Going on an overland adventure is exciting but at the same time takes a lot of preparation. As overlander, you must always ensure that you are ready for anything when out in the bundus – pack the correct gear and ensure your vehicle boasts the right equipment for the job. Much of this equipment is available from aftermarket suppliers and while it is not vital, it does make your trip much more comfortable and can save you time and money in the long run. Here are our top ten must-have fitments:
- Getting down on all fours: New tyres should be your first stop when going on an adventure. Nowadays most SUVs and bakkies come standard with tyres that are more suitable to road conditions and not entirely suitable to take on serious gravel roads. A decent set of all-terrain tyres will allow you to go much further with less possibility of punctures and tyre loss.
- A smooth ride: Overlanding takes you down (and up and across!) the most extreme off-roading trails. Upgrade from factory suspension to off-road suspension for all the bumps, dips and fast-changing terrain. Your suspension will also help you carry any extra load you want to add to your vehicle, such as drawers, bumpers, fridges, etc.
- It’s not inside, it’s on the back: The canopy is probably one of the most important investments for any overlanding vehicle as it comes with loads of extra optional add-on items such as kitchens, lights and power sockets. While it does come at a price, it is well worth it in the long run, and once out on your trail, making a cuppa next to the road, you will quickly justify the costs.
- Double up: Dual battery systems are an absolute must-have, especially when you are in remote areas with no power. They provide constant power for your camping fridges and a charging platform for all your electronics.
- Keep it cool: If you plan on heading out into the bush for an extended period, you will need a quality camping fridge. Be sure to invest in one that is durable, well-built and potent enough to keep your food cold no matter how hot it is outside.
- From the front: If you can fit a quality approved replacement bumper to your vehicle, it is something we recommend strongly. Replacement bumpers offer various advantages such as better approach angles and protection from those stray animals at night. Furthermore, it provides better protection in the bush and creates mounting points for lights and/or winches.
- Back-up: Punctures do happen, so make sure you have a tyre repair kit (or two) handy. It would be best if you also had a mobile air compressor and a trusty tyre gauge on hand.
- Recovery gear: Always carry a spade – this is more often than not your first stop to get you out of most situations. Additional recovery gear should include a combination of tow ropes, snatch straps, sand tracks, jacks and gloves.
- Let there be light: Africa is a huge place, and you are sure to venture into very remote areas during your adventures. Invest in a decent set of camping lights. LED lights can turn night into day at the flick of a button.
- Doctor on-board: Be sure to carry a basic medical kit in your overlanding home away from home. There’s a lot that can go wrong when you are in the middle of nowhere, especially when traveling with a family…. from cuts and burns to those pesky goggas that you don’t see. Ensure to have a well-stocked medical kit to treat any emergency and remember your antihistamines for those annoying bug bites. Of course, when venturing into malaria-prone areas, take precaution with the right meds upon consultation with your medical professional.
Overlanding is fun, and one can undoubtedly experience things the mere mortals holidaying in chalets, lodges and luxury camps will never see or hear. However, it does not come without its challenges and risks – always be prepared as best you can before you tackle your next trip.