Overland Essentials: Don’t Leave Home Without These

Must-Have Gear for Your Adventure

Going offroad is all about getting off the beaten path and away from civilization, including its conveniences. You have to be prepared to get yourself out of a variety of situations and ensure you stay safe and have fun. 

Overland Essentials

Whether you’re adventuring far or near, we’ve come up with a list of overland essentials items to get you out of the most common situations. With a plan, and a few key pieces of gear, you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way.


Open each category below for advice, rules-of-thumb, and our top recommended products.


Ready to gear up with these must-have items? Buy the Sidetrek Basics Quick Bundle with one click, and save 10% on our top ten essentials!

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Buddy Plan/ Communications

Going it alone is risky, and your troubles can compound quickly if you don’t have help.  A friend in another vehicle is ideal; you’ll have a second pair of hands, and a backup ride if one vehicle goes down.  But even going solo can be less risky if you take the proper precautions and insure you an reach help when necessary. 

Our pick for communications is the inReach MINI from Garmin. This handy device is a GPS that allows for two-way texting between you and a friend or emergency services.

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Take a minimum of 2 gallons of water for the car, and one gallon per person, per day…plus a gallon or two extra. This is crucial, as even the simplest of trips can take much longer than planned.

We like these ___ from ___, which are made from ____ and stack up nicely in the back of your vehicle.

Water Storage

For extended trips you can pre-plan extra water pickups, filtering from sources along your route. The ___ filter/pump is our choice because ____.

Water Filtration

Even on short trips, it’s wise to carry a few bites of calorie dense food. These bars from ___ are easy to stash in the vehicle, and taste delicious! Be sure to check out our list of overland recipes on the Sidetrek Blog!

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First Aid Kit

This should be a standard in every vehicle, especially for off-roading or overlanding where injury is not uncommon.  A robust kit with a few specialty items should handle most situations.  Look for ____.  Add a couple of Mylar blankets, blood clotter, snake bite kit, and ___.

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Fire Extinguisher

Hot engines, exhaust, cooking, electrical shorts, even a water bottle left in the sun can set your ride alight. You’ll want a fire extinguisher that is sized for ____, and rated for wood/paper/grass (A), oil/fuel (B), and electrical (C). Choose carefully, as many aren’t rated for electrical, or are weak on oil/fuel. Our pick is an affordable solution that covers all three without adding unnecessary weight.

We ventured into the marine industry to source this affordable, light weight solution from ___. It covers all three ___ categories, and weighs just __ lbs.

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First Alert Fire Extinguisher
Spare Tire/ Jack/ Tire Kit

Tire punctures are pretty common, and can strand you in a heartbeat. Always trek with a full-sized spare, and make sure it’s aired up and the rubber is in good condition.

If you’ve got the tire, now you need a jack. Here are our top picks for different types of terrain.

With proper clearance, bottle jacks are your best bet for most situations. They are faster, safer, and more versatile than other solutions. When used carefully, they can also be used as a recovery device: just jack up and then drive off the jack, which will simply tip over.

Bottle Jack

Hi-Lift Jacks are great for some situations, but can be dangerous. Carry a hi-lift jack if you’re venturing out onto very uneven terrain.

Hi-lift jack

Bag jacks are best for deep sand or snow. These ruggedized rubber bags are inflated by your exhaust and have  power to lift the vehicle and is a good deal safer than a HiJack. If you’re in Sandy, snowy or muddy environments often, consider the X-Jack.

Bag Jack
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Extra Clothing
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Tow Strap

A solid tow strap is a must have item and is cheap insurance when you need someone to pull you out, or offer a tow to someone else.  

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Traction Device

It’s inevitable, you are going to get stuck. Get out from sandy/muddy/snowy/gritty situations with a plank-like traction device. These can quickly get you moving when the ground is soft, or can be stacked and used a mini bridge to get over small gaps or rocks that are hanging you up.

The ARB Tred Pro is durable and high performance where the ORCISCH is a great bargain. 

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Basic Tool Kit

A basic set of tools is a must-have for any adventure. A decent tool kit should include the following:

  • Sockets/Ratchets
  • Combo Wrenches
  • Adjustable Wrench, Pliers,
  • Hammer
  • Prybar
  • Shears
  • Flashlight
  • Gloves

We like the ____, which rolls up into a compact soft-sided roll that’s lightweight and easily portable.

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Jump Start
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Spare Parts

It’s a good idea to carry the following spare parts:

  • Belts-Fan/serpentine/

  • Hose repair- Clamps,

  • Oil, brake fluid,___

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Proper Planning


We know that getting away from it all is part of the joy of overlanding, but things seldom go according to plan.  Your best piece of preparation is to always, always leave a rough itinerary with a friend or loved one back home.

Ready to Gear Up?

We’ve created a bundle of all the basics to get you ready for the trail fast. Get ten of the top-recommended products listed here with one click, and save 10%! That’s a savings of over $____!

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If you have more must-have recommendations, or stories from the trail, please share below!

Here are our top picks for each category:




This handy device from Garmin is a GPS that allows for two way texting between you and a friend and/or emergency services.


Water Storage


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First Aid

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Fire Extinguisher


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Tire Repair


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Traction Device


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