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Monday, May 20, 2024

4 Common Problems with Overlanding Cars (and How to Solve Them)

Photo by georgeclerk via iStock

This article was last updated on May 1, 2024.

Trucks and vehicles, in general, are made for commuting; therefore, it is no surprise that when we opt to use them as a living space, we first need to overcome some issues. 

Eliminating those issues or limitations mostly revolves around modifications, gear, and personalization.

By choosing the proper products to install in our overlanding cars, we ensure that the journey is as comfortable and safe as possible.

This guide explores four common problems with overlanding cars and some great gear that will help you turn inconvenience into comfort. 

Table of Contents 

Overlanding Cars Lack Dining Space

tire table 9


Dining space is one of the main issues we face when building overlanding cars. Camping can lead to some amazing meals – especially when cooked straight over a fire; therefore, it is important to have a space to enjoy them. 

One of our favorite products for this purpose is the Tailgater Tire Table – an affordable, easy-to-use, and portable product that will enable you to enjoy your meals easily. 

This table is made from powder-coated 6061 aluminum that is lightweight, rust resistant, and can hold up to 50lbs. Its dimensions are 23” wide. 29” long, and 1.5” thick, giving you plenty of space without being overly large.

tire table 3

Installation is easy as it mounts straight on your vehicle’s tire. You just need to make sure that you have approximately 2 inches of clearance between the wheels and fenders. Since this table mounts on the tire, it remains stable regardless of how uneven the ground is.

Granted, this table is on the smaller side; however, its portability makes it a great product to take with you. Also, because it is made from steel, you will be able to use it for hot pans and plates without worrying about melting the plastic surface of normal camping tables. 

Sleeping Isn’t That Comfortable in a Car


Most cars do not have enough space inside to sleep comfortably, and even if they do, you face issues like condensation and the lack of airflow.

One of our favorite and fun solutions to this problem is installing a rooftop tent. A rooftop tent ensures you sleep up and above potential predators while also enjoying a great breeze and stunning views from the top of your vehicle.

A solid rooftop tent choice is the SMRT Softshell Tent, thanks to its quality and comfort.

Softshell Tent From Smrt

With the SMRT The Softshell, you will have a sleeping capacity of four persons, so you can comfortably get a small family in there. The weight this tent will add to your roof is 128 pounds, so you get great space without an enormous amount of weight.

The tent body is made of 320 g ripstop polycotton canvas that’s seamed and polyurethane-coated for waterproofing and UV protection. The tent body and windows also feature SBS zippers.

The mold- and mildew-resistant rainfly is made from 420-denier oxford ripstop polyester fabric with a waterproof PVC coating to give you excellent performance in poor weather. The exterior travel cover is made from 650-denier waterproof PVC-coated fabric, so the tent is protected as you travel. 

softshell-tent-from-smrt inside

Inside The Softshell tent, you can stay organized with four internal accessory pockets, two large shoe bags, and a base-mounted tent pole storage pocket. The ultra-high-density EPS open-cell foam mattress is 2.5 inches thick, wider than a queen, and longer than a king. The mattress is firm to the touch yet adaptive to your body.

There’s even a removable mattress cover that’s made with soft polycotton on top and 420-denier oxford ripstop waterproof fabric on the bottom, which negates the need for an anti-condensation mat.

In other words, SMRT Tent has thought of everything with The Softshell. It’s an ideal addition to solving one of the biggest problems with overlanding cars – where to get a good night’s sleep!

Overlanding Cars Can Get Stuck

forrest tool company max ax with sheath

Overlanding cars can get stuck. The main reason we build them is to drive to hard-to-reach locations and enjoy the natural beauty those locations offer. Because of this, we must ensure that we equip our overland cars with proper recovery gear.

One of the cheapest ways to do so is with a multitool like the Forest Tool Company MAX Toolkit

forrest tool 3

This fantastic tool has a Hudson Bay ax attached to a 36˝ polyglass handle and comes with six quick-attach tools: a shovel, mattock, pick, broad pick, fire rake, and hoe. If you get stuck on the trail, you have your pick of many different tools that can help you get out of a jam.

Of course, once you get to your camp spot, the Forest Tool Company MAX Toolkit offers utility for getting camp set up. Use the ax to chop wood, the shovel to dig a fire pit, the fire rake to spread out the campfire coals…you get the point.

forrest tool 5

Not many overlanding tools offer this level of functionality, especially in a single tool. Yet, Forrest Tool Company has done just their beautifully made, easy to handle, and durable MAX Toolkit.

Heck, the U.S. Army uses this bad boy on its Light Tactical Vehicles. If it’s good enough for the military, it’s good enough for our outdoor adventures!

In Overlanding Cars, Storage Space is at a Premium

gear plates enhance storage in overlanding cars

Some overlanding cars offer a decent amount of storage space. However, other models – especially small SUVs – can be limited in that department. Your best and cheapest option here is to add a storage space solution that organizes your trunk, making it easier to pack all your gear.

One of our favorite products for solving this issue is a gear plate from Aiden James Customs. This specific version of the product is for the Subaru Forester. It is made from durable Baltic Birch and comes coated with Rhino lining to ensure long-lasting performance.

It offers mounting for the new Dometic 35/40, TemboTusk 28, and TemboTusk 30 fridges. If you want to take a jack with you, you can easily install the Pro Eagle 1.5-ton jack thanks to specific mounts in the gear place. The system also comes with T-Nuts in every hole for simple installation of your gear and all hardware, like SouthCo latches. All the hardware needed to install is included as well.

storage space in overlanding cars

Speaking of installation, it couldn’t be easier. You don’t need to extensively disassemble the rear carpet or drill any holes. Once installed, there are no squeaks or rattles. The whole process takes just a few minutes

These gear plates are also available for other vehicles, such as the Toyota 4Runner.

When it comes to making overlanding cars more functional, there are few upgrades as good as a gear plate from Aiden James Customs!

Final Thoughts

overlanding cars on a desert road

Photo by helivideo via iStock

Overlanding cars come with limitations. However, the exciting process of personalization and modification can help us get rid of most of them. With the above tips and gear, we can reassure you that your overlanding adventures will be all the better!

If you have any further questions regarding overland cars or anything else off-road or overland-related, head over to the forum section of our page to ask away!

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