Getting Started Overlanding

Image courtesy of Afterburner Media

Getting Started Overlanding

So you want to be an ‘overlander’? Before getting into overlanding and offroading, there are several important things to know to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable experience on your first overland adventure.

Welcome to Evergreen Offroad, your go-to destination for all things overlanding and offroading. In this article, we'll delve into the expansive world of overlanding vehicles, shedding light on what they are and why they've become a popular choice for adventurers seeking immersive outdoor experiences. Let's embark down the dirt trail of discovery together.

What is Overlanding?

At its core, overlanding is the spirit of self-reliant vehicle-based travel, combining offroad exploration with the freedom of camping and outdoor living. Unlike traditional camping, overlanding often involves venturing into remote or rugged areas for extended periods, requiring reliable and capable vehicles to navigate diverse terrains and carry essential supplies. It involves journeying to remote and often challenging terrains, in a 4x4 vehicle, with the goal of exploring and experiencing the outdoors. Overlanders prioritize the journey itself, often taking extended trips that can last days, weeks, or even months.

The primary focus of overlanding is on self-reliance and the ability to sustain oneself throughout the journey. Unlike traditional camping or road trips, overlanders aim to be self-sufficient for extended periods, carrying their own food, water, and supplies. They often equip their vehicles with amenities such as rooftop tents, camping gear, portable refrigeration, power supplies, and water filtration systems to ensure comfort and survival during their travels.

At the end of the day, this community is motivated by adventure and exploration. With so many amazing places to explore in this world, we find ourselves eager to set out on a journey to see as much as we can, both at home and abroad. It is a lifestyle that could start out by exploring the forest service roads within an hour from your house, to shipping your vehicle overseas to travel throughout Sub-saharan Africa. There are no limits to where we can go with the right mindset and a well-outfitted Overland vehicle. 

Characteristics of an Overlanding Vehicle:

An overlanding vehicle is purpose-built to tackle the challenges of off-road travel while providing a comfortable shelter and storage for essential equipment. These vehicles are typically 4x4 or all-wheel drive, equipped with specialized modifications and accessories to enhance their capabilities, such as bumpers, winches, auxiliary lighting, and rooftop tents. 

Key features of an overlanding vehicle include:

  • Off-Road Capabilities: Overlanding vehicles are designed to handle various terrains such as gravel, mud, rocks, sand, and even water crossings. They possess superior ground clearance, advanced suspension systems, and robust tires to tackle uneven surfaces. We can achieve these advantages through lift kits, off-road armor, snorkels, and oversized tires. We here at Evergreen Offroad rely on brands like Dobinsons Suspension and ARB for our suspension to help increase not only the ride height/ground clearance of the vehicle but also the ride comfort during extended offroad travel.
  • Durability and Reliability: Reliability is paramount when embarking on long journeys far from civilization. Overlanding vehicles often feature durable components, reinforced frames, and reliable engines, ensuring they can withstand the rigors of demanding environments.
  • Storage and Equipment: Overlanding vehicles prioritize ample storage space to carry camping gear, cooking essentials, water, spare parts, recovery equipment, and more. Roof racks, storage drawers, and integrated compartments are common additions to maximize efficiency.
  • Self-Sufficiency: Overlanding vehicles are equipped with onboard systems to support self-sufficiency in remote locations. This may include water and fuel storage, auxiliary power setups, solar panels, and even kitchen facilities.

Popular Overlanding Vehicle Choices:

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to overlanding vehicles, as personal preferences and travel requirements vary. We at Evergreen Offroad have a strong bias toward Toyota vehicles and many of the products on our site cater to that line of vehicles. There are many other vehicle brands that make great choices too such as Jeep and some Fords. 

Generally speaking, here are some popular overland-style vehicle choices:

  • SUVs and Trucks: Many adventurers like ourselves opt for robust SUVs and trucks like the Toyota 4Runner, Tacoma, Tundra, and Land Cruiser. Some enthusiasts may prefer vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler, Ford F-150, or the newly popular Bronco. All of these platforms offer versatility, off-road capabilities, and broad aftermarket support. 
  • Expedition Vehicles: These purpose-built machines, such as EarthRoamer, offer luxurious living quarters and exceptional off-road performance, making them ideal for long-term overland expeditions. Expedition vehicles typically take form in a more advanced buildout that involves the mounting of a permanent camper system like an Alucab, AT Overland, or 4 Wheel Camper. 
  • Vans and Campervans: Converted vans, such as the Mercedes Sprinter or Ford Transit, provide comfortable living spaces and the ability to navigate narrow trails, enabling a blend of overlanding and van life experiences. These type of vehicles don’t offer the offroad maneuverability of an SUV or Truck, but make up for that with additional indoor living space and amenities such as flushing toilets, running water, advanced electrical systems, and comfortable sleeping accommodations. 

How to get started? 

The best way to get started is by taking what you have available to you and exploring the area around you. You don’t need to run out and buy the most expensive truck and the most expensive gear to get started. Quite the opposite. You can take the vehicle you have and the camping gear you have and set out to explore an area on the map you haven’t seen before. Of course, with more advanced equipment you can push your adventures further but that shouldn’t stop you from getting out there and seeing how far you can safely venture with what you have. 

Basic Equipment 


To get started you will want to consider where you will be sleeping during your trip. Luckily there are many options that range from free to quite expensive. The cheapest and most readily available option would be to sleep inside your vehicle on a reclined seat or rear bench seating. You can even fold the rear seats down in most SUV's and toss down an air mattress for a mock bed situation. Another timeless option would be a standard ground tent which are readily available and familiar to almost everyone. Our personal favorite and arguably most popular and 'trendy' option however, is a roof top tent. 

Roof Top Tents are by far the most popular option in the overlanding space as it offers many advantages over traditional ground tents. Being able to sleep above your vehicle and off the ground keeps you away from most critters and offers certain levels of peace of mind. Plus its like sleeping in a treehouse on top of your truck, who doesn't like that idea?

Roof Top tents can range anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars but having shelter attached to your vehicle is many travelers favorite upgrades. One way I justify the expense of a RTT is by crediting myself $100 a night that I sleep in my tent since that would have otherwise been spent renting a hotel room for a night, more or less. After a full year worth of camping, you'll quickly be able to justify whether or not a RTT was a worthwhile investment for you. 


Once you have your tent setup selected, the next thing you'll want to focus on is getting your camp kitchen established. There are plenty of options in this space from jetboil stoves to classic dual burner propane stoves. Depending on how fancy you want to get with your meals out there will largely drive your cooktop setup. We typically find ourselves relying on two burner propane stoves or Tembo Tusk Skottles

 You'll want to make sure you have plates, bowls and utensils to compliment your offroad adventures. While one-time-use paper/plastic options are always attractive, they do create waste and aren't the best choice for people who plan to camp regularly. We like to use reusable kitchen utensils and plates because they are reliable, familiar and easy to clean in most cases with some running water, a lake or stream. 

Running water is a luxury out on the trail, but with the advent of the Dometic Water Faucet, its now readily available to all travelers! We really recommend you check it out. 



Wrap Up

Remember, it's always a good idea to learn from experienced overlanders, join local off-road clubs, and attend off-roading rallies and Expos to gain more knowledge and practical skills before embarking on your own adventures. We are regularly posting on our Instagram about meetups that we host/attend and would love to be a resource for you to connect with this community! Give us a follow!

Now that you have a deeper understanding of overlanding vehicles, it's time to plan your next great adventure. At Evergreen Offroad, we're passionate about equipping fellow enthusiasts with the knowledge and gear they need to embark on unforgettable journeys. Stay tuned for more insightful articles and resources to fuel your off-road and overlanding passions.

We would love to chat with you about your rig and help you design an overlanding rig that will take your adventures further.

If you want to set up a free overland build consultation with us, feel free to give us a call at (206) 588-6994 or email us at