Blending off-road exploration with a healthy dose of comfortable camping, overlanding has become a popular get-away-from-it-all activity in recent years. Think of it as a type of self-reliant adventure travel in which one sets out to remote destinations, embarking on a trip in which the journey itself is nearly as important as the destination. In short, it’s the perfect escape, even more so in this age of social distancing.

We’ve partnered with the experts at 4 Wheel Parts to suggest a list of the best overland gear from their catalogue that will appeal to both first-time adventure seekers and those looking to amp up their ride for future quests.

Pro Comp Motorsports Series 20" Double Row LED Combo Spot/Flood Light Bar

Pro Comp Motorsports Series 20" Double Row LED Combo Spot/Flood Light Bar

This Pro Comp light bar features a brace of LED rows, meaning it is nearly as bright as some of the monster rooftop bars but able to fit in a much more compact space. Its straight-line profile makes it a good dance partner for your vehicle’s front bumper, but make sure to leave room for a winch (we’ll talk about those in a minute).

Finished in black paint and submersible up to 10 feet, you won’t have to worry about dunking this thing while picking your way through a tough river crossing. A multi-position mounting bracket is handy, while its operating temperature is good down from -40° to 145°F—meaning it will cover just about any traversable surface on the planet.

Smittybilt XRC Gen3 9.5K Comp Series Winch with Synthetic Cable

Smittybilt XRC Gen3 9.5K Comp Series Winch with Synthetic Cable

Told you we’d be talking about winches in short order. There’s an old off-road saying that suggests if you haven’t gotten your vehicle stuck, you’re simply not trying hard enough. We’re not sure we adhere to that particular epitaph, but there’s no doubt we’ve found ourselves in jams that required extraction assistance.

This Smittybilt winch is powered by an industry-best 7.0 horsepower motor and features a synthetic cable. (The latter is a boon for ease-of-use, by the way.) It is rated at 9,500 lbs, which should be more than enough to haul your rig out of the mire. Reviews from real-world customers are top notch, praising its innovative onboard lighting system in particular.

Pro Comp 5.5" Stage I Lift Kit with ES9000 Twin Tube Shocks

Pro Comp 5.5" Stage I Lift Kit with ES9000 Twin Tube Shocks

You’ve sorted lighting and recovery with the previous pair of items—now it’s time to jack your rig skyward and really hit the rough stuff. Pro Comp has been marketing off-road gear for ages, so one can be assured of a clean fit and seamless bolt-on installation.

This Pro Comp lift kit comes with all the parts and hardware required, and is model specific, meaning the days of hacking together pieces and breaking out the angle grinder are long gone. HD crossmembers and skid plates, made from 1/4-inch steel, are included. Owners of GM trucks should note it is compatible with StabiliTrak, a claim not all lift kits can make.

Rubicon Express Monotube Steering Stabilizer

Rubicon Express Monotube Steering Stabilizer

Mentioning the words ‘death wobble’ to Wrangler owners provokes the same reaction as yelling ‘bingo’ in a crowded hall when you don’t actually have matching numbers; the result is as ugly as it is terrifying.

This monotube steering stabilizer measures 36mm on the round and is the ideal bolt on replacement for your Jeep Wrangler JK original equipment unit. It features a monotube gas pressure design intended to aid in reducing steering vibration and premature wearing of your steering components.

4WP Xtreme R/T Tires

4 Wheel Parts Xtreme R/T Tires

Getting sorted with a good set of tires is one of the most important steps in customizing a vehicle. After all, those four fist-sized patches of rubber are the only parts of your vehicle that actually touch the ground. Get those wrong, and the usefulness of all the other safety or off-road equipment goes right out the window.

These gnarly hoops are available in flotation sizes from 33-inch to 37-inch on a variety of different wheel diameters. A thick 3-ply sidewall provides protection against wayward sharp rocks, and the tread pattern is said to be capable of tackling the toughest terrain – which is exactly the type of stuff you may encounter while overlanding.

4WP Factory Wheels - T-Series Split Spoke Design

4 Wheel Parts T-Series Split Spoke Design Satin Black with Black Lip Wheels

You’ve got your tires, now it’s time to pop for a set of aftermarket wheels. This split-spoke design will look great on just about any rig, while its satin black finish is going to pair nicely with most factory paint colors. (The T-Series also comes in bronze.) That is a simulated beadlock ring, though.

Roll-formed construction means these things can take a beating on the trail. Customer photos show the T-Series popping up on Wrangler JLs and 4Runners, both popular machines in the overlanding community.

Smittybilt GEN2 Overlander Tent

Smittybilt GEN2 Overlander Tent

A key component of any overlanding trip is a good place to sleep. These rooftop tents sometimes provoke a bit of ribbing by those who don’t know the difference, people who think these things are just for looks. However, having spent several nights in one of these things, your author can confidently assert the comfort they provide is well worth the cash.

This particular Smittybilt tent sleeps two, maybe three in a pinch, or if one of those people is a small child. Opened up, it measures 95 inches wide and 56 inches long, meaning even this 6’6″ writer can stretch out in comfort. The bed itself, by the way, is only an inch or three smaller than those dimensions.

Smittybilt Overlander Hard Shell Rooftop Tent

Smittybilt Overlander Hard Shell Rooftop Tent

Continuing our tent theme, this is a hard shell option that pops up straight rather than folding open like a book. This style of tent is handy if your overlanding travels deposit you in a space where there isn’t much room to stretch out. Load capacity is nearly 700 lbs. Its strong anodized aluminum frame keeps things upright and there are gusseted awnings on all four sides of the tent.

Popping this type of tent into position for sleeping quarters is a bit easier than the fold-out style of tent, at least in this author’s personal experience. The tradeoff is a slightly smaller sleeping area, which can make or break a buying decision depending on the number of campers you’re expecting.

Smittybilt GEN2 Overlander Tent XL

Smittybilt GEN2 Overlander Tent XL

Our final contestant in the tent sweepstakes is the jumbo unit from the folks at Smittybilt. Opening up to a massive 122 inches, this brute will provide a place to rest equivalent to that of a king-sized bed. Who says getting away from it all means having to leave it all behind?

Stainless steel hinges, anodized aluminum poles, and a cover made from heavy duty PVC mean there’s a solid chance this tent will outlast your overland vehicle. The tent is completely self-contained, with bedding and accessories stored inside the tent. This frees up vehicle storage space while providing a clean, dry, and flat space to sleep at day’s end.

Smittybilt Scout Trailer

Smittybilt Scout Trailer

Keeping an eye on your rig’s total payload is essential while overlanding, since it doesn’t take long for all one’s additions to pile on the pounds. Shifting some of that weight to a trailer can be a good idea, depending on the terrain you’ll be covering and the amount of mass your machine is rated to haul.

This Smittybilt trailer boasts stout construction, cabinets for a fridge or generator, plus three main doors with a slider drawer system. There are integrated tie down points as well. The manufacturer knows buyers of this trailer are going to load it up with kit, so it comes equipped with a set of all-important electric brakes as well.


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Main photo credit: simona pilolla 2 / Shutterstock.com