30 Overlanding Gear Essentials & Car Camping Accessories for 2020
Check out these Outdoor Gift Ideas for Your Next Overlanding Adventure
This isn’t going to be your average overland accessories list.
Instead of adding the basics like an ARB Deflator, Maxtrax, Hi-Lift Jacks, and Jerry Cans, I wanted to take this one in a different direction.
Although we do include a few popular vehicle-mounted accessories, most of the essentials below are not hard mounted, and instead, they are items that can be packed in the back of the 4Runner.
And this is not to discredit the vehicle recovery basics at all because they are all important, it’s just time for something new.
I hope everyone out there knows about the “well-known” recovery gear essentials I am talking about. But if you don’t, here is my top 10 quick list to reference for the most common recovery gear items.
Top 10 Most Common Recovery Gear Essentials
- ARB Deflator
- ARB Recovery Strap + Soft Shackles
- Hitch-Mount Recovery Receiver
- Hi-Lift Jack
- RotopaX Fuel Cans
- MaxTrax MKII
- Fire Extinguisher
- Off-Road Shovel
- Smittybilt Winch
- Storage Case for Gear
Recovery Gear Vs. Practical Car Camping Accessories
The gear items we’re covering below are not just recovery gear items, but more generalized car camping accessories.
The list below is not very specific to the 5th Gen 4Runner or recovery gear, although there are a few 5th Gen products and recovery gear items in the lineup.
Whether you have a 4Runner, Tacoma, FJ Cruiser, Subaru or any other vehicle, this is going to be a solid list for you to refer to when looking for car camping accessories in general.
I hand-picked every item below. These are either camp accessories that I own or intend on purchasing in the future. Regardless of ownership, I have verified that each item has either great reviews or have been tested by other first-person reviews on Trail4Runner.com.
With all of the mainstream blog posts on Overlanding gear, most people are covering recovery gear only, as mentioned above. Overlanding is not just about recovery gear. It’s about cooking, drinking, lounging, sleeping, storage, comfort, the journey, and the general experience.
Because of this, I wanted to focus on other types of accessories for general car camping. The items below are accessories we use at camp or use while traveling to camp.
Most of these items focus on the following areas: Shelter/Comfort, Water, Fire and Food – the basics.
What is Overlanding?
According to the web: Overlanding is self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. – Wiki
I think this somewhat accurate but here is my spin on the term:
According to Brenan: Overlanding is a form of car camping where your truck/SUV/crossover is typically built to a point where you can traverse rugged terrain in order to reach a destination otherwise not attainable by a stock vehicle. Also, I think we owe it to the original “overlanders” to say you are truly Overlanding when you cross state or country lines or even a massive river. That to me is really “Overlanding” but today it’s just a fancy way of saying “Car Camping” which most of us take part in.
Whatever your definition is, the only point here is to get out and explore. And I think we all have that in common, right?
30 Overland Gear Essentials & Accessories
- Pelican Ruck Case
- Power Practical Luminoodle
- Bernzomatic High-Intensity Torch
- Gerber ComplEAT – Cooking Tool
- Element Fire Extinguishers
- The Perfect Bungee by BihlerFlex
- Opinel No.8 Outdoor
- AeroPress Coffee + Espresso Maker
- Sea to Summit X-Brew Coffee Dripper
- Rechargeable Hand Warmer + Bank
- GSI Outdoors – Pinnacle Base Camper
- Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern
- Hydrapak Expedition
- Men’s Ultra Fastpack III Mid GTX®
- My Medic MyFak First Aid Kit
- Garmin Handheld + Satellite Communicator
- Partner Steel – Functional Stove
- King Charles Chuck Box
- Front Runner Wolf Pack
- Zarges Storage Boxes
- ARB TRED Pro Recovery Boards
- Gaia GPS Premium Membership
- Trooper LT 30 Cooler
- Active Skin Repair Spray
- Bucket Boss Super Roll Tool Roll
- Gerber Downrange Tomahawk
- Front Runner Drawer System
- Filson Large Dry Duffel Pack
- Factor 55 Rope Retention Pulley
- Overland Vehicle Systems Recovery Ring
Pelican Ruck Case
We all know Pelican makes some of the best cases out there. The compact Ruck Case is a great compact storage box for your small accessories, like your cell phone, camera accessories, memory cards, lens filters and more. This box is also great for many of your EDC items like knives, pens, watches, lights and common pocket accessories.
Power Practical Luminoodle – Portable LED Light Rope and Lantern
Looking to light up camp? This LED string light + lantern is a great find for anyone looking to put some spice in their camp set up. You can attach one end to your 4Runner and another to a nearby tree. The provided rubber hoop hooks make it easy to latch on to just about anything. You might want to grab a couple of these.
Bernzomatic TS8000 – High-Intensity Trigger Start Torch
This torch is awesome. I carry one of these and a propane tank just about everywhere I travel. This is an ultimate overlander accessory that I consider a must-have. Sure, I have a Bic Lighter with the flex wand as well, but nothing gets a fire going quite like the Bernzomatic. It fits in your hand perfectly and is very easy to use. 5-star product for sure.
Gerber ComplEAT, Camp Cooking Tool, Burnt Bronze
This is one I recently purchased and love. Usually, the combination utensils are attached by a mini carabiner. The Gerber complete, however, attaches with small slotted grooves on the inside/outside of each utensil. The Gerber complete is a spoon, fork, spork, knife, scraper, bottle opener, tongs, and more. Super compact and very useful. A great camp tool for sure.
Element Fire Extinguishers
This one is new to me and I was turned out to it by a fellow author Eric, who will be doing a full write-up on it soon. The Element fire extinguisher is ultra-compact, incredibly light and packs the power of a full-size fire extinguisher. This is not a cheap camp accessory but if you are short on space and like to keep stuff low profile, this is the fire extinguisher for your rig.
The Perfect Bungee by BihlerFlex
Team4Runner had these as a sponsor on their T4R Experience. I bought one to see if they were really “all that”. I now own about 10 different versions, and I must admit, they blow the socks off of any traditional bungee cords out there. They stretch sooooo far. Be sure to check out all the options they have. These things have replaced traditional bungee cords for me. I especially like the fixed-end version with a clip (even though one clasp broke – the bungee still holds tight). I really need to write a post on these. They really are perfect.
Opinel No.8 Outdoor – Stainless Steel Knife and Survival Tool
At first glance, it may look like a cheesy Amazon knife but it’s not. I feel like this is what bear grills would carry with him on any adventure ever, it’s just so universal. The Opinel knife is lightweight, compact, fits just about anywhere and has a very convenient, easy-to-use lock system. The blade is also very sharp and features a dual serrated/straight edge that works for cutting just about anything. Great buy for your everyday camper, or even EDC enthusiast.
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker – Quickly Make Delicious Coffee
I don’t own this but wow do people love this! During my last trip to the sierras, making coffee in my french press was annoying. It was so cold (10-degrees) in the morning with a nasty wind-chill, my pot would barley boil on the Coleman. It had me looking at other options which led me to this find. Very interesting with a massive cult following. Coffee lovers claim that this will be their last coffee stop for life.
+ The Extra Coffee Filter:
The one complaint was the paper filters. They do offer a stainless version for you.
Sea to Summit X-Brew Coffee Dripper
Speaking of coffee lovers, this Sea to Summit coffee maker along with other mainstream drippers are super popular. Recently, the GSI Java Drip Pour Over was revied on the blog. Both of these drip coffee makers have great reviews, they are compact, affordable and offer great boutique style coffee on the run. Honestly, how can you go wrong?
Rechargeable Hand Warmer + Power Bank
This is a first for me. A digital hand warmer, how cheesy is that I thought. But then I started thinking about 10-degree weather in the morning trying to make coffee. Damn this would have been nice to hold onto before a nice cup of coffee. If you frequent cold-weather areas while camping or Off-Roading, this compact warmer might be for you. It also doubles as a power bank.
GSI Outdoors – Pinnacle Base Camper, Camping Cook Set
This is the camping cook set I have, well a version of it anyway. The one I have was from a couple of years ago and it is still going strong. The detachable handle stows away nice and neat inside the setup. All items pack down into the pot and then cinch into one strong nylon pot-shaped bag that keeps it all contained. GSI makes some of the nicest camp cooking accessories out there. I bought an extra handle so I can use the pot and pan simultaneously.
Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern and USB Power Hub
You can’t go wrong with anything Goal Zero but this is one of their newer units. The Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 is both a lantern and a universal USB outlet. Stand the lighthouse up or tilt the legs up and around then hang the unit from the top of your ground or rooftop tent.
Hydrapak Expedition – Collapsible BPA & PVC Free Water Storage Bag
Water, Food, Shelter, and Fire are all important but Water is needed at almost every stop of the road. A good water storage container is going to be one of your best friends when you are out exploring. This HydraPak water container was recently reviewed on the blog by Max. High-quality, durable and dependable – the HydraPak is a go-to water storage solution for us.
Men’s Ultra Fastpack III Mid GTX®
I have tested many boots for hiking and traversing the terrain. From Trask to Danner, I have spent some serious money on high-quality men’s boots. All the boots I have tested have either been hard on my feet after a day of use (just uncomfortable) or have not stood up against the elements (they get my feet wet and cold). I just purchased these boots from North Face due to their “Impenetrable moisture barrier to guarantee dryness” and they look pretty great as well – like a pair of Nike shark cleats from the 80s. This is my first time going with more of a sneaker/boot as opposed to a traditional “boot” so I am hoping it goes well. Hoping out of the 4Runner to explore, hike, take photos, etc. can take a toll on your feet. I will update this section soon.
My Medic MyFak First Aid Kit
First-aid kits are essential for everyone but especially the car camper. We carry the popular MyFak and the smaller version; the Solo in our daily driver. Both are pretty pricy but they can pack just about all the medical essentials one would need off the beaten path. The MyMedic has extra room for your own medical gear, as well, like allergy medications, Neosporin and anything else you need to pack. Please consult a professional Medic before using advanced medical accessories. Another really good pre-packed First Aid Kit is the one from Surviveware. If you are looking for the ultimate All-in-one first aid kit at a great price, check out the Surviveware kit. I have the MyFak in one 4Runner and the Surviveware in another. Both are really high-quality kits but you get more bang for your buck with the Surviveware kit.
Garmin GPSMAP 66i GPS Handheld and Satellite Communicator
If you traverse random trails alone or with a small crew, you should pack a handheld satellite communication device. Recently Max reviewed one of these devices (InReach Mini). They are cheap insurance for an otherwise nightmare situation. The GPSMAP 66i is Garmin’s top-of-the-line handheld GPS unit, that I currently have my eye on. Check out Max’s write-up for an overview of handheld satellite devices for a better understanding of why these are so important.
Partner Steel – Sturdy and Functional Stove
If you’re in the market for a great camping/Overlanding stove, then check this out. The Partner Steel cookstove is one impressive camp stove that packs up nice and tight. It provides all the durability and dependability you can wish for in camp stove and with square edges all the way around, this stove will fit just about anywhere in your rig. I am highly considering this or the compact version of what I have now, a smaller flat-top Coleman.
King Charles Chuck Box – Premium Camp Kitchen Box
Trail Kitchens makes some of the highest-quality kitchen set-ups you will find. Think “Goose-Gear” but overland/car-camping kitchen gear. Trail Kitchens is based in Truckee, CA, and makes its products right here in the USA. These high-quality stainless steel boxes can pack all your kitchen gear in a nice easy-to-use system built for the trail ahead.
Front Runner Wolf Pack
A timeless classic, the Front Runner boxes. I have two wolf packs (pictured) and two cub packs (the smaller version). The wolf packs are 20x15x9 and the cub packs are 17X12x8. It may not seem like much but the wolf packs offer much more space. These boxes are built rock-solid, although some guys claim to have broken the handles off. Other than finicky handles, I would recommend these any day of the week. If you drop them, plastic may break.
Zarges Storage Boxes
Speaking of boxes, have you seen the Zarges boxes yet? WOW! Such high-quality materials. They are similar to Front Runner boxes in concept but blow them out of the water in terms of material in every way. From the latches and the lock mounts to the spring-loaded handles and well-coated interior, you can tell these boxes are top-notch. If you drop them, aluminum may dent.
ARB TRED Pro Recovery Boards
With all the options on Amazon, where do you start? We have a set of TREDS and have been pretty happy with them, but not this model, the earlier TRED 800 (before ARB bought TRED), and they are still holding up. I have no need to upgrade my TREDS but if I were to I would go to an ARB backed recovery board any day of the week. They are also like $50 less than Maxtrax.
Gaia GPS Premium Membership
If you are looking for good gift to give, start with Gaia. We have a premium membership with Gaia and love it. It’s only $30 a year but what you get for that price is well worth the cost. If you have been researching good mapping systems for your adventures, look no further than Gaia.
Trooper LT 30 Cooler
No, it’s not a YETI! Although I do have two YETI coolers, I decided to share another product I have been eyeing. What bugs me about both YETI soft coolers I own is the lack of pockets. Man, sometimes I just want to throw a cheese knife or bottle opener in a pocket, not in a ziplock bag or some other container in the YETI. This Otterbox cooler has some outstanding reviews, and by the looks of it, some pretty sweet pocket options.
Active Skin Repair Spray
This is one of those items you never think to purchase but wish you had when you or someone goes down. When you are off-road, wheeling or exploring the great outdoors, stuff happens. Hopping out of your truck and slipping on steep inclines is perfectly normal in the environment we live in. Protect yourself, your loved ones and your crew with instant skin repair for cuts, scrapes, rashes, sunburns, and random skin irritations.
Bucket Boss Super Roll Tool Roll
Must. Carry. Tools. – Tools are a part of life on the trail. I have had a few different tool rolls and tool bags over the years. This is by far the most affordable and high-quality tool holder I own. The Atlas tool holder is next in competition, but at double the price with one less pocket, man—the Bucket Boss really stomps on it. This thing just flat out works for everyday driving, off-roading, and camping.
Gerber Downrange Tomahawk
I have this installed and mounted on the inside of the RIGd UltraSwing using a couple of QuickFist mounts. This is one impressive multi-tool that just about anyone can use. For your everyday overlander to the extreme off-road type, this hatchet/axe/hammer/crowbar is one seriously impressive gear item. It’s been through a few seasons and has been a great help so far. I foresee this one lasting the life of my off-road adventures. It’s pricey but worth every penny.
Front Runner Drawer System
Did you know Front Runner made a drawer system for the 5th Gen? What! From what I know about Front Runner, I would imagine this is one super high-quality drawer system. Can I afford it right now? Not really but damn I want it. Complete with drawers, locks, a track system, tie-down points and everything else you would want in a drawer system. Another cheaper option would be the Dobinsons drawer system or even a set of DIY plans by Solid Wood Worx.
Filson Large Dry Duffel Pack – Green
If I am ever in need of some EDC inspiration, I usually flock to Gallantry.com. This is a website that features a bunch of random high-quality everyday carry. You can find great new product releases on bags, knives, wallets, pens, flashlights and so much more. If you are looking to step up your EDC gear game in 2020, check out Gallantry.
Factor 55 Rope Retention Pulley – New Product from SEMA 2019
Factor 55 just released this product (RRP- Rope Retention Pulley) at SEMA 2019 and won a few awards in the process. Will these recovery rings start replacing snatch blocks? I think so. The rope retention rings or friction rings appear to be really easy to use, and much lighter than your traditional snatch block. What Factor 55 brings to the table is always impressive. This is likely going to be the talk of 2020 off-road product reviews. They also launched a full-blown recovery kit bag with every recovery product you need. Check out this video overview by Swell Runner below.
Overland Vehicle Systems Recovery Ring
I suggest waiting until the Factor 55 Rope Retention Pulley comes out. Simply for the fact that all their gear is made in the USA, they have great customer service and their parts have proven to exceed many industry expectations. If you just can’t wait for the Factor 55 recovery ring, check out this cheaper option from Overland Vehicle Systems. You can also get a combo pack with soft shackle 7/16″ 41,000 lb. and recovery ring 4.0″ 41,000 lb.
Wow, that was gear overload.
If you are looking for some great gift ideas or just looking to step up your overland/off-road accessories, this is a great place to start for 2020. This post took me a little over three weeks to create so I hope you guys enjoy it.
Comments or Questions? Leave them below!