In the world of off-road adventure, it always pays to be prepared for any situation that might come your way — including the dreaded possibility of a vehicle fire. Vehicle fires can start for a multitude of different reasons, and they all end with extremely undesirable results. Not only can a vehicle fire injure you and others, destroy your property, and leave you stranded — but in the wrong off-road setting, they could also trigger a dangerous forest fire.
Below, we’ll look at some options for off-road fire suppression. A few bucks spent on a quality fire extinguisher for your 4×4 is, after all, money well spent on protecting your investment.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor’s Pick: First Alert Fire Extinguisher
- 2. Best Professional Pick: H3R Performance HG250B Fire Extinguisher
- 3. Mini Firefighter MFF01
- 4. H3R Performance MX250B Fire Extinguisher
- 5. Lifeline USA 4-Litre Foam Auto Racing Fire Extinguisher
- 6. AFO Fire Ball
- 7. Kidde Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher
- What You Need to Know: Safety First
- Mark It
- Owner Reviews
- Keep it Secure
- Go Big
- Get Familiar
1. Editor’s Pick: First Alert Fire Extinguisher
Great reviews, plenty of brand confidence, plenty of choice, and some solid-looking performance put the First Alert Fire Extinguisher in our Editor’s Choice position with ease. This rechargeable fire extinguisher is a multipurpose unit that’s built to last—but also to help fight a wide range of fires, including those fueled by gas and oil, should the need arise. A corrosion-resistant, easy-to-read gauge is included for quick inspections, and the waterproof instruction label is built to stick around for the long haul.
Owner reviews are excellent overall, with several users reporting that they love the size, and that the First Alert Fire Extinguisher is a convenient size for a small car. This one looks sturdy, capable, and powerful, and comes backed by one of the most well-known brands in the industry.
2. Best Professional Pick: H3R Performance HG250B Fire Extinguisher
Our top pick for the professional goes to this well-rated extinguisher from H3R. The H3R Performance HG250B Fire Extinguisher comes with twice the size and fire-stopping power of smaller units, so you’re less likely to be outgunned by a challenging or rapidly spreading fire. The chemical formulation leaves no mess or damage if discharge occurs within a vehicle. It also prevents thermal shock to vehicle electronics, and an all-metal valve is featured for minimal maintenance and a long service life.
The H3R Performance HG250B Fire Extinguisher is EPA approved, and ships with a mounting bracket that includes a keyed bracket that helps eliminate the possibility of rotation and accidental discharge. Owner reviews clock in at 5 stars, helping add further appeal. Just note that the black color may limit visibility and ease of retrieval of this high-end fire extinguisher in certain situations.
3. Mini Firefighter MFF01
This might not be the largest fire extinguisher on the scene, but the Mini Firefighter MFF01 makes it easy to keep a fire extinguisher in your ride if space is at a premium. If it’s not, remember that some enthusiasts even keep several of these fire-fighting canisters packed safely into a box or case within their vehicle.
The Mini Firefighter MFF01 is an aerosol can with a trigger release and directed nozzle. When needed, it sprays a jet of expanding, fire-eating foam in the direction it’s pointed. It’s also formulated to withstand extreme temperatures, so you can leave it in your vehicle all year round. Clean up is simple with a wipe-down by a damp rag, and the product is non-toxic.
Best of all, the Mini Firefighter MFF01 is ready for use on wood, gasoline and electrical fires, and can even fight fires fueled by oil and grease. Very solid and plentiful owner reviews were great to see.
4. H3R Performance MX250B Fire Extinguisher
This fire extinguisher drummed up our curiosity by way of its virtually perfect owner reviews and its interesting black color. The H3R Performance MX250B is a dry-chemical Fire Extinguisher that’s designed to blend in nicely with a black interior—though the black canister may make the extinguisher harder to spot in an emergency.
As a result, the H3R Performance MX250B Fire Extinguisher is likely a good fit for a shopper who wants to maintain the factory appearance of their interior, and who is also likely to be the extinguisher’s only possible user.
A mounting bracket is included, and owners tend to appreciate a high-quality feel combined with compact, easy-to-mount sizing. The H3R Performance MX250B Fire Extinguisher also has some sports-car users mounting it to a bracket that places it just ahead of the lower, frontal edge of the driver’s seat, for a discreet install that’s easily within reach.
5. Lifeline USA 4-Litre Foam Auto Racing Fire Extinguisher
If you take fire safety seriously, want to step your fire suppression game, and especially if you’re involved in weekend motorsports with your off-roader, the Lifeline USA 4-Litre Foam Auto Racing Fire Extinguisher might be the product for you. Light, compact, environmentally compatible and equipped with a generously sized tank, it’s designed for permanent mounting inside of a vehicle. Included are special plumbing provisions and nozzles designed to automatically direct the foam fire suppressant to up to 8 individual locations.
Users will have to plan out the installation of the Lifeline USA 4-Litre Foam Auto Racing Fire Extinguisher for their specific application. In the event of a fire, simply pull one of the two included pull-cords to unload the 4-pound canister, via each directed nozzle. Just note that this extinguisher is not designed for quick removal from the vehicle, which limits its effectiveness to on-board and engine fires. The Lifeline USA 4-Litre Foam Auto Racing Fire Extinguisher delivers strong results when used on engine fires, and includes enough tubing and pull-cable for just about any application.
6. AFO Fire Ball
Here’s a unique way to put out a fire if we ever saw one. The AFO Fire Ball is basically a self-activating fire extinguisher that comes wrapped up in a shiny red ball. It’s handheld, and when something’s been set ablaze, you toss, roll or throw it into the fire. The heat from the flames triggers the Fire Ball to spew forth its flame-busting contents automatically after a few seconds of contact.
Interestingly, the AFO Fire Ball can be mounted in a fire-prone area, once placed within a special stand (provided). With this setup, the Fire Ball will automatically trigger in the event of a fire, even if nobody’s around. You can’t do that with a fire extinguisher — but we’d still tend to use the AFO fireball for the campfire, trailer, or outdoor cooker, and stick with something a little more conventional for the trails.
It’s compatible with 3 types of fires and is non-toxic, but we can’t help but wondering whether anyone nearby would recognize this as a fire extinguisher in the event of an emergency.
7. Kidde Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher
Though it’s not called out clearly as an off-road fire extinguisher in the literature, the Kidde Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher makes its way onto our page for its good combination of affordability, decent owner reviews, brand recognition, and powerful fire-fighting punch.
The Kidde Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher can blast its dry-chemical charge up to 15 feet, over up to 15 seconds. Compatible with all types of fires, it also includes a pressure gauge for easy regular inspection and is made largely of powder-coated aluminum for a lightweight, long-lasting life.
Owner reviews for the Kidde Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher are very good, though some owners complain of receiving units with low pressure readings on the included gauge. If yours arrives without sufficient pressure, return the unit. Check the return policy, too, as this can be tricky for fire extinguishers.
Scour the owner reviews carefully for some ideas on how to install this one to your vehicle interior, too.
What You Need to Know: Safety First
Your investment in an off-road fire extinguisher is a great investment in your safety, and the safety of those in and near your vehicle. Just remember that the fire extinguisher you choose may have numerous requirements to ensure its safe and effective operation—including the need to regularly inspect the extinguisher itself. Just like any piece of equipment, a fire extinguisher needs a little up-close attention, inspection, and maintenance every so often to make sure it’s in tip-top shape.
Check your extinguisher’s manual to determine any maintenance and care requirements. You’ll also want to determine whether or not it needs to be replaced after a certain period of time: some fire extinguishers have an expiry date, and others do not. If you’re not sure how long your extinguisher will last, ask the seller. Many users choose to pre-emptively replace their fire extinguisher every so many years, for maximum peace of mind.
In the event of a fire-related emergency, things can happen fast. That’s why it’s a great idea to identify your vehicle as equipped with an on-board fire extinguisher to those nearby. If you’re off-roading with a group, consider telling your fellow drivers that you have a fire extinguisher in your ride, and ask anyone else in the group equipped with one to do the same.
Special high-visibility fire extinguisher decals are also available to fix to your vehicle, identifying the fire extinguisher at a glance. Consider using an identification decal with an image of a fire-extinguisher, rather than a text-only decal, for maximum likelihood of it being identified.
Unlike most of the things we buy, fire extinguishers are an item most of us hope we never need to use. In fact, many customers who buy fire extinguishers don’t ever need to use them. Take this into consideration before heading to the owner reviews section of the extinguisher you’re considering. If you’re interested in more information, you’re likely best to check out the brand’s website, or to contact the seller.
Keep it Secure
You’ll want to take whatever steps are necessary to properly and firmly secure your fire extinguisher to the inside of your vehicle. After selecting an appropriate location for the fire extinguisher assembly, be sure to select a strong, high-quality mount if not already included with your extinguisher. Some fire extinguishers include mounting provisions, and others do not. In any case, be sure to attach things firmly, as a fall from a poorly-secured mount can damage your extinguisher, and letting it roll around freely in your vehicle is a bad idea for a whole bunch of reasons.
When shopping out a fire extinguisher, it’s generally best to go as big as possible. Especially considering that your off-road vehicle is likely to be carrying (or in close proximity to) highly combustible things like auxiliary fuel tanks, spare bottles of engine oil, and forests, you definitely don’t want to skimp on the size of your fire protection.
Not all fire extinguishers, or the fire-extinguishing formulations they use, are created equal. There’s a wealth of information available online about how fire extinguishers are rated, which types of fires they’re compatible with, and where they should, and shouldn’t, be used. When considering a fire extinguisher, be sure to carefully research your choice, to ensure you wind up with the right product for the application. At a minimum, you’ll likely want a fire extinguisher that’s compatible with electrical, gas, oil, grease and wood fires.
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