Sometimes we all just need to unplug, unwind, and get back to nature. When you’re ready to break out of the 9 to 5, ditch the pavement, and head out on an overland adventure, preparation is key. The wilderness can be pretty wild and give us a good kick in the ass if we’re not ready to handle it. There’s no way we can list everything you might possibly need when you’re overlanding, so this overland gear list includes gear to cover sh*t that happens all the time. If you get attacked by murder hornets, you’re on your own. Ready to break it down? Here’s what we’ll be covering:
Vehicle Overland Gear
Naturally, you’re going to start with an overland vehicle. For short trips, Jeeps are great. For an extended commute with nature, you need more gear…and more room to transport it (preferably a good-sized truck with 4WD and upgraded tires). If your tires look so aggressive they could chew up a mountain, you’re good to go. You don’t want to get caught out there without any tread. We recommend Falken Tires, B.F. Goodrich Tires, Toyo Tires, or Amp-Tires.
You’re also going to need some method of organizing all your overland gear. Outfit your truck with a DECKED drawer system, and you’ll have all the room you need to haul an entire basecamp. It won’t matter whether you’re planning to hike, fish, mountain climb, hunt, bike, kayak, or all of the above, we got your back. DECKED drawer accessories will also help you get all your gear organized, secured, and protected from the elements and hungry critters.
Now that we’ve got your vehicle and your storage all sorted, here’s a packing list of some more gear you’ll need to take along for comfort, safety, and emergencies.
Jack – Half the time, those standard jacks that come in vehicles can’t lift a good-sized truck off the ground high enough to work. Even on a concrete, flat surface, ordinary jacks sometimes just don’t cut it. Do yourself a favor and get a real heavy-duty, hi-lift jack. Pro Eagle jacks have the lift and stability you need, even in off-road situations.
Winch – You might not think of a winch as essential equipment…until you need one. A winch can be an invaluable tool for clearing the road, towing a vehicle, or rescuing an injured climber. We’re partial to the Warn’s winches. Don’t forget a Warn recovery gear kit with shackles, snatch blocks, straps, and gloves.
Air Compressor – Warn also has an ARB High Output Air Compressor we love. If you develop a slow leak, you can refill your tire as often as you need until you return to civilization.
Extra Fuel – It can’t hurt to carry a jerry can with extra fuel in case you just can’t bring yourself to leave the backcountry. We feel ya.
Battery Charger – Sometimes, the great outdoors can get quiet…too quiet. Let’s say you want to crank up the tunes but you accidentally ran down your battery. A portable battery charger with jumper cables is a lifesaver.
Tool Kit – No matter what your plan is, you may need to saw down branches, hammer spikes into the ground, and hoist food or game into the air. Your tool kit should include:
- Hand saw – You’re probably going to need to saw some branches here and there. If you’re going for Macho-Mountain-Man vibes, you could even bring a machete.
- Hammer – Tent stakes might be a little old-school, and you probably won’t be building any bookshelves out there, but we stand by our commitment to bringing a hammer.
- Zip ties – Great for securing your gear or attaching tools. You can attach your water bottle or your keyring to your backpack or belt loops. Free up those hands!
- Bungee cords – Bungee anything to your roof rack. We mean…anything (or anyone). “Are we there yet?” can get pretty annoying.
- Duct tape – You can never have enough duct tape. It is the fabric of the universe. Again, “Are we there yet?” can get pretty dang annoying.
- MAXTRAX Traction Mats – They’re a little pricey, but if you get stuck in the mud, they are invaluable. You can find most on Amazon.
- Paracord – Rope is handy. No particular reason, but at some point, you’re going to need to tie something to another thing. We almost guarantee it.
- Multi-tool – You can stick it in your pocket and be prepared for anything. We like this one from Leatherman. It’s got 19 tools in one. Go ahead. Add to cart!
Navigation and Communication
Garmin Handheld GPS – Let’s face it. Google Maps won’t always know where you’re going or be of much help if there aren’t any roads. You ever see your Google Maps start spinning in circles trying to figure out where you are? And you’re in the middle of a main street? Of a major metropolitan city? Yeah, we can’t afford to get lost like that when we’re overland. Garmin always knows exactly where the hell you are. That is a comforting thought, ain’t it?
Satellite Phone/Emergency Radio – There aren’t any cell phone towers in the middle of nowhere—isn’t that the point of going? At the same time, when you need help, you need help. Make sure you have some form of communication between you and civilization and between you and your party. Emergencies happen, and zero connection to the mainland spells a whole lot of trouble. Walkies will work even if you haven’t seen bars in days. It’s a little old-school, but you can still get a shortwave radio, and they still work pretty well.
Solar Panel Charger – If you have electronics, you need a way to charge them without draining your truck battery or burning gas. Solar chargers are the answer to your needs. And if you want to use your cell phone to create a hotspot for your tablet and watch the game on Sunday…we won’t judge.
Stove – If you want to rub two sticks together and stick a cast iron pan in the fire, more power to you. If not, there are a whole range of camp stoves and portable grills you can take anywhere. Some of them burn wood for that authentic campfire flavor with a little extra convenience.
Water Filter Bottle – Clean, pure water for drinking and cooking is essential in your overland gear checklist. We like LifeStraw. The straw’s filtering technology allows you to take water from a pond, lake, or river and drink it immediately.
Mess Kit – Paper plates and plastic utensils seem like a great idea until you have to haul a week’s worth of garbage back to town, and as someone who enjoys the great outdoors, we know you also want to take great care of it. Odoland’s 29 piece mess kit has everything you need for dinner under the stars—cookware, a water dispenser, kettle, collapsible bucket, and stainless steel plates, cups, and utensils for four. Feed your campers and your good conscience by ditching the plastic and litter!
Cooler – There are a lot of coolers on the market, but YETI is arguably the best and most common. The hard-siders are built to be bear-proof and they’re made to keep your ice or drink cold for a long, long time. Nothing (and we mean nothing) is worse than warm beer.
Overland Gear For Comfort Camping
You might be in the great outdoors, but that doesn’t mean can’t make yourself at home while you’re out there. Sleeping on the ground is for old cowboy movies. You’re not Marshal Dillon, and this ain’t Gunsmoke. Get yourself some comfortable camping stuff. Your spine, your neck…hell, basically everything will thank you.
Chairs – Sure, you could drag up a log..but why in the world would you? When you’re hunting, fishing, or just hanging around the campfire, a rugged and comfortable folding chair is your best pal. We love Chama Chairs. They’re rugged, silent (no creaks and squeaks to alarm your prey), and sturdy.
Hammock – To sleep under the stars, but not on the cold, hard ground, consider slinging a camping hammock between trees. Depending on the time of year, you might want to consider one with built-in bug netting. No trees around? Link it up between two trucks for a perfect sleeping option.
Bedding – These ain’t the sleeping bags you remember peeing in during summer camp. There are some sleeping bag marvels out there made with some heavy-duty, modern engineering. Find one that’s waterproof, insulated, and has a built-in pillow and a heating element to keep you toasty.
D-Bag for Backpacking – DECKED D-Bags hold a ton of stuff you need for hiking, climbing, or fishing. Plus, they’re made to take a beating. Do yourself a favor by opting for the D-Bag and be prepared every step of the way.
Pressurized Water Tank – The WaterPORT holds enough water for up to four showers before it needs refilling. Hose the fish guts off your workstation, the grime off your hands and feet after a long day of hiking, or take a refreshing shower. Let’s be honest, there’s some serious stink that happens while camping.
Safety Overland Gear
No overland trip gear list is complete without considering essential safety. Check out our recommendations below to be extra prepared for the unexpected.
Fire Extinguisher – A water or sand bucket is usually sufficient for a campfire, but once in a while, you may need to act fast. A fire extinguisher is an extra layer of protection to stop a fire before it becomes a raging blaze.
Headlamps – Okay, they look kind of dumb. But you’ll be glad to have a headlamp when you’re stumbling around in the dark looking for the designated camp latrine area. They’ll definitely come in handy in situations where you need both hands. Would you rather have something light on your head or something…dark on your hands? The choice is yours, my friend.
First-aid Kit – Don’t settle for a box of band-aids. No amount of superhero band-aids is going to cover that massive gash in your knee. We like this EVERLIT Survival First Aid Kit stuffed with useful items. It’s got you covered in the event of something worse than a scrape. Don’t forget to bring an EpiPen for allergic reactions if you need one.
You’ll need to add gear specific to your interests, of course. You might want to bring a good camera, a pair of high powered binoculars, or even a telescope. The darker your location, the more stars you’ll be able to see. And your bear encounter story will be so much better with photos.
The list of fun stuff is just endless. You might bring a jetski, an ATV, dirt bike, kayak, hunting, fishing, or mountain climbing gear.
Even with all your stuff stored in DECKED drawers, you can load up to 2000 pounds on top. You can bring just about everything.
Oh, just make sure you have room for toilet paper.