Having the right rig and picking a great road to explore is just the start. Soon enough you’ll be researching longer routes and more remote destinations, and, for that, you’ll need to make sure you’re properly prepared. That’s why we teamed up with Toyo Tires to create a guide to everything you need to know about overlanding. But first things first: Before you had out for a multi-day adventure, make sure your vehicle also has all the gear you’ll need to keep your food cold, your gadgets powered up, and yourself comfortable in the backcountry. Here’s a good place to start.
Power Station and Solar Panel
A large power station is essential because you’ll need it to charge your phone, lights, and camping refrigerator (more on that below). Tons of companies make high-quality models, making it easy to shop around to find one that fits your specific needs. A nice large power station will charge your phone and lights no problem, even for a week, but you’ll need to bring a solar panel to keep it juiced up when running anything more power-hungry. When it comes to buying solar panels, it’s worth investing in the bigger panels—something in the 100-to-200-watt range; otherwise you won’t be able to gather enough sun to keep everything running.
Even the best cooler can hold ice only for a couple of days, especially when you’re reaching in for food. That’s why the overland community has turned to fridges for extended trips. These fridges can plug into your cigarette lighter or truck-bed plug when you’re driving and then run on your power station at camp. These systems are designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, but they’ll still need more juice than you can charge a battery with at home, making the aforementioned solar panels a must for longer trips. “Once you get used to having fresh ingredients and cold beverages even after many days in the wilderness,” says overlanding expert Bryan Rogola, “you’ll never go back to ice and coolers.”
Many of us can comfortably go two or three days without a shower, but after many days on the trails it’s nice to be able to wash the dirt off. Solar showers heat up in the sun and then give you a true shower experience by hanging off your roof rack; smaller pressurized showers sit on the ground and deliver through a longer hose. Either way, there’s something for everyone to clean off with. Plus, you can use these setups to wash down dogs, bikes, and even dishes.
Water Jugs and Filters
Depending on where you’re traveling, how long you’re planning to be out, and how many people you’re with, your water needs will vary significantly. For a weekend trip with only a couple of people, you can get by with filling up a seven-to-ten-gallon reservoir, but as your numbers and time out expand, so must your hydration strategy. Bringing a few large jugs filled from the tap at home is great for desert trips where bodies of water are hard to find, but if you’re moving through a wetter landscape, you can bring a filter and save some weight by treating more water as you need it. “If you’re feeling truly bougie,” says Rogala, “the company Dometic recently introduced a faucet that can attach to your jugs and deliver water consistently with the push of a button, saving you from spilling that precious resource when pouring and maneuvering.”
At some point while you’re camping you’ll want to hide from the sun or the rain, and not all campsites will have ample natural shade or shelter. The best way to get under cover is with a vehicle awning. There are lots of options that slide straight out from a holder on your rack and provide a shady spot where you can sit and relax. If you want more coverage, you can buy a 270-degree awning that wraps around two full sides of your rig or a stand-alone shade to set up over a table or campfire.
Compare notes with other overlanders to see what they find necessary on long trips, and make sure you know what everyone in your party needs to enjoy the adventure. With a top-notch overlanding vehicle, there’s no need to suffer through a trip. It’ll take some time to get your packing list perfected, but a little extra planning makes a world of difference when it comes to being comfortable in the backcountry.
Toyo Tires® has delivered innovation, quality, and performance for 75 years. Well-known for the Open Country® line of light truck and SUV tires, the company offers a tire for nearly every vehicle including crossovers, sports cars, and luxury sedans. Many of the tires are built in the United States at their state-of-the-art factory in Georgia. Find the right tire and an authorized dealer at toyotires.com.