Top 10 Gear Essentials I Pack For Extended Overland Trips In My 6th Gen Bronco

6th Gen Bronco in Snow

If you are about to embark on a long, multi-day overland trip, here are 10 things that you need to pack for a successful multi-day Overland trip.

Weekend trips are a breeze. You have the essentials set aside and ready to go so when you’re finally off on a Friday, you throw them in your rig and hit the road. You have looked forward to this all week. It is your escape, your reset from the chaos that is your 40-plus hour workweek and the daily obligations that keep you from any time for yourself. As great as these weekend trips are though, a weekend in the woods just isn’t enough sometimes.

So, the time has come to extend that weekend trip to a 3-plus night overland trip. A trip that will push you out of your comfort zone and take you to even more incredible places but also makes that list of essentials a little longer so your typical grab-and-go may not be enough. Let’s talk about what you will need to think about and pack for a longer trip exploring the endless scenery available to us.

1. Water

Water Jerry Can

5 Gallon Jerry Can for Water

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DUH! Right?? But hold on. Yes, water is an obvious one. But how much water is the focus here? For a weekend trip even if you run out, it is not the end of the world. However, you if are on an extended trip, it is possible that this can turn into a real problem. Dehydration will set in on day one without water, leaving you thirsty and sluggish.  By day 3, you can begin experiencing organ failure. So how much should you pack then?

The National Park Service recommends you pack at least 2 liters of water per day, per person. This is specifically drinking water. If you need water for cooking, cleaning, cleaning yourself, or your dogs, you also want to plan for that. The common recommendation amongst overlanders is 2 gallons per day, per person. Given the inherently dangerous nature of this lifestyle, this should give you some cushion should things go south.

2. Sleeping System

Sleeping System

iKamper iComfort air mattress with a Coleman 0 Degree Mummy Bag

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Another seemingly obvious suggestion, but I have a few things for you to think about. First, what weather do you expect and what weather is possible? There has been many a trip where the forecast is far different from reality, so I end up getting 1-2 hours of sleep because I am shivering in my sleeping bag which is entirely insufficient for the conditions. That’s a mistake you make once, but hopefully, you don’t make it at all after reading this.

Another note on sleeping bags is the temperature rating is for survivability, not comfort. Your zero-degree bag will get you through a 20–30-degree night, but not comfortably so plan to bring an insert or maybe a fleece blanket to go over or in the bag.

Some overlanders also have this idea in their head that it is not overlander unless there is discomfort. To some degree I agree, but not when it comes to getting a good night’s rest. Poor sleep can interfere with the next day’s exploration so your comfort throughout the night is something that you need to consider. This is a very individual thing that you will have to figure out for yourself, but I can almost promise you that if you are in a rooftop tent, the mattress that came with it is not going to cut it for more than one or two nights.

Let’s take the iKamper. One night? Fine, I can make that work. Two nights? Rough, but I can power through. Three nights? Not a chance. At this point, my back is killing me and my collective 6 hours of sleep over the previous night isn’t enough to get me through the day. They have an air mattress, however, that replaces the stock mattress which is a vast improvement. This is something that I did before my last extended trip, and I have never slept so well while on the road.

3. Batteries

Duracell Batteries

Duracell Headlamp from Costco & Batteries

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Even after years of camping and overlanding, this is something that I can’t seem to get right. Battery needs are going to change a lot based on the individual, but one of the things that we all have and rarely think about until we need it is headlamps.

The headlamp I use takes AAA batteries and it drains slowly when not in use if I forget to flip the batteries around (If you flip the batteries so the poles are touching the wrong connectors, it won’t drain the battery while not in use). There has been more than one occasion that my headlamp is completely dead when I need it so bring extra batteries and even a backup just in case.

A good exercise here is to lay out all of the things you take camping that require batteries. Take note of them all, what batteries they need and how much, then go buy enough to replace each of them twice. This will provide room for error should you leave something on or use it far more than you initially thought.

4. Power Station/Solar Panels

EcoFlow Power Station

EcoFlow River 2 Max with 110w solar panels

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Another thing is what all you need to power while you are out. Portable fridges are skyrocketing in popularity and becoming more and more affordable. While these don’t draw a ton of power, if you don’t plan for the power it needs to get you through a trip, there goes your food. Be sure to plan for that as well as how to recharge it if you need. Can you charge it while driving between sites? Maybe you charge it with a solar panel when you are at your site just to keep it topped off. Have a plan to recharge your power station if you think it will be enough.

Also, consider what else you need to charge. Phone, heated blanket, space heater, fridge, batteries for cameras and drones, and communication equipment. All this needs to be considered when planning your trip’s power needs.

5. Biodegradable Soap

Dr. Bronners Castile Soap

Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

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Something that we as Overlanders and lovers of the outdoors, is how our presence in it impacts the local ecosystem. We bring a lot into these environments that are not there naturally. Our food, wood, and pollution from our vehicles. These all impact the environment in various ways, but one thing that is commonly overlooked is soap.

Introducing chemicals that are in soap into the environment can be very harmful to the environment, especially our marine life. The detergents found in some soap can “break up oil and send it lower into the water column, causing damage to more marine organisms,” according to the State of Washington Department of Ecology. They also state that soap destroys the mucus layer that protects fish from bacteria, damages fish gills, and affects the food supply of fish as well.

There are a few options for biodegradable or castile soap for camping, but I choose to use Br. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap. It is strong, so you don’t need a lot of it, and it will clean up any mess. You can also use it as body wash, which is what I do on longer trips as well. But despite its strength, it is one of the safest soaps you can use while in the wilderness.

6. Wipes

Combat wipes

Biodegradable Combat wipes

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If you don’t have the means to shower and use the Castile Soap that we just talked about, then wipes are essential! A few days on the trail and you start to get caked with dust and mud, sunscreen, insect repellant, sweat, food; I mean the list can go on. An extended period with all of this on you, especially your feet, is certainly uncomfortable but also potentially dangerous.

Dirt and grime between your skin and the clothes you are wearing in areas with more friction open the possibility of blisters and other wounds. If not taken care of properly and in a timely manner, it may lead to infection which is a surefire way to end your trip early. The best way to avoid getting into this situation is to keep yourself clean. Wipes like combat wipes, or any other biodegradable wipes, are your friend while you are roughing it in the backcountry.

7. First Aid

First Aid kit

First aid kit from EVERLIT store on IAG Drop down table

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Let me paint a picture for you. You are out in the woods, hanging out with your friends trying to collect firewood before the sun goes down so you all can stay warm throughout the night. While hacking away at a fallen tree, or of your mates hits his shin with his axe, cutting himself wide open and bleeding badly. Do you know what it takes to treat him onsite before he gets to a hospital?

This happened to me on one of my camping trips and had I not had a first aid kit; this person would have lost a lot of blood and very likely got an infection. I was able to quickly grab my kit, disinfect the wound, then apply a pressure dressing bandage which got him to the hospital where they were able to clean it further and suture the wound.

Finding a first aid kit can be really difficult, however. My Medic is a great kit and will have everything you need. If you are not wanting to pay the price for this premium kit, however, there are good options at lower price points, which I have linked above.

8. Tools & Tool Roll

Craftsman Tool kit

Craftsman 174-piece tool kit

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It is not uncommon for an overlander to experience some sort of breakage on the trail. The most common thing to happen is a tire puncture, but there are times when more serious failures occur that we need to be prepared for. Tie rods snapping, batteries going flat, and hydro locking are all something that can happen when on the trail and it is important that you are prepared to be able to handle that stuff. You may not be able to 100% fix it, but at least get it to where you can limp off the trail.

I would suggest thinking of what could go wrong and acquiring the tools necessary for that, keeping in mind that any repair you do is going to be on uneven surfaces and in the dirt. Tire punctures may be able to be patched, so be sure to have a repair kit. If not, and you have aftermarket wheels, the tire changing kit that comes with the vehicle may not fit the new lug, so be sure that you have the right tools to be able to take your tire off.

Have things, including spare parts that you may need on the trail. Tie rod ends, CV axles, and maybe even some driveshaft components would all be helpful. Also, extra oil, a clean air filter, sparkplugs, and all the tools required for that are good to have as well.

9. Insect Repellant



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Insects are unfortunately part of the territory when you are camping, especially if you are near a body of water. And they can ruin a trip faster than almost anything else. So having something to try and keep their interference at a minimum is crucial.

Insect repellant is a tried-and-true way of keeping them away, but there are also things such as the Thermacell which emits an odor that will keep a larger area around it free of insects. I have had great success using Thermacell and it has made trips in the summer and by water much more enjoyable!

10. Clothes for all weather conditions

Winter Clothing

Rain and down jacket and waterproof pants for a wet day in the Hoh Rainforest

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You will no doubt do research as to what the weather will hold for you while you are on your trip. But I would go beyond what the weather says. Make sure you are prepared for all possibilities. For example, if it says it is not going to rain, I will bring a raincoat anyways because you never know what is going to change while you are out. Also, if you think it is going to be warm for a while time and don’t think you’ll need pants, or a jacket, I will bring some anyways. Sometimes temps can dip unexpectedly low, especially at night.

You don’t need to go crazy here though. If you are snow camping, I wouldn’t suggest taking shorts. There is going to be no scenario in snow, where you’re going to wish you had shorts. But plan within reason what the weather might throw at you, versus what the forecast is prior to your departure.

Final thoughts

Overlooking the Road to Birch Creek Ranch

Overlooking a Valley in the Owyhee Canyonlands of Oregon

Even if you are a seasoned “weekenderlander”, there is a strong possibility that you will miss something when venturing out for a longer trip. There is a lot to consider when planning for an extended trip and what you think you may have a handle on will fall to the back of the list. I encourage you to reference this list as a reminder of things that you need to pack. As I said, that grab-and-go kit that you have will likely not be sufficient when the days turn into a week or more.

Longer trips are an amazing experience and one I hope you can go on. Just be sure to prepare appropriately so you can make it back safely and with no more than amazing memories!

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