Overlanding is more than camping out of your 4×4 vehicle; it’s about the journey and the exploration of the destination. The self-reliant exploration for an extended period.
If you’re ready to plan your first overland trip, look no further. With over 45 years of exploring through the Australian Outback, ARB knows a lot about self-reliant exploration for an extended period.
Before taking off on your first full-length overland trip, plan a weekend trip. This will allow you to determine your vehicle’s capabilities and teach you how to use your gear. While also determining which gear you need to buy along with the gear that you can leave at home; revise your packing list as needed.
Begin by determining the length of the overall trip; in order to make the most of your time, we recommend limiting overnight trips to 2-3 hours travel time and weekend trips to 6-8 hours travel time. With a number of beautiful places around the world, picking a route can be difficult; Baja, Ozarks, Alaska, Moab, and the Continental Divide to name a few. Once the location has been determined, check the weather history then plan the dates and pack clothing accordingly.
Research the area and determine what you want to see and do along the way: hiking, fishing, beaching, etc. Plan your route and notate the stops (including fuel stops) that you would like/need to make along the way.
When off-road, cellular service is scarce. Be sure to download trail maps and make them available offline. There are plenty of cell phone applications and handheld devices that can download maps. Books or paper maps are also a great backup option if your device runs out of battery.
Find campsites and figure out the resources that will be available. Ensure that your vehicle can make it through the trail, to the campsites, and back to the closest gas station without running out of fuel. If carrying spare fuel, store it outdoors. Fuel can still release toxic fumes even when in its container. Secure the container to your roof rack, tire carrier, or truck bed.
During your research, take account of state/county policies and required permits (if any). Whether they are trail, camping, or campfire permits, make sure you get hold of them. Account for closures and non permitted areas that you should stay away from.
Let’s talk about shelter. If the weather is hot or rainy, consider an awning. An awning will provide shade and coverage from the harsh elements while also creating an additional sleeping shelter with the ARB Awning Room. ARB Awnings come in three different sizes to suit a variety of vehicles.
Other sleeping setups to consider are tents. Ground tents or rooftop tents, whichever suits your budget. Ground tents are budget friendly, but they take up room and are a pain to setup. An ARB Roof Top Tent lives on the roof of your vehicle. It doesn’t take up necessary in-cab storage and it sets up in just a few minutes. If you have the space and a small group, sleeping in your vehicle is also an option. Whichever you choose, learn how to set it up, make-sure all parts are accounted for, and air it out after use.
Don’t feel the need to sacrifice your comfort. A nice pillow, a warm sleeping bag, and a set of comfortable ARB Camp Chairs will make a significant difference.
Come up with a meal plan for your party. MRE’s (Meals Ready-to-Eat) are great for emergencies but if you have the time, consider cooking a fresh meal. Bring plenty of water. A good rule of thumb is at least two gallons of water, per person, per day. This may seem excessive but also consider the water needed for cooking and cleaning.
A cooler will hold ice for a weekend. For longer trips, consider an ARB Fridge Freezer. This will allow you and your group to remain off the grid for an extended period, while also creating space for more food and drinks.
Keep the trails clean, follow the old saying, “Pack It In, Pack It Out”.
Every overland journey is different, things don’t always go as planned. Whether it be a road closure, a stuck vehicle, medical emergency, or a busy area; go prepared and have a backup plan.
Evaluate the road conditions, will you be tackling mild or difficult off-roading trails. Ensure that your vehicle will handle the terrain. Understand your vehicle and its limits, do not push them if you are going alone. Make sure your vehicle is mechanically sound and at minimum, carry the following: a basic recovery kit, TRED recovery boards, basic/mechanics tool kit, first aid kit, a deflator, and a good set of tires including a spare. Do not just carry these items, make sure you know how to use them.
Planning an overland trip can be stressful but well worth it. At the end of the day, we overland for the experience and memories. Don’t worry about having the latest and greatest gear, you can collect as you go. Get out there, enjoy the experience, and make memories.
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