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Overlanding Essentials

Overlanding Essentials

8 minute read

When you just want to get away from it all, having the overlanding essentials to trek farther and stay out longer is essential. With the right overland gear, even novices can explore the outdoors in comfort while still pushing themselves and their vehicles to the limits. Whether your overlanding adventures are weekend getaways or span weeks on end, we’ve got you covered with the right off-road accessories backed by first-hand knowledge. As truck enthusiasts, we’re out there in the dirt, rain, and mud with our customers anytime they run our parts on their build, and we want to help you make sure you have everything you need to get off the road and make it home again.

Serious Self-Reliance

At its core, overlanding is essentially traveling by land, but for those who pursue it passionately, it is so much more. It can be a way to test yourself, find yourself, or just leave your regular life behind for a few days. When you leave for an overlanding trip, it’s just you and whatever you take with you as civilization fades in the rear-view mirror. Whatever your reason for pursuing overlanding as a lifestyle, you and your truck are on your own. It’s not about the destination (usually) but rather the journey and experiences along the way.

Where The Asphalt Ends

Most stock trucks roll off the assembly line built for the highways and city streets that criss-cross the country. While overlanding doesn’t have to be as extreme as those who prefer their off-roading flavored with mudslinging and rock crawling, it can get pretty bumpy and, sometimes, rough and tumble. We already covered some off-roading basics and must-have off-roading gear previously, so you have a pretty good idea of what you need in a vehicle that’s leaving the pavement behind. Now we’re going to look at some fine-tuned suggestions for overland essentials that may not be in every off-roading build.

Reliable Mid- to Long-Range Communication

A satellite communication device, like the Spot X 2-way Messenger, provides a more reliable way to communicate in an emergency. It’s small, rugged, and gets the job done when there’s not a tower around.We’ve talked about CBs and Cell Phones before, and they have their place in any off-road build, but if you’re planning a long trek, then your overland gear needs to include something a bit more reliable. CBs only work when you’re close to another user with “their ears on,” and cell phone towers still get spotty once you start driving through rural areas and mountain passes.

Check Your First Aid Kit

Dime store adhesive bandages won’t do much for a deep cut or a snake bite. You need a comprehensive first aid kit that is ready for any emergency you might face on the trail. Bumps, bruises, and sprains are going to happen, just like scrapes or minor cuts.

You may never need any splints, tourniquets, or other supplies for more serious injuries, but it’s better to have them and not need them. There are a range of options available to suit the type of journey you’re planning, and many of our first aid options can serve as starter kits that can be added to if needed or refilled with commercially available supplies should the need arise.

Navigation Materials

While you may be using a navigation system, even if it’s one on your phone, part of your overlanding essentials should include a hard copy of your maps and a compass. While you can download maps to electronic devices, should the battery drain, the devices malfunction, or get damaged, a hard copy can save the day. Area maps are readily available still at gas stations, truck stops, and travel plazas, although if you plan on really roughing it, trail maps, topographic maps, and waterproof maps may be more appropriate.

Be Ready To Bug Out

No, you won’t be encountering zombies or aliens on your adventure, but the true purpose of a bug out bag has always been having a single bag to grab in an emergency to make sure you have the minimum amount of equipment you need for survival. That means essential overlanding gear you can carry on foot if you need to leave your truck behind in the case of an emergency. Along with space for the already mentioned emergency communication, navigation, and first aid supplies, it should have some emergency food, a canteen or way to purify water, emergency blanket, and at least one set of dry clothes suitable for the environment and expected weather. The idea is that it’s comprehensive enough to keep you alive until help arrives but light enough that it’s easily transported to safety.

Spare Supplies

Since you won’t be able to run to your local tire shop, make sure you have two spare tires–on rims and ready to go–as well as an extra container of fuel. Many overlanders will also keep a spare bottle of the major motor fluids in the truck to handle any fluid emergency. If you use portable electronics heavily, this can also include spare batteries to make sure your equipment is charged and ready to go when needed.

The Tools Of The Trade

Every vehicle needs a minimum of a small tool kit to handle minor mechanical issues the driver may encounter. When you’re overlanding, however, it’s essential to have a wider range of tools you’re likely to need. This includes appropriate wrenches, sockets, and screwdrivers for normal vehicle work but also the tools you may need over an extended trek away from civilization. You’ll need a good compressor to make sure your tires stay properly inflated for the terrain. Hammers, files, hatchets, and shovels can all find a place in your long-distance kit. Overland gear can also include some extra fasteners for vehicle or camp use, spare rope to go along with your usual tow straps, and a compact saw suitable for firewood or cutting downed timber for clearing.

A Dry Place To Lay Your Head

To some overlanders, the idea of taking your own shelter is sacrilegious. After all, your truck is warm and dry, so a tent isn’t an overlanding essential. Others prefer a tent that allows them to fully stretch out and get out of the cab for a good night’s sleep. While both plans can work well, we’re here to bridge the gap with a truck-top tent. These comfortable shelters give you a great morning view, set up fast, and let you get out of the cab while still letting you sleep “in” the truck.

Nutrition And Hydration

Make sure you have enough food and water for the duration of your trip plus 48-hours. This covers you not only in the case of emergencies that may see you staying out longer than intended, but also if you end up needing more energy or water than you had planned on. Overlanding intersects with several other outdoor communities, such as hunters and foragers, who may plan their excursions around finding their own sustenance. If this is your style of overlanding, take shelf-stable backup supplies as a safety precaution, and just don’t touch them if you don’t need them.

Storage And Organization

One of the most overlooked essentials in overlanding has nothing to do with what you take, but how you take it. Keep your kit clean, neat, and organized. Custom storage makes sure there is a place for everything and everything stays in its place. This not only keeps you from leaving a vital piece of overlanding gear behind because you were “certain” it was already packed and just under the tent bag, but it can also help you keep from having to unload the entire truck looking for the one tool you need on the side of the trail.

Getting Back On The Trail

Roadside assistance doesn’t help when you’re off-roading way off the beaten path. Having the equipment to get you out of trouble as fast as you got into it is an overlanding essential. A basic recovery kit is a great start, but a good digout tool and a strong winch are worth their weight in gold when you’re alone and your truck is stuck. This gear helps make sure you make it home on time, even when the ride goes sideways.

Take Us With You

We’re truck enthusiasts ourselves, so we put our hearts and souls into helping others build better trucks. Whether you’re looking for the right part for your vehicle or need installation help, an off-road pro is just a phone call away. The parts we sell are the same parts our crew runs on their personal vehicles day-to-day. Order your overlanding essentials backed by the old-school customer service you love from Offroad Alliance.

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