Seven Tips & Tricks On Getting Into Overlanding

Posted by Alex and Lane, Contributors | 08.20.2019

Toyota FJ


Hey there! We are Alex and Lane, hobby overlanders on a mission to share our adventures and encourage others to get out further and explore more. Are you thinking of taking the plunge into overlanding? Here’s a quick 7-step guide, taken from our experiences, successes, and mishaps, that we hope will give you the insight you need to get started.


1. Plan out and organize your gear way ahead of time.

Living out of your vehicle for 4+ days requires some pretty epic packing and organizational skills. Give yourself some time to plan out how you’d like to organize your vehicle. Making a checklist (like this one) is a great place to start! Consider your favorite way to organize. Do you prefer labeling and stacking boxes? Or do bags and duffels suit your fancy? We recommend that you make your vehicle’s organization intuitive to YOU - you’ll be way more likely to keep it neat and tidy while on your adventure!


2. Make sure you -really- love the open road and car camping.

A lot of overlanding is spent driving, and driving, and ...driving some more! If you beam over any chance to hit the open road, overlanding may be for you! You’ll likely enjoy the sweet freedom of nature and minimal cell service (take one of these for ease of mind). Plus, you’ll likely get some amazing views to check out when you stop and shake out your limbs. Get comfortable with our favorite travel pillow, stay hydrated with some ice-cold water, and download your best road trip playlist!


Toyota FJ


3. Have a good and trustworthy travel buddy.

Let’s face it. The road isn’t always sunshine and epic vistas - it is sometimes cloudy and stressful. You may get lost, catch a nail in your tire, or not see the sun for days. Inevitable mishaps can often throw you off your fun game, so ensuring that you have someone to brighten the mood and work WITH you is key! Have someone in mind to share your journeys with? Try going on some weekend trips together, plan together, and make sure you both have all the tools for a successful trip!


4. “Take only pictures, leave only footprints.”

Picture this. You are driving along the most beautiful backcountry trail, and suddenly you find this picturesque field of wildflowers. What do you do? Do you pick them for your next romantic candlelight camp dinner, stomping their neighbors along the way? Or do you take beautiful photos that will last far beyond the life of your bouquet? When we put it this way, the answer seems pretty obvious, but it is more common than you could imagine to impulse-pick a lovely array of flowers to accompany you on the road. To help alleviate some of those questionable experiences, Leave No Trace gives us some guidelines - the Seven Principles. Check them out and commit them to memory. We even recommend picking up some of these handy cards to have with you.


Wildflowers in Colorado


5. Do your research, but don’t be afraid to jump right in!

Part of the process will involve simply trial and error. Lane and I spent a lot of time making mistakes and adjusting on the fly to get to where we are now, and we’re still learning! There are tons of resources out there to help you decide on equipment, trails, and personalizing your rig (overlanding speak for vehicle + gear). The best thing you can do to get started in overlanding is get your basic set up going and hit the road! We started with very short weekend trips right in our backyard, which is so very simple here in Colorado. Plug into some groups on social media, ask questions, and see if someone with a little more experience could go out with you and show you the ropes.


Tent with sunset in the background


6. Know Before You Go.

This one really belongs at the top of the list. “Plan Ahead and Prepare” is Principle #1 of Leave No Trace, and it really drives everything you do before, during, and after your trip. You’ll want to know a few particular things before hitting the trail: weather, backcountry rules & regulations, and your route are likely the top three things to triple-check right before heading out the door. Oh, and did I mention the weather? They say a little rain never hurt anyone, but when you are out on the trails with stream or river crossings, or very small ledges, you will not want to be crossing those at all. It also is just as important, if not more important, to let someone else know where you’re going and the timeline of your trip. This is where that Garmin really comes in handy, especially if plans change while your outside of cell service.


Toyota FJ in the open road


7. Know how to perform basic repairs on your vehicle (and have the proper repair and rescue equipment on board).

Sometimes it is actually fun to macgyver repair solutions when you’re out in the wilderness. Who hasn’t tried making shelters out of limbs, splints out of twigs, or filters out of bandanas? When you’re in a vehicle that is out of reach of AAA, you’re going to want to know how to do a few things. Try changing your tire for time or winching yourself to a tree. When you have to open that big, beautiful hood because smoke is coming from somewhere under there, your confidence will soar if you know what you are looking at! Thankfully, Lane is the mechanic of our family and we have spent hours getting to know our vehicle. We hope you do the same too! Watch some videos and get educated before adventuring too far off the beaten path.


We hope you learned a thing or two from this quick guide! Are you planning your first (or next) adventure? Share your fun with us with the tags #redrockoverland and #JAXOutdoorGear.


Make sure to subscribe to and/or follow @redrockoverland for more stories from our adventures. We’re excited to have you along for the ride!


Woods and Mountains

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