If you’re planning to go overlanding across desolate American wilderness, you need to think about packing overland essentials. If it’s your first time embarking on such an adventure, you’re probably wondering exactly what gear you’ll need and how you will possibly store everything while you travel.
By using an overlanding checklist, there’s far less chance that you will forget to pack an essential item. After all, you don’t want to get 50 miles on the trail and realize you forgot toilet paper or garbage bags that allow you to carry out what you bring in.
We’ve created the ultimate overlanding essentials gear and packing list with everything you’ll need, no matter what terrain or weather you may encounter. We’ve also uncovered exactly how you can transport all your gear on the trail, without sacrificing quality or sustainability.
Why is packing for overlanding important?
When preparing for an overlanding excursion, packing is extremely important. You might face any number of emergency situations — but as you know, that’s part of the adventure. Still, you need to be prepared for any event so that your fun doesn’t have to end early.
For example, you may have an equipment failure. Your vehicle could get stuck or break down. You or your traveling companions may face a medical emergency, like getting sick, or suffering an injury or dehydration. You have to consider how you will help yourself and others along the trail.
While many overlanders travel in a pack, there are those who wish to go solo. If you’re one of these brave individuals, you’ll need to plan how you’ll reach emergency services and what extra gear you might need in lieu of another person’s help.
Essential overland packing list
Below, we’ve put together your ultimate overland gear list with ideas of what to pack for almost any circumstance. Remember, you may need different gear depending on your destination. For instance, those overlanding on the Old Spanish National Historic Trail through California probably won’t need winter boots, but those traveling in New York’s Tug Hill State Forest in February will. From navigation to clothes, begin your overland packing journey here.
Navigation & communication necessities
- Handheld radio
- Satellite messenger
- Cell booster, like weBoost
- Paper maps and atlases
- Downloaded maps (not online, in case of no cell reception)
Emergency, safety, & personal care
- Sunscreen (for warm or sunny areas)
- Bug spray
- Bug nets
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Face wash
- First aid kit (make sure yours at least has bandages and antibiotic ointment)
- Fire extinguisher
- Spill kit
- Fire blanket
Overland tool kit list & repair supplies
- Head lamps
- Screwdriver and scissors
- Chainsaw (either electric or pocket-sized)
- Adjustable wrench and torque wrench
- A few pairs of heavy duty gloves
- Cutting pliers and regular pliers
- Duct tape
- Paracord and zip ties
- Tire repair kit
- Tire gauge and portable air compressor
- Rapid tire deflators (in case you’re in rocky terrain)
Cooking supplies & easy-to-prepare food
- Propane adapter
- Canned food, like soup, beans, or chicken
- Forks, spoons, and knives
- Cooking utensils, like spatulas and large spoons
- Plates and bowls
- Pots and pans
- Cutting board
- Spices, like salt, pepper, and garlic
- Food storage containers and aluminum foil
- Sandwich bags
- Paper towels and napkins
- Garbage bags
- Coffee and coffee filters
- Towels and oven mitts
- Measuring cups (if you plan to do some fancy cooking)
- Cereal and energy bars
- Dish soap
- S’mores supplies (with peanut butter if you’re looking for a little protein)
- Dish scrubbing brush
- At least 6 gallons of drinking water, or 1 to 2 gallons for each person per day you’re traveling
- Water purification kit, if you run out of drinking water or propane
- Beer and wine bottle openers
Overland recovery gear
- Winch controller
- Ratchet straps
- Winch damper
- Pulley block
- Extension rope
- Snatch strap
- Tree saver
- Spare parts, like extra fuses, wheel bearings, and oil
- D shackle and soft shackle
- Recovery blanket
- Traction boards
- Jump starter
Power & fuel must-haves
- Generator or power station
- Solar panels
- Fuel cans
- Toilet paper
- Toilet bags or portable black tank
- Wet wipes
Camping & sleeping accessories
- Tent and/or rooftop tent
- Sleeping bags
- Sleeping pads
- Comforter, quilt or blanket (wool in cooler temperatures)
- Tent pegs
- Chairs and/or stools
- Foldable outdoor table
- Charging cords for phones and devices
- Fan (for hot or muggy weather)
- Sleeping bag liner and heater (for cold weather)
Check out our camp packing list for more ideas.
Clothes for every adventure
- Duffel bag, suitcase, or backpack
- Rain jacket (for destinations with more precipitation)
- T-shirts, tank tops, and long-sleeved shirts for layering
- Fleece pullovers, crewnecks, or hoodies
- Shorts, jeans, sweatpants, and/or leggings
- Hiking boots
- Steel-toed boots
- Winter boots
- Hand warmers
- Hats, mittens, and scarves
- Wool socks
- Down jacket
- Beach towels
- Swimsuit and swimsuit coverup
- Thin long-sleeved shirts and pants (if bugs are relentless)
How to carry all your gear?
After gathering everything within your overlanding equipment list, you’ll be faced with another mountainous task — actually packing. Not only will you have to fit all this stuff in your vehicle, you’ll also need to be strategic when it comes to perishable items, liquids, and more.
- Store items that need to be cool in your fridge or coolers. They will help each other stay cold and fresh.
- Use your dish, bath, and beach towels as packaging for more breakable items. That way, you won’t need to pack breakables in styrofoam or bubble wrap.
- Keep liquids in double, sealable bags. Separate them by function. In other words, keep toiletries together in one bag and cleaning supplies in another.
- Utilize your vertical space as much as possible with hooks and straps.
- Keep certain emergency items handy, near the top of your gear. This might include your jack, winch, and ratchet straps. Smaller emergency items, like first aid kits, scissors, and garbage bags should go in the glove compartment.
Even with the best packing skills, ultimately you’ll need the right overland trailer to store and carry all your equipment. Our Mantis Overland model has 21 cubic feet of under-bed storage, while the Cricket boasts a full-size bed with a 25 cubic-foot storage system.
Although the TigerMoth Overland is compact, its kitchen comes with the space you need to carry the necessary supplies. This pull-out kitchen has two large cubbies perfect for holding pots, pans, plates, and cutlery while traveling.
The Woolly Bear also has storage perks, like a birch plywood kitchen organizer and a 600-lb weight capacity cargo deck made of laser-cut steel. Above all, most TAXA Habitats come equipped with essential gear that you can cross off your list, like a tent, fridge, stove, awnings, tables, chairs, collapsible sink, shower, and toilet.
Get an overlanding trailer that has what you need — and nothing you don’t
Overlanding is all about freedom and independence. That principle goes right down to your gear. On the trail, you’ll have to make the most of your overland set-up and be self-sufficient to truly experience the outdoors. By providing overland essentials in an extremely functional package and design, TAXA’s Habitats are the perfect way to tap into the wilderness. With pop-up capabilities, rooftop tents, and other perks, bring TAXA along on your next trip. Get in touch with our team of specialists or see our habitats in person today!