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8 Overlanding Essentials for Your Camping Adventure

Aug 27, 2021

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” This quote often inspires us to embrace exploration in our lives. But others take following Emerson’s advice a little more literally. These people are the overlanders.

Overlanding is different from camping or off-roading. Overlanding involves traveling for weeks (or months) through often-uncharted territory with no other goal than to explore these areas.

The emphasis on self-reliance and long-term travel means you will need to adjust how you prepare, focusing more on survival than entertainment. So if you’re hitting the road, make sure you bring these eight Overlanding essentials for your camping adventure.


Most Overlanding essentials cater toward basic survival, so think about your basic needs when packing your rig. Protecting yourself from the elements and wild animals is your first priority on the road. Given that you’ll be out for months at a time, you will want to consider all types of weather conditions, so hard-shell rooftop tents are the best option for Overlanding.

Water Storage

A person can only last three days without drinking water—and that doesn’t include what you need for cooking and washing. When off-roading, you can usually get away with a few water bottles, but if you’re Overlanding, you will want to invest in vehicle water storage to have a protected water source for days at a time.

Food Preparation

When you are out for weeks, you will need more food than trail mix and lunch meat. You’ll need a variety of foods to give you sufficient nutrients, such as vegetables, whole grains, and protein. As such, one Overlanding essential for your camping adventure is long-term food storage, such as refrigerators and a camp burner to cook meals on.

First Aid

When you’re Overlanding, you could be miles away from the nearest town, let alone a major hospital. If there’s an accident, you will want the basics to help sustain you until you can get help, such as gauze, antiseptic, antibiotics, and medications for specific conditions, such as insulin and EpiPens.


Another byproduct of being away from civilization is the lack of available gas stations. Keeping an extra source of fuel on hand is always essential to avoid getting stuck. Since carrying any flammable material is dangerous, make sure you invest in a travel-safe fuel container, such as a jerry can.

Recovery Tools

Overlanding typically involves at least some off-roading, and where there is off-roading, there is the potential to get stuck—and since you’re away from civilization, you’ll need the means to get yourself out. That means investing in a recovery kit.

Navigational Tools

“Not all who wander are lost” is a Tolkien quote that modern vagabonds live by. Unfortunately, some who wander actually are lost. If you don’t want that to be you, make sure you have a GPS marketed for off-roading, as well as maps and compasses in case your GPS fails.


Overlanding is supposed to be both a literal and a metaphysical journey. As you discover the world, you’re supposed to discover yourself too. So along with survival gear, it pays to bring along tools to guide your introspection, whether that’s a journal, a sketchbook, or a video log.