Overland Overview: The Road to Going Off-roadPosted by Weston Joslyn, Contributor | 08.15.2019
Adventure. The word itself evokes emotion, memories, and our most fervent dreams of freedom. Most of us want it. Many of us crave it. But there are some that need it.
What is “Overlanding”?
Overlanding is the recreational joy of self-reliant adventure travel. This hobby is usually characterized as a focus on the journey and camping along the way. It is most commonly done in a rugged off-road capable vehicle. Adventure-minded people are usually attracted to the journey itself. There is a degree of necessary self-reliance that appeals to many adventurers. When seeking out remote areas with only what you bring along to support you, there is an advantageous marriage between the gear you choose to bring and the longevity of your impromptu base camp.
There is an iconic association with overlanding and rooftop style tents though many types of tents can be used. This style of tent allows camping nearly anywhere that you can park your vehicle. There’s a hugely functional enjoyment of being high up off the ground to avoid unexpected flooding conditions. There’s also an added level of safety and peace-of-mind being out of reach from most wildlife and creepy-crawlies that might try to cozy-up during the night. On the other hand, it’s just plain cool to have a great view high above standard campsites plots. The tents are also built with high quality materials intended to hold up against tough weather conditions.
With the right gear, catching some shut-eye on the open road or campsite can be easier than counting sheep. We recommend you find a trusted sleeping pad or mattress that is both durable and comfortable. It’s worth being mindful that the quality of your rest while voyaging is going to have a big influence on how much you enjoy your trip. Many rooftop tents already have a built-in mattress.
Get Creative with Your Cooking
The right cooking equipment and a high quality cooler filled with real food usually translates to a much more luxurious experience than most freeze dried food options. As you plan your nutrition needs for your road trip it is important to think about what the cooking methods, time on the burner, plating, and storage needs are for each meal.
Tables and Surfaces
This may seem like an extra luxury, but remember that finding a sanitary and evenly leveled surface isn’t exactly easy to come by in nature. You’ll be contending with uneven rocky ground so a table that has adjustable legs can be a good consideration.
Dealing with limited space is always a concern so you’ll want to consider a collapsible table option that is sturdy and dependable. Call us old fashion, but burgers fresh off the grill taste a little better when they aren’t covered with sand.
Safety and Emergency
This should go without saying for any outdoor journey, but no matter what your comfort level is with traveling, hiking and general exploration, make sure you have an adequate medical kit. Other important items are a strong winch kit, extra fuel, and even a fire extinguisher for unexpected emergencies.
What would-be overlanders may not think about as much is communication (since after all NOT being in-touch is part of the enjoyment). When going off-grid it’s a good idea to have an emergency GPS locator and a 2-way radio with strong capabilities.
Car Camping to Overlanding
You’ll be thrilled to find that classic family camping or car camping gear often translates well to overlanding. Parents naturally have to think ahead for just about any scenario they might run into (because they probably will). In that same respect, having young children and a more pre-determined camping destination lends itself to thoughtful preparation. With a little bolstering to your existing camp gear, and a few key purchases to expand your capabilities, you’ll be well on your way to being the rugged Mad Max-ready nomad you’ve always wanted.
For a full list of our recommendations, check out our Car Camping Essentials Checklist.
The major difference between car camping and overlanding is that car camping primarily relies on established campgrounds. However, much of the same equipment can be used with the right planning.
Be safe, respect nature, and have a great time exploring the unknown!