Overlanding is an increasingly popular, pandemic friendly activity that anyone who has a 4 wheel drive vehicle can do. Searching for the right gear can take a lot of time so I've pulled together a collection of some of the best overlanding gear I'll be using in 2021.
Whether you think of it as car camping, #vanlife, or off-roading, loading up your vehicle and spending a few nights under the stars with family and friends is a lot of fun. Want to go further? Driving deep into the mountains via twisty, rocky trails is an epic adventure you won't forget.
What is Overlanding? Overlanding describes self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal. Typically, but …
SHELTER & Sleeping
I don't use a rooftop tent but many overlanders do. I've included a roundup of rooftop tents here as well as my favorite ultralight backpacking tent that I use all the time. Also included here is the best ultralight air mattress I've ever used along with two versions of the best sleeping bag/quilt I've ever slept in: one for moderate temps and the other for cold temps. When overloading you can bring a full size pillow so I've included a flannel pillow case I use which never gets damp or cold.
There's nothing like a great meal when you're outside in the wilderness so don't skimp when it comes to your kitchen setup. For a stove, the traditional Coleman gets the highest marks from Wirecutter and is retro cool. Meanwhile if you want to grill, the Weber propane grill is highly rated and reasonably portable though you might need to leave it at home if you're low on space. The rest of this gear is pretty straightforward.
Water is a critical part of any trip. How much will you need? A good rule of thumb is at least 4 liters of drinking water per person per day. This doesn't include water for dishes, washing, etc. To be safe I assume an additional 4 liters of water per person per day for washing & cooking. If you're planning a resupply of water from nearby lakes or streams, water purification and/or filtering will be important. Here are the products I've relied on for water storage and purification.
Coffee is always a good idea. Many swear by using a percolator but I've found that by far the best, most efficient way to make coffee in camp is via my trusty Chemex with a big insulated mug from Yeti.
You can go one of two ways to keep your food cool: a 12 volt fridge or a cooler. This Yeti cooler packed with Yeti ice will last you a good 48 hours. Anything longer and I recommend switching to the fridge. Arb makes an excellent outdoor fridge which can tolerate extreme weather in the back of a truck but it's expensive. After some research I found this Iceco fridge which gets awesome reviews and is priced just right.
Being comfortable in camp means a comfortable folding chair, easy to setup table, adjustable lighting, bug repellent and some good tunes. Here's some of the gear I regularly use in camp. Of particular note is the REI table. It's small enough to pack two of them which can be setup side by side for 4 people or used separately around camp as needed. Meanwhile, I really like the comfort of the outdoor spectator chair but it is bulky. I switch to the Helinox chairs if I'm traveling with all the kids.
Space is at a premium when you need to load up for a long trip. These are the products I use to organize it all while making maximum use of space. I love the Yeti LoadOuts and have four dedicated to kitchen, camp, emergency and recovery gear. Also great are the ammo boxes for excess gear or food storage. For camera and digital gear, NOTHING tops Peter McKinnon's backpack. I've also included some great pouches which attach to seatbacks and headrests, perfect for clothes and loose gear.