If you’re not familiar with or haven’t been overlanding, then it’s definitely time you try out the trendy outdoor activity. Though it is relatively new across America, this concept of traveling in rural or backcountry areas by overland vehicle or truck is not new elsewhere. The idea is that the trip is about seeing the landscape and the actual drive rather than the destination. Along the way, people camp rather than stay in a hotel and are fully self-sustained thanks to all of their camping gear.
It’s a great way to travel across the country or to explore a region in depth without the confines of setting up a central base. So if you’re ready to give overlanding a try, start collecting these pieces of gear to add to what you already have for camping or backpacking.
Outfit Your Car
While you obviously need to have the right car to be able to overland and go off-road, there are still some pieces of gear that you’ll need to outfit your vehicle with so you can fit everything you need. One of the biggest key pieces of gear many overlanders opt for is a rooftop tent. Some fit into the bed of a truck while others sit right on top of the vehicle’s roof. Roofnest is a great brand to explore for an option that suits your needs, budget, and vehicle type.
Roofnest Falcon XL
The Roofnest Falcon XL is one of the most convenient, durable and versatile options on the market. Its clamshell construction allows you to simply open up the outer hardcover and push the tent up until it is fully expanded. Simply lock the support bars in place and climb inside. Made with honeycomb aluminum, an anti-condensation pad, and LED lights, you can spend more time relaxing and enjoying your surroundings instead of setting up camp. This tent is also great for almost every kind of vehicle and will allow you to pack up camp in just minutes to hit the road again.
Thule Tepui Explorer Kukenam 3
If you’re fairly quick with constructing a tent and time is less of a concern or factor, then you might want to consider a more budget-friendly option from Thule. This car tent is also made with welded aluminum tubes, but it must be set up like most regular camping tents — with tension rods. This spacious four-season tent can sleep up to three people and comes with a high-density foam mattress for a good night’s sleep. You’ll also find the ripstop tent fabric is mold-resistant and shields from UV rays, making maintenance relatively easy.
Thule Tepui Low-Pro 2
The Thule Tepui Low-Pro 2 car tent is one of the most cost-effective options that doesn’t forgo quality. This three-season tent sleeps two people and must be constructed like a traditional tent. Though the tent is lighter due to its recyclable tent material, the ripstop fabric is actually flame retardant, and resists UV rays and mold as well. Those looking for a basic rooftop tent for a car with a rooftop rack can’t go wrong with this no-frills Thule option so long as a more traditional tent is acceptable.
Read more: Best Rooftop Tents
Pack for Emergencies
Another key piece of equipment for overlanding is a winch that can be affixed to your off-roading vehicle. Warn makes great products that can get anyone out of almost any jam while exploring in remote areas.
Rough Country Pro 9500 Series Winch
The Rough Country Pro 9500 Series winch comes with everything you could need to pull yourself out of a tough situation while out on the road. This water- and dust-proof winch features a 100-foot steel cable that can hoist up to 9,500 pounds which is enough for pulling many things out of a tight spot. Be sure that the terminals are tight before cranking it up, but once you’re up and running, the speed of this winch is quite good. You might also want to consider picking up a cover for the winch to keep it in top condition when it isn’t being used.
X-Bull 13,000-lb 4WD Winch
If you are concerned you might need more power behind your winch for pulling very heavy loads, then spring for the X-Bull 12V 13,000-pound 4WD winch. This waterproof winch has a 13,000-pound capacity and comes with wireless remotes so you can easily man the winch from afar. Expect a pull time ranging between seven to more than 25 feet per minute depending on the load weight. The braided synthetic wire rope is strong enough to pull your heaviest loads and can handle harsh conditions, so it’s a great piece of gear to have on hand.
Air Compressor and Deflator Kit: Finally, you’ll need an air compressor and a deflator kit to prep your tires for certain terrains. For example, tires with lower pressure maneuver better over sand and rocks. That’s why a deflator is necessary for many overlanders followed by the air compressor to inflate the tires back to normal pressure after leaving the sandy or rocky landscape behind.
ARB 4×4 Tire Inflation and Deflator Kit Bundle
The ability to readily increase or decrease your tire pressure is one of the most important things you must be able to handle while overlanding. That’s why this ARB kit bundle is one of the best buys available. The deflator tool allows you to decrease the amount of air in the tires very quickly and with great control so your vehicle can easily navigate all kinds of terrain. Just slide the pin in the tool in or out to control how much air is being let out. When paired with your air compressor, the inflator tool is also very fast and easy to use. It will quickly replace the air in your tires so the vehicle will be road-read in no time. You can also pick up the ARB 12V air compressor if you don’t already have one.
Invest in Storage
Overlanding is very much like an extreme form of backpacking; however, overlanders require more gear. That’s why it is very important to have quality storage options for a great organization and the ability to put all of the gear up in its proper place. These storage containers can often be used as step stools and double as camp tables, too.
Yeti has great options such aswhich is great for storing, and Pelican is another option as well. provide great, high-quality storage containers that will last a long time and stand up to the pressures of overlanding be it tough situations, too much gear to organize, or strenuous weather conditions.
Don’t Forget the Essentials
Of course, you have to have your camping essentials, too, like a sleeping bag, a stove, proper clothing, and much more. There are some more specialized pieces of gear better suited to overlanding that you might want to splurge on, too. While you could sit on top of a storage container or pack a camp chair, there’s another option that’s so much more fun. It’s a hitch hammock that lets you relax the way you love to even if there are no trees to hang your hammock on nearby.
Another game-changing piece of equipment worth considering is a bug net that snaps around your vehicle’s windows. This way, you can sleep or hang out inside your vehicle if you’d like without dying of heatstroke. Just snap the bug net around the window and enjoy a fresh breeze from inside the car without letting the biting pests inside as well.
No matter where you want to overland, those who get into it can easily customize their kit with gear that fills every need they have. But until you get there, these essential components will help you start overlanding in no time.
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