Overland camping is a different way to camp. It’s about much more than pitching a tent and spending a few days disconnected. It’s about the adventure in the truest and simplest form. 

For those looking to jump into the overland game, there are things to consider. Overlanding demands more preparation, more planning, and more specialized gear. In fact, many people who overland invest in a tough vehicle, like a Jeep or a 4×4 truck. 

The need for a vehicle might seem a little overkill, but it’s necessary. With such an investment, it’s important to look at ways to protect yourself and your vehicle. Overlanding demands a lot, and it’s a good idea to find the best car insurance for 4×4 or other utility vehicle. 

What is overlanding?

Overland camping, also called overlanding, is a relatively new and trendy way to explore the great outdoors. While it’s found a new audience in recent years, overlanding was introduced in the early 1900s. 

Overlanding finds its roots in Australia. During the early 1900s, Australia began creating and establishing long-distance trails throughout the country. These routes were originally used for farmers moving livestock. Soon, however, these routes drew the attention of campers and adventurers alike. 

Overlanding, unlike more traditional camping methods, is all about the journey. The purpose is to find new, unexplored areas and simply survive. Overlanding is about self-sufficiency and survival in remote, far-off places.

It’s the combination of both over-roading and camping. Overlanding is not really the act of picking an established campsite near a grocery store. It’s the desire to survive, be self-sufficient, and find some amazing views along the way. 

Because most overlanding is done in and around remote areas, there are a lot of things to consider when planning that next overlanding trip.

What equipment do you need to overland?

Overland camping is an adventure, but it takes a lot of planning and preparation. One of the most important pieces of preparation is the equipment needed. 

Overlanding Vehicles

The most important piece of equipment needed for overlanding is a vehicle that can stand up to the demands. A small sedan just isn’t going to get the job done.

The most common overlanding vehicles are large SUVs, trucks, or Jeeps. Some of the highest-ranked vehicles include Toyota Land Cruisers, Tacoma trucks, 4Runners, Volkswagen Vanagons, and Wrangler Jeeps.

These vehicles are able to handle everything overlanding throws at them. They can off-road as well as haul heavy loads, but also provide a level of comfort that’s more than welcome on long camping trips.

Vehicle Insurance

Because these vehicles will be pushed to the limit, it’s important to have them properly insured. This may seem like a small matter, but you need to have the right coverage in place before that first camping trip.

A lot of people believe large vehicles and 4×4 trucks cost more to insure. The truth is, however, that the cost of insurance largely depends on an individual’s driving record and ZIP code. These types of trucks and large vehicles are more reliable on average, which can help offset some of the other factors. 

Once you’ve invested in the necessary equipment, you wouldn’t want to take a heavy loss on that large vehicle. Consider checking your insurance status before taking that overlanding trip.

Overlanding Equipment

Almost all camping requires a shelter of some kind, and most of these shelters are tents. The location of your camping trip will help determine the right camping tent

When the trip is an overlanding trip, a lot of people consider a rooftop tent. These kinds of tents help keep water and bugs out of your sleeping quarters. Rooftop tents require some additional equipment, so it’s important to consider the final cost. 

Regardless of which type of tent is chosen, there are other pieces of equipment you’ll need to invest in. Consider purchasing a fully stocked first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher and blanket, plus spare parts and tools. 

Because overlanding is about getting off the grid and deep into the unexplored parts of our world, there is a greater need to pack everything you might need. That’s why you need to pack extra fuel and water, water filter, camping stove, and packable table and chairs.

Overlanding Tips

Overlanding is a fantastic adventure, but it’s also a big commitment. People who overland frequently are less likely to stay in crowded campsites near civilization. Research and preparation are key. But it’s also a good idea to have a few tips to fall back on.

#1 – Have a Plan and Be Organized

Overlanding requires a clear plan and precise organization. Not only will you need a clear route and destination, but you’ll also need to have a packing list. Yes, overlanding is about exploring and the journey, but you’ll still need a map.

And because of the sheer amount of gear needed to overland successfully, you’ll need to double and triple check all of your gear is accounted for and in working order. 

Gear needs to be properly stored, organized, and easily accessible. You’ll be living out of this vehicle for multiple days, so you need to know where everything is at any given moment. Find your preferred way to pack — stacked boxes, labels, or duffle bags — and get started.  

#2 – Camp with a Buddy

Overlanding can be stressful. There are long days and unexpected setbacks. This can make it difficult and less enjoyable to accomplish on your own. The best way to overland is with a buddy or small group. Find people in your circle who enjoy this kind of outdoor adventure and get to researching. 

#3 – Pack Everything Out

Most campers are big advocates for protecting the environment. The same is true for overlanders. That’s why most try to live by the “leave no trace” mantra. 

It’s important to leave no trace of your visit. Everything you bring into the campsite needs to be taken out once you leave. 

#4 – Know and Practice Basic Repairs

Remote, overland camping is a risk. It’s considered by many to be well worth that risk, but there are ways to minimize that risk. It’s important to know and practice some basic repairs to both your vehicle and equipment. Learn how to replace a tire, fix broken tent or backpack frames, and perform a temporary windshield repair.

There will be few people out on the road and deep in these remote areas, so it’s important to know how to be as self-sufficient as possible. Make sure you research how to change a tire, change your vehicle’s oil, and repair a broken tent pole. 

So is overlanding right for you? If you enjoy getting away from civilization, relying on yourself, and experiencing some of the most amazing views, then it might be worth your while. Dig into the research, find an overlanding group, and get out there.

Laura Gunn writes and researches for the car insurance site, CarInsuranceComparison.com. She and her family are avid campers. They enjoy taking their Wrangler Jeep off-road and finding a new place to set up camp.