The below list is entirely comprised of gear we actually use on our overland travel and truck camping adventures, equipment used in our truck camper build, or modifications to the truck in order to outfit it for overland travel. This is gear we selected after an exhaustive amount of research, and gear we depend on while we’re out on the trail.
This is meant to provide you with a comprehensive list to serve as a jumping-off point for your own adventure rig! Not everything here is necessary to enjoy truck camping or long term travel in a truck camper - this is simply the best gear we found for our purpose-built setup.
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Truck Specific Prep, Modifications, and gear for Overland Travel:
This is all the gear and equipment added to the truck so far to ensure it would be a capable and reliable adventure mobile.
Trail Gear Rock Defense Rear Bumper - provides good protection to the rear end and corners, and looks good too!
ARB Bull Bar* Front Bumper - this is a rock solid off-road bumper. It looks great, and houses our winch.
ARB Airlocker (rear axle) - this is a fully selectable differential locker, providing traction to both wheels so the one on the ground does it’s job when you need it to.
ARB High-output Air Compressor* - to inflate tires, pressurize the Roadshower 4, and operate the Airlocker in the rear differential
ARB Inflator with Guage* - used in combination with the air compressor to dial in tire pressure
Tool Kit - Your tool kit should match your mechanical ability. We carry a full set of tools with wrenches, sockets, deep-sockets, extensions, various pliers, vise grips, hammer, screw drivers. Any specialty tools that might be needed (50mm socket, snap-ring pliers, torque wrench, timing light, brake-line wrenches). Also electrical repair tools and parts (wire stripper/crimper, fuses, splices, multi-meter, shrink tubing, etc.)
Old Man Emu Heavy Suspension - this company is renowned for making high-quality, durable suspension components. And we have a good deal of weight on our rig so we went with the heavy kit. One of the first and best upgrades we’ve done.
Vehicle Service Manual - if you can find a copy of your vehicle’s factory service manual, get one - they’re worth their weight in gold.
Reflective Sun Visor - keeps the cab cool, protects the vintage interior, and makes a nice surface to lay on if working under the vehicle
Disposable Shop Rags
Spare Parts - research and find out what mechanical quirks your vehicle has, and be prepared for those issues to surface on the road. For our truck we carry spare fuel filter, thermostat, valve cover gasket, wheel bearings, driveshaft u-joints, multi-purpose grease, oil, filter, hose clamps, and coolant.
New Full Size Spare Tire
ARB Tire Repair Kit* - this kit is high quality
ARB Essentials Recovery Kit* - a good recovery kit is absolutely “essential” to have if you’ll be off-roading. Take the time to get familiar with this equipment, and learn how to use it in a safe and effective manner. It can save your backside (along with others!) if you get stuck or into a precarious situation off-road.
Always Perform Thorough Pre-Trip Maintenance - its easier to repair/replace worn components at home, than out in the middle-of-nowhere. Plus standard oil change & filter, air filter, valve adjustment, grease the driveline and steering components, check tires, lug nuts, and brakes/rotors, and wheel bearings.
TRUCK Camper BUILD & Equipment:
Everything that went into outfitting our truck camper for truck camping and overland travel.
Camper Shell or Truck Canopy:
For a complete guide to selecting a truck shell (also referred to as a truck topper, canopy, or cap) check out our post on how to choose a truck canopy for truck shell camping.
Off-Grid Power Setup:
Dual Battery Setup: for a detailed guide to dual battery setups start with our dual battery setup guide!
Inergy Kodiak Solar Generator - this model is being replaced by the Inergy Apex Solar Generator which begins shipping in May 2019
Car Charging Kit - Allows fast 240watt charging of the Inergy Kodiak from the vehicle’s 12V outlet
12v 15A fused power supply* - used to extend the 12v DC power from the Inergy Kodiak’s 12v Outlets
RENOGY 100w Eclipse Monocrystalline Solar Panel* - includes charge controller that is not needed with the Inergy Solar Generator, but can be used to recharge vehicle starting battery or traditional dual battery setup.
ARB Wiring Kit* - this is great 2/10 gauge wire, double sleeved and durable, and includes an in-line fuse holder
Wattsup Watt Meter* - great for determining power consumption and monitoring power input from both vehicle and solar
Misc Power Accessories we used to make the most of our Dual Battery Setup
12v Outlets* - for charging cell phones installed in our sleeping platform
12v Marine Fuse Block* - for distributing power to 12v outlets and Vent Fan
Waterproof Cable Glands* - for running wiring through the camper shell to our roof-top Renogy solar panel
25ft GFCI Extension Cord* - handy for a variety of things like running power tools, or plugging into shore-power when not off-grid or boondocking. And the built in GFCI protection offers a little more peace of mind in rainy conditions.
A sleeping platform can drastically improve your truck camping by maximizing storage and improving organization. If you’re interested in building a sleeping platform for truck shell camping but are unsure where to start, read our guide to various platform designs to get some ideas for what design might be best for you.
You can also check out our detailed step-by-step guide showing how we built the ultimate sleeping platform for our adventure mobile.
Additional Hard-Mounted Truck Camper Equipment:
Propane Tank* - though we have the Worthington’s Aluminum 6lb version of this tank, this is a more budget friendly option that is still more mobile-friendly than the standard 20lb tanks. Plus it will allow you to ditch the small 1lb propane canisters. Check your camp stove’s availability for correct adapters/regulator.
Camping Stove - we use a Cook Partner 18 in our truck camper. Partner Steel makes some of the most rock solid propane camping stoves around, and we love the simplicity and durability of these camp stoves.
Yakima Round Bars* and 1A Raingutter-Towers* - we mounted our solar panel to the round bars by bolting the panel to Yakima Loadstops* and can still carry our kayaks on either side using Yakima Jayhook* racks.
Yakima Windshield* - a wind fairing that keeps the wind noise down from the load bars and cargo basket
ARB Awning* - keeps you in the shade and offers some protection from the rain. You can read our detailed review and rear-mounted installation guide.
Camping Fridge - check out our definitive guide to choosing a camping fridge.
Kuat Pivot Hitch Adapter* & Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier - enabling us to mount our camping fridge outside the truck camper, read our detailed how-to guide on this setup. It’s pretty cool and frees up a lot of room!
Roadshower 4* - serves as both our shower and freshwater tank. Note we used the 7 gal version and it fits perfectly inside the Yakima Load Warrier w/ Extension
Tailgate Ladder* - helps get in and out of the sleeping platform
DIY Blackout Curtains - great for stealth camping, deterring bandits, and sleeping in!
truck camping gear:
All the items and gear we use while truck camping and traveling.
The value of a comfortable and sound night’s sleep while truck camping or travelling cannot be overstated. Spend some time with these decisions and make sure you’re getting the best gear for the job.
Truck Bed Mattress - for help choosing the right truck bed mattress for your setup we have a guide here, for a detailed review on the Milliard Tri-fold memory foam mattress* we selected for our truck camping setup click here.
Sleeping Bag - we’ve been fans of Big Agnes bags for a long time, and we found that the Big Agnes Dream Island 15* was a great 2 person option for us
Hammock - While more “nap” gear than sleeping gear, we’ve come to really appreciate the Eagles Nest Outfitters Double Nest* while truck camping for the relaxation it provides. It has proven to be a fantastic hammock and can accommodate 2 people comfortably.
Camp Kitchen Gear:
Second to the importance of sleep while truck camping, is the ability to make a healthy and delicious meal. Below is a list of all the things in our camp kitchen and mess kit.
Coffee Stuff! - We have and entire post discussing 7 ways to make incredible camping coffee, but this is our go to kit:
Mugs - we’ve got a whole post dedicated to helping you find the best camping mug. When you drink as much coffee as we do, this is not a decision made lightly!
Thermos - for those days you’re driving a lot of miles.
Lodge Cast Iron Set* - cast iron is so versatile, you can fry, boil, bake, braise, saute, and on and on - all over a camping stove OR an open fire. Plus there is no soap involved in clean-up making it a breeze to clean after meals. And this set doubles as a dutch oven!
Pots and Pans* - if cast iron cooking is not your bag, this GSI nesting set has served us well for years and is very compact.
Plates - you’ll need something to eat all that delicious camp food off of
Silicone measuring cup* - easy to store and double as an extra drinking cup
Adjustable Measuring spoon* - saves space compared to a full measuring spoon set
3 Forks and 3 Spoons
Knife (sharp and butter)
Long Handle Lighter - good for lighting stoves and lighting fires
Thin Cutting Board* - we like these because they’re inexpensive and don’t take up much room
Collapsible Skewers* - we carry two in our kit for cooking dogs or mallows over the campfire
Clorox Wipes - makes cleanup so much easier when you’re in a rush
Collapsible Dish Tub & Strainer* - this kit is compact and makes cleanup a lot easier
Hand Towels - a couple small cotton towels for drying dishes and cleaning up messes
Bio-Degradable Dish Soap
Ziplock Bags - we keep several sandwich, quart, and gallon on hand for a variety of uses
Trash Bags - we keep half a dozen white 30 gallon, and 2 large 55 gallon in our kit. The 55 gallon make great temporary dry-bags or rain ponchos too
Parchment Paper - makes baking in the cast iron easier to cleanup
Toiletries, Hygiene, and Laundry Gear:
You gotta keep it clean, even out in the boonies. This is all the gear we use to stay fresh in the back country and on the road.
Wolfwise Shower Tent*- this combined with our Roadshower 4 provides a nice private place to take a warm shower or change
Clothesline and pins - we use 550 paracord (multi-purpose) and these small metal clips.*
Toiletry Bag - we use a his & hers set of the GOX toiletry bags*. They’re well organized and durable.
Pstyle* - when you gotta go, you gotta go. These make the process easier for girls whether at camp or on the trail.
Baby Wipes - sometimes a shower is just not possible, baby wipes
Fast-Dry Towels - we’ve used Sea-to-Summit’s Pocket Towels* for years, they work great and dry out fast
Car Sick Bags - handy to have if any one gets car sick, or otherwise.
General Camping Gear:
Everything we use to break camp, make camp, and survive in the back country.
MSR Guardian Water Purifier* - after multiple not-so-good experiences with a variety of cheaper water filters in the past, we no longer mess around when it comes to the quality of our water. We have zero hesitation when using this device to purify our drinking water, and the output is incredible.
Adventure Medical Grizzly First Aid Kit* - Good all-around first aid kit to keep on hand
FiveJoy Shovel/Axe* - this little combination camp shovel and axe is a great piece of kit with all kinds of uses
Agawa Canyon Boreal21 Folding Bow-Saw* - One of the best camp-specific purchases we’ve made. You can cut through a 6in diameter log in under a minute with this this. And it is rock solid.
Camp Chairs - this is largely a personal preference, we landed on the Kelty Linger Get-Down* and Linger High Back* camp chairs primarily because their collapsed size was perfect for needs, but they are solid and comfortable as well - just not too pocketbook friendly.
Camp Table - we use the matching Kelty Linger Side Table*, again primarily because it was the perfect size for our needs when collapsed. Its a very solid little camp table with a higher than average load rating.
Handheld Dust Broom - handy for sweeping out the truck, tailgate, and sleeping platform
Tarp - tarps can have a multitude of uses while truck camping. We keep a Sea-to-Summit backpacking silnylon tarp/poncho on hand because it’s compact and dual purpose, but any tarp will do.
Dry Bag - great for impromptu rafting or float trips, as well as tossing on the roof-top carrier for storage
Auto-Retracting Wratchet Straps - very handy for securing things to the cargo carrier
360 Degree Level* - these are handy for determining if the truck is leveled out properly for sleeping and cooking
Leveling blocks* - we carry 5 of these for leveling the truck out in tight camp spots where we can’t find level ground to park on for the night.
Black Diamond Spot Headlamps* - affordable, good light output, and waterproof
Luci EMRG Inflatable Solar Light* - this little lantern is completely solar powered and has a nice mellow output, great for a lighting up camp.
Velcro Bundling Straps* - these things are awesome, super handy to have a few on hand, we’re constantly finding new uses for them
Wool Blanket - great for picnics or bundling up by the fire
Picaridin Insect Repellent* - Good stuff! Safe for kids, effective for 12hrs, doesn’t stink like deet based repellents, and won’t harm your gear or clothing
Bear Mace* - for bears and self-defense
Bear Bell - picked one up last time we were in Glacier NP, seemed like a good idea at the time and we carry it just in case.
Clothing for Truck Camping & Travel:
Having a wardrobe of high-quality, fast-drying, well-insulating wool and synthetic clothing will make a HUGE improvement to your truck camping and overland travel experience. It makes laundry easier, helps with hygiene, and you’ll get more mileage out of each wash which can drastically decrease the amount of clothing you have to carry on your adventure.
Wool Shirts - wool dries faster and insulates better than cotton, and it doesn’t retain body odor like cotton or some synthetics do so you get more mileage out of each wash.
Wool Socks - same goes for socks, we’ll routinely get 2-3 days out of each pair
Synthetic Fast-dry Pants
Travel Underwear - these are designed to be easy to wash/dry and made with anti-microbial material to also minimize body odor.
Shoes - Although footwear is hugely subjective based on personal needs/prefferences, you must make sure you have a quality pair of shoes if you intend to hike with any frequency while you travel. These are brands/models we’ve used extensively over the years with very good experiences in both comfort and durability
Chacco Z1 Classic or Zcloud - These Men’s or Women’s sandals are supportive, durable, and super comfortable. So much so that Patrick actually wore them as water shoes during our 2012 & 2013 Western US trips, and almost exclusively on our 6 week Eastern US trip in 2014 while logging just under a hundred miles of trail hiking in them, as well as countless miles exploring the metropolitan areas of DC, New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.