How to Start Your First Overlanding on a Budget

overlanding on a budget

Overlanding has become an increasingly popular activity among outdoor enthusiasts who love adventure, nature, and exploration. Overlanding is a type of off-road travel that involves self-reliant exploration of remote destinations, often in a vehicle that is equipped for long-distance travel and camping. If you are interested in overland, but you are overlanding on a budget, there are ways to get started without breaking the bank.

The first thing to consider is what equipment you need to get started with overland. While overland trails require certain gear and equipment, beginners do not need to purchase everything at once. These guys on YouTube expedition overlay and other folks that are doing this they’ve got a ton of money sunk into extremely built-up rigs or they’ve got just a list of Sponsors, it doesn’t seem like something that you’ll ever be able to actually achieve right away.

Overlandig on a budget

I think the real key the only thing that you need to do to start overlanding is actually just to start as simple as it sounds so to talk about getting started over landing, I think there are four key aspects we need to touch on it’s your vehicle, recovery gear, camping gear and the trails you’re going to get out and explore.

Overland vehicle

The first thing you need to consider is your vehicle. While there are many options for overland vehicles, you don’t necessarily need a brand-new, fully-equipped truck or SUV to get started. my personal opinion will always be that the best vehicle for overland is the one that you already have and as long as you’re realistic about the capabilities of your vehicle, it could be a two-wheel drive sedan, it could be an all-wheel drive crossover, it could be a stock 4×4 with no mods or anything. And you can still get out and do some pretty incredible things, you can take that two-wheel drive sedan to some well-maintained forest service roads and still get away from the crowds and see some really exciting things.

If you already have a vehicle, start by assessing its capabilities. Let’s look at the tires, rock sliders, and suspension.

overlanding on a budge

To improve the capabilities of the vehicle that you already have, one of the best first modifications you can make to your rig to really increase its capabilities off-road is swapping out the tires if you’ve still got. Street tires on your vehicle or the ones that rolled off the lot can really gain huge performance. Improvements on trails and off roads by putting on a slightly more aggressive

tire things like all-terrain mud terrain even hybrid terrain tires are really sort of a personal choice. They’re all gonna yield massive improvements.

Keep that in mind if you’re changing the stock size if you’re going with a bigger tire, it will require sort of more in-depth modifications. You may not want to do that at the first beginning.

overlanding on a budge

Another big category of modification for your vehicle is the idea of armor. This could be underbody skid plates or things like Rock sliders things. It’s like steel front and rear bumpers and I think the real thing to keep in mind is that if you’re just starting out and you’re realistic about your vehicle’s capabilities and the trails that you’re gonna run, You can get away for a good amount of time without having any armor. The first thing I did pull the trigger on though were these Rock sliders.

rock sliders for overlanding on a budge

Another big thing on your vehicle to think about when you’re just starting out is suspension. You may hear a lot of reasons why you should make a suspension upgrade and the potential you can clear more ground, I would say is that you definitely don’t need to drop big money on a suspension upgrade right out of the gate. It’s one of the things where I think after you’ve learned the capabilities of your vehicle after you get a sense of the kinds of things that you want to do in the future where you want to take your vehicle then you can really start thinking about what kind of suspension setup you’ll need.

If you don’t have a suitable vehicle, consider buying a used truck or SUV that’s in good condition. Look for models that are known for their off-road capabilities, such as a Jeep Wrangler, Toyota 4Runner, or Ford Ranger. Don’t forget to negotiate the price, and try to find a vehicle that’s been well-maintained.

Recovery gear

As a beginner when you’re first starting out over landing or doing vehicle-based exploration, it’s important to be prepared and be able to get yourself out of any situation.

It’s highly probable that someone else may come along and offer assistance, but that’s not always the case. The most common issue you’ll likely face on a trail involves tires. Eventually, you’ll encounter a flat tire, and being prepared for that moment is crucial. This will enable you to safely get yourself back off the trail.

Additionally, it’s possible that you may come across someone else who’s had a flat tire. This has happened to me many times, often from individuals who pushed their rigs to their limits or didn’t comprehend their capabilities.

For example, some people may have street tires on an extremely rocky trail and experience a puncture. I once found a brand-new Jeep that had gone off the trail and had sidewall punctures on its passenger side tires. Most individuals only carry one spare tire, so what do you do in such a situation? This is why being prepared is critical. One way to do so is to have a full-size spare tire, especially for SUVs.

Besides carrying a full-size spare, there are a few other essential items you’ll need to handle tire problems while off-roading. A reliable jack that can lift your vehicle is a must-have. This is particularly important if you’ve installed a lift kit or larger tires.

An essential piece of gear that I highly recommend including in your recovery kit is the tire repair kit. This tool has proven to be incredibly useful in situations where tire repair is necessary. You can get that on Amazon, it’s super cheap.

Another important consideration is investing in a high-quality 12v air compressor, rather than the cheaper options available at Walmart that plug into your car’s cigarette lighter. Purchasing a more expensive compressor with alligator clips that can be directly hooked up to your car’s battery, and a normal valve to connect to your tire, is recommended. These compressors are incredibly useful for a variety of reasons, such as when you need to air down your tires on a trail to gain more traction or improve the ride quality, or to prevent punctures from sharp rocks. You can then use the compressor at the end of your trail to inflate your tires back to their normal pressure before driving on pavement. It’s worth browsing sites to find a reliable, high-quality option.

you can also check the ultimate guide to select a high air flow air compressor.

Tozalazz portable air compressor for overlanding on a budge

A tow strap, can be extremely helpful, in my opinion. The primary issue you will face while on a trail is tire problems. The second most likely concern would be getting stuck, whether it be due to mud, sand, or snow. As you explore the limits of your vehicle’s capabilities and learn to drive in more challenging conditions, you may find yourself getting bogged down.

An additional valuable item to include in your recovery kit would be a pair of traction boards, also known as Max Tracks or recovery boards. These compact devices are incredibly useful as you can insert them underneath your tires in case you find yourself stuck in mud or sand.

overlanding on a budge

Then comes to the shovel. it’s super important to carry a shovel with you for a number of reasons, for your truck or for the camping ground.

The list of recovery gear is evidently inexhaustible, with numerous impressive pieces of equipment to have as the complexity of situations encountered increases. We could further discuss items such as winches, kinetic ropes, and self-recovery devices, but for a beginner just starting out, it is essential to be aware of the capabilities of your vehicle, your driving skills, and your knowledge of the exploration area. With this in mind, you should be able to manage with a tire repair kit, an air compressor, recovery boards, and a shovel.

Camping Gear

When planning your camping gear, the amount of equipment you choose to carry is entirely up to you. However, it is crucial to prioritize the three fundamental requirements: shelter, food, and water.

Your shelter is not limited to surviving the night, but it also encompasses comfort and can take various form, rooftop tent, and ground tent, all these tents comes in different forms. when selecting a tent. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Size: You’ll want to choose a tent that is big enough to comfortably accommodate everyone who will be sleeping in it. Consider how many people you’ll be traveling with and make sure the tent has enough space for all of you.

Durability: Overlanding can be tough on gear, so you’ll want a tent that is durable and able to withstand the elements. Look for a tent with a sturdy frame and high-quality materials.

Weather Resistance: Depending on where you’re overlanding, you may encounter a variety of weather conditions. Make sure your tent is designed to handle rain, wind, and other elements you may encounter.

Setup: Consider how easy or difficult it is to set up the tent. A tent that is quick and easy to pitch can save you time and frustration on your trip.

Price: The cost of a tent can vary widely, so determine your budget and look for a tent that fits within it.

overlanding on a budge

Other important camping gear items include sleeping bags & pads, a portable burner stove, a cooler/fridge, water pot. You may also want to consider a solar power station, diesel heater, and camp lighting.

you can actually rent things like a tent a sleeping bag and all the other camping gear that you’ll need to get out and do a weekend trip or an overnighter or something like that.

Planning Trails

The last aspect we need to discuss regarding getting started with overland is trip planning. Personally, this was the most significant challenge I faced when I made the decision to pursue overland.

One of my top suggestions for planning your trip is to connect with local individuals in your region who frequently explore the area. This tip will improve over time, and social media is an excellent tool to use. You can discover Facebook groups, subreddits, and local YouTubers that you can contact to inquire about trails, recommended destinations, or even group outings you can join. Additionally, hitting the trails and encountering fellow hikers is an excellent way to meet new people and learn about common trails in your locality. I highly recommend introducing yourself, asking about other exciting locations to explore, and inquiring about upcoming group trips that you can join. These approaches will all aid in your familiarity with your local region.

I found the most valuable resource to be a book called “Guide to California Backroads and 4×4 Trails,” authored by Charles Wells and Matt Peterson. This book is available on Amazon, and the authors have written several other guides as well. I know there’s one for Utah there’s one for Colorado and some other places across the US as well I think there’s an Arizona one too

overlanding on a budge

Another aspect to consider when planning a trip is the availability of various apps. One of my go-to apps for both planning and while on a trip is Gaia GPS. This mapping app is accessible on Android, iOS, and web browsers, allowing you to plan your trip, record your tracks, and share them with others. Many in the community use Gaia or similar apps that can export similar tracks, which is an excellent way to share the trails and places you’ve visited.

So, these are the four aspects you may need, hope it helps.

overlanding on a budge

Finally, when you are on the off road trails, make sure to pack out everything you pack in, practice Leave No Trace principles, and take responsibility for improving camp spots and trails beyond their original state. By doing so, you can leave a positive impact on the environment. I hope you’re ready to embark on your next adventure.

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