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What Gear Do You Need for Overlanding? 11 Top Essentials

Without the proper overlanding gear, your overlanding experience can be miserable and possibly even dangerous. Before you head out on an epic adventure, make sure you have the right gear. 

Today, we want to share some of the top essentials you should grab to make the most of your next adventure. Let’s take a look.

Overland Truck Camper - Bears Ears, Zion and White Pocket and More | Ep 3 - MOTM

Why Do You Need Special Overlanding Gear?

Overlanding means you won’t have access to the amenities that a campground provides. You’ll be on your own to provide power, supplies, and other specific needs you may have. By definition, overlanding is boondocking off the well-beaten path. If you need something while adventuring, you’ll need to supply it yourself. 

Pro Tip: Make sure you have one of these 6 Best Overlanding Radios and Off-Road Communications Devices in your rig.

11 Pieces of Overlanding Gear You Need for Your Kit

Having an overlanding essential gear kit will ensure a smooth trip. Here are a few items we feel should make your packing list. 

1. Camping Setup

You’ll need some sort of shelter as a part of your overlanding gear. Some popular options include a standard tent, rooftop tent, or an off-road capable trailer. Keeping it simple will give you the most freedom. 

The shelter you choose should be the one that gives you the most comfort and satisfaction while still handling the terrain you’ll be on. Typically, you’ll encounter washboard roads that may need four-wheel drive. Always research the areas you will be driving to avoid getting stuck or in an otherwise dangerous situation.

If possible, we recommend a truck camper to enjoy the efficient mobility of a truck while still offering the comforts of a trailer. 

Truck overlander with pip up tent on top.
Shelter must always be your first priority when overlanding.

2. First-Aid Supplies

While no one ever plans to get hurt, you should still plan for it. Among bug bites, falls, and burns, a first-aid kit can come in handy. First-aid kits take up very little space and are essential overlanding gear. Always check your first-aid supplies before your trips to make sure nothing needs restocking. 

Know Before You Go: Overlanding is not easy and needs to be done safely! Take a closer look at What Is Overlanding All About? Why People Do It, and How.

3. Fire Extinguisher 

Keeping with the safety theme, a fire extinguisher is not something you want to leave behind. Untamed flames can quickly engulf your entire campsite, including your vehicle, if it gets out of hand. 

Make sure to get an ABC type to cover most fire types.

Kidde Multipurpose Fire Extinguishers, 2 Pack, Red
  • Use to fight common fires in the home, including those involving...
  • Dry chemical composition is made of monoammonium phosphate...
  • Easy-to-read pressure gauge. USCG- and DOT-approved design....

Even the most well-maintained campfires can get away from you, making a fire extinguisher necessary. Not only could you save your belongings, but you could also prevent an entire forest fire. 

Fire extinguisher and first aid kit.
Help Smokey Bear prevent forest fires by having a fire extinguisher on hand while overlanding.

4. Deflator Kit

If you’re new to overlanding, you may be surprised that you need to deflate your tires sometimes. When faced with driving on a beach or other overly soft conditions, deflated tires will counter the loss of traction. A deflator kit makes the process a breeze, getting your tires to the proper pressure level quickly. 

Pro Tip: Try out one of these 6 Best Tire Deflator Tools for Airing Down Off Road With Ease.

5. Air Compressor

An air compressor will come in handy in many situations during your trip. It can quickly blow up an air mattress, inflatable SUP board, or kayak. 

More importantly, it can also inflate your vehicle’s tires. This is especially helpful if you’ve previously needed to deflate your tires as a part of your off-roading or you’ve somehow managed to puncture your tire. 

We recommend the Viair air compressor due to its compact size and the power to inflate even bulky tires. 

VIAIR 400P - 40043 Portable Compressor Kit. Tire...
  • Tire Inflator: The VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor is designed for...
  • Easy-to-Use: Clamp the power leads to the truck battery, connect...
  • Truck Accessories: Perfect for inflating tires up to 35" in...

6. Off-Roading Jack

When it comes to overlanding gear, an off-roading jack can save the day. The jack will lift the chassis of your vehicle, which will be helpful if you’ve bottomed out on a rock or a large tree stump. Having an off-roading jack helps prevent damage to your vehicle while getting you where you want to go. 

overland jack
Make sure to get a jack rated for the weight of your vehicle.
BIG RED TR6501B Torin 48" Ratcheting Off Road...
  • Ratcheting off-road/utility farm jack is ideal for any...
  • Features a lifting range of 5.12" to 40" and a 3 ton (6,000 lb)...
  • Great for off-road and rough environments, farm-related...

7. Off-Roading LED Lights & Flashlights

There aren’t exactly street lights where you’ll be overlanding. Gear that allows you to see where you’re going can help you avoid hazards on the road. A good set of lights is essential while setting up camp in the dark or navigating your way through your campsite once the sun goes down. 

Man using headlight at night.
Make sure to have good lighting option for when your are overlanding at night!
20" Adapt Light BAR W/GPS
  • the rigid adapt led light bars are the world's first off-road...
  • there are no moving parts within the adapt
  • it also includes rigid's new active view technology, which allows...

8. Shovel

Many people choose to bring along a portable or folding shovel, but I would highly recommend a full-size shovel. When you get stuck a shovel is usually one of the best tools you can have on hand to help out. Full-size shovels are easy to strap to the outside of a vehicle and can make recovery much much easier.

Nupla-72-016 Round Point Shovel, 48 in.Handle, 16...
  • Blade dimension 9" width x 11 1/2" height
  • Ergonomic for comfort, safety and less fatigue
  • Nupla ergo power handles meet the highest performance ratings
overland shovel
We always bring a full size shovel with us.

After a fire, you can shovel dirt on the coals to put it out. Additionally, a shovel will dramatically ease the process if you need to dig a hole to bury your waste. 

Did You Know: Overlanding isn’t the only way to go on an exciting camping adventure! Check out these other 15 Types of Camping.

9. 5-Gallon Gas Can

With all the fun you have overlanding, you might find yourself low on fuel far from a gas station. Keeping a full 5-gallon gas can with you means you won’t have to pay for an expensive tow if you forget to watch your gas gauge. 

Man filling up gas cans.
Make sure to have enough gas on hand to get you safely to and from your overlanding adventures.

10. Recovery Treads / Traction Boards

Regardless of your off-roading equipment’s quality, there’s still a chance you’ll get stuck in the mud, or it won’t be up to the terrain. Before traction pads, we recommend having a full-size shovel, but pads can sometimes save you a lot of time.

Having recovery treads or traction boards can give you the extra help you need to stop the spinning tires and get back to exploring. 

X-BULL New Recovery Traction Tracks Tire Ladder...
  • Use special elastic design. U-shaped design, maintain stability...
  • Size :(35.8 x 12.2x4.3in). The main material is reinforced strong...
  • Super flexibility: Our recovery board wavy ramp design makes it...

11. Winch & Recovery Gear

You want to be prepared if your traction boards won’t get the job done. A winch and recovery gear makes it easy to have a buddy pull you back on track. 

Learn how to properly use it however and make sure to have straps, shackles, snatch blocks, and other accessories. A winch alone is only useful if you know how to use it.

WARN 26502 M8000 Series Electric 12V Winch with...
  • low-profile design and separate control box allows for a wide...
  • powers load in and out via 100 ft of 5/16 in wire rope;electrical...
  • efficient, 3-stage planetary gear box and automatic direct drive...

As a bonus, having your own winch gear means you can help a friend, should they be the ones that become stuck. 

Stay safe while overlanding by coming prepared with the right gear.

Other Gear You’ll Likely Need for Your Overland Trip

Overlanding gear isn’t all foreign. You’ll still need all the typical gear you usually do for camping. If you’ve brought it camping, you’ll likely need it while overlanding. 

It’s important to have a comfortable sleeping space so you can get a great night’s sleep. Bring along a comfortable sleeping bag, and don’t forget a few extra blankets if it’ll be cold. 

Eating while camping can be half the fun, so don’t forget to bring your cooking supplies. You can sit around your campfire enjoying your favorite camping meals. Keep it simple or go big–you can’t go wrong as long as you prepare. 

Don’t forget to keep your weight capacities and personal abilities in mind, as well. You’ll learn a lot the first couple of times you go. Overlanding can be a rewarding experience, but you should be prepared for anything the trail throws at you. Once you’ve given it a go, you’ll have a much better idea of what you need for your adventures. 

We're Building An Overland Truck Camper Rig! - A Happy And Sad Update From The Mortons On The Move

Enjoy Your Next Adventure with the Right Overlanding Gear!

Now that you know what you need to start your overlanding trip. It can be overwhelming at first to do something new, but most with an adventurous heart find the experience is worth the effort. 

Have you had a chance to do some overlanding? What would you say is some essential overlanding gear? Drop a comment below!

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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