Intro to Overlanding
Introduction to Overlanding
What is overlanding? Well, to put it simply, it is camping using a vehicle as a basecamp. Some folks use small trailers that pull behind an off road rig. But the basic concept is camping at a destination that is accessible via off road trails. The point of overlanding is to see some of the most beautiful destinations while being self-sufficient and having fun!
What do you need to get started? Some of the most popular setups are Roof Top Tents (RTT)’s. A RTT allows you to setup camp quickly and tear down even quicker. The concept is similar to regular camping but typically, these RTT’s are located on the roof of a vehicle or sometimes on a bed rack similar to mine. This isn’t always necessary though. Many people simply have a blow-up mattress in the back of their SUV and they fold the seats down and sleep there. Whatever your style, you will find a good starting point with the list below to begin your overlanding adventure.
Cooler: Having a cooler can extend the amount of time you are off of the beaten path. A good cooler can keep ice and items inside cold for several days. A more advanced option is a refrigerator that runs off of a battery and solar system but that is expensive and not necessary for most short trips.
Food: Typically I bring potatoes for hash browns, eggs with cheese, and a tortilla for breakfasts. Ill usually put the container of eggs into a Tupperware container to protect them from being broken. Lunch is pretty easy if you bring sandwich meat and bread. Dinners I usually suggest burgers or something that’s initially frozen that can be heated up on a skillet.
Grill: Having a grill accompanied by a cast iron skillet is a must. Cast iron is easy to clean and simple to maintain. When I’m not using it, I simply keep it slightly oiled and store it in a plastic bin. Grills come in many shapes and sizes. Having one that runs on propane keeps things simple. A one pound bottle will last you plenty to get through a decent trip.
Leveling blocks: I like the small RV leveling blocks to put under the tires of my truck. This takes very little time and if you don’t have these, use a rock or piece of wood to get close. I use the level app on my phone to check level.
Percolator: This should be up top! What is camping without some cowboy coffee?!
Solar: If I’m completely honest, this is a luxury. Solar is one of those things that you get once you have established that you LOVE overlanding and you want some amenities. But once you purchase a solar panel and a battery to charge, you can expand your experience to be able to accommodate an array of electronics.
Fire pit: I have the Solo Stove Bon Fire and absolutely love it! This comes in handy when you want to have the ambiance of the fire but don’t want the smoke. Other options can be just building a fire pit out of rocks or digging a small hole for a fire. Obviously, be smart with your fire as many forest fires start by accident and these things can cost people’s lives and homes.
Maps: Know where you are going, where you are coming from, and where you intend to camp. At least have a ballpark idea of where you’re going. Maps will help assist you in not only being more efficient, but camping legally. National Forests often times have designated camping areas and it’s important to stay within those.
Chargers: For most of us, our phones hold nearly everything special in them and are also used to capture further special moments on camera. The cool thing about overlanding is that you can charge your phone in the truck as you drive to your next spot.
Shovel: This will come in handy when you need to clear out a fire pit and whatever else comes up.
Where do I poop? I get this question A LOT! The best practice is to bag it up and throw it in the trash. This ensures ground water doesn’t get contaminated and it’s simple. They make bucket lids that are shaped like a toilet seat that capture the waste for you making this a no-brainer.
Safety considerations: Tell someone where you’re going and always bring a first aid kit. Have water for several days just in case. Consider bringing a filter for more water or a pot to boil water in.
Final thoughts: We love nature because of the beauty and the clarity it gives us. Let’s leave her the way we found her! There’s an old Boy Scout rule that you leave your camp site better than when you found it. I live by that and I make it a goal to find a piece of trash that was already there and throw it away. Finally, grow the community! Be friendly respectful! Have fun!