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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

4 Beginner Overlanding Tips to Prepare for Your First Trip

Photo by sshepard via iStock

Like many hobbies and passions, overlanding can be a bit daunting in the beginning. You need to come up with all the gear you need, get your vehicle ready to use, and determine where your adventures will take you.

However, though it may look like a complicated thing to do, overlanding is quite simple…

This article discusses four basic overlanding tips that ensure your trips are enjoyable and safe.

If you would like to check out some visual tips and information first, check out the video above by Lifestyle Overland.

Table of Contents 

Basic Overland Driving Tips

Tent and car camping

Photo by sshepard via iStock

Many people believe that driving off-road doesn’t require much skill; however, that is far from the truth. Off-roading requires slow and controlled driving to ensure you maximize grip and reduce the potential of damaging your vehicle.

So, when faced with your first obstacles, don’t power through them. Approach slowly and crawl over them. If you try this a few times and it doesn’t work, try applying some throttle. 

It’s also important to choose the line that suits your vehicle best before trying to tackle an obstacle. A slight change in the route you take can be the difference between getting stuck or making it. 

You may need to consider the weight and height of your car as well. If you’re loaded with a lot of gear or if you have a rooftop tent, you must be aware of the areas you can fit through and the angles you can take.

Overlanding includes a lot of road miles, during which you must also be careful. A loaded vehicle takes more time to slow down and won’t be as stable through corners. With that in mind, it may be worth driving a bit slower. It’ll take longer to get there, but overlanding is about the journey anyway!

Best Vehicle Types for Overlanding

Overlanding tips - best vehicles

Photo by sshepard via iStock

Of course, before you decide where you’re going, you need to know the capabilities of your car. A crossover like a Toyota Rav4 won’t be able to do much in terms of off-roading, whereas a truck like a Tacoma or Gladiator will take you deep on trails. 

The best vehicles for these activities are those with a low-range gearbox and, if possible, one or two differential lockers. The body style can be either a truck or an SUV. 

Trucks offer a lot of space in the rear, but it isn’t protected from the weather or other people. Conversely, SUVs offer less space, but the space they have is protected and a bit more comfortable for you and your overlanding buddies. 

Overlanding Tips: Necessary Overland Tools

forrest tool 5

The most necessary overland tools are recovery tools. You never know when you’ll find yourself stuck, and when you do, having the proper gear will help you get out.

One of our favorites is the MAX Toolkit by the Forest Tool Company. There are many reasons to love this tool – its build quality, the user-friendly design, and the variety of different tools it offers.

forrest tool 3

In a package that’s the size of an ax, you get the following:

  • 3.5-lb Hudson Bay Ax Head with Striking Surface
  • Shovel
  • Pick and Broad Pick
  • Mattock Blade
  • Combination McLeod
  • Rake and Hoe Rake-Hoe Fastener

Additionally, the MAX Toolkit comes with an embossed leather ax sheath, 6 lock pins for the included accessories, and a 34-inch polyglass handle that gives you a comfortable grip on the tool as you’re using it. All of these goodies are transported in a well-made carrying case.

forrest tool 1

If you find yourself in a recovery situation, the MAX Toolkit gives you all sorts of functionalities for digging your vehicle out, clearing timber that’s across the trail, and so forth. In other words, this tool forms an excellent foundation for your onboard recovery kit!

Aside from that, you must ensure that your vehicle has rated recovery points that can be used for snatching a stuck vehicle. Beware that most factory hooks are there just for towing or tie-down purposes – especially the tow hitch. If these hooks are used for recovery, there is a large possibility of them failing.



You will need a recovery strap, shackles, snatch blocks, and other essential recovery items, too. This kit from Tackle Tuff has all these tools, plus a tree-saver strap, Kevlar-reinforced gloves, and a tactical carry bag that you can use as a line dampener. Needless to say, this would be a nice addition to your MAX Toolkit for recovery purposes.

What’s so great about the Tackle Tuff kit is the build quality of each component. The snatch blocks and shackles are made with forged carbon steel while the recovery strap and tree-saver strap are 100 percent nylon with reinforced eyelets that improved strength and load capacity.

Tackle Tuff Recovery Kit in use

Speaking of load capacity, the snatch blocks and shackles are rated to 60,000 pounds. Furthermore, the recover strap gives you 30 feet of play while the tree-saver strap offers eight feet of length. Both straps are a robust three inches wide.

And, as mentioned above, you get a tactical bag to keep all this gear organized, and can use the bag as a line dampener in recovery situations. That means that this kit not only gives you a wealth of tools to perform a recovery, but it also helps you do so safely.

If you get bogged in mud, snow, or sand, the MAX Toolkit from Forrest Tool Company and this recovery kit from Tackle Tuff will help you get out!

ultimatron 200ah 1

Bonus Tip: If you have a trailer, one of the best things you can do is upgrade the AGM batteries with lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are smaller and lighter, offer better power storage, and they don’t have a memory like AGMs do. Likewise, if you get high-quality lithium batteries like the 200Ah battery from Ultimatron shown above, you get features like an integrated battery management system, Bluetooth capability, and a built-in battery heater. These high-end features make Ultimatron batteries a reliable, high-performance option for your first overlanding trip (and many, many more trips after that!).

Overlanding Tips: Common Mistakes to Avoid

overlanding tips mistakes to avoid

Photo by shaunl via iStock

One of the most common mistakes overlanders make is buying way more gear than they need. This doesn’t just waste money, but it also overpacks the vehicle making it heavy and messy.

We suggest going on a few adventures before going out and buying all your gear. This will give you a good idea of the things you need and the things you don’t.

The second mistake is overbuilding a vehicle. For example, if you aim to mostly do road miles and a few mild trails, there is no point going for a 35-inch tire and a huge lift. Such mods destroy a vehicle’s on-road performance and decrease its life. That being said, if tough trails are what you enjoy, then these mods are worth it. 

Finally, don’t get caught up on what you see on social media. Overlanding is a lot of fun, but it can be portrayed as something that’s also carefree and easy. This isn’t always the case! Overlanding is hard work, and to ensure you have the best time (and stay safe), you need to be willing to put in all the hard work and effort.

So, go to the places you love, drive the vehicle you want to drive, and don’t pay much attention to what is projected to you!

Final Thoughts on Overlanding Tips

Jeep in a desert

Photo by DaddyBit via iStock

Once you start overlanding, you will quickly get the hang of everything, and each trip you go on will be easier – especially if you implement the overland tips mentioned above.

As with anything, a successful trip really comes down to planning and preparation beforehand and understanding how to execute those plans once you’re on the road.

If you have any further overland or off-road-related questions, post them in the forum section of our page.

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