5 Things an Overlander Needs to Know: Getting Started

We all know how WILD this last year has been… With a worldwide pandemic, the constant chaos of life, and ever-evolving society,this year presented in own challenges in just figuring out how the heck to spend your free time – and not go crazy trapped inside some four-walled building. For my wife and I, Overlanding was the escape we never knew we needed until it found us – and thanks to the turbulence of 2020 we got pretty good at being “overlandy” pretty quick.

I have family that’s spent years out “Overlanding” and when the pandemic hit it was the perfect opportunity for me to really find out what the scene was all about. I spent countless hours learning about WHAT my ‘Overlanding Rig’ would need, and planning how I could assemble it. Being a fabricator I was able to watch those dreams come true – from inside of my own garage. Once I had the vehicle, we started making trips and learning all about the Overlanding lifestyle and would you would and would not need to be successful.

The last year of being able to get out and explore new places, enjoy new views, breathe fresh air, remember what LIFE is about has been liberating and wonderful but it would have been even better had we known these things before we started! –

  1. Planning a Route – this is THE MOST important part of the trip. Without a destination, and idea of how to get there – you don’t have any trip planned at all! For us, it was about discovering all the options. I tried out all different apps and maps to find what combo would be best for us. We landed on a couple of different apps to use, that all help provide us different recon info.
    GAIA App = trip tracking & milage detail/weather conditions
    OnX Offoad App = land details (what’s private and what isn’t), Gates along the trail that are locked and you will need to consider.
  2. Where are you sleeping – Good quality tent – (preferably one off of the ground) I did alot of research and wanted a hard shell RTT “like the falcon roofnest” but it would not fit inside my garage…so I went with a 23zero 62 walkabout soft shell and man I couldn’t be happier. The tent fits my wife and two dogs easily. The quality of the fabric is super durable and thick. The accessory list for these tents are great ! Boot bags /winter inserts / hardkorr lighting ect.. Plus the company is amazing!
  3. Staying warm in the cold months – Heating your tent. Over the past year camping through the seasons we learned many things…. we used a heating blanket and that did not do the job and it used alot of amps through out the night. Tried a propane buddy and NO NO ! my tent was a freezer with ice inside from the condensation from the propane! NEVER AGAIN! Mind you camping in the dead of winter isn’t for the weak… So had to fix this problem fast or my wife WOULD NOT CAMP AGAIN ! So we all have that tote or bag full of bedding that takes up so much space! Well NO MORE with a diesel heater ! Fixed all my problem and I also added a 23zero winter insert to help hold in the heat and keep the tent at a nice 73 or whatever desired temperature I want all night with one blanket.
  4. Storing your food – coolers are such old news. I used a yeti cool for years! So when I went on 3-6 day Expeditions the cooler had to go . I was tired of watered down food . So with the fridge technology these days I made the jump. A fridge is a great investment and it will not disappoint you at all. Changed my experience while camping forever! Food is fresh and drinks/ whiskey is cold!
  5. Communication– on my rig a do run a fixed HAM radio but the INREACH satellite messenger is the most valuable thing you can have if broken down or need help in the middle of BFE . I can communicate with anyone any where . They have different plans depending on you how much you use it. I would say this is a must have .

I hope this helps someone with a little bit of knowledge from the trail.