So, what is overlanding and how do I get started? These are common questions we hear most days. As overlanding has exploded in popularity, many eager enthusiasts are looking to get started. So, join us as we share the tricks of the trade and why we believe that overlanding is good for the soul.
What is Overlanding?
Overlanding is a combination of remote traveling, off-roading, and camping. It involves traveling long distances on a self-reliant adventure to remote destinations. The focus is not the destination, but the journey itself. This journey can have you scaling massive boulders, trudging through deep mud or waters, and traversing through rugged terrain. A trip can be a quick weekend getaway to backcountry roads or can last for months (or even years) and span across international borders. At the end of the day, all you need is a dependable mode of transportation, a strong will, an open mind, and a sense of adventure.
Why Get Out There?
Overlanding goes beyond exploration and discovery of new places. It can improve mental health, allowing you to reconnect with yourself, others and nature.
Improves Overall Well-Being
Going out in the wilderness, away from the stresses of daily life, can significantly boost your mental state. It allows you to connect directly with the natural world around you without external interruptions. You can concentrate on your passions, whether you prefer cycling, hunting, hiking, or other outdoor activities. There’s nothing better for your soul than sleeping under the stars or sharing stories around the campfire with your loved ones. These are the moments that come together to form a lasting adventure.
Connecting with Others
Many strong bonds and long-lasting friendships started with overlanding. The shared love for the sport and adventure brings together people of all ages and from all walks of life. From locals to foreigners, solo adventurers, couples, and groups—overlanding unites like-minded explorers.
There’s always that feeling of thrill and excitement whenever we go to unfamiliar places; to become a stranger taking roads that are less traveled. That joy of appreciating the exploration rather than focusing on the destination. This is what overlanding is all about.
Can I Overland?
You don’t have to be Indiana Jones to be an overlander. As long as you have a passion for adventure and love for the outdoors, you can do it! Nature lovers, wellness aficionados, and adrenaline junkies are just some of those who are falling in love with overlanding.
When Is the Best Time to Overland?
Some would say that summer is the best time to travel because the weather conditions are best. However, seasoned overlanders would say that anytime is the right time to overland! Spring is a perfect time with mild weather and magnificent blooming floras, while winter is an excellent choice if you want to conquer the elements.
Where Do I Go?
Knowing where to go isn’t actually as difficult as it seems. There are several online resources, groups, clubs, and communities that offer general planning tips and destinations. The most notable ones include the Bureau of Land Management and National Forest Foundation. Whether you’re planning to go to a mountain, desert, an established campground, or other popular overlanding sites, there is information available for you. Stay tuned and check out our very own compilation of the best overlanding destinations coming soon.
How do I Start Overlanding?
Now, for the exciting part. You are physically and mentally ready. Your daring and adventurous side can’t wait to get out there. So, how do you prepare? What do you need? Is there a checklist? Don’t fret! We’ve got you covered. We have compiled below some of the basic gear, essentials, and equipment for your next trip.
First things first, you want to make sure you have a reliable vehicle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a truck. The best overlanding vehicles can range from SUVs, vans, trucks, and even motorcycles. The vital part here is that your vehicle can overcome rough terrain and meet your needs. Popular choices include Toyota’s Tacoma, 4Runner, and Land Cruiser, as well as Ford Ranger and Jeep Wrangler.
Where to Sleep
Every overlanding journey comes to a pause for rest or relaxation. See to it that you have a comfortable and safe shelter. You can install a rooftop tent, sleep in a ground tent or inside your vehicle. Rooftop tents are popular with overlanders because they are versatile, easy to install and use, comfortable to sleep in and can attach to almost any car! All you need are sturdy roof bars, roof rails, or roof rack to hold your tent securely.
When it comes to overlanding gear, the sky's the limit. For starters, repair tools and recovery gear like tracks, straps, and ramps are must-haves. Overlanding lights are essential for safety, navigation, and campsite lighting. You will also need a power source such as a portable battery charger, generator or solar panel. Storage boxes and roof or bed racks can organize your gear and store camping essentials like food, Jerry cans, water jugs, kitchen supplies, toiletry items, etc. Protective gear like skid plates that safeguard your vehicle from undercarriage damage are also beneficial. Other useful accessories include awnings, truck bed covers, portable camp kitchens and showers, among many others.
Before you embark on your expedition, here are some helpful safety tips.
Ensure that your vehicle is in top shape
Learn your vehicle's mechanisms
Always bring first-aid kits and recovery gear
Know the basics of overlanding
Know where you’re going
Note hospitals, grocery stores, and fuel stations near your overlanding location
Keep a map with you (in case navigational tools fail)
Be mindful of the weather
Adjust tire pressure according to the terrain
Be careful with muddy, slippery, or snowy terrain
Have basic recovery knowledge (check out our rescue blog soon)
Be alert; rest when you have to
Overlanding is unique, exciting, and fulfilling. With the right knowledge and gear, there is nothing you can’t conquer! So, are you ready to start your journey?