How to Plan An Overland Trip: Do you know where to start when it comes to choosing the ultimate destination and leaving the driveway?

As you plan an overland trip, we hope these tips will make the process as smooth as possible.

  • Where should I go? – Pick a place that intrigues you. Pull up your favorite map source and pour over areas you’re able to reach within the timeframe that you have. Make note of the areas you’ve never been to. Which one seems the most interesting?
  • When do you want to be home? – Now that you have a destination in mind, work backward on your timeline. How long will it take you to get there and back? This information will dictate the length of time you can spend in the area.
  • Which resources are available in the area? – Do you need to fully stock up on groceries, or are there some good restaurants to check out, thereby keeping your food prep to a minimum? Is there fuel in the area? What kind do you require? Do you need to consider fuel range or can you leave those extra jerry cans behind? Is there good cell coverage? Do you need to make sure your In Reach is working in the event of an emergency?

All of these considerations help determine your route into and out of the area. Perhaps you can loop from the house and back (those routes are the best since there is no backtracking).

Now that you know your route, you can dive into plotting it into your GPS device. We use the Garmin Overlander and we can plot our trip into the device before we head out. This can be done well ahead of time, saving you time on departure day. 

Next, plan your gear. What are the roads like? Will you be driving on an aggressive trail? Is it possible to run into snow this time of year? Do your best to be prepared for the most likely events and try not to over-prepare for everything. 

  • In addition, what’s the weather like where you’re headed? This factor is sometimes overlooked, but it’s crucial to check the weather forecast for the areas you’re heading to. Weather conditions often differ dramatically, even within just one fuel tank’s distance away. Try to bring a minimal amount of clothes for the expected weather, but have a trick up your sleeve if the unexpected happens. Our tricks include a hooded down coat, a good pair of gloves, and a nice hooded shell jacket in the truck at all times. We’ve paired down our personal gear to the point where we can pack all of our essentials for a 6-week trip in one carry-on bag.
  • Always have a medical kit properly sized for your trip. You can base it on the length of the trip and how many are traveling. That’s a staple, don’t forget it.

After your trip is complete and you’ve returned home, make a list of the things you wish you brought and the things you didn’t use. This process will help you be better prepared for the next adventure.

Now that you have the destination, the route, the conditions, and the resources in the area, you’re set! Please keep in mind local state/county policies at this time and remain safe and prudent when you choose the date for that first trip out. Hope to see you all out on the trails again soon!