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  • Writer's pictureOpen Road 4Two

Tips for Heading Out On Your First Overlanding Journey

So, you’ve fallen in love with the idea of adventuring out and into the wild. You want to get away from it all, leave the stress of the world behind, and sleep under the stars. You’ve made the decision. You’re going to head out on your first overlanding journey. How exciting!

But now, you may be asking yourself, “where the heck do I start?”

Shortly after we began sharing our journeys via our YouTube channel and through this blog, many of you started reaching out to us asking for advice on how to start your own overlanding adventures. We’ve been asked about the gear we take with us, how we locate and choose our destinations, how far we travel, and how safe we feel when we are out on a trail? Our answers are always very basic, and we recommend starting small and staying within your personal comfort zone and then progressing from there. If you start out on trails that are too difficult and that you or your vehicle aren’t prepared for, your first trip could very well be your last trip!

We plan to dive much deeper into each of the below topics in future posts, but for now we want to cover some of the basics.

Essential overlanding gear:

When it comes to overlanding gear, you probably already own most of the things you will need for your first trip. Sure, you can go out and buy all the latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos, but we are going to assume you want to see if you like adventuring out before you spend an arm and a leg on your gear. Trust us, we now find ourselves going down the money pit rabbit hole, but we already know that overlanding is something we really love doing. We spent very little money on our first few trips, and we “camped” more than we “overlanded”.

To keep it simple, you absolutely need the basics, food, shelter, and water. Food can be as simple as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or as complex as surf and turf. It’s all up to you. Again, we assume you have a lot of the basics already in your garage and kitchen, including pots and pans, cooking/eating utensils, and some old mugs. So go ahead and pack those up, use them before you decide to purchase dedicated overlanding specific kitchen gear.

For us, coffee is a morning ritual that cannot and will not be skipped. If you are like us and you can’t imagine starting the day without a warm cup of Joe, then we do recommend picking up a simple camping stove. If space is an issue, a single burner stove like this an excellent option.

Cooking On the Back of the Tailgate

If you’re not so concerned with space, we would recommend a two burner unit like this one from Coleman. While there are many other brands and you can spend much more money, we recommend Coleman because they are well known, have been building these stoves for decades, and their fuel canisters are very easy to find. You can pick them up at just about any general hardware or camping store. Now back to the coffee. To brew ours, we like the Stanley All-in-One Boil and Brewer French Press Coffee Maker. Quick tip: be sure to let the coffee grounds steep in the water for about five minutes before you press.

The next thing you will need is a basic cooler. We’ve found this Reyleo Cooler to be a very good value. It’s rated to be a “3 day” cooler. We’ve had the ice last for several days in 90-to-100-degree weather, keeping our food chilled and our beverages cold!

For sleeping, again we recommend using blankets and sleeping bags you may already have. However, having slept in below freezing temps, Milin highly recommends this Coleman 0 Degree Mummy Sleeping Bag.

We started our overlanding trips using the Napier Backroadz Truck Tent and it was a great option. Note: Napier makes a tent for your specific truck bed size. Ours was for a short bed Tacoma. This tent was perfect for starting out and was super comfortable, used along with the truck bed air mattress.

Sake Our Tacoma with Our Truck Bed Tent

To round things out, here is a list of other items that we consider essential for your first trip:


Camping Lanterns


Camp Chairs

Survival Knife

Multi Tool

Axe/Shovel/Saw all in one

Power Source

Power Cord

Solar phone charger



Water storage

Biodegradable soap

And here are some items we’d consider optional, but may be essential to you: Firepit, Sleeping pads, Camping Pillows, Binoculars, Dry Bags, Duct Tape, Hammock, Sun Shade, Camping Pots/Pans, and Utensils, and depending upon the time of the year, Bug Spray, and Sun Screen.

Choosing your destination:

Earlier we said we “camped” more than we “overlanded” on our first few trips. What we mean is that we stayed in a campground for what we would consider our first trip and for our second trip we “overlanded” to an area we were familiar with. At our first campsite, we were able to visit the campground’s general store for all the necessities we forgot, like a Firestarter and bug spray. We also had access to freshwater and we had a toilet and showers within walking distance. For our second trip we found a dispersed campsite that forced us to be completely self-sufficient, but we were only about 4 miles from the nearest services. We chose this location because we knew we’d be close enough to head into town for anything we may have forgotten. For each trip there after we’ve ventured further and further away from civilization. With each trip our skills, comfort level, and feeling of peace has grown tremendously!

Overlanding Sedona, Arizona

For choosing your first trip we highly recommend that you do your research on your area. If you’re looking for ideas on the West Coast, send us a personal message, we are definitely willing to share our experiences. If you’re in another part of the world, we've found YouTube to be a great source of information.

How safe do you feel when out on a trail?

We’ve always felt very safe everywhere we’ve been. But personal safety and security is just that; personal. We are both relatively comfortable defending ourselves if needed and we both realize we are more likely to have a confrontation in a grocery store parking lot than we are in a remote location. With that said, we are always aware of our surroundings and prepared for any type of confrontation.

Don't let fear of the unknown be something that holds you back.

Who we are:

We are OpenRoad4Two, a husband-and-wife adventure team, dedicated to hitting the OPN RD. and exploring this beautiful land we live in. We encourage you to follow along with us on our journeys, (YouTube and Instagram). We are dedicated to supporting and assisting our fellow adventurers along the way. We realize we just scratched the surface with the topics of this blog, and we encourage you to reach out to us if you have more specific questions.

We love hearing from you, so please connect with us! Send us a question, a suggestion, a tip, or just a simple hello! Until then, we’ll see you on the OPEN ROAD!!


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