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Overland Trip Planning Checklist

Contributed by Beth Hondlik


Zeus Off Road Overland Prep Camp 2024

Overland Trip with Jeeps on the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail

Know Before You Go - The Basics of Overland Trip Planning

If you missed the Overland Prep Camp 101 recently, we had a chance to share our strategy for trip planning. The process is pretty much the same regardless of trip length or number of people. The gear we choose to carry will change, but not our planning process. We have found this works for us and helps to ensure we aren't missing something essential.

  • Plan your overland route carefully using GPS tools and Google Maps and information about the area. 

  • Research terrain and weather. 

  • Inspect your rig and perform any maintenance

  • Plan your supplies

  • Keep emergency gear handy and not buried and make sure everyone knows where it is.

  • Keep notes of your trip to fine-tune your packing, route, etc. 


Overland Basics Checklist

  • Pre-trip Vehicle Maintenance and Inspection

  • Map/GPS - Tablet, Paper, Sights/stops, Campsites, distances, etc.

  • Recovery Gear 

  • tool kit, winch, straps, traction boards, tire plugs, air compressor, extra 10mm socket

  • Comms - Radio, Satellite, Cell phone, Internet

  • Tent/Sleeping/Shelter

  • Sleeping bags, pads, cots, pillows, etc.

  • Water - 1-2 Gallons per person per day

  • Food - plan meals - stock pantry

  • First Aid Kit

  • Clothes for the conditions - Layers! Wicking / Warmth / Weather (water/wind) 

  • Camp Essentials

    • Cooler or refrigerator

    • Chairs

    • Table

    • Stove

    • Cookware

    • Firewood / Fire-starters

    • Power - Solar, On board air, etc

    • Heat Source

    • Cards, Books, Music

    • Lantern


Rule of 3 for Packing

Overland Trip Planning Talk about Communications

We try to stick to 3 prepacked ready-to-go cases for essentials (besides clothes) to make it easy to pack and go. It can be more when we do longer trips or trips with more people and we are doing the cooking for say 20+ people. That requires some additional gear we wouldn't carry for just the two of us.

You can customize them however you want to your style of overland adventure or specific needs for your trip. This helps reduce forgotten items and prevent overpacking. You will find that you will refine your packing to the stuff you really need by using this method. For clothes, we try to stay to one case per person, with one case for extra weather gear as needed.


We use the Plano Sportsman's Tote that measures 24"x12"x13". We custom-built a rack for these in our Gladiator, so they work perfectly for us. Everyone's storage system is unique, so find what works for you.


Dry Goods

This case functions as our pantry. We keep it stocked with spices, flour, canned goods, etc. We will restock before or after each trip, according to our meal plan. 

  • Canned Goods

  • Dry Pasta

  • Spaghetti Sauce

  • Crackers, 

  • Cereal

  • Dried Fruit/Granola/Nuts

  • Drink Mixes

  • Spices

  • Olive Oil

  • Coffee

  • Sugar/Flour

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly

  • Hot Cocoa

  • Soup or Dip Mixes


Hard Goods

Think of this as kitchen and cooking supplies. We try to be as efficient as possible. You really don't need to bring everything, including the kitchen sink. Find things that are useful, multipurpose, and easy to clean up. They don't need to be expensive items. You can find great camping things at Walmart as you can at REI.

  • Compact stove

  • Utensils and Dishes

  • Cookware

  • Knives/Cutting Board

  • Collapsible Wash Basin

  • Papergoods

  • Wet Wipes

  • Water Purification

  • Aluminum Foil

  • Plastic Bags or Containers

  • Trash Bags

  • Propane

  • Lighter

  • Toilet Paper

  • Dishtowels


Camp Comfort These are the things that offer creature comforts in your camp in case you decide to layover an extra day or two if you find an exceptionally great camp spot.

  • Wash Basin

  • Soap/Towels

  • Trashbags

  • Insulated Mugs/Tumblers

  • Roasting Sticks

  • Extra Batteries

  • Lanterns/Lights

  • Blue Tooth Speaker

  • Extra Charging Cords

  • Deck of Cards/Cribbage/Dice

  • Journal/Pen

  • Extra gloves, beanies, neck gaitor

  • Sunscreen

  • Bug Spray

Staying organized and having a place for everything is much easier when you plan it that way and keep it that way. You spend less time looking for things, and more time enjoying your adventure.

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