If you love camping, exciting road trips and intense expeditions. Then, you’d love taking an Overlanding adventure.

Whether it’s across the country or deep off-road exploration that’s for you to decide.

Overlanding isn’t taking a relaxing weekend away at a local campsite or driving off-road. 

It’s about self-reliant exploration, seeing new sights and conquering challenges. 

All while learning new things about the world.

Overlanding is backpacking using your off-road vehicle. 

It’s strapping everything along needed for long backcountry adventures. But, the best Overlanding vehicles aren’t standard equipped for off-roading.

They are trail-ready 4×4 trucks, Jeeps and SUVs. They might include a built-in kitchen, solar charging or a pop-up rooftop tent.

Off-roading is taking your 4×4 truck, Jeep or SUV down backroads, conquering hard obstacles. 

Off-road adventures are short trips that last a day or weekend at most. 

They don’t need self-reliance and the upgrades needed are for vehicle protection.

In This Article

Overlanding is a fantastic way of travelling in new areas. 

It’s experiencing nature in a new way and viewing breathtaking sights. 

If you love the outdoors or you’re tired of living the city life. Then, Overlanding adventures are a great new hobby for you that may lead to a lifelong passion.

Getting started Overlanding can be expensive depending on the overland setup you want. 

But, you’ll save after the initial investment to get your Jeep Gladiator, Cherokee, Toyota Tacoma, etc overland ready.

The great thing is that you will save on future expenses. Like, hotel and campsites fees due to the ability to live out of your off-road overland vehicle.

There’s a common misconception among people that overland conversion for your truck, Jeep or SUV is expensive.

But, the amount of money to convert an off-road vehicle to an overlander doesn’t have to be. 

It depends on where you plan to go and the luxuries you want to add.

To get started on your first Overlanding expedition. 

You’ll need to have an off-road vehicle with aftermarket accessories for self-reliance. 

Then, you’ll need to plan a route or an area to explore during your Overlanding expedition.

Essential Overlanding gear consists of enough food, gas, water and clothes to last the entire expedition. 

But, there are a lot of upgrades that will make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable.

Overlanding vehicles can be anything that’s capable of driving off-road. They include pickup trucks, SUVs, custom-built overlanders, motorcycles and Jeeps.

Some common vehicles used for Overlanding are:

  • 2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Toyota Tundra
  • Toyota 4Runner

But, the best Overlanding vehicles have four common traits that make them perform so high.

Four Wheel Drive – Terrain during Overland expeditions is often uneven and muddy. It requires equal power and traction shared between all four wheels. 

This is thanks to locking differentials that aren’t common in all-wheel-drive vehicles.

Undercarriage Protection – The underside of a vehicle is where the fuel tank, oil tank, transfer case and the differential is. 

To prevent a rock puncturing one of those systems leaving you stuck in the wilderness. It’s recommended to install a skid plate.

Off-Road Suspension – Overlanding takes you down the most extreme off-roading trails. 

Upgrade from factory suspension to off-road suspension for all the bumps, dips and fast-changing terrain.

High Torque Rated – There isn’t a need for high-speed driving when Overlanding. 

Instead, you’ll be driving unexpected terrains which may need the extra torque to power your way out of a rut.

The six best Overlanding vehicles rated by overland enthusiasts to start your adventure are:

  • Exceptional Performance as Overlanding Vehicles
  • Downhill Assist
  • Locking Rear Differentials
  • V6 236 Horsepower Engine
  • 1200lb Payload
  • Very Reliable
  • Long Lifespan
  • Tons of Aftermarket Accessory Upgrades
Overland Rig Toyota Tacoma TRD TrucksResource
  • 3.6L V6 285 Horsepower 260lb/ft Torque Engine
  • 1140lb Payload
  • 6000lb Towing Rating
  • Extremely Comfortable
  • Ton of Aftermarket Upgrades
2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland Rig TrucksResource
  • Extremely Comfortable
  • Spacious
  • Lots of Aftermarket Accessories
  • Available as V6 or V8
2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Rig TrucksResource
  • 1625lb Payload
  • Locking Differential
  • V6 270 Horsepower 278lb/ft Torque Engine
  • Great Suspension
  • Plenty of Space
  • Very Reliable
Toyota 4Runner Overlanding Rig TrucksResource
  • V8 271 Horsepower Engine
  • Great on Most Terrains
  • Lots of Aftermarket Accessory Options
  • Big Interior
  • Comfortable Ride
Overlanding Rig Toyota Land Cruiser TrucksResource
  • Locking Differentials
  • Rock Sliders
  • Excellent Long-Travel Coil Suspension
  • 1050lb Payload
  • Lots of Aftermarket Accessory Upgrades
Overlanding 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon TrucksResource

When it comes to the best tires for Overlanding it depends on the style you plan to do.

Overlanders that want to do extreme expeditions should pick a mud-terrain tire. A great mud-terrain tire is the Nitto Ridge Grapplers. 

Mud-terrain tires offer more traction and grip. This is essential in some of the harsh, wet areas that you’ll be driving.

Overlanders planning for a cross-country or weekend trip. Should pick an all-terrain tire like the KO2. All-terrain tires are great both on and off-road. 

They provide a grip that isn’t too aggressive for pavement but, still has traction off-road.

For a complete guide to the best off-road tires click here

A portable or bumper-mounted winch is one of the most essential pieces of Overlanding gear. 

That’s because a winch for an Overlander is the same as a life-jacket for saving your while swimming.

Aftermarket winches are key for self-rescuing your vehicle when you’re stuck in mud or helping other Overlanders. 

They have a motor or hand crank that provides torque when anchored to pull your vehicle out of an emergency situation.

For a complete guide to choosing the best off-road self-rescue winch click here

Factory suspension on your Overlanding rig will lead to a sore body and broken down vehicle. 

The trails driven during an overland adventure can be brutal and often everything except smooth.

The good off-road suspension systems will allow your 4×4 overlander to handle all the bumps on the trail. 

This makes for a smoother, more comfortable ride without the worry of breaking down.

While auxiliary lighting and/or light bars are an optional accessory for outfitting your overland rig. 

They are great for giving a huge amount of extra light

Great to illuminate the path while travelling in the dark and seeing around camp.

Raised air intakes are often referred to as snorkels

This sounds like your off-road vehicle can drive through deep water without an issue. 

But, while a snorkel might let you pass through some deep water at the moment, later on, a paddle issue is sure to come around.

The actual purpose of a raised air intake is to stop the amount of dust in the air from getting sucked in the engine. 

Most standard air intake filters install near the front wheel arches where dust forms. 

Raising the air intake filter higher and away from the wheels, there’s less dust and debris to get sucked in.

Rock slides, push bars, grille guards, off-road bumpers and roll cages all have the same purpose. They add heavy-duty protection to your off-road Overlanding rig. 

Stopping most damage from banging into rocks or debris. 

Also, they allow for a bumper-mounted electric winch and provide recovery points in case of emergency.

For a complete guide to the best heavy-duty bumpers click here

Roof racks are a great addition to any off-road Overlanding setup because of the extra storage space. 

They allow you to carry a kayak or store your muddiest gear on the roof to keep the interior clean.

During your overland expedition, you’re gonna need a comfortable place to relax and sleep. 

So, Overlanding rigs are set up with either a popup rooftop tent, a truck bed tent or an SUV tent.

They are easy to set up, quick to dismantle and install in either your truck bed, overland vehicles rooftop or an SUV.

For a complete guide to the best truck bed tents click here 
Also, checkout the best truck bed campers

Overlanding trailers are great for flat adventures. The ones that don’t travel through extreme or steep off-road conditions. 

While the trailer has protection to rough off-road conditions, equipment will get damaged.

Overland trailers allow for a more comfortable expedition. Also, let you bring your 4×4 off-road Powersports. 

You can install your pop-up truck bed tent or SUV tent in the trailer to have more storage space in the truck. 

Or, you can set up your truck or SUV tent on your overland vehicle, using the trailer for 4×4 ATVs and UTVs.

Be warned that overland trailers are for enthusiasts with a passion for the Overlanding lifestyle.

The price for an Overlanding trailer starts at $2,000 to $15,000. Which oftentimes makes them not worth the investment for a casual weekend overlanders.

Recovery Kits complete the self-rescue set up that includes a winch and hi-lift jacks

They have all the tools and accessories needed for a smooth recovery inside a small backpack.

A top self-rescue kit the WARN Epic Recovery Accessory Kit includes:

  • Two E-Coat Finished Shackles
  • Epic Tree Trunk Protector Rated up to 30,000lbs
  • E-Coat Finished Epic Snatch Block
  • Forged Steel Epic Winch Hook
  • Recovery Strap
  • Winching Gloves
  • Epic Backpack

Overlanding gear gets stored onboard in the interior space available inside of SUVs and Jeeps.

In pickup trucks, Overlanding gear gets stored in both the truck bed and the interior space if available.

For extra universal storage, roof racks are available that allow dirty and/or extra gear to get stored on the roof.

Overlanding trailers are always an option as well for the dedicated overlanders.

Hi-Lift Jacks raise vehicles that have higher ground clearance.

They are essential to bring in case the need for an emergency tire change or to aid in getting unstuck.

Overlanding expeditions can take you far away from civilization and out of reach of a tow truck. 

It’s necessary to include a complete mechanic tool set. One that has all the tools needed for any potential repairs.

A truck bed air mattress is a necessity for a comfortable overland sleeping set up. 

They are the perfect size for a great fitting mattress for sleeping in most popup truck bed tents. 

But, some overlanders prefer sleeping on a foam camping pad in their rooftop tent sleeping set up.

An essential piece of Overlanding gear, with such long expeditions overlanders, you need something to keep food cold.

An awesome Overlanding fridge is the Tuff Stuff Overland Cooler. It functions as both a fridge and freezer powder with a 12V socket. 

Featuring a durable ABS outer shell with a capacity of 52L/55QT

Another essential piece of Overlanding gear is a camp cooking set

You’ll need utensils, dinnerware and a propane grill if you’re not able to have campfires.

Looking for a convenient, travel-ready camp cooking set? Check out this complete camp cook set

Before you head out on your overland expedition. You need to calculate the gas needed and places to refuel. 

In the case of an emergency, it’s recommended to bring a full jerry can or two as an emergency reserve.

The amount of water required for Overlanding is 1L of water per day for each person. 

But, the total amount of water for an expedition will vary if there are luxuries like a portable shower

An advanced first aid kit that includes a blood stopper kit must get kept in the vehicle at all times. 

Be sure to double-check the contents of the first aid kit and refill what’s missing before heading to the trails.

Never slack on safety, emergencies are always unexpected. You don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere without medical supplies.

Another essential piece of Overlanding safety gear is a fire extinguisher. One that’s rated for automotive fires.

While a fire extinguisher might not save a vehicle engulfed in flames. It can prevent a small accident from escalating.

Optional Gear

While this gear isn’t essential for an Overlanding expedition. 

This optional gear provides luxuries that improve comfort and Overlanding experience.

During the Overlanding season, the weather often can reach some unbearable temperatures. 

A solar-powered fan is a great option for helping cool off the inside of your tent and relax.

Portable solar panels convert sun UV rays into a usable form of electricity. 

They can power small electronics and charge your phone. 

They have sockets for different kinds of plugs offering a multi-use power source.

Nobody likes feeling dirty and not having the ability to bathe themselves. 

Portable camping showers are little shower stations that set up within minutes.

If there’s a clean water source nearby they can get filled using it. But, if not you’ll have to use your stored drinking water.

Taking a GPS is always a great idea for any Overlanding expedition or anytime you explore new areas. 

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are digital maps that function via a satellite. 

They show your location and keeps you from getting lost. Also, you can set way points to pre-plan the route you’re going to take.

If you’re getting started Overlanding you might be wondering how to find overland trails.

With the growing popularity of Overlanding. Outdoor gear companies are creating custom catered overland products.

A great product for finding Overlanding trails is the Garmin Overlander GPS

It has on-road turn by turn directions and topography maps to follow off-road. Also, it includes local campgrounds and a ton of other extra features.

Three tips for improving off-road driving for Overlanding beginners are:

Have Vehicle Awareness – Know how much space your vehicle needs for clearance and how your tires turn.

Stay In Your Comfort Zone – Have experience in the vehicle that you’re taking off-road. Never go past your comfort level.

Use The Buddy System – If you’re learning head out to easier off-road trails with a buddy. That way if you get stuck you have a friend to help you out.

Overlanding can cost a lot for the initial set up depending on the overland rig you want. 

But, after the initial setup, your overland expedition will only cost around $10 a day.

Overlanding began in the middle of the last century. When four-wheel-drive trucks became commercially available. 

But, it has seen a huge increase in popularity. Now offering a wide selection of overland vehicle setups.