The Overlanding Holiday Gift Guide
Camping, cooking, and off-roading gear that any overland enthusiast will appreciate
It’s hard to wade through the mountain of gear that seems necessary for overlanding. The secret is, you can get out there with nothing more than a 4×4, a tent, and some hotdogs for dinner. Still, part of the fun of overlanding is outfitting your rig. With the equipment available today, it’s possible to create a completely self-sufficient off-grid vehicle to live out of for weeks at a time. If there’s somebody in your life who loves exploring and pushing their vehicle to the limit, there’s something here for them.
1. MadKon Ammo Box Braai
Space is at a premium in any overland rig. I don’t care if you’re in a two-door Jeep or an Earthroamer. Traveling and living in a vehicle for long periods of time will have you rethinking some of the bulkier gear you’d bring car camping for the weekend. The Madkon Ammo Box Braai comes from South Africa, and it’s a collapsible grill that folds down to about the size of a laptop from the 90s (it fits perfectly in a Wolf Pack ammo box). There are accessories for it to cook everything from rotisserie chickens to burgers and dogs, and the cooking surface is big enough to feed a good size group of people.
2. Hankook Dynapro MT 10-Ply Tires
Tires are one of the best upgrades you can make to your rig, and they should come before buying things like roof-top tents. Invest in something solid and your trip will be a lot more fun because you won’t be changing or plugging tires. I’ve run Hankook Dynapro MTs on my truck for over 50,000k hard miles on mud, rocks, snow, and interstate highways. I bought them after an outfitter in southeastern Idaho suggested I do, and I haven’t looked back since. He guides in high desert that’s known for popping tires, and these are the only ones he’s found to actually work. If you shop around online, they’re actually pretty affordable. Get five for the overland explorer on your list so they can work a spare into their tire rotation.
3. Alu-Cab Canopy Camper
I lived for almost 50 days out of one of these, and I wouldn’t mind it for 50 more. There are similar camper tops like this on the market, but Alu-Cab separates itself from the pack. They test their campers on the safari rental market in South Africa. That means lots of inexperienced users thrashing their gear in rough terrain, which translates to about six years of testing compressed into six months. The Canopy Camper is lightweight and strong. It stands up to demanding off-road tasks like miles of washboard and extremely uneven roads (think rock-crawling). They don’t rattle and road dust will not get in. The canvas is mold resistant and light-tight in case you want to sleep in. When you want more ventilation, drop down the bug screens on the door, windows, and side hatches, and it’s like you’re sleeping outside. With the top up, two people can comfortably stand inside of it, out of the elements. And when it’s time to go to bed, fold down the 9-foot-long bunk which is about the width of a full-sized bed. Best of all, just about every hinge is on gas shocks and opens effortlessly. It’s possible to go overlanding without this thing, but if you find yourself sleeping in your truck more than at your house, I highly recommend getting this camper.
4. Klymit Cross Canyon 4 Person Tent
This isn’t a rooftop tent, it’s just a nice ground tent at a good price. It’s easy to set up fast and after hours on dusty forest service roads, that’s what you want. It’s roomy enough for two people and a dog or a couple of kids. With the rain fly on, there’s ample storage for extra gear, and on dry nights you can take it off to sleep under the stars—minus the bugs. If you know someone who drives a smaller 4×4 or who wants to take their side-by-side out for a camping trip, this is a great option. It’s also a perfect gift for people who have decked-out rigs who need extra room for guests.
5. Outdoorsy gift card
So you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed and seeing nothing but $100,000 rigs circling the globe, overlanding all over the place. The FOMO is killing you, but your bank account just won’t support that kind of lifestyle. No problem. Outdoorsy is like Airbnb for RVs, trailers, overland trucks, and vans. It lets anyone connect with overlanders and rent their rigs for the weekend or weeks at a time. Users post some pretty impressive setups on here, and it’s a great way to test out gear and get some ideas before taking an oxy-acetylene torch to your daily driver. Making upgrades to your truck is great, but getting out there is even better, and with a gift card to Outdoorsy, you can do just that.
6. Midland X-Talker T71VP3 Radios
If you’re doing everything right with your overland rig, you’re going to get off-grid and out of cell service. I can’t stress the importance of having some kind of off-grid communication enough. If you’re traveling in a group or convoy of vehicles, radios are indispensable. They’re also handy for spotters and drivers working through obstacles together, and they give peace of mind when exploring hiking trails away from camp. The X-Talker T71VP3 comes in a two-pack with a USB-compatible charging block. Each handheld is also USB-rechargeable and has a 15-hour battery life. Along with the 38-mile communication range, these radios can beam in NOAA weather alerts.
7. Raptic Titan 100X
The Raptic Titan 100X was built to go on adventures. This lightweight 100-watt foldable solar panel weighs less than 10 pounds and can stow easily behind a seat. It has USB-A and USB-C outlets to charge things like cameras, laptops, headlamps, and phones directly, as well as one DC outlet for hooking up to a portable battery. That way you can keep your equipment charged without taxing your vehicle’s battery.
8. onX Offroad
Just about every hunter knows about onX Maps and now onX has a version specifically for off-road driving. This app turns a smartphone into GPS loaded with trails. It’s like Google maps, but for the roads that Google doesn’t recognize. Each trail lists the difficulty so you can know what you’re getting yourself into, and you can download maps to be used offline out of cell range. It also gives you the ability to measure distance and drop waypoints should you want to return to a spot or log your adventures. For Black Friday, onX Offroad on sale at 30-percent off.
9. Fiskars X27 Splitting Axe
I’ve had one of these riding in my truck for about five years. I like it for two reasons: It’s light enough (and sharp enough) to cut fallen-down trees in half, and it will split logs like a 5-pound maul. If you come across a tree on the trail, it’s no big deal, and when you get to camp, it will make short work of a pile of firewood. Other more traditional axes are great, and they’re pretty stylish, but they’re terrible at splitting wood and overstrikes will cause the handles to break. If you’re looking for a reliable and durable tool to serve somebody you know for years to come, get them this axe.
10. OK4WD Camp Cover Box Kits
Recovery, first aid, lighting, and safety. The gear that falls under these categories gets a lot less attention than the flashy stuff but is essential to building an overland rig. For Black Friday and the holidays, OK4WD has put together kits for each. Every kit comes in tough, stackable Camp Cover Ammo Boxes. They’re loaded with premium stuff like an Element 50 Fire Extinguisher in the Safety/First Aid Kit; a Dynamic Recovery Rope in the AEV recovery kit; and key gear for airing tires up and down in the ARB Lighting Kit. There’s even a braai kit with the MadKon ammo box grill.