Overlanding, or car camping, is combining camping and off-roading into one hobby. While this is true, some like to think overlanding focuses more on the journey rather than the destination. It’s about the excursion, what you encounter during that excursion, and relying on one’s yourself and the essential tools brought with them to survive. You’re down to the bare minimum, staring right into Mother Nature’s creatures and rather extreme temperatures. For those that do choose overlanding, that’s the point.
Overlanding has multiple terms and can be done in a variety of ways. It can be what you want it to be – a long, simple, off-the-grid weekend to escape the hustle and bustle, or you can choose to embark on a month-long excursion to really clear your head and take in all nature has to offer.
Perhaps what really separates overlanding from camping is the mode of transportation for the adventure. So, to get started in the realm of overlanding, we’ve put a list together of everything you need to get the most out of your trip. Colorado Trailers is here to help guide you in the right direction!
How to Choose the right vehicle for overlanding
If you’re in need of a new vehicle, it’s probably the single most important step to consider once you decide to try overlanding. With that being said, there are a ton of options to choose from: SUVs, motorcycles, trucks, and even large vans. Whatever you choose, it must be equipped to withstand all forms of weather and terrain as you never know what you may encounter during your expedition. It also must have room to transport food, water, shelter, tools, and other overlanding necessities.
There isn’t a “best overlanding vehicle,” because everyone does it differently. Honestly, almost any vehicle you have can be turned into a great overlander. If you have any questions about it, the overlanding community is about as welcoming as you can get.
Overlanding asks quite a bit more from your vehicle than off-roading because they’re expected to stay out on the rough roads for long periods of time with little to no maintenance. You’ll want something that’s reliable and has plenty of storage space. To get the best experience, make sure your vehicle is four-wheel-drive, has off-road tires, and decent ground clearance. Below are a few of our recommendations.
- Jeep Wrangler
- Lexus GX
- Land Rover R4
- Toyota Tundra
- Toyota 4Runner
If you’re considering becoming an overlander, you are more than likely aware of the camping items you need to survive. Since you know the basics, (sleeping bag, water, food) and can find them with a quick internet search if you don’t, we’re going to focus on the off-roading part of overlanding.
Overlanding is more about bringing the right tools and equipment for your vehicle since it’s your main source of travel. You also want to have the best experience possible, and you’ll want to be equipped to combat any pitfalls. Here are some items to consider packing:
- Roof Rack – Almost all great overlanding rigs have a quality roof rack, also known as a “safari basket.” They significantly increase your cargo capacity. Be sure you purchase a high-quality one, so it doesn’t scratch the finish and it stays secure.
- Cargo Storage – You’ll need to bring any essentials with you, and you don’t have the space of a full RV if you choose overlanding. Look into in-bed cargo drawers that allow for more nooks and crannies for your items.
- Gas cans – You’re never lost until you’re out of gas! Running low or completely out of gas would put quite a damper on overlanding, so it’s essential to pack a few full gas cans with you.
- Recovery kit – You may get stuck in mud or fall off the road somewhere, and this is where you’ll be forever grateful for your recovery kit. Don’t risk taking on any rough terrain without one!
- Tool set – Overlanding is trying on all vehicles, and you never know when something may break or need maintenance. Familiarize yourself with a toolset so you’re equipped with the knowledge on how to mend small mishaps. You’ll more than likely be away from civilization, so you won’t have any help.
- Jack – Jacks are made for vehicles with high ground clearance and they give the ability to perform maintenance tasks like changing a tire. They may even help you get unstuck from rough terrain.
- Fire extinguisher – Your vehicle probably won’t catch fire, but there are parts on cars that are very flammable. So, having a fire extinguisher is crucial to preventing the fire from spreading.
- Portable generator – A generator isn’t a necessity, but if you have space, definitely pack one. It will give you the option to power electrical gear if needed
Stay abreast of new products
You can never do too much research. Again, the overlanding community is incredibly welcoming and warm, and there are a ton of online forums you can visit to ask questions without feeling incompetent about the subject. Staying up to date on all the new products will only make your overlanding experience that much better.
Are you an overlanding expert? Tell us your tips and tricks in the comments!