Must-Have Overland Gear: The Ultimate Gear Checklist for Beginners and Pros!

May 7, '24

Overlanding combines off-road driving, camping, and adventure travel to take you through the backcountry, national parks, and remote landscapes. While the spirit of overlanding is rooted in self-reliance and exploration, having the right gear is crucial to the success and enjoyment of your journey. 

In this guide, we'll cover the must-have overland gear and accessories that will prepare you for anything the great outdoors throws your way.

Let's dive into it!

Essential Overland Gear List 

1. A Vehicle

Grey Jeep Car On a Rocky Overlanding Trail

The right vehicle for overlanding is crucial for a successful adventure. You'll want something tough—a 4x4 SUV, truck, van, or trailer that can tackle any terrain. Consider proven beasts like the Toyota 4Runner and Land Cruiser for their durability and off-road capabilities, the Jeep Wrangler for its robust design and ease of customization, or the Ford F-150 for its combination of space and power.

Also, think about where you're headed. Rocky paths? Opt for high clearance and locking diffs. Hot deserts? Choose a reliable ride with a solid cooling system.

Don't forget comfort and storage. You're living out of this thing! Mod it up for extra toughness and better performance to ensure your adventure doesn't miss a beat.

Necessary mods and upgrades include the following: 

  • All-Terrain or Mud-Terrain Tires: The foundation of any good overland setup is a set of durable tires designed for various terrains. Look for tires with reinforced sidewalls and aggressive tread patterns for superior traction.

  • High-Quality Suspension System: Upgrading your vehicle's suspension system can improve load capacity and handling on rough trails. 

  • Skid Plates and Rock Sliders: Protect the underside of your vehicle from rocks and debris with skid plates. Rock sliders guard against impacts and serve as both a step and a recovery point.

By the way, check out overlanding forums for firsthand advice on vehicle performance.

2. Portable Tables and Chairs

When overlanding, don't skimp on the tables and chairs! You'll crave that comfort after a day of roughing it. Choose portable chairs and tables that are tough yet easy to pack. Lightweight, foldable stuff is key. And if they’re easy to clean? Bonus points. It’s like bringing a touch of home to the wild!

3. Portable Camp Kitchen Gear

After a rugged drive, you hit camp and swap cold snacks for hot meals cooked on your portable stove, prepped on a fold-out table. It's home cooking under the stars—comfort and convenience that hits the spot after a day of adventure.

And here's the must-have gear for your portable kitchen setup:

  • - Plenty of water and energy-packed foods.
  • - Durable cookware and compact camping stove.
  • - A 12V overlanding fridge/freezer to keep your food fresh and drinks cold. Opt for a rugged fridge built to withstand the bumps and jostles of overland trails.
  • For example, BougeRV has launched a new line of heavy-duty Rocky overlanding fridges built tough for brave souls, available in sizes ranging from 41 qt to 81 qt. These solar-compatible, heavy-duty fridges are encased in durable, fingerprint-resistant stainless steel that can endure rough trails.
    An Overlanding car is parked on the pretty grassland with BougeRV's 55-qt Rocky Overlanding fridge in its trunk, alongside icons indicating 41-qt, 55-qt, 69-qt, and 81-qt Rocky fridges
    • - Durable and lightweight pots, pans, and a kettle.
    • - A foldable basin for cleaning dishes and washing food.
    • - A utensil kit with knives, spatulas, cutting boards, and other essentials—preferably stored in a roll-up organizer for easy access.
    • - Spice containers.
    • - Biodegradable soap and reusable towels.
    • - Airtight containers protect your food from animals and keep things organized, making meal prep more efficient.
    • - A Water filter.

    4. Comfortable Sleeping Gear 

    Good sleep is like gold when overlanding, ensuring you wake up refreshed and ready to tackle whatever the next day throws your way. Plus, being well-rested means you can enjoy the adventure way more!

    Choose a rooftop tent for quick setup, pest protection, and great views, or select a more affordable and spacious ground tent for its versatility. Add a cozy sleeping bag, pad, or mattress, and you're all set to recharge under the stars, ready for whatever adventure awaits.

    5. Lighting

    Light up your overland camp with LED lights, headlamps, and vehicle lights for safety and ease. 

    Use LED bars or spotlights for trail navigation after dark. A headlamp is key for hands-free camp setup and night-time exploration. Solar lanterns charge by day and brighten nights, while a sturdy flashlight handles "just in case" moments. Add glow sticks to mark paths or tent lines, helping prevent trips during late-night bathroom runs. Together, these sources create a well-lit outdoor home.

    6. Navigation System and Maps

    A GPS can offer real-time location tracking, even when cell towers are miles away. But technology can falter, so traditional paper maps are vital for backup. They don't run out of battery or lose signal and give a broad overview of the terrain. Together, they ensure you stay on course, reach your destination safely, and enjoy the journey without getting lost in remote, off-grid locations.

    7. Dual Battery System or A Compact Portable Power Station

    A dual-battery system separates your main starting battery from the extra one. This way, you can run all your gear without ever worrying about draining the battery that starts your vehicle.

    On the other hand, a compact portable power station keeps your phones, tablets, cameras, portable lights, and 12V overlanding fridge juiced up, cutting down on how much you need to use your vehicle’s electrical system. At BougeRV, we offer the compact yet powerful 2008Wh ROVER 2000 portable power station to keep your electronic essentials and camping appliances running smoothly, including our newest product, the Rocky Overlanding Fridge. 

    BougeRV’s portable power station for Overlanding to run essential gear

    Both of these setups are super helpful for those long adventures out in the boonies where you can't just plug into a regular power outlet.

    8. Communication Devices

    When overlanding, staying connected is also vital, especially in remote areas. Satellite phones are a lifeline for emergencies, providing global coverage. Two-way radios facilitate local group communication while on the move. Devices like Garmin inReach offer GPS tracking and SOS features, ensuring help is within reach even off-grid.

    9. Appropriate Apparel

    Pack clothing that can layer for various climates, including moisture-wicking, waterproof, and insulating options. Invest in breathable, quick-dry fabrics and UV protection for sunny days. Don't forget a sturdy pair of boots and a hat for added sun and weather protection.

    10. Recovery Tools

    Pack recovery tools to ace tough terrains and sticky situations. These tools enable self-rescue and help tackle obstacles, guaranteeing a smooth, help-free overland trip. Essentials include:

    • - Spare tire 
    • - Powerful winch 
    • - Shackles
    • - Gloves
    • - Snatch block
    • - Lift Jack
    • - Spanners and wrench sets 
    • - Traction mats
    • - Repair tape
    • - Brake fluid
    • - Air filters and fuel filters
    • - Heavy-Duty tow straps
    • - Gas can with additional fuel
    • - Robust shovel
    • - Recovery dampers
    • - An air compressor that can be powered directly from the battery

    11. First Aid Kit

    Prepare for medical emergencies with a well-stocked first-aid kit tailored to the unique needs of overland travel. This kit should include: 

    • - Bandages
    • - Antiseptics
    • - Pain relievers
    • - Any personalized medication
    • - Tweezers
    • - Scissors
    • - Thermometer 

    Moreover, possessing knowledge of basic first aid is equally important as having the supplies.

    12. Fire Extinguisher and Fire Blanket

    Don't forget, guys – toss a fire extinguisher and fire blanket in your rig. They're lifesavers if you ever have to snuff out a blaze on the trails. Better safe than sorry!

    Pack Like a Pro: Ace Your Overlanding Pack Game

    Efficiently organizing your gear can make accessing equipment easier and contribute to a safer, more balanced load:

    • - Use modular storage containers for quick grabs and staying sorted.
    • - Tag your gear with labels to spot what you need without the dig-around-the-bag dance.
    • - Check over that gear list now and then to ditch the extras. Traveling light is traveling right!

    Gear Up with the Good Stuff, Quality Pays Off

    We all get that urge to save a buck, but trust us, investing in high-quality gear pays off in the long run:

    • - Durable gear can take a beating from nature and repetitive use.
    • - Premium gear often comes with solid warranties and customer service that’s got your back.
    • - Quality items can boost safety and comfort, making your trip more enjoyable.

    Final Thoughts

    A man sitting and drinking atop BougeRV’s heavy-duty 55-qt Rocky overland fridge

    The essence of overlanding is in the preparation and the freedom it offers to explore uncharted territories. Gear up right with these must-have overland gear items, and you'll be ready to face whatever challenges lie ahead with confidence. Whether you're tackling rocky inclines, crossing rivers, or setting up camp under the stars, the right gear will ensure your adventure is memorable for all the right reasons. 

    Overlanding isn't about the destination; it's about the journey and the stories you'll collect along the way. So, pack up, gear up, and hit the road! 

    Interested in even more cool overlanding gear? Check out BougeRV’s innovative overlanding camp gear that lets you go further, stay longer, and live better!

    Table of Contents