Our Blog

Overland Gear - Overlanding Essentials for Your Off-Road Adventure

Overland Gear - Overlanding Essentials for Your Off-Road Adventure

9 minute read

When you customize your off-road truck or SUV with the right overlanding essentials, you’re getting a powerful tool to get away from it all, whether it’s for a weekend or weeks at a time. Overlanding is an increasingly popular off-roading pastime. From planning your trip down little-used trails to finding remote campsites, the off-grid camper gets a chance to explore and make use of a range of driving and woodcraft skills to create unique experiences for themselves, their friends, and their family. Central to this lifestyle is the vehicle that makes it all possible as transportation, lodging, and base station for adventure–all of which is made possible through the aftermarket parts that help you move beyond its stock limitations.

Camping, Glamping, and Overlanding

Every off-roader and their off-road vehicle create a unique story together, working in harmony to meet and overcome challenges, and that’s as true in overlanding as in any other part of off-roading. While some overlanders want to pack in every comfort of home on their trips, others will equip their vehicles with the overlanding essentials, a can-do attitude, and a full tank of gas. Some will range far off-grid, while others look for waypoints with electric hookups and nearby bathrooms. When choosing the right gear for your truck customization build, it’s important to understand what your goals are likely to be. This helps you ensure you have the equipment that lets you meet them while also ensuring you use your money efficiently for quality parts you need rather than over-building with gear you’ll never use.

Top Overlanding Essentials

While every build is tailored to the needs of the owner, there are some common overlanding essentials we see for almost every off-roader who wants their vehicle to help them get away from it all. From adding comfort to adding capabilities, these parts and accessories help turn your truck or SUV from “just” another trail runner into an off-grid camper that is ready for the long haul.

Rooftop Tents

Adding a tent to your rooftop rack ensures you will always find a dry place to lay your head at the end of a hard day’s drive. These elevated homes-away-from-home turn your truck or SUV into a stable raised platform that helps keep you safer from the elements and critters while also saving a bit of cargo space inside the vehicle and keeping your campsite tidier. Park it, erect the tent, and climb on up for a good night’s sleep.

One of the most exciting rooftop tentmakers on the market is James Baroud Tents, and their new James Baroud Frontier Odyssey is already making waves with the refinements that build on the success of their Evasion and Grand Raid platforms. A hard-shell pop-up design, it is strong, lightweight, and built with European-designed comfort and convenience features that work just as well in the American wilderness. 

The Odyssey fits up to two adults and a child, can be set up in minutes by a single person thanks to the pneumatic struts that automatically open the tent for you, and it provides a full 360-degree view of the surrounding countryside through large windows that can be sealed to resist the elements, provide better thermal insulation, and dampen sounds to a degree no other tent can match. A high-density foam mattress, LED tent/flashlight, and solar-powered ventilation fan are all included, and every James Baroud tent comes with a telescoping ladder that makes getting to bed easier, even on uneven terrain.

Caps or Canopies

SUVs already provide plenty of secured interior cargo space, but a good bed cap is an overlanding essential for off-road trucks. Caps are the Swiss Army Knives of bed accessories, providing cargo space, secure campsite storage, riding space for man’s best friend, and even as an off-grip camper in a pinch when you are too tired to set up a tent or the tent is already full and you have more bodies than bed space. The right bed cap works as hard as the rest of your vehicle at improving your overlanding experience.

The gold standard of bed caps is the SmartCap EVO line of canopies designed to stand up to the perils of the African desert. Built with a modular design from stainless steel similar to the body panels of your truck, the SmartCap EVOa Adventure and SmartCap EVO Sport keep out the elements with strong seals and a positive pressure vent system. They also improve cargo management with the addition of cargo bins or drawers behind the large side gullwings. MOLLE panels are available for the inside of the wings, and custom panels for the roof and bins are on the way. For those who like to take their off-grid camper to the next level, tables, full kitchen set-ups, and more can be added to create a campsite fit for a king and his court of loyal followers. 

Portable Power

When off-grid means off-grid, packing in your own power is a must. Extra batteries are overlanding essentials, but chargers and generators let you do even more with your vehicle and its accessories. Even when you’re “roughing it,” you’ll need to make sure your vehicle is ready to start up and head home when it’s time to come in from the field. If you want to make sure you have some creature comforts, however, your build will need to plan around your intended power usage.

The Goal Zero Boulder 200 Briefcase Solar Charging Kit is an effective solar charging solution. With two 100-watt solar panels and an integrated 20A controller, it can easily keep 12v DC batteries charged and ready for action. It can be folded and stored easily to and from the campsite but offers a large surface area that can be easily positioned and repositioned to capture energy throughout the day.

To make the most of your solar cells, a solar generator or power station like the Yeti 1000x gives you a large battery with commonly used power hookups that gear and appliances can be plugged directly into rather than burning fuel to run your motor. Whether you’re powering camp lights, refrigeration, or electric off-grip camper accessories like grills, stoves, or heaters, it’s a smart way to ensure your overlanding trip is both successful and comfortable.

Keep on Route and in Touch

Just because you’re an off-grid camper doesn’t mean you have to be completely out of touch and unsupported while in the field. Off-road tech and communication devices are overlanding essentials that have come a long way from the old CB radio and road map days. Modern communications technology can make sure that you have the resources you need, even when you’re miles away from civilization or the nearest cell tower. 

The Garmin 750i navigation and communication system gives you the tools you need in the field for safety and utility. You’ll be able to send SMS text messages to friends, family, or the office and call for emergency help if it’s needed through Garmin’s global Iridium satellite network, which ensures you’re never too far off the grid to call for help. Garmin is renowned for its GPS navigation devices, and you’ll find a fully featured suite of maps, apps, and programs to help you plan your trips and find your way there and back again. It even has an 8-megapixel camera to help you better capture your adventures. While subscription fees apply for some services, it’s a great value for the peace of mind its resources provide.

Campsite Favorites

The big difference between overlanding and backpack camping is the cargo capacity you have for bringing the perfect equipment even farther from home. For some off-roaders, this means you’ll have creature comforts, while others will use it to bring the equipment that makes being an off-grid camper possible. Let’s take a look at some of the options available to help equip your next outing.

Refrigeration is a modern convenience you don’t have to leave behind when you go off-grid. Vehicle fridges can keep your beers cold and your food fresh, but for some, they can also keep temperature-sensitive medication from spoiling so they can maintain their health and an active outdoor lifestyle. The ARB 63 qt Fridge Freezer is a great example. There's plenty of space to bring the essentials from home with you while also offering room to keep fresh catches safely stored overnight or to take home with you.

After a hard day, a man’s got to eat. Ditch the rickety camp stove for the versatile iKamper Disco modular kitchen system. Food can be cooked directly on the skillet over the tripod, but the tripod can also serve as cooking irons over a campfire. The included burner is small and efficient, allowing it to be mounted on the tripod or on any stable surface. This is perfect for providing direct heat to pan-fry, boil, and sear your dinner to perfection. When it’s time to break camp, the entire unit folds down to a small package that can easily fit in a storage bag for loading and unloading.

Get Out There And Have Some Fun

Our team of off-road experts is ready to help you build your vehicle with the overlanding essentials that will help you do more with your ride. If you need more parts information, guidance, or to talk to an installation pro, they’re only a phone call away days, nights, and weekends. Get the parts you need from our US-based warehouses, backed by the old-school service you’ll love. Order your off-grid camper gear and accessories from Offroad Alliance today.

« Back to Blog