider:

  • Hand tools
  • Spare parts
  • A spare tire
  • Onboard welder
  • A fire extinguisher
  • A Winch rated at roughly twice your vehicle’s weight, preferably equipped with synthetic rope
  • Extrication hardware (tree strap, clevis, dowels, chain, etc.)
  • A tow strap
  • Work gloves
  • A Hi-lift jack
  • Adequate attachment points for towing (tow hooks!)
  • A roll cage
  • High quality seat belts
  • A functional parking brake or Line Lock device

Remember to maintain your vehicle prior to coming to the trail! Poorly maintained vehicles leak, are unsafe, and tend to break down, ruining your trip for you and your group.

The following list is from the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs. These items are required to partake in a CA4WDC sponsored event. This is a good starting place to prepare for a Rubicon run.

All vehicles must be maintained to conform to highway safety standards, as well as meet the minimum requirements listed below:

  • Roll bar or full cage or factory hard top
  • Functional Parking brake or Micro-Lock Tow
    strap or rope. (recommend rated at 2 times thevehicle weight).

  • First aid kit (what do you want when you are hurt?)
  • Jack capable of lifting the vehicle and a tool capable of removing lug nuts (don't forget your wheel locks)
  • Spare tire equal to or within 3 inches of existing tires on the vehicle. (no temporary spares).
  • Fire extinguisher with gauge indicating good/full, appropriately stored.
  • Seat belts for all passengers.
  • Antennas must not exceed 4'6" (except when longer antennas/whips are required by certain OHV areas).
  • Adequate attachment points front and rear, i.e., tow hooks, receiver, etc. Tow balls are generally not recommended.
  • Battery hold downs (no bungee cords)
  • In case of trouble, carry an oil spill recovery kit. These can be picked up the kiosk at no charge. The kits are provided by El Dorado County.