How to Prepare for Your First Overlanding Vacation

Last Updated on July 27, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

If you love camping, seeing the world and have a need for adventure, there’s no better way to get your fix than with an overlanding vacation.

You’ll get to experience some of the most remote parts of the world while enjoying one of the most rewarding ways to travel all while putting your outdoors skills to the test.

It might be a daunting prospect to get started in overlanding, but there are some ways you can give yourself a head start in your planning.

Prepare Your Vehicle

Overlanding Vacation

When you head out on your first overlanding trip, you’re going to be very reliant on your vehicle in more ways than one. It’s your primary form of transport, but it’s probably going to be configured to be your main shelter and it has to haul your gear.

This means you should make very sure it’s mechanically sound and recently serviced because the last thing you want is vehicle trouble on your first time out. You should also check that it has all the necessary loading and latching points and install them if they’re missing.

You’ll most certainly want to include a strong and sturdy set of roof racks in your vehicle fittings, as well as a good quality rooftop tent. Rooftop tents are easy to deploy at the end of the day and just as easy to fold up in the morning, and they look amazing too.

Pack Light

There’s an excellent chance that you won’t need half of the things you pack to take with you, so be very critical about what you do include.

Every item you pack takes up space in the vehicle and adds additional weight, which increases your fuel bill and makes the car more cumbersome to drive when the terrain gets more technical, or you face inclines.

Even the most remote routes have shops and places where you can do some resupplying, so don’t pack for the entire trip. It’s better to plan resupply stops along the way with trips into small towns or supply stores so you aren’t forced to take dozens of rolls of toilet paper along with you.

You won’t get this balance right the first time, and that’s okay. Knowing what to pack and how much to take is something that comes with experience. While there isn’t a one size fits all packing list, there are a few general lists of things that you should take with you.

Take Emergency Gear

Although you should be packing as light as you can, you don’t want to forego having the correct emergency gear and a well-kitted vehicle maintenance tool bag. The more time you spend off-road and away from civilization, the better prepared you should be. Having a basic understanding of the parts of a vehicle that most often fail and what to do about them is also quite important.

Pack in some emergency rations, like lightweight and compact freeze-dried meals, as well as a basic supply of medications and some first aid supplies. Include some water treatment tabs or drops in case you find yourself searching for a water source.

Don’t leave home without a way of communicating too, no matter how remote you are. This usually takes the form of a satellite phone. To be sure it’s always available to you, pack spare batteries or a way to charge it.

Once your vehicle is mechanically sound, fitted off and packed, you’re already halfway to a successful overlanding vacation. Spend some time with a map or on a digital maps service and plan your route before you head out, and you’re set for one of the best vacations of your life.

How do you shower when overlanding?

There are a few different ways that people have come up with to shower while overlanding. One popular method is using a solar shower bag. These work by filling the bag with water and then leaving it in the sun for a few hours. The water will heat up and you can then use it to shower.

Another popular method is to heat up water on your stove and then pour it into a bucket. You can then use this water to wash yourself with a sponge or washcloth.

If you have access to a river or lake, you can also use this water to wash yourself. Just be sure to soap up and rinse off well so that you don’t contaminate the water source.

How much water do you need to carry overlanding?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors, such as the climate you’ll be travelling in, the length of your trip, and your personal water usage.

In hot, dry climates, it’s important to carry more water than you think you’ll need. A good rule of thumb is to carry at least 1 gallon (3.8 litres) of water per person, per day.

If you’re planning a long trip, or one that takes you into remote areas, you may want to consider carrying even more water. A good rule of thumb for extended trips is to carry at least 2 gallons (7.6 litres) of water per person, per day.

Your personal water usage will also affect how much water you need to carry. If you’re a heavy sweatier, or if you plan on doing a lot of strenuous activities, you’ll need to carry more water than someone with a lower water usage.