10 Tips for Those New to Overlanding

Imagine loading up your Tacoma, climbing in, and driving for a few days to see exactly what the great outdoors has to offer. 

That’s called overlanding. 

Now imagine jumping into that same Tacoma and taking it to a nearby state park or trail and banging around for a few hours, getting muddy, and testing out your oversized tires.

That’s called off-roading.

The difference between these two lifestyles is basically how long you’re on the road. Overlanding has been going on since man would walk long distances and stop along the way to rest, eat and move on. 

Today, overlanding has a dedicated fanbase and has spawned an entire industry - from earth-eating wheels to roof racks that hold loads of camping gear. Suspension kits enable off-road vehicles like the Toyota 4Runner,Tacoma; Tundra; FJ Cruiser; and Lexus GX gain a few more inches for scraping over rocks and streambeds.


So where to start? That can be a tough question, and while there’s no correct way to overland, there are a few rules, guidelines, and tips that can introduce you to this new way to travel.

  • Do Your Homework
  • Before you dive into overlanding, it’s wise to research. There are plenty of resources available - blog posts, forums, and videos - that will provide you with a detailed picture of overlanding.

  • Check Out Your Ride
  • Overlanding obviously demands a vehicle that can handle nature - from stream crossings to grinding your way over gnarly rocks. Give your truck a thorough going over to make sure all of its systems are in good shape.

  • Find an Overland Community
  • Whether it’s online or a local group of enthusiasts, experienced overlanders can point you in the right direction - and if you’re lucky you’ll get invited along so you can experience it for yourself.

  • Outfit Your Overlander
  • Stock vehicles aren’t built for overlanding - you’ll need to purchase aftermarket items to help you on the road. For example, you’ll need beefed up headlights (change link to Morimoto) to help after sundown and camping gear so you can brave the elements.

  • Gear Up
  • With overlanding, space is at a premium. It can be easy to go overboard when preparing for a trip, but you’ll need to pack the basics, and determine what equipment goes where. Of course you can create new spaces with the addition of roof racks, trailers, and storage solutions.

  • Plan Your Adventure
  • Where are you going and who are you going with? What’s the terrain going to be like? And what about the weather? Planning helps make the trip go smoother and ensures you don’t leave critical things behind.

  • Beef Up Your Repair Skills
  • Being able to change a tire or improvise a replacement piece is what helps make overlanding and off-roading a challenge. When a belt slips or a hose clamp breaks, you can’t call for a tow service when you’re out in the wild.

  • Recruit a Copilot
  • When you bring along a friend who can copilot and share the adventure, that’s part of what overlanding is about. Switching driving responsibilities can also reduce fatigue and help sharpen driving skills.

  • Know Your Limits
  • It’s obvious that an overlanding or off-roading newbie won’t be able to conquer terrain like a seasoned pro, so set your limits. Remember, practice makes perfect and as your skills and experiences increase, you’ll be able to tackle more technical terrain.

  • Enjoy the Ride!
  • Overlanding and off-roading will take you to places you’ve never seen and give you unforgettable experiences. Take your time to explore, and enjoy every minute!


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