What is Overlanding?
Overlanding describes self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal. Typically, but not exclusively, accommodated by mechanized off-highway capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping; often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and often spanning international boundaries. While expedition is defined as a journey with a purpose, overlanding sees the journey as the purpose.
Overlanding is about exploration, rather than conquering obstacles. While the roads and trails we travel might be rough or technically challenging, they are the means to an end, not the goal itself. The goal is to see and learn about our world, whether on a weekend trip 100 miles from home or a 10,000-mile expedition across another continent. The vehicle and equipment can be simple or extravagant - they, too, are simply means to an end. History, wildlife, culture, scenery, self-sufficiency - these are the rewards of overlanding.
(Overland Journal, https://overlandjournal.com/what-is-overlanding/)
The JAX Essential Car Camping Checklist
Rooftop Tents | Sleeping | Bags | Cooking | Activites | Accessories
What is a roof top tent?
For the ultimate car camping experience, look no further than a rooftop tent! These tents are designed to easily mount directly to the rack or aftermarket bars on the roof of your vehicle, can be fully setup in a few minutes or less, and usually come with many creature comforts built in. With the proper roof rack, they can be used with almost any car type, which makes them the perfect base camp for many adventure seekers.
Tepui Roof Top Tents
Tepui makes premium rooftop tents and specialized outdoor equipment for a more secure and comfortable way to get the most out of every adventure. Every Tepui tent is purpose-built, made with the highest quality materials, and designed to withstand the roughest weather and toughest conditions.
They even come with a foam mattress and telescoping ladder for the ultimate camping experience, along with all the bells and whistles to make your trip a breeze! Their true-blue passion for rooftop camping continually drives innovation and gets our seal of approval.
Benefits of a Tepui Roof Top Tent
• Quick & easy setup
• Keeps you away from animals and critters
• You'll feel more comfortable and secure above the ground
• Makes for an easy and flat surface to sleep on
• Mattress is built in so there's no need to bring one
• Better views and ventilation
• Less dirt, and easier to keep clean
Explorer Series Autana 3 With Annex
The Explorer Series Autana 3 offers an extended private canopy entrance and includes a removable annex with PVC floor, side screened windows and a rear door for easy access into your vehicle.
• Made from high quality 600D rip-stop ventilate coated poly-cotton material so you will be protected from even the heaviest rain and winds
• Comes with large 90”x90” fully enclosed annex with two side screened windows and front & rear door
• 8ft-6in telescoping ladder eliminating the need to purchase extensions for large or lifted vehicles
Explorer Series Kukenam 3
Explorer Series Kukenam 3 comes with quick release clips on the rain fly and 2 operational SKY panels in the roof. Both panels are made from 260g ventilate coated canvas.
• Spacious A-frame design offers excellent head room to fully sit up and relax in the tent and take in the views from the large screened side windows
• 8ft-6in telescoping ladder eliminating the need to purchase extensions for large or lifted vehicles
• 2-1/2” high density foam mattress makes it seem like you are sleeping at home
Sleeping On The Road
Sleep can make or break your adventure. To make sure you get the best rest while on the road, you’ll need to get set up with quality gear. Great news for overlanders – some of this is already built in! You’ll want to check out a range of sleeping bags, quilts, pillows, and pads to discover what will improve your Z’s.
While most roof-top tents have comfy memory foam mattresses, it is always a great idea to have a back up handy, especially if you plan to travel beyond your vehicle for some backpacking fun. Sleeping pads are a must for comfort and insulation when you’re sleeping in a tent. You can choose between closed-cell foam pads, air pads, or self-inflating pads.
Closed-Cell Foam Pads are practically bombproof. They are durable, puncture-resistant, and eliminate the hassle of inflation. While this makes set up easy, these pads take up more real estate in your vehicle or backpack, can be stiffer, and provide a little less comfort and insulation than air pads.
Air Pads are very comfortable and extremely light weight, making them a great stow-away on any trip. They take three minutes or less to inflate and allow you to inflate to your level of comfort. You can also opt for pumps and accessories that will help inflate the pads without taking your breath away. We recommend always having a patch or repair kit handy. Unlike closed-cell pads, you run the possibility for punctures and leaks, which may increase if you’re sharing your tent with a four-legged friend or two!
Self-Inflating Pads are the perfect combo of Open-Cell Foam and Air – with the added ease of no-effort inflation! These Self-Inflating Pads are comfortable, compact and offer great insulation. Their durability makes them great to share with kids and pets. These pads can still be ripped or punctured so make sure to carry a repair kit with you.
Down vs Synthetic. Choosing a down sleeping bag vs. a synthetic one can be tricky. Down has the best warmth to weight ratio and compresses down the most, making it optimal for those of us limited on space (ahem, overlanders!). If you choose down, be sure to grab a bag with water-resistant down to avoid losing warmth/insulation when damp or wet. On the other hand, synthetic sleeping bags are ideal for wet and damp conditions BUT can be heavier and bulkier than traditional down. They are also generally less costly than down sleeping bags.
Sleeping bags can also vary in their shape. The most common shapes are Mummy Bags and Rectangular Bags. Mummy Bags give a tighter fit that is designed to contour to the body and keep you warmer, but may be challenging sleepers that move around a lot or sleep on their sides. Rectangular Sleeping Bags offer much more room to move around while sleeping but may not keep you as insulated while you sleep. You may also choose to explore quilts and double sleeping bags, which are a favorite among overlanders.
Stop counting sheep and personalize your sleep system even more by grabbing accessories that are sure to give you the perfect night’s rest. A comfy pillow can make all the difference at the end of a long day of adventure. Heading somewhere with large daily changes in temperature, grab a sleeping bag liner to stay nice and toasty. Don’t forget your pump and repair kits if you are using an inflatable sleeping bag!
Disco Sleeping Bag
Seventy percent of people sleep on their side, but mummy bags are not designed to accommodate this. With a unique Spoon shape adding room at the elbows and knees, the Disco is a three-season down men's backpacking bag that is designed for side sleepers, and allows you to shift positions throughout the night.
• Insulated with premium fluorocarbon-free, water-resistant Nikwax Hydrophobic Down
• Blanket Fold external draft collar provides tucked-in comfort and temperature regulation
• Thermo Gills allow you to vent body heat without letting cold drafts in
• Intergrated pillow pocket allows a jacket, extra clothes, or a Fillo to be stuffed into the sleeve opening for a handy pillow-on-the-go
Bags & Backpacks
Bags and backpacks are arguably the most customizable category of gear you can get. When choosing a bag, make sure to follow these few important steps:
1. Decide what you’ll be using the bag for. Will you be hiking, overnight backpacking, mountain biking, trail running or maybe just packing up gear and clothing to stay in the car?
2. Consider how much space will you need to carry your clothing, gear, water and food. There are many shapes and sizes to choose from!
3. Find the right fit! If you’re going with a backpack that has shoulder or waist straps, it is very important to consider the fit. Finding the right torso length can be challenging and we strongly encourage you to stop by your local JAX Outdoor Gear to talk to a specialist to find the best bag for you.
Perhaps you’ll need a combination of storage solutions, so come check out what we have! It’s always great to have a few options available when overlanding or car camping, especially if you plan on adventuring away from your vehicle. Next, let’s check out different types of storage.
Hydration bags have all of the convenience of a typical daypack with the bonus of easy and efficient access to your drinking water. These bags typically have an internal bladder attached to a hose that runs out of the bag and clips to your shoulder straps, making for a quick and easy drink on the go.
Daypacks are generally smaller capacity (10-40 liters), lighter in weight, and meant for a day trip at most. They are great to keep in the vehicle for day hikes and adventures. When considering which daypack to go with, look at your gear and determine how much space you may need.
If you are planning on staying away from your vehicle overnight, such as hiking into a campsite, you are most likely going to need more space. Most people find it comfortable to have a backpack capacity in the 50-70+ liter range. This extra room is needed to carry your tent, sleeping bag, pads and all the other equipment and gear you’ll need for a couple nights or longer. It is very important to get a bag that fits and feels good. Getting the correct torso measurement from your “hip shelf” to your “C7” vertebra is crucial and definitely worth visiting JAX to get measured and fitted correctly.
Raptor 14 Backpack
Made to haul all the gear you need - but flexible enough to slim down for shorter rides.
• Dedicated lower compartment holds a removable pouch to organize your tools
• Osprey Hydraulics LT 2.5L reservoir by Hydrapak included
• LidLock bike helment attachment
• Blinker light attachment and reflective patch for safety
Cooking On The Road
Cooking great meals on the road doesn’t need to be a hassle. With a little bit of upfront prep work and a few essentials like a cooler, utensils, cookware and solid camp stove you can have a very satisfying meals while traveling.
There has never been a better time to pick up a great cooler. Coolers built with roto-molded technology will keep ice for up to a week or more. With loads of options like RovR, Yeti, Otterbox and Dometic, you have a plethora of choices to pick the perfect cooler for your travels. Do you need a cooler with some attachments and great features like a cutting board or option to add on some cup holders and wheels? RovR and Otterbox would make for a great choice. If you’re looking for top-of-the-line technology, Dometic has some amazing electric powered coolers for ground-breaking performance and efficiency designed with overlanders in mind.
Cookware totally depends on your needs and cooking style! Do you need a smaller, more compact, setup to better fit your vehicle? Or do you have plenty of space and want a more robust kitchen setup? There are some great minimalist backpacking cook sets, like the GSI Bugaboo Base Camp Set, with pots and pans that pack nicely into each other. Or you can opt for more gourmet camp meals with cast iron pans, stovetop coffee makers, condiments, and anything else you have room for. In that case, we recommend cooking on our favorite – Lodge cast iron!
A favorite among overlanders and car campers, two-burner propane camp stoves offer the optimal camp kitchen experience! Two-burner stoves from Primus, Coleman or Camp Chef handle most anything you can throw at them and then some. Why two burners? They make for quick meal prep at any time of the day, whether it’s that morning oatmeal and coffee or a delicious two-course dinner. If you really want to step it up another notch, pick up an attachment at your local JAX Farm & Ranch to use larger refillable propane tanks (this is great for those extended stays in the wilderness)!
If you’re tight on space, opt for a smaller single-burner propane stove or an ultra light backpacking stove like the Pocket Rocket from MSR. Having one of these handy in addition to your larger cook systems proves very useful as well!
With a great cooler option, you’ll be able to pick up fresh ingredients and keep your beverages chilled for much longer trips. If you are in need of some quicker and easier alternatives to fresh fruit, veggies and meat, check out the pre-packaged alternatives from Backpackers Pantry, Patagonia Provisions, AlpineAire and Mountain House. These meals have really improved in nutrition and deliciousness and are great to have when you want to drop some weight or need some options for fall back on. It’s typically as easy as boiling your water your Jetboil or MSR Wind Burner and adding the boiling water straight into the bag to rehydrate the food.
CFX Series Coolers
Ground-breaking performance from an award-winning powered cooler. Efficient refrigeration and freezing capabilities make the CFX a reliable partner for overland camping trips.
• Refrigerate or freeze to –7 °F with a power draw that compares to charging your phone
• Designed for adventure with heavy-duty reinforced corners and stainless steel hinges
• LED interior light, USB port for charging small electronics, and battery protection system
• Precisely control and monitor temperature +/- 2°F via a digital display or WiFi App
• 3 Stage Dynamic Battery Protection System automatically shuts the product off to prevent a dead car starter battery and improves car battery performance
Getting out there is what it’s all about! What’s the point of having an overloading vehicle and gear if it can’t take you even further and allow you to access more remote locations? No matter what your favorite activity may be, there are some great vehicle mounting options for bikes, kayaks, paddleboards and even fishing poles.
Mountain bikes are built to tackle super rough terrain, crawling uphill and cruising down mountain trails. They usually consist of lower gear ranges to help with steep technical climbs. Most mountain bikes will come with an awesome suspension, either in the front or even with full suspensions, including a rear shock. There are some “Fat Tire” bikes that rely on the wheel size to absorb the bumpy terrain as well.
You’ve got you options of spin casting or fly fishing and loads of lures to choose from. Grab some waders and some fishing gear and head out on the lake or stream to enjoy a day of casting.
Stand Up Paddle Boards can be a great way to get out on the lake and explore. If you’re new to stand up paddle boards, make sure to take some time to build up those sea legs. Those first times standing up and leave you soaked if you’re not prepared. There are firmer sturdier hard surface stand up paddle boards that you can strap to the roof of your rig, or you can opt for an inflatable option, which will pack down much smaller and take up less space. An inflatable might be a better solution if you have minimal storage, travel often, looking for a cheaper option and don’t want to worry about those dings and scratches.
The main difference between the two is that Canoes are bigger and heavier with a wider frame and open style that allow for multiple passengers and much more gear. Kayaks are more geared towards a single user and are smaller and sleeker designed for more speed and maneuverability.
Playing some games by the campfire is a great way to relax and wind down after a long day out and about. There’s loads of games you can pack up and bring with you ranging from the classics like volleyball, bocce, badminton, to some newer stuff like portable disc golf and Spikeball.
Specialized Men's Pitch
Break FREE from your day-to-day routine, especially when it comes to riding. Sure, laps around town are fun, but compared to the freedom of getting out in the woods or on country roads, life on the pavement starts to look pretty mundane.
• The frame is constructed from lightweight A1 Premium Aluminum in order to provide a compliant, durable platform to support our acclaimed Sport Trail 27.5 Geometry. Combined, you get a bike that's extremely versatile, making it equally capable on the climbs and descents.
• Custom ST Suntour XCT fort features 80/100mmm (size-specific) of coil-sprung suspension travel that swings well about its weight class.
• A Shimano Tourney TX read derailleur is built with durability in mind, so you can rest assured that you'll have a reliable shifting partner for the long trails head.
Setup basecamp and get ready to settle in and It’s time to think about all the extra stuff you might want to make traveling feel more like home.
Need to string up some solar or portable lights to illuminate your campsite? Or maybe you need some generators or solar charges to charge up all of your devices, phones and camera equipment? With loads of charging and battery accessories your devices will always be ready to go when you need them.
Relax & Chill
Take a load off and put your feet up, you deserve it. Take your pick from some super compatible hammocks or maybe a portable rocking chair is more your speed. There are lots of great options for compact, portable and luxurious camp chairs to call your throne.
Hatchets are great to have in all kind of situations, especially when you need to chop up some wood for the fire. Another great tool to carry is some type of portable saw, that’s a bit more practical for sawing through some branches rather than chopping at it with a hatchet. Small multipurpose tools are very handy with a variety of miniature features to help you maintain the handy man, jack of all trades status.
Getting a quality mount from Thule or Yakima can help keep your gear safe and offer better storage options on top or behind your vehicle to give you optimal space inside for other stuff. To store extra gear there are some roof topper options to securely store additional gear or equipment and have the option to lock that all up, for when you’re out on the trail.
Versatile and innovative power stations on the market, mobile app enabled to allow you to control ports and monitor power usage right from your phone. Power anything, anywhere.
• Zero fumes and zero noise for an easy-to-use, plug-and-play way to power all your essential electronics and appliances at the push of a button
• 10 versatile ports to pick from, a Yeti keeps all the necessary gear powered up anywhere
• Prevents over-charge, over-current, and short circuiting
What Can The YETI 1400 Power?
Great for all your larger sized or multiple device power needs.
• Smartphone 70+ Recharges
• POV Camera 230+ Recharges
• Headlamp 230+ Recharges
• Tablet 52+ Recharges
• Laptop 23+ Recharges
• Light-a-Life 465+ Recharges
• Fridge 23+ Hours
• 32 LCD TV 14 Hours