Overlanding is a style of camping that focuses on self-reliance and the thrill of the journey rather than the destination. The primary goal of overlanders is to go where you’ve never gone before. That usually means far and away from civilization – away from utilities, housing, and sometimes even emergency services.
There are many things one could argue should be taken on a Jeep Overlanding trip. However, we can break down the gear list into three categories: vehicle gear, shelter, and cooking/food storage materials.
This article is the ultimate guide to understanding everything you need to know when it comes to Overlanding and the gear you should bring to maximize space and optimize comfort.
When it comes to Overlanding with your Jeep, space is going to be one of your primary concerns. You need to be able to store all of the equipment you’ll need for your trip and access it in a quick and organized way.
The vehicle gear on this list is meant to help you accomplish just that – utilizing every inch of the space in your Jeep in the most efficient way possible so that you can rest assured you have everything you need to embark on your Overlanding adventure.
To maximize the space in the back of your Jeep, you’ll want to consider installing a plate system to help provide a level floor that can hold all of your other gear.
To install these plate systems, you’ll need to remove the plastic lining from the cargo area (as well as the back seats if you choose to extend the base that far).
Once installed, you can add additional sliders on top of the plate to access all your camping essentials. The Backwoods Black Forest Universal Cargo Slide is a perfect option, as it can be installed on any existing plate system.
Utilizing a plate system with slides will allow you to keep your bigger gear, like a portable fridge or water reserve easily accessible, no matter where you store it inside your Jeep. They also allow for storage above or below the slides for easy access.
Another great way to maximize storage in your Jeep while trekking the backcountry is the use of storage boxes. Storage boxes are great for storing many smaller, loose items like your camp kitchen gear, spare water, water filtration kits, recovery equipment, and more.
The most important criteria a storage box should meet is that it’s secure, it can stack easily, and it’s lightweight enough to be moved around your cargo area’s configuration.
Rubbermaid Brute Storage Bin
You don’t need to get a fancy solution if you don’t want to – regular storage bins like the Rubbermaid Commercial Brute Storage Bin will work just fine. The heavy-duty plastic won’t easily break as you travel over all types of terrain, and the lid snaps in securely, so you can rest assured knowing that your gear will be safe and secure.
Front Runner Wolf Pack Tote
However, if you’re looking for something more rugged and durable, the Front Runner Wolf Pack Tote is a great option. These rugged, waterproof boxes are perfect for storing anything you like, from food and water to tools, safety equipment, and more. They’re stackable and come equipped with a low-profile lid, so they sit flush on top of one another.
One of the major components of any camp kitchen needs to be propane tanks. This is what will run your camp stove and heat hot water for showers, among other things.
To save precious space in your cargo area, one of the things you can do to store your propane tank is to install a mount outside on the hardtop of your Jeep.
The AT Overland External Corner Mount Kit provides everything you need to store your vehicle’s propane tank. It’s extremely easy to install, comes with the mount, the bracket, and the 5-gallon tank, but will require that you drill holes in your hardtop to mount it.
Another piece of gear that you can install right into the frame of your Jeep is a built-in table.
This is a great piece of equipment to have on the road, because you won’t need to pack an extra table to be used for cooking prep, playing games, or anything else you may want a table for a while on your Overlanding trip.
The EAG Collapsible Metal Tailgate Table can be installed right on the inside of your tailgate with relative ease. Installing a table on the Jeep’s tailgate allows you to take advantage of some negative space that would otherwise not be used, which means more storage in the cargo area! This table is perfect for preparing meals, holding your camp stove, and more!
When going on any long-distance trip, you’re going to need a power supply that can run your most important electronics – from handheld devices like your phone and GoPro to your portable refrigerator.
Most vehicles these days come equipped with a 12V power supply port right inside, but if you need to plug in multiple devices at one time, you’ll need a larger power supply.
The BESTEK 300W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter Car Adaptor is a perfect solution to any power woes you may run into out on the trail. It has two outlets and 2 USB ports, which will allow plenty of space to plug in anything you may need. The power supply itself has an adaptor on one end that plugs directly into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter port.
Interior Roof Storage Straps/Nets
To maximize every square inch of your Jeep while on an Overlanding adventure, you’re going to want to take advantage of the interior roof space. Because the exterior roof space needs to be reserved for tent storage, you won’t be able to store anything else up there.
Utilizing straps or a cargo net that runs across the entirety of the roof over your back seats, like the Blue Ridge Overlanding Gear Jeep JKU Attic, is a great way to store things like camping chairs, extra blankets, or anything else you need without taking space away from the main storage area.
As you can see, this article’s general theme has been how to maximize the space you have without sacrificing the things you need to have a safe and fun Overlanding adventure.
We’ve covered how to maximize space overhead with the use of a cargo net, and now we’re going to cover how to maximize space behind the front seats.
Using a headrest car organizer like the Bestop RoughRider Seat Back Organizer For Jeep Wranglers will allow you to store smaller things, like snacks, first aid kits, or tools right within arm’s reach.
This particular model features four separate pockets, which will help keep you organized on the go.
When prepping for any Overlanding trip, shelter and temperature control should be your second-most concern. Not only will you need a tent or other structure to sleep in at night, away from the elements, you’ll also need ways to keep yourself warm (or cool, depending on the season and where you are). We’ve got some great options for every season in this next list.
Rooftop tents are a fantastic option for shelter during an Overlanding trip because they put you above ground and away from animals and off the hard, and sometimes wet ground.
When Overlanding with a Jeep, having a rooftop tent that can stay put atop the roof even when you’re not using it will be key.
Ursa Minor Pop Up Camper
The Ursa Minor J30 Pop Up Camper is one of the most popular Jeep rooftop tents that money can buy, and can transform your Jeep into a fairly roomy shelter in just minutes.
To take advantage of this tent, you’ll need to completely replace the hard top of your Jeep, so this is a pretty permanent solution. If your Jeep’s sole purpose is to be an Overlanding rig or take trips pretty often, this should not be an issue for you.
Front Runner Roof Top Tent
However, if you’d prefer a more temporary rooftop tent, check out the FrontRunner Roof Top Tent. This tent can be stowed on top of your car while you’re in transit but doesn’t require you to remove your hardtop entirely to install it.
It comes with a heavy-duty PVC cover so you can be sure it’s protected while you’re on the go. It also sleeps two adults quite comfortably!
Whether you’re taking a midday break, or you’re done traveling for the day, having something to shade you from the elements like sun or rain, is going to be a luxury you never thought you’d miss while out on the trail.
Much like an awning on the side of your home, rooftop awnings for your Jeep provide a shade source or protection from the rain.
The ARB 2000 Rooftop Awning is a permanent solution to this problem and can be installed right on your Ursa Minor J30 rooftop tent base. Of course, you’ll need to be sure you have the Ursa Minor J30 Side Awning Mounts to properly connect the awning to your rooftop.
This type of solution is perfect because it’s always ready when you need it, and you won’t have to worry about taking it down and stowing it in your Jeep when you head out the next day.
Investing in a good, 3-season sleeping bag is something you’ll want to do before any camping excursion, whether you’re Overlanding through dense forest or just heading out for a few days at your local campground.
You want to be sure that you’re prepared in case of sudden drops in temperature, which can lead to hypothermia if you’re left exposed to extremely low temps.
When choosing the appropriate sleeping bag for you, you’ll want to consider the environments you’ll likely be Overlanding in the most.
A 3-season bag has temperature ratings that suit almost every climate except for the extreme cold, and have a temperature range between 15° and 30° Fahrenheit (-9.4° and -1.1° Celsius).
Nemo Forte Ultralight Synthetic Sleeping Bag
The Nemo Forte Ultralight Synthetic Sleeping Bag is a great option for Overlanding enthusiasts and can serve as a crossover bag between camping and backpacking. It’s lightweight, packable materials will ensure you’ll be able to roll it up tightly so it won’t take up extra space in your cargo area when it’s not being used. This bag comes in both women’s and men’s sizes, so it’s perfect for everyone on your trip.
Food & Water Storage
When embarking on any journey, whether it be three days or three weeks, you’ll need to be sure that you bring an adequate amount of food, water, and cooking supplies.
In a Jeep with limited storage capacity, you’ll need to get creative with storing your supplies. Options that take up smaller real estate, yet don’t slip in performance, are the best choices when preparing your gear for an Overlanding trip.
The Dometic CFX 28 Electric Cooler is the perfect option for Overlanders looking to save space without sacrificing efficiency. This unit measures 16.7” H x 24.4” W x 13.5” D (42.4 x 62 x 34.3 cm), so it’s compact enough to fit in the back of your Jeep. However, its 16-liter capacity won’t leave you longing for extra space.
Additionally, its advanced electronics system allows for extremely low power consumption, so you don’t have to worry about it draining your car battery if you’re sitting stationary for the evening.
Part of the fun of Overlanding is exploring places you’ve never been before. When you’re traveling out into the unknown, you don’t want to mess around with your water supply.
A general rule of thumb for water storage while Overlanding is a 3/4 gallon (2.84 liters) per person, per day. Because of this, relying on natural water sources while you’re Overlanding is just plain irresponsible.
MSR Dromedary Bags
When space is a concern, these MSR Dromedary Bags are a fantastic option for water storage. They come in three sizes – 4-Liter, 6-Liter, and 10-Liter, perfect for any length Overlanding trip. When they aren’t in use, they can be folded up and stored away.
Another benefit of these bags (or any dromedary bags) is that when left in the sun, the water will naturally heat up, which is great for showering or bathing.
Water Filtration System
If you’re going on a multi-day Overlanding trip, you’re not going to be able to rely on a reserve of water alone. You should be prepared to collect water from alternative sources throughout your route, as long as they are available.
To prevent yourself from getting sick due to bacteria and pathogens that are often found in natural water sources, a water filtration system is a must-have in your Overlanding gear.
Guardian Water System
The Guardian Water System by MSR is a top of the line filtration system that is quick, powerful, and efficient. It can filter up to 2.5 liters per minute, up to 99% of bacteria, and has a self-cleaning mechanism, so you won’t need a bunch of bulky filters.
One of the luxuries of Overlanding is enjoying a hot meal at the end of a long day. There are many different types and sizes of camping stoves, but choosing one that will be a bit smaller in stature is a good option when space is a concern.
Jetboil Genesis Basecamp Stove
The Jetboil Genesis Basecamp Backpacking and Camping Stove is one of the most compact stoves on the market, and even comes with bonus items – a pot and pan!
The burners are specially formulated to work with these proprietary pieces of equipment, which results in lower energy consumption while cooking.
This complete kit is everything you’ll need to make the meals of your dreams while out on the trail. When you’re done, you can fold everything up and stow it quite compactly in its very own storage bag.
Space is the ultimate concern when packing up your Jeep for an Overlanding adventure. You’ll want to think about this when selecting which gear you purchase. Otherwise, you may have to sacrifice some of your favorite items in favor of the major necessities.
When packing for an Overlanding trip, prioritize organizational equipment like floor plates, ceiling cargo nets, and storage bins that will maximize your cargo area.
Utilize areas of your vehicle like the roof and exterior sides to store things like awnings, propane tank holders, and roof tents. Purchase food and water storage solutions that offer compact options without sacrificing performance.
If you pack efficiently, you’ll have the Overlanding experience of a lifetime with all of your necessities in tow – whether it’s a quick trip or traveling across an entire country.
Featured Image Photo Credit: @voodoo303 on Instagram