OB12: Planning and Preparing For Trips

Planning and preparing for trips is part of the overlanding experience. Being able to sort through gear, plan a route, and figuring out a food menu is part of the appeal for some people. Technology can become your best friend when planning, but it can also be a hindrance. The internet is a wealth of information when it comes to learning what to pack, what to use, what to cook, etc. You can find lists for every aspect of overlanding covered in this guide, but in the end, you need to do what works best for you.

Menu Planning

Cooking at camp can be an extremely relaxing and even easy endeavor, but it takes some planning in order to pull off. The best way to make sure you aren’t spending more time at the stove instead of around the campfire is to pre-plan your meals. Decide on what you want to eat well in advance, the simpler, the better. In the days leading up to your trip, prepare anything that needs to be cut or chopped up. You could even pre-cook meat so it only needs to be heated and you avoid potential illness. We cover creating a menu, food prep/storage, and more in Chapter 12.


Technology is great in that allows us to be able to see where we want to go before even going there. The options for mapping and planning a trip are numerous. Digital mapping software is a great tool when looking for and routing out trails to hit. The satellite, street, and roadway maps they provide make it easy to figure out what is accessible and drivable.

Scouting premade maps can ensure you are not backtracking because of closures, blockages, and conditions of the trail you will be on. Maps of any kind are only going to provide so much information. Putting eyeballs on potential problems and obstacles are going to help you better plan and execute a trip.

If you are creating a map beforehand, consider adding in additional details. Knowing where the nearest hospitals, gas stations, and even grocery stores can be beneficial. Also, include some sites to see along the way to break up the monotony of driving. If you partake in off-rig activities, find some places to fish, hike, or bike and make sure to mark them as well.

  • Hospitals
  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores
  • Breweries
  • Restaurants
  • Police station
  • Fire station
  • DNR office(s)
  • Hiking trails
  • Biking trails
  • Scenic sites

Setting a Budget

Most of us hold down full-time jobs, have families and do not get to travel exclusively around the country or around the world. This means having to maintain a budget that sustains our normal lives. When planning any length of trip, it’s a good idea to allocate some funds for certain things, whether they are planned expenses or unplanned expenses. Everyone is going to have a unique take on budgeting for a trip so make sure you do what works for you and try to stay within your allocated amount.

A good baseline to start with is to determine how far you will be driving and what gas is going to cost; what will groceries cost (if needed); and having an emergency fund for repairs or towing. Adding an additional 10%-20% into this corrects for any increases along the way. From there, factor in any additional things you may want to do, the cost of campsites, tolls, park entry fees, etc.

Weather Factors

Weather can play a big factor in how trail conditions are, the quality of a campsite, and your overall happiness on the trip. In the weeks leading up to your adventure, watch the weather forecast in the area you are traveling to in order to understand what you might be up against.

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