Embarking on an overlanding journey is a thrilling adventure that combines off-road driving with camping, allowing you to explore remote and untouched landscapes. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a month-long expedition, having the right gear and preparation is crucial for a safe and enjoyable trip.

, Your Ultimate Overlanding Checklist: A Beginner’s Guide to Adventure, Days of a Domestic Dad

This comprehensive checklist will guide beginners through the essential items and considerations needed for a successful overlanding experience.

Planning and Preparation

Research Your Route

Before hitting the road, it’s vital to thoroughly research your route. Overlanding often involves traveling through remote areas where help might not be readily available. Consider the following:

  • Maps and GPS: Invest in detailed maps and a reliable GPS device. Digital maps on your phone or tablet are useful, but ensure you have offline versions in case of poor signal.
  • Permits and Regulations: Some areas require special permits for camping or driving. Check local regulations and obtain necessary permits ahead of time.
  • Weather Conditions: Be aware of the weather forecast for your destination and along your route. Weather can dramatically affect road conditions and your overall experience.

Vehicle Preparation

Your vehicle is the backbone of your overlanding trip. Ensuring it’s well-prepared can prevent breakdowns and other issues in remote areas.

  • Maintenance Check: Conduct a thorough inspection of your vehicle. Check fluid levels, brakes, tires, and lights. Ensure your vehicle is in top condition.
  • Tires: Invest in high-quality all-terrain tires and carry a spare. Be familiar with how to change a tire.
  • Recovery Gear: Equip your vehicle with essential recovery gear, including a winch, tow straps, shackles, and a high-lift jack.
  • Fuel: Plan your fuel stops and carry extra fuel in approved containers, especially if traveling in areas with limited refueling stations.

Essential Gear

Shelter and Sleeping

Comfortable and reliable shelter is crucial for a restful night’s sleep after a day of adventure.

  • Roof-Top Tent: Many overlanders prefer roof-top tents for their convenience and safety from ground-dwelling creatures.
  • Ground Tent: If a roof-top tent isn’t an option, a durable ground tent is a good alternative. Ensure it’s easy to set up and weather-resistant.
  • Sleeping Bags and Pads: Choose sleeping bags rated for the expected temperatures and comfortable sleeping pads or mattresses.

Cooking and Food

Proper meals can make a big difference in your overlanding experience. Plan your food and cooking setup carefully.

  • Camping Stove: A reliable camping stove with sufficient fuel is essential. Portable propane stoves are popular among overlanders.
  • Cookware and Utensils: Bring lightweight, durable cookware such as pots, pans, and utensils. Consider a collapsible sink for washing dishes.
  • Food Storage: Use a cooler or portable refrigerator to keep perishables fresh. Dry food can be stored in airtight containers.
  • Water Supply: Carry enough water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. A water filtration system can be invaluable for refilling from natural sources.

Safety and Navigation

Safety should always be a priority when overlanding. Equip yourself with the necessary tools and knowledge to handle emergencies.

  • First Aid Kit: A comprehensive first aid kit is essential. Include items like bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, and any personal medications.
  • Fire Extinguisher: Keep a fire extinguisher within easy reach in case of vehicle or campfire emergencies.
  • Navigation Tools: In addition to GPS, carry a compass and physical maps. Familiarize yourself with how to use them.
  • Communication Devices: In remote areas, cell service can be unreliable. Consider a satellite phone or a two-way radio for emergencies.

Clothing and Personal Items


Pack clothing appropriate for the weather and terrain you will encounter. Layers are key to adapting to changing conditions.

  • Base Layers: Moisture-wicking base layers help regulate body temperature and keep you dry.
  • Insulating Layers: Fleece or down jackets provide warmth in cold conditions.
  • Outer Layers: Waterproof and windproof jackets and pants protect against rain and wind.
  • Footwear: Sturdy, comfortable hiking boots are essential. Pack extra socks and consider waterproof options.

Personal Hygiene

Maintaining hygiene in the wilderness can be challenging but is important for your health and comfort.

  • Toiletries: Bring biodegradable soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and other personal hygiene items.
  • Towel: A quick-dry camping towel is lightweight and easy to pack.
  • Waste Disposal: Carry a small shovel and biodegradable bags for proper waste disposal. Follow Leave No Trace principles.

Tools and Equipment

Basic Tools

Having a set of basic tools can help you handle minor repairs and adjustments on the road.

  • Multi-Tool: A versatile multi-tool can handle a variety of tasks and is a must-have in your toolkit.
  • Tool Kit: Include screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, and other basic tools. A tire repair kit is also essential.
  • Duct Tape and Zip Ties: These can be lifesavers for quick, temporary fixes.

Camping Equipment

Additional camping gear enhances your comfort and convenience.

  • Camping Chairs and Table: Lightweight, foldable chairs and a table provide a comfortable dining and relaxing setup.
  • Lighting: Headlamps, lanterns, and spare batteries ensure you have sufficient light at night.
  • Awning or Tarp: An awning attached to your vehicle or a separate tarp provides shade and shelter.

Entertainment and Extras


While the great outdoors offers plenty of entertainment, some extra items can enhance your experience.

  • Books or E-Readers: A good book can be a great companion during downtime.
  • Games: Pack compact, travel-friendly games for evening entertainment.
  • Camera: Capture memories of your adventure with a camera or smartphone.


A few additional items can make your trip more enjoyable and stress-free.

  • Solar Charger: Keep your devices powered with a portable solar charger.
  • Binoculars: Great for wildlife viewing and enjoying scenic vistas.
  • Notebook and Pen: Jot down notes, travel logs, or sketch the landscapes you encounter.

Final Checks

Pre-Trip Checklist

Before you set off, run through a final checklist to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything important.

  • Double-Check Gear: Lay out all your gear and double-check against your list.
  • Test Equipment: Ensure all your equipment works properly. Test your stove, check your tent for any damage, and make sure your navigation tools are functioning.
  • Inform Someone: Share your itinerary with a friend or family member. Provide them with your route and estimated return date.
  • Vehicle Check: Give your vehicle one last inspection. Ensure it’s packed efficiently and that heavy items are secured.

On the Road

Once you’re on the road, stay flexible and adapt to changing conditions.

  • Monitor Weather and Road Conditions: Stay informed about the weather and road conditions ahead.
  • Stay Organized: Keep your camp organized and clean. A well-organized camp reduces stress and makes packing up easier.
  • Enjoy the Journey: Remember that overlanding is about the journey as much as the destination. Take time to enjoy the scenery and immerse yourself in nature.

By following this comprehensive overlanding checklist, beginners can embark on their adventures with confidence and excitement. Proper planning and preparation ensure a safe, enjoyable, and memorable overlanding experience. So, pack your gear, prepare your vehicle, and set off on the adventure of a lifetime!

, Your Ultimate Overlanding Checklist: A Beginner’s Guide to Adventure, Days of a Domestic Dad