The Novice’s Guide to Your First Overlanding Experience
Photo by Dan Gomer on Unsplash
Have you heard about Overlanding?
It’s the next big thing for those who love the great outdoors. It’s just you (and maybe some friends or family), a 4WD vehicle, and the great outdoors.
Overlanding offers you all of the thrills of off-road driving with the sense of discovery that you get from exploration.
But it’s not as simple as getting in a car and driving. You’ll face the elements and will need to take some steps to keep yourself safe during your journey.
So, what’s an overlanding novice to do?
This essential guide will help you to make your first overlanding experience a success.
It's Like Backpacking in a Car
Overlanding shares a lot in common with backpacking. You grab all of your gear and set out for a big adventure. The great thing about overlanding is that the vehicle offers much more storage space than your back. You can take much more equipment and it’s much easier to transport from place to place.
However, you need to remember the off-road aspect of it too. Overloading your vehicle adds to its weight. If you’re driving on wet and slippery terrain, that extra weight will affect the vehicle’s handling. At worst, you could find yourself bogged down and fighting against all of the gear that you bring.
The vehicle offers more freedom in terms of what you bring. But it’s still best to stick to the idea of bringing only what you need.
Learn About the Equipment
There’s also a lot of unique equipment that you’ll bring on an overlanding voyage. This includes:
This is all stuff that you probably wouldn’t take on a backpacking expedition. You need to learn how this equipment works and what you need to do to maintain it. Remember that any piece of equipment could fail at any time. Bring backups and pack maps to ensure you don’t get lost out in the wilderness.
Learn About Your Vehicle
4WD is always the way to go with overlanding. You need something reliable and versatile enough to tackle any type of terrain.
But even 4WD vehicles have their limitations. Push things too far and you could end up in a bad situation of your own making.
Research your vehicle and find out what its limitations are. Pushing the vehicle to the limits may sound appealing. But it soon loses its lustre if you find yourself stranded and in need of rescuing.
It’s also worth learning about the basic mechanics of the vehicle. Find out how to change spark plugs and install new headlights. A little basic knowledge will serve you well if something goes wrong. After all, rough terrain leads to more wear and tear.
Safety comes first at all times with overlanding.
Learn About Local Customs
This may not be much of a problem if you’re overlanding in Australia.
However, overlanding abroad presents a few more challenges. This isn’t like a holiday where all of your needs get catered for. You’ll have to respect each country’s culture and rules.
Research is your friend here. Find out if the countries you’ll travel through have specific rules in place for overlanding and off-road driving. Research any potential dangers that you may face during your trip. It’s also worth bringing along some dictionaries or learning some of the local lingo so you can ask for assistance if needed.
Remember to Stay in Touch
Your friends and family back home will want to know what’s happening during your trip. They want to hear about your adventures. However, they also want to make sure that you’re safe.
Get in touch as often as possible. In fact, it’s a good idea to build a routine for communicating with people back home. Make sure they know where you’re going and update them on your progress regularly.
Regular communication also means that people will pick up on the red flag if you don’t call. They’ll sound the alarm on your behalf if you get stuck somewhere with no means of making contact.
You need an adventurous soul if you plan to go overlanding. Preparation is the key. Make sure people know where you’re going and stay in touch during the trip. Keep your vehicle in good condition and make sure you have all of the equipment you need. A little knowledge about local cultures can go a long way too, if you find yourself in a bind.
Overland but not overwrought,
Thanks for the tips!By: Earnest Tyrell on 23 March 2020I'm still new to overlanding even if I'm a bit used to just the usual camping experiences. I can see there are quite a few big differences like actually using your own vehicle for the ride.