Sure, you can buy a purpose-built off-road beast like the Jeep Gladiator or the Toyota 4Runner to go overlanding, but the vehicle is only the first step toward your dream adventure. If you plan to leave the pavement and the grid behind, you’re going to need the beast overlanding gear — whether it's basic camping supplies, an awesome rooftop tent to keep you high and dry, or vital and durable safety equipment.
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What Is Overlanding?
Overlanding is a style of off-roading that involves long-haul driving routes on unmaintained dirt roads and trails. Typically these trips are multi-day or week excursions that require an investment in your vehicle and gear. Like backpacking, overlanding is just as much about the journey as it is about the destination, but these adventures will take you further than you could ever go on foot.
When you think of off-roading, your mind may gravitate toward mudding or rock crawling, and while you will encounter these obstacles along the way, the focus of overlanding is much broader. These excursions won’t be your typical road trip to Mount Rushmore, as more planning, navigation and slow driving are involved.
What Makes Good Overlanding Gear?
It all starts with your car, and as much as we love the family minivan, unfortunately, it won't be making the cut. In fact, stock Jeeps and Tacomas may even be calling for a lift and some mud tires, depending on the difficulty of the trails you plan on tackling. There will be many decisions to make your setup work best for you, but having a high-clearance 4-wheel-drive truck or SUV will be integral in starting the process.
Your gear needs to be able to handle the elements and rigors of the outdoors. To save space for your soft goods, many end up mounting their heavy-duty gear on the outside of their vehicle, especially items that you may need easy access to, such as your hi-lift jack or shovel. This leads me to say that products with quick setups make life on the road more enjoyable. Like when you are backpacking, no one wants to spend half the trip setting up and breaking down camp.
Having reliable gear should come first and foremost when going off the grid. This is not the time to cheap out on equipment as you can easily find yourself in a situation many miles away from any people or even cell phone reception. There will be challenges along the way, so preparing for the worst is necessary. The reality of the situation is that things break, tires go flat and you will get stuck in some mud, but that is all part of the adventure.
With the exciting trip ahead, here is your must-have overlanding gear.
Whether you want a little extra storage or an apartment on wheels, these off-road-ready trailers have you covered.
For the Weekend Jeepers and Pavement Princesses alike.
If you’ve always enjoyed the top bunk, you should invest in a rooftop car tent.