A Beginner's Guide to Overlanding Like a Pro

  • February 4, 2022
image of overlanding vehicle image of overlanding vehicle

Overlanding takes camping and adventure to a whole new level! This increasingly popular camping-meets-road-trip pastime lets you take in the great outdoors both on- and off-road while you camp and sightsee all from your vehicle. Overlanders traverse roads and rugged terrains for the sheer sake of adventure, bringing only what can be packed in their vehicle. At its core, overlanding is about self-reliance, navigation, exploration, and simply enjoying the journey. 

Are you eager to get started on your own overlanding adventure? Then check out our guide to overlanding for beginners to help prepare you and your vehicle for your next journey!

How to Get Started Overlanding

Overlanding is pretty simple — pick a direction, start driving, and enjoy the journey. There isn’t a wrong way to go about it as long as you’re prepared! But before you learn how to start overlanding, it’s best to learn what overlanding essential gear you’ll need. 

Equip your vehicle with the right tires

Your overlanding adventure can take you anywhere — and so should your tires. With the tires being the only thing on your vehicle making contact with the terrain, regular car tires likely won’t cut it. Firestone’s Destination tires, like the Destination M/T2 or X/T, can provide maximum traction both on and off-road, ideal for your next overlanding adventure. Destination tires have optimized tread patterns to help provide dependable traction. They also feature deep sipes to improve wet and snow traction.

Head to a Firestone Complete Auto Care near you, and one of our store teammates can help you figure out which on-off road Destination tire is best for next overlanding adventure.

Four-wheel drive

Having the right tires is the best place to start when preparing for your first overlanding adventure. But along with the right set of all-terrain tires, it’s important that your vehicle is equipped with all-wheel or four-wheel drive. Mud, rocks, sand, gravel, and other rugged terrains are sure to crop up at points along your adventure, and all-wheel or four-wheel drive will help ensure your vehicle is more likely to pull you out of unexpected situations. 

Camping supplies

Whether your overlanding adventure lasts a weekend or a few weeks, you’re going to have to get some shut eye at some point, which makes camping supplies essential. If you’re looking for a traditional camping experience, a ground tent is likely the way to go. Alternatively, a hatch tent designed for your vehicle can connect to the trunk, truck bed, or roof, giving you easy access to your sleeping quarters and your vehicle at the same time. 

The rest of the camping supplies you’ll need depend on how long you plan on making your trip and how well prepared you intend on being. For a comprehensive camping checklist, the folks at Overland Bound have put together an essential checklist of camping items to bring on your overlanding trip.

Survival supplies

No matter where you plan on going on your overlanding trip, it’s best to have some essential survival supplies to keep you prepared for anything. These supplies can include but are certainly not limited to:

  • First aid kit
  • Compact tools like a multi-tool and pocket knife
  • Water purification methods like tablets, a pump, etc.
  • Fire starting kit
  • Flashlights
  • Various sized tarps
  • Rescue signals
  • Satellite phone

Some form of navigation

When it comes to overlanding, the journey IS the experience! However, it’s still good to know your approximate whereabouts while you’re out in the wild. Keep a map handy since you may not get service everywhere on your trip. You could also invest in a satellite GPS which can be handy in case your map is out of date.

Vehicle maintenance items

It’s important to take care of your vehicle when you're out on your adventure. After all, your vehicle is the center of your overlanding adventure! Unexpected terrain may be rough on certain components, leaving parts damaged or broken. Keep some essentials on hand, like a wrench and socket set, a jack and tire iron, a new spare tire, extra quarts of engine oil, an extra serpentine belt, a battery charger or jump box, etc. 

How to Prep Your Vehicle for Overlanding

Vehicle maintenance items can help you out in a pinch should something happen to your vehicle, but it’s important to ensure your vehicle is ready for the journey before you set out. Luckily, prepping your vehicle for your next overlanding adventure is easy! Schedule your appointment for a complete vehicle inspection at your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for a comprehensive checkup by our expert technicians. We’ll identify and repair any current or potential issues with your vehicle to get it in its best shape before you hit the road.

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