2021 Overlanding Gift Guide: The gear you need to get exploring

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If you’re interested in venturing off the beaten path, these off-road products will help make overlanding dreams become reality.

With the holidays just around the corner and adventure enthusiasts eager to build up their vehicles, these off-road products will set them up for off-roading success. From recovery boards and basic non-winch recovery kits, to off-road tires and off-grid navigation communication equipment, these products will set you up to explore remote surroundings with confidence.

Off-road tires

A good set of off-road tires is one of the most important things to have when heading out for off-pavement adventures with your vehicle. It’s the only thing connecting you and your rig solidly to the ground. Wrapping your wheels with either all-terrain or mud-terrain tires from a reputable company is paramount. Tires from companies like BFGoodrich, Yokohama, Nitto, Falken, and Cooper should be considered. From rugged tire tread patterns and beefy sidewall designs, to good warranties and longer wear ratings, off-road tires can help make your off-pavement adventures successful ones. Prices for off-road tires vary.

Recovery boards or traction devices

Arming yourself with recovery boards can be helpful if you find yourself stuck (or need to give others a hand). Not only can they be used for a wide array of vehicles, recovery boards (or traction devices) can provide recovery assistance if you don’t have a winch or a second vehicle available when trail mishaps occur. MAXTRAX or ARB TRED recovery boards are high-quality, durable and are very effective when used correctly. Recovery boards are stackable and can carry heavy loads (check each manufacturer for specific load ratings). Either toss them in the back of your adventure rig or mount them to your roof rack, and you’re ready for recovery action when the going gets stuck. MAXTRAX MKII recovery boards start at $299.99 for a set of two.

Roof racks: platform racks and roof baskets

If you’re looking to stash extra stuff, running an aluminum or steel roof rack will help save interior space. Offered in a plethora of sizes and shapes, platform racks and roof baskets are mounted via gutter mounts, roof crossbars, or side rails. Not only can you ratchet down camp gear or other necessities to your vehicle’s roof, but many manufacturers make side-mount brackets to house a variety of other equipment, like vehicle awnings, axes, shovels and more. Premium roof rack makers include Front Runner Outfitters, Rhino-Rack, BajaRack, ARB, Yakima and Thule. It’s important to understand what type of gear you’ll consistently be hauling as it’ll help dictate if a roof basket or platform rack will work best for you. Check each manufacturer to make sure they make an application for your ride before purchasing.

Basic non-winch recovery kits

In addition to recovery boards or traction devices, carrying a basic non-winch vehicle recovery kit can prove its weight in gold if an off-road recovery is needed. Each non-winch kit’s contents may vary, however, it’s important to carry at least two hard or soft shackles, a kinetic recovery strap (sometimes known as a snatch strap), and heavy-duty gloves. Most vehicle recovery kits offer a heavy-duty carrying case for easy usage, too. No matter what type of basic non-winch vehicle recovery kit you purchase, it’s important to buy from a reputable company like ARB, Warn Industries or Factor55. Check each kit to make sure it’s appropriate for your specific adventure vehicle. Prices for non-winch vehicle recovery kits vary.

GPS-enabled satellite communication devices

If you want to create a secure connection to the outside world while adventuring remotely, a handheld GPS or satellite communication device should be considered to keep close to loved ones. Companies like Garmin offer various models boasting numerous capabilities. Arming yourself with a satellite-connected backcountry tool that combines GPS capability with navigation and two-way satellite communications can potentially save someone’s life. Many of these products feature an SOS emergency button, strictly to be activated in case of a critical situation. Check with each manufacturer as monthly subscriptions may be required to enable these features. Garmin GPSMAP 66i handheld unit: $599.99.

Photo by Lance Hanson

Offline off-pavement maps

Traveling off the beaten path has become easier by using off-grid digital maps or apps. Companies like Gaia and onX offer a robust mapping system that can be accessed via phone, tablet or laptop. For instance, the onX Offroad app covers more than 550,000 miles of open trails plus 60,000-plus campgrounds and cabins. In addition, onX Offroad just released three-dimensional digital maps for its browser-based Web App and showcases a wildfire layer that features up-to-date information. The onX Offroad app is free for initial features, $29 per year for a premium membership, and $99 per year for the Elite package.