Tires If you're planning to venture off the tarmac, the first (and easiest) upgrade to make is a purpose-built set of tires with a deep tread to keep your grip on mud, snow, sand, or ice.
Hitch Putting a hitch on your vehicle, whether you're planning on towing anything or not, is a good idea. It provides a mounting point for a wide array of accessories, such as a bike rack, spare tire carrier, or even a BBQ. It also offers a solid tow point, if for some reason you need to be pulled out of a ditch.
Lift Kit Ground clearance is crucial. You want the most room under the vehicle without sacrificing balance. Even a few inches of boost will decrease the chances that obstacles will stop you in your tracks. Kit contents will vary, depending on the configuration of your vehicle.
Suspension and Bushings Although the idea is sometimes grouped with lift kits, replacing your stock suspension setup with heavy-duty springs, hardware, and bushings should not only lift but also strengthen your vehicle. A snapped bolt or blown bushing will leave you stranded; swapping out rubber for polyurethane bushings and stock steel for high-tensile-strength, corrosion-proof bolts is money well spent.
Skid Plate Even with a lifted truck, it's not if, but when the sometimes delicate underbelly of your vehicle will come in contact with terrain. A high-quality skid plate is essentially armor, protecting your radiator, engine pan, and drivetrain from potential disaster-causing boulders.
Bull Bar When you can't go over it, you'll need to go through it. Like a cow catcher on a locomotive, a decent bull bar will help you clear a path and keep your front end damage-free.
Winch A strong winch can pull you out of sticky situations. It's also handy to help fellow off-roaders when they need a helping hand.
Roof Rack Odds are you'll be bringing a ton of extra gear into the bush. A roof rack and some heavy-duty straps will give you the extra storage to take it all with you. If vehicle weight is a concern, opt for an aluminum model (it will also stand up to the elements better than a steel one).
Light Bar Muhammad Ali once said you can't hit what you can't see, but when going off-road, the opposite is true: You'll most definitely hit what you can't see. Light bars—either a set of classic yellow smiley faces or modern, stadium-grade LED lamps—will prove invaluable as you venture out past the streetlights.
Snorkel If you're planning on blasting through a sandstorm or wading through more than a foot or two of water, an intake snorkel is a useful modification that will prevent your engine from sucking in thick dust or water.