Sure, you’ve got a rooftop tent, heavy-duty winch, off-road tires, a portable refrigerator and plenty of fully charged batteries. But hang on a minute. One mistake we see beginner and seasoned travelers make is focusing only on the “big” stuff when overlanding and forgetting the little things that make life a lot more comfortable.
With that in mind, Hawkes Journal scoured outdoors suppliers around the world, browsed specialist forums, and asked real-life overlanders about the must-haves they take along on every trip. Here’s our list of the items you can’t forget on your next off-road adventure.
Stanley Pour Over Set ($40)
Whether you’re partial to a stout batch of overlander coffee or an artisanal slow drip, a great cup of joe brings the comforts of home to any campsite or trail. We’re fans of this Stanley pour-over set for its ruggedness, ease of use, modest price tag, and simple cleaning. Even better, it comes with its own built-in pour-over filter, meaning you don’t need to worry about paper filters, and includes a 12 oz. camp mug and travel lid.
One inescapable fact about overlanding: at some point, you’re going to have to dig a hole. Of all the folding spades we’ve tried – and we’ve tried a lot, believe us – our favorite is this heavy-duty Gerber. It might seem a little expensive at first glance, but its build quality alone makes it worth the price. Boasting a lightweight forged steel blade that can handle everything from the softest loam to the stickiest clay, it also includes a handy serrated edge that can slice through vegetation like a hot knife through butter. Even better, a glass-flled nylon handle and aluminum shaft keep weight down to the bare minimum, a must on big jobs.
Sometimes a hot shower is the greatest luxury of all, and this portable shower with heater by Geyser Systems offers that luxury anytime, anywhere. This system is designed to conserve water, with a built-in scrubber that can handle any grit or grime you toss at it. An onboard heating system gets the water piping hot in 15-45 minutes, automatically switching off when it hits 95°F, and a convenient valve gives you control over water flow for up to 15 minutes of use. In the unlikely event that the heater fails on you, simply mix cold water with some boiling water from your camp kettle.
Even the most hardcore off-road gourmand loves roasting the occasional marshmallow or hot dog over the fire – it’s as core to the overlanding experience as pitching a tent under the stars. When we break out the hot dogs, we turn to these classic roasting forks – the price is right, they do the job effortlessly, and they look good while doing it. Enough said.
MSR Guardian Purifier ($390)
This USA-made water purifier is worth every penny for its speed (it can purify 2.5 liters of water per minute), ruggedness, and effectiveness. Its medical-grade fibers block viruses, bacteria, protozoa, hepatitis A, E. coli, giardia, cryptosporidia and more, giving you peace of mind no matter where you are. But don’t just take our word for it: this purifier is a favorite among critics, winning Backpacker Magazine’s 2016 Editors’ Choice Award and Outside Magazine’s 2016 Gear of the Show Award. MSR calls it “the world’s most advanced backcountry purifier,” and we’re inclined to agree.
Some camp stoves don’t just cook well, they look great doing it too. That’s certainly the case with Eureka’s dual-burner Ignite. Crafted out of thick-gauge steel, this stove is ready for years of action. But don’t let its compact size fool you – this little beast packs 10,000 BTU burners that offer everything from a light simmer to rip-roaring scorch with precision adjustment. Paired with a propane canister (not included), the Ignite offers an impressive 90-minute burn time.
It’s shocking how many overlanders make one simple mistake that only hits home once they’ve parked way off-grid: forgetting to bring enough lights. Sure, you can crank the LEDs on your rig or rely on flashlights, but why bother? We’re big fans of these affordable solar-powered string lights by MPOWERD, which pack 100 lumens into 10 nodes on an 18-foot cord while offering the ultimate in convenience. Juice them up via USB quick-charge or – even better – the built-in solar panel, and they’re ready to bathe your campsite in warm white light for up to 20 hours on a single charge.
Sometimes the smallest, least expensive things make the biggest difference when you’re in the middle of nowhere. That’s the case with these moist towelettes by Sea to Summit. Designed specifically for camping, these biodegradable and compostable, extra thick 100 percent viscose fiber wipes are skin-friendly and packed with aloe vera and vitamin E. Feeling grimy after a long day out? You'll thank yourself for packing these rinse-free wipes.