The overlanding gear list you need will depend on where you’re going and for how long.
If you’re backpacking, portable equipment will serve you well. But road trips off the beaten path will require a more heavy-duty kit with larger fuel and water supplies.
The most expensive products aren’t necessarily the best. But sometimes you’ll need to splurge. Whether you’re prepping for your first overland trip or your hundredth, having a checklist to make sure you’re not missing anything is essential.
Here’s our overlanding gear list for any adventure:
Off-Road Vehicle Recovery Gear
You won’t get anywhere without your overland vehicle. Literally. So, something you should always have to hand is a toolkit with basics for backcountry breakdowns. This should include things like:
- Ratchet straps
- Utility scissors
- Allen keys
- Duct tape
- Bungee cords and zip ties
- Off-road jack
Think about the most likely things to go wrong and what you will need to fix them. Nothing sets back an overland adventure like a puncture. So, don’t forget a spare tire for your exact vehicle model, too.
Related Reading: The 27 Best Toyota Tundra Mods & Accessories (3rd Gen)
Even the most experienced off-roaders can get stuck. The new Gen2 series of Smittybilt winches are complete recovery systems: ranging from 9,500–17,500 pounds, with upgraded line speed and pulling power.
Need more strength? You’ll need to source a few extra bits of kit to get out of sticky situations:
- A snatch block
- A strap (like a tree saver)
(Just make sure you learn how to use all this equipment before you need to.)
High-Lift Jack: Hi-Lift Jack HL485 48”
High-lift jacks are great for changing tires, lifting you out of mud, or making small repairs. Made from all-cast—these versions are durable and rust-resistant. Hi-Lifts also come in 42 or 60” versions depending on your needs.
Hi-Lift is one of the most recognizable names in the niche because they launched it. If you drive a tall 4×4 vehicle, you’ll need one of these at some point. So, why not go for the original?
Tire Air Compressor: ARB CKMTA12 High-Performance Air Compressor
There are two primary uses for air compressors when overlanding:
- Deflating tires increases traction when driving on dirt and makes the ride smoother
- Reinflating repaired tires can save you from having to use a spare
ARB is Australia’s largest manufacturer of 4×4 accessories. Luckily, they supply the US too. This compressor has the highest air flow rate of any other same-sized 12V on the market. The twin engines also have an inbuilt cooling system, so the 100% duty cycle can keep going and going.
As it’s an onboard compressor, it can also power air lockers—a must-have for serious off-roaders. These power both wheels equally (regardless of resistance) and give you the torque you need on command.
Jumper Cables: Energizer Jumper Cables with Carrying Bag
Energizer is a big name in the battery business, and this trusted brand also supplies jumper cables. The rule is: the lower the gauge number, the more power. So, you can use the 25-foot, 2 gauge in all types of weather if you’re overlanding with other vehicles.
You don’t want to be left in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery. So, a jump starter kit and power bank are overlanding gear list essentials. Plus, these come with a free carrying case and 2-year warranty with your purchase on Amazon. I’ve used my jumper cables several times in the last two years.
Wavian jerry cans may not be the cheapest, but they’re designed to last. If your overland trip will be taking you off-road for a while, make sure you pack extra fuel. These versions are leak and smell-proof with a beautiful finish and easy-to-use design.
These long-term investments will prevent you from ever getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with no fuel or water. Plus, the military-grade rust-proof steel means you can pass them on to your grandkids one day.
Recovery Tracks: MAXTRAX XTREME Signature Orange
Recovery tracks are essential for overlanding when your vehicle loses traction on uneven ground like mud, snow, or sand. There are lots of cheaper versions around, but this is an area where you don’t want to mess with quality.
You won’t find a more heavily tested pair of recovery tracks than MAXTRAX—designed for active combat, timed motorsport events and remote area expeditions. If the engineering-grade reinforced Nylon is good enough for these extreme situations, you know you can rely on them to get yourself out of trouble too.
Camping Gear and Cooking Equipment
Whether you’re in a camper or a 4×4 vehicle, you’ll be staying overnight on your overland adventure. So, you need to think about sleeping arrangements and downtime.
Cooking in the wild is one of the most satisfying parts of any overland trip. Some of the basics you’ll need to bring are:
- A good chopping knife
- Eating utensils
- Pots and pans (I recommend cast iron)
- Stainless steel water bottles and canisters
Check out our list of easy camping meals for ideas on what to cook!
Sleeping Bags: Oaskys Camping Sleeping Bag
Oaskys may be a budget buy, but they have a reputation for quality that’s perfect for all seasons. The double-filled technology prevents any dampness seeping in. Plus, the half-circle hood with adjustable drawstring will make sure your head stays warm even in the wind.
Whatever the weather, a sleeping bag is an essential bit of kit for your overlanding gear list.
Collapsible Rooftop Tent: iKamper Skycamp 3.0
Any overland trip needs a solid tent, and rooftop versions are some of the most popular for smaller groups.
Rooftop tents can have soft or hard shells (the latter way more expensive.) But if you want to splurge, the iKamper Skycamp 3.0 is top-rated. It’s one of the best on the market because the brand is known for listening to and implementing customer feedback.
It’s also the most secure due to reengineered locking latches and an aerodynamic shell that’s made room for more bedding space inside. There’s also a telescoping ladder, a mattress, and waterproof electronics port. Everything you need to camp on your vehicle in luxury.
Check out my full review of the iKamper here.
Headlamp: Lighting EVER Rechargeable Headlamp
No camping trip would be complete without a rechargeable headlamp. And when it gets dark, you’ll be happy you packed one.
This Lighting EVER model is compatible with any USB port and provides up to 30 hours of continuous lighting on one charge. It also illuminates as far as 500ft/150m and has a 45-degree adjustable angle to save craning your neck. Plus, it’s waterproof and totally safe to use in heavy rain.
Camping Chair: Zero Gravity Reclining Lounge Patio Chair
Swap the driver’s seat for this Zero Gravity camp chair with a canopy for summer shade and a detachable side tray. It reclines to an almost horizontal position—perfect for napping after hours of backpacking.
It’s not the lightest of chairs, but it’s water-resistant and won’t fall apart if you accidentally leave it out in a downpour. But keep it in a sheltered spot, and it’ll stay in tip-top shape for a long time.
Related Reading: These Are The Best Camp Chairs with Built-in Shade
Awning: OVS Nomadic 270-Degree Awning
With 129 square feet of shelter, this OVS Nomadic 270-degree awning requires no poles for set up and takes minutes to break down. It can be used as a standalone unit or easily integrated into your off-road vehicle.
Three adjustable aluminum poles keep the awning steady when the wind picks up. Even in heavy rain, the 600D poly cotton ripstop material and heat-sealed seams mean it won’t leak at all.
The higher price comes with long-lasting convenience on the road. So, whether you need shade or shelter, enjoy the outdoors in comfort.
Want to learn more? Read our comparison of the best 270-degree awnings.
Portable Solar Power Station: Jackery Explorer 300
You need power for just about everything while overlanding. The Jackery Explorer 300 is one of our favorites—a portable solar charger that’s reliable and durable for powering small devices and electronics. (If you need more juice, there’s also the Jackery 1000.)
Some of the other benefits are:
- It’s small and easy to transport
- Jackery has awesome customer service
- Fast charging speed
- Up to 95% of wattage (many competitors are around 70-90%)
Camp Stove: Coleman 3-Burner Propane Stove
The Coleman 3-Burner Propane Stove has plenty of room for cooking for larger groups on the road. It’s a heavier model, but that’s not a big deal if you’ll be transporting it by vehicle. The side panels can also be used as extra prepping space or to shield burners from the wind.
Once you set the burner to a certain temperature, it won’t fluctuate. Set up and clean up are hassle-free too. If you do a lot of cooking on your overlanding trips, this could be the perfect stove for you.
Related Reading: How to Build (Or Buy) The Ultimate Overlanding Kitchen
Fire Starters: InstaFire
Fire starters are a small item you don’t want to forget. Essential for keeping warm, heating coffee, and potentially cooking—InstaFire’s fuel lights in snow, rain, and 30-mph winds. It’s non-toxic and even works on wet wood.
A 5-gallon bucket will set you back $79.95, but they come in smaller packs which light up to four fires each. Plus, the leftover ash is a natural fertilizer.
Hygiene and Toiletries
Good hygiene ensures you’ll enjoy your outdoor adventures to the max. That means always drinking clean water and using toilet paper that doesn’t harm the environment. You also don’t want to forget essentials like insect repellent and sunscreen.
Water Filter: The Lifesaver Jerry Can + Water Purifier
Photo credit: REI
Can a single jerry can be worth over a few hundred dollars? Thousands of people say yes. The Lifesaver military-grade 4.8-gallon tank can filter through over 5000 gallons in its lifetime—making any water safe to drink almost instantly.
The activated carbon filter reduces viruses, bacteria, and parasites by 99.9%. Plus, it removes chlorine, any weird tastes and smells. There’s even a shower attachment if you’d like a decent, pressurized wash.
Wherever your overland adventure takes you, make sure you always have access to safe drinking water.
Toilet Paper: Coghlan’s Packable Camp Toilet Tissue
This compact, lightweight, biodegradable toilet paper is perfect for those trips where you find yourself without facilities. They’ll also take up hardly any space in your pack because there’s no central roll.
If you’re going to be off-grid for a while, you might want to consider investing in a portable toilet. But these tissues are handy for cleaning spills and wiping your nose too.
Shower: Camplux Tankless Water Heater
There’s nothing like a hot shower after a long day of backpacking. The Camplux Tankless Water Heater may be a luxury item for your overlanding gear list, but it could be a home comfort that’s worth it.
Hook it up to your propane fuel source and set it up anywhere outdoors. The max temperature is 114.8℉ and 46.4℉ at its lowest, with 1.32 gallons of hot water flowing per minute. With anti-freezing and overheating protection, it’s both safe and durable to use on the road.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Overlanding Water Storage
Hopefully, you’ll never have to use your emergency overlanding gear. But it pays to be prepared. These are a few products you should never travel without.
First Aid Kit: EVERLIT 250 Pieces Survival First Aid Kit
This 250-piece medical kit ensures you’ll be well-prepared in any emergency situation. For any cuts and scrapes you’re covered with:
- Antiseptic wipes
- Wound dressings
- Medical scissors
- Metal tweezers
The kit also includes some survival items, like:
- An emergency blanket
- Paracord bracelet
- Disposable poncho
It’s lightweight, compact, and easily fits in your backpack or car trunk. And it’s a real bargain.
Fire Extinguisher: H3R Performance HalGuard Clean Agent
The only fires you want on your overland trip are the ones you create yourself. Yes, this extinguisher is pricey, but it’s specifically designed for automotive fires. If it saves you having to shell out for a whole new vehicle, it’s worth it.
According to reviews, it doesn’t leave a residue like some of the cheaper versions. It contains an electrically-safe extinguishing agent that quickly turns into a gas. So, for optimum effectiveness with zero cleanup, try the H3R Performance extinguisher.
GPS Navigation: Garmin Overlander for Off-Grid Guidance
Garmin is one of the most trusted names in technology. So, it’s no surprise their GPS has made our overlander gear list. It’s not just made for rugged terrain, either. Use it for turn-by-turn navigation for your daily commute, as well as topography maps for off-grid guidance.
The maps cover both North and South America and are preloaded with points of interest (POIs) and the best public campgrounds. It can be placed anywhere on your vehicle with its magnetic-mounted suction cup or RAM-compatible adapter.
This device is super reliable, but always pack some backup paper maps in case of emergency.
Communication Device: Garmin InReach Mini Satellite Communicator
Chances are, the moment you really need mobile signal is the time you don’t have it. So, this Garmin inReach satellite communicator is an essential for any overlanding journey into the wild.
It’s small, lightweight, and works anywhere. The SOS button allows you to call emergency services 24/7 with the push of a button. After you’ve triggered a distress signal, you’ll get confirmation that help is on the way and be constantly updated on the status of the response team.
You can also link it to the mobile app to make replying easier and faster. The inReach Mini isn’t cheap. But worth every penny if it saves a life.
If you’re out adventuring with a group or caravan, you may want to stay in close communication with your crew. A GMRS handheld radio is a great way to keep communication in areas without cell phone service.
Overlanding Essentials Packing List
This overlanding gear list covers some of the most popular products for your next adventure or camping trip. But there are so many other pieces of gear and non-essential home comforts you can find online. Are there any we’ve missed you think should be included?
Your list will be unique, so use this for reference and check out some of our other guides for more ideas.