Overlanding at Lake Powell in Utah

Overlanding: The Complete Beginners Guide

StephanieFebruary 7, 2021
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What exactly is overlanding? What equipment do I need? What’s the ideal vehicle to have to overland? What type of tent do you have? How many people does it sleep? How easy is it to set up and how long does set up take? These are all some of the most frequently asked questions we get when we share our overlanding set up so I wanted to put together this blog on the complete beginners guide to learning all about overlanding and how you can do it too. Last year we took off on ten day adventure through Arizona and Utah. We visited some pretty epic places and that’s where our love for overlanding really blossomed. If camping, road trips, back country camping, and being off road are things that you enjoy then overlanding is just the next step to experiencing the great outdoors. Continue reading to learn how to overland for beginners:

Overlanding for beginners

What is Overlanding?

Overlanding is the ability to not only go off roading but also the ability to sustain yourself for a few days at a time off grid. Overlanding isn’t about taking a relaxing vacation. It’s about exploring and discovering back roads and conquering them. It’s about packing up everything you could need on your adventure and setting off and having complete self reliance! Overlanding allows you the opportunity to experience a side of nature that is mostly unknown to others.

Overlanding at Lake Powell in Southern Utah

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What’s the vehicles are compatible with overlanding?

The first thing you want to look for when selecting an overlanding vehicle is 4 wheel drive. You definitely want to have a vehicle with 4×4 capabilities because most campsite locations in back country or blm land require navigating through some tough terrain. Jeeps gladiators, Toyota Tacoma, Toyota 4 runners, Toyota Land Cruiser, Land Rovers, and Jeep Wranglers are some of the great vehicles that can get you into the overlanding lifestyle.

driving through Utah with our overlanding gear

What’s the best type of tent to Overland?

When searching for a RTT there are several things to consider before purchasing a tent. Some of those include budget, number of people to accommodate, hard or soft shell, and will it fit on your vehicle. We have the Smittybilt Overland Tent XL in coyote tan. It sleeps 3-4 people but we squeeze in one more and still feel comfortable. Here are a few other tents that are popular in the RTT market:

Our first ever overlanding experience  near Zion National Park

What is the setup and take down time proccess?

The set up process is slightly easier than the take down portion. I can set up the RTT by myself with ease. For taking it down its slightly easier if you have a helping hand just to help tuck the tent back in as it folds up. It’s still completely doable along but as far as time goes I can set the tent up in easily 5-7 minutes alone. If I’m taking the setup down alone I’d say it takes roughly 10-12 minutes. I have an entire instructional set up video on my Instagram, you can find that here.

The set up/take down process is very minimal:

  • Step One: remove the cover and unlatch the straps that keep it closed
  • Step Two: Pull the ladder down and lock it in place. Once it’s locked in place slowly start pulling the ladder out and away from the vehicle and the tent will start to unfold
  • Step Three: Secure the tent bed by latching the clips on both ends of the tent
  • Step Four: pop open all the windows and remove the rain flap
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How to find Overlanding Trails

If you’re just starting out a great tool to have is the Garmin Overlander GPS. Not only does it show you trails but if give you the topography as well as nearby campgrounds. A few tips for beginners just starting to get interested in overlaning are:

-Always have someone with you. If you get stuck and you don’t have signal you’ll want to have a buddy with you to either help pull you out or go for help if all else fails.

-Better safe than sorry. If you don’t feel confident it’s better to be safe. Give yourself time to get acquainted with you vehicle and the terrain before tackling the big stuff.

-Vehicle Awareness. Know what your car can and can’t do. Get familiar with the space your vehicle requires to clear trees, etc.

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