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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Planning Your First Overlanding Trip

Photo by janiecbros via iStock

Planning can be the difference between a great overlanding trip and one that will make you never want to overland again. 

If you follow any experienced overlanders on the internet you would have noticed that they put a lot of time and effort into planning overlanding trips. By that I don’t just mean the route they will take – there’s much more to it. You will need enough food, fuel, water, proper clothing, and a maintained vehicle.

Sounds like a handful? Well, that’s part of the allure – the preparation. Following a previous article dubbed “Always Be Overlanding” I decided to provide some tips on how to always be overlanding the proper way. 

Before we get started, I wanted to give you some advice on where you should plan your route. I use GAIA GPS, in my opinion, it is a cheap way to have maps when off-grid; therefore, it is suggested for anyone who’s on a budget. 

How Much Time Do You Have for an Overlanding Trip?

man setting up camp on overland trip

Photo by ZargonDesign via iStock

The first thing to do when planning your first overlanding trip is to determine would be how much time you have to spend. This way, you can focus on the areas that will be reachable within your timeframe. 

Consider how long it will take for you to get there and gather up information on how long the trail you are planning on doing will take. You should also keep in mind that the exit of the trail might be further away from home than the entry. Therefore, adequate time to get back to base is required. 

Factor in the stops you will make along the way on your overlanding trip. Do not plan a trip you can barely make on time. The slightest mishap like traffic or a breakdown will send you off schedule! 

Your trip doesn’t need to be several days long. It can just be a single night or even a single afternoon. If you have spare time, use it! Head out and do what you love. 

Locations to Visit

Person standing on SUV in the snow

Photo by hadynyah via iStock

You should choose an area that intrigues you for your overlanding trip. Where haven’t you been before? Where did you always want to go? Take a note of the places you would love to visit – then, work out how long it will take for you to get there. On the way, look for interesting areas and add waypoints.

Don’t just have places you are already aware of as options though. Nowadays, we can head on forums and groups where endless information is available. People will many times be willing to share stunning places and ready plotted routes to get there. 

Therefore, some internet scouting is always a good thing!

Learn More:

Resources Available in the Area

Cast iron pot on an open fire

Photo by DaryaRyabova via iStock 

Are you heading out to a remote area where food supply, fuel supply, and parts supply won’t be available? Then you should pack the necessary amounts of food, take some jerry cans and the right spare parts on your overlanding trip.  

Keep in mind that in very remote areas fuel stations usually only have diesel. That’s what the machinery they use out there takes. Therefore, you might think there will be fuel available, but it may not be the kind of fuel you need. 

If the area has restaurants and grocery shops, pack up less – it will help keep the weight of your rig down. 

Route Plotting for Your Overlanding Trip

4x4 on and overland road through the mountians

Photo by piola666 via iStock

With the essentials taken care of, it is time to begin plotting the exact path you will follow. It is always a good idea to do this a few days before you head out. It will give you the opportunity to adjust any routes that may not work out or add a route that will be more interesting. 

If plotting is left towards the last days, it won’t be done with as much attention and you may end up on a road that isn’t driveable in your truck (trust me I’ve had it happen). 

Weather Conditions

Woman next to 4x4 camping in the snow

Photo by visualspace via iStock

What gear will you need for your overlanding trip? Is there a chance you’ll get into snow? If yes, carry chains and the appropriate recovery gear. Check the weather, it is amazing how temperatures can change between a full tank of traveling. Don’t go overboard though, try to only take the clothes you know you will need. 

Always keep some warmer clothing and gloves in the trunk just in case the forecast got it completely wrong. Or you had some spare time and decided to head to an additional location that might happen to be colder. 

Medical Kit

Contents of a first aide kit

Photo by bernie_photo via iStock

As my final piece of overlanding trip advice, always have a medical kit. The truth is that overlanding can be dangerous and that’s mostly down to limited access to help when something does go wrong. Therefore, you must be as prepared as possible in case things do go pear-shaped. 

After the overlanding trip is over, create a list of the things you’ve needed and used, the things you didn’t use, and the things you needed but didn’t take. This will help you be better prepared each time you head out.

I hope this article has helped provide an idea of the things you should consider when planning an overlanding trip. For even more tips, check out our beginner’s guide to overlanding.

What do you think? Have I left anything behind?

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