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Overlanding: What it is, Skills, Transport and Tents

If going abroad for an all-inclusive holiday just doesn’t appeal, there are alternative options to consider. Overlanding is one of those options and provides a flexible style of holiday that you are in complete control of from start to finish. Exploring open roads, sleeping under the stars, and complete self-sufficiency are all things you can expect to achieve with an overlanding adventure, and this guide explores this activity in further detail. 

land rover with a roof top tent

What is Overlanding?

Overlanding is all about the journey. The destination is transient, and the overarching point is to see and do multiple things at multiple locations. To successfully overland, you will need the right car —typically a 4×4 type vehicle to accommodate off-road driving properly. Journeys can also be taken on bikes too, but that provides the barrier of carrying supplies which can be more tiresome and therefore limit the experience. It’s also worth noting that overlanding is not always a quick weekend trip, and most people go out into the world for at least a month, but more commonly longer. 

Typically, there are two branches of overlanding. One is the short-term weekend-style trip that is less extreme or intense than the longer second type. The second is serious overlanding, where journeys are planned over a long time span and much more preparation is required. 

What Skills Do You Need?

Overlanding requires a certain type of skill set. You will need to be savvy, nature awareness, hypervigilant at times, and a problem solver. Further to this, you have to be able to manage without luxurious items, have basic mechanical knowledge in case anything should happen with the vehicle, and above all, be confident! There won’t always be a GPS signal for your maps, there may be extreme weather to deal with, predators out in the wild countryside, and plenty of other problems to solve along the way. 

Get the Transport Right

If you will be using a car, it has to be up to standard. This is especially true if you are intent on exploring rougher terrain and uncharted roads.

For bikes, they should have off-road tires (true for trucks and cars as well), and a tire repair kit should be a standard item brought along. Regardless of how you travel, get to know your mode of transport. If it’s a car, know how to fix basic mechanical issues and plan for having to do so (bring the right tools along). 

a car with roof top tent

Pick the Best Rooftop Tent Option

If you are traveling by car, then rooftop tent options are much more convenient. Hard shell rooftop tents are a protective outer layer to combat the elements and provide safety for the outlander. You could also opt for the soft shell tent variety, but generally, the hard shell option is more luxurious as shown here. 

Related Read: How to Choose the Best Rooftop Tents

What to pack for Overlanding

For a trip away from reliable amenities, it is essential to take the right equipment with you. Things you can’t forget for overlanding are listed below. 

  • Torches
  • Solar charger/emergency radio communicative device
  • First aid kit
  • Lots of water and even a water filter
  • Food supplies and cooking supplies 
  • Hygiene products – toothbrush, deodorant, wipes, soap 
  • Trailer (if required)
  • Basic tool kit
  • Emergency fuel
  • Comfort items – blankets, chairs, plates, cups, pillows. 

Know the Routes

A large part of overlanding is just enjoying the journey and seeing where the land takes you; however, it is also sensible to have a general knowledge of the surrounding area. What, if any, predators are native? Are there any impassable routes? All good things to plan for. 

Overlanding is a big adventure – so make sure you are well-prepared! 

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