Sunday, July 21, 2024
HomeOff Grid & Self SufficiencyStealth Overlanding Rig | RECOIL OFFGRID

Stealth Overlanding Rig | RECOIL OFFGRID

Stealth Overlanding Rig | RECOIL OFFGRID

Overlanding appears to be garnering a bigger following yearly. As product design and manufacturing methods turn into simpler to perform, an rising quantity of product particularly tailor-made for car recreationalists is making its method onto the market. Starting from trailer hitch stoves and inside-the-cab fridges, to adjustable suspension and rooftop residing quarters, there’s something for everybody within the overlanding area.

There’s additionally an plain comfort to overlanding that conventional in a single day tenting simply can’t match. Reasonably than parking, and tediously climbing all of your gear to a distant web site, the car itself turns into a cell residing quarters, command middle and provide depot.

If recreating on this method seems like numerous enjoyable, you’re not alone. Not solely are you able to discover larger distances, however lots of the fashionable facilities we now have all turn into used to will be replicated and mobilized. This opens the world of outside adventuring to a wider vary of individuals, together with the younger, aged and bodily challenged. While not having to hold every part in your again, you’re free to absorb these panoramic views sans laborious respiratory and muscle fatigue. This makes exploring the outside behind the wheels of a car thrilling, and secure if performed correctly.

Two trucks parked side by side. One is obviously for overlanding. The other just looks like an average pickup truck.

Above: Each of those automobiles are constructed for overlanding. Nonetheless, one positively stands out greater than the opposite.

There’s additionally a preparedness element to overlanding. Certain, residing out of your car is a enjoyable and handy solution to camp, however what about conditions that drive you to depart the comforts of your individual house? Yearly, pure disasters like fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes drive individuals to flee from their properties searching for security. Civil unrest and warfare displace 1000’s frequently. Having a mode of transportation that may additionally present non permanent residing situations could be a boon in these conditions.

Sadly, for anybody who doesn’t possess a storage or land to work on or retailer a car devoted to outside residing, overlanding could appear out of attain. No person needs to pour time and cash right into a challenge like overlanding, solely to have thieves or criminals break in and steal all that tough earned gear.

Sadly, in lots of locations throughout the US, merely having an merchandise as innocuous as a blanket mendacity within the again seat is an invite to smash a window. However that doesn’t imply overlanding needs to be an impossibility. In actual fact, constructing a minimalistic overlanding rig that doesn’t appeal to consideration is a good way to get began, and saves a couple of bucks whereas doing so. As a fellow urbanite, that is precisely what I got down to do.

Finest Car for Stealth Overlanding

Selecting an overlanding car can appear overwhelming, since there’s a ton of debate as to which is your best option. Definitely some are higher outfitted for the job than others. Beginning out with a Ford Ranger or Toyota 4Runner will put you forward in capabilities in comparison with a sedan. Nonetheless, it’s typically mentioned that the most effective software is the one you could have.

Reasonably than purchase a completely new car for the challenge, I made a decision to avoid wasting that cash by preserving what I already owned: a 2014 Chevy Silverado. This can be a car I picked up at a reduction as a consequence of excessive milage years in the past. Traditionally, earlier homeowners used it as a piece truck, and I used it for work as properly. It has quite a lot of dings, scratches and rust spots. It might not win any awards for attractiveness, however the value was proper, and it has a ton of overlanding functionality inbuilt.

Many individuals are inclined to go to extremes when constructing an overlanding rig, particularly in the event that they intent to climb boulders or partake in off-roading challenges. However for somebody who simply needs to go tenting often or be capable of get out of dodge in an emergency, most vehicles and SUVs come inventory with numerous helpful options.

Having an AWD or 4X4 outfitted car is a superb place to begin, since having this functionality will get you out of widespread dicey conditions, particularly should you plan on sticking to roads or extra everlasting trails. The Silverado comes outfitted with 4-wheel drive and a towing bundle, which is greater than sufficient to deal with most duties. It could possibly deal with moist roads, deep snow, sand, and dust, even with easy tire tread.

Whereas the inventory options will get you out of a jam throughout regular driving situations, it’s good to enhance these capabilities if you purposefully deviate from paved roadways. If minimalistic is the secret, it turns into simpler to make improve choices. All the pieces boils all the way down to deciding on elements that assist give efficiency a lift, however don’t stand out as over-the-top visually.

Minimalistic Car Upgrades

Except your car got here off the lot with an off street bundle, you’re most likely driving on tires made to eradicate street noise, and have a suspension with okay however not nice floor clearance, as was the case with my Silverado. Moreover, my truck’s suspension got here adjusted so the entrance regarded barely decrease than the again. That is so it ranges out if you load the again with further weight, however doesn’t make it supreme for traversing rocky trails or navigating over obstacles.

To provide my floor clearance a bit further enhance, and make climbing over terrain simpler, the primary upgrades made to the Silverado was a leveling package and new tires. The one I used from Tough Nation raised the entrance 2.5” which allowed me so as to add new tires that had been barely bigger (about one other 2”) than my authentic street tires. Nitto Ridge Grappler’s had been my tire of selection, each for his or her quietness on the street, and their extra aggressive tread.

The mixture of tires and leveling package gave the Silverado about one other 4” of floor clearance, elevating it to ~12” general. That is greater than sufficient clearance to climb over most obstacles and particles discovered on backcountry roads and forestall getting slowed down in mud. Nitto’s Ridge Grappler tire tread strikes an excellent steadiness between quiet noise and getting extra traction in sand, snow, or moist roads. Most of all, these upgrades don’t stand out when it’s parked subsequent to a curb outdoors.

The front end of a pickup truck.

Above: Putting in a shorter leveling package and solely barely bigger tires give the truck a couple of extra inches of clearance, with out the “monster-truck” look of another overlanding rigs.

Seeing properly at evening is essential when navigating difficult terrain, however some gentle upgrades will inform everybody that you just’ve invested cash into your car. Reasonably than promote my gear to potential thieves by putting in a myriad of sunshine bars and spotlights all over, I made a decision to go a extra delicate but efficient route. By changing the manufacturing facility halogen bulbs with high-power LED headlights, I can obtain comparable outcomes as an externally mounted gentle supply can.

One draw back to not mounting a lightweight externally, is that you just can not illuminate a lot to the perimeters of the car, making slim roads an evening extra precarious to traverse. However the illuminated, ahead going through route of journey is drastically improved with the improve. Along with the headlights, I additionally put in truck mattress LED lighting, since that is the place I’ll be storing gear and sleeping.

Gear Contained in the Cab

Externally, the stealth overlanding construct is trying nondescript, which is the simple half. Getting all of the important overlanding gear saved with out turning into the goal of theft is far trickier. To perform this, I make use of the Silverado’s already present storage choices, in addition to a couple of addons. For starters, each glove field compartments, and a compartment constructed into the entrance bench seat are lockable. These are good for handheld units and different smaller precious objects.

Picture of the front bench seat of a pickup truck.

Above: When trying into the entrance seat, there is no such thing as a indication that this truck accommodates something that might be used for overlanding functions. The absence of issues to steal is a break in deterrent.


Headrest Protected was my option to retailer a handgun for self-defense functions. These are available in a large number of upholstery choices to mix into the automobiles present shade scheme. They may also be paired, so every seat has the identical headrest design to keep away from one from trying fully totally different from the opposite. Fast adaptors included with the package make set up a breeze as soon as the unique headrests are eliminated. The secure itself will be programmed with a 4-digit pin, or fingerprint for fast entry, and is giant sufficient to accommodate a full sized handgun.

Photo of a walther pdp in a cupolster.

Above: In excessive risk environments, the usage of a Cupolster is a handy solution to have a handgun on the prepared.

For restoration gear, first help gear, or perhaps a rifle or shotgun, I set up a Tuffy Lockbox underneath the bench seats behind the crew cab. Sometimes, I’d simply toss objects underneath the seat and name it a day, however anybody intent on breaking in might catch a glimpse of one thing and really feel the temptation to steal. With the Lockbox, I’ve over 3500 cubic inches of lockable cupboard space that matches completely underneath the seats.

Photo of the storage space under the front bench seat of a pickup truck.

Above: The locking cupboard space underneath the entrance bench seat is a helpful place to retailer radios, sprint cams, and different objects that have to be simply accessible by the driving force.


Putting in a devoted citizen’s band radio is out of the query, since its presence could be too apparent that the truck might need greater than meets the attention. Nonetheless, having a method of communication past a cellular phone is a should for a number of causes. First, numerous overlanding is finished in additional distant areas the place mobile protection could also be spotty, or nonexistent. One other necessary purpose for dependable two-way comms is that if it’s a must to push out a floor information to assist navigate over tough terrain challenges.

To make sure that I’ve a backup technique of communication, I turned to Midland, that are renown for his or her emergency radios. Their X-Talker line of radios not solely gives long-range walkie-talkie capabilities, it’s also programmable, can incorporate privateness codes for OPSEC, and has a inbuilt climate alert to maintain the person abreast of necessary bulletins.

A headrest safe closed.

Photo of the inside of the headrest safe.

Above: Headrest Protected gives safe storage for a lot of handgun types like this full dimension 5″ Walther PDP. In addition they provide upholstery matching, and an similar headrest so one would not look totally different than the opposite.


With the ability to get from point-A to point-B precisely and safely might be the one most necessary process throughout an overlanding journey. This makes maps and navigation instruments an important merchandise. Today, everybody has a fairly first rate GPS constructed into their smartphones, however nothing is extra annoying than not with the ability to view the mapping app comfortably when it is wanted.

The Silverado is notoriously tough to seek out an acceptable telephone or GPS mount. Due to the steering wheel and shifting management places, utilizing vent clips or dashboard mounts virtually by no means work out the best way you need it to. This implies discovering a window mount that may maintain as much as getting jostled whereas driving on rougher floor. After a lot trial and error, I got here throughout Nite Ize, which has a window mount and makes use of a strong magnet to maintain the telephone holder in place.

Along with the telephones GPS and no matter mapping app I determine to depend on, I even have a backup GPS within the type of a handheld Garmin. The beauty of the Garmin is its inReach functionality for emergency conditions.

Simply in case the worst happens, and I’m left with out energy, I throw a printed Nationwide Geographic Highway Atlas into the Tuffy Lockbox. This has all of the contains a regular street atlas, with a particular concentrate on parks and recreation.

Photo of back seat of a pickup truck.

Above: When every part is stowed within the again, nothing stands out that may make a passerby assume it accommodates overlanding gear.


Being able to self-recover is a should when spending any time within the backcountry. It’s a kind of situations nobody needs to come across, however if you do, the correct contingencies can flip costly restoration operations right into a minor inconvenience. To begin, I ensure that I’ve a full-size spare that matches my present tires. Not utilizing a full-size spare could make for a clumsy drive if it’s a must to use it. It’s necessary to ensure that the spare is stuffed with air earlier than heading out.

I’ve additionally included a tire restore package to repair punctures, and a transportable air compressor to refill wherever I occur to be. Simply in case I have to be extracted—or assist another person get out of a jam—I’ve a tow strap rated for 15,000lbs, and a Bolt Receiver Lock to maintain any trailer hitches from wandering off if I’m hooked as much as one thing in a single day. For traversing these late season mountain passes, I’ve included a set of snow chains for the entrance tires.

Lastly, restoration at midnight is hard and harmful with out acceptable lighting, so I’ve added a Streamlight headlamp, and NexTorch highlight. These lights additionally double as a solution to illuminate a campsite, or sign for assist.

Photo of a closed Tuffy bench locker under the back seat of a pickup truck.

Photo of recovery gear in a Tuffy bench locker.

Above: The Tuffy Bench Locker is a safe solution to stow restoration gear and different important objects.

Protection and Sustenance

One facet of the stealth overlanders capability to push back hassle, is the inclusion of a Garmin Sprint Cam. When the Silverado is parked someplace, the sprint cam sends notifications by way of cell app to alert the person when it detects sound, motion or movement close to the car. This lets you preserve shut tabs in your rig should you’re touring by an space that may be susceptible to vehicular crimes. It may also be a fantastic supply of proof within the unlucky occasion of a crash or hit and run.

Heading out into the wild areas of the world poses risks past crime and tough terrain. Wild predatory animals and untrustworthy strangers abound. Within the headrest secure, I preserve my Walther PDP, and I even have a Cupolster from Vets Tactical in considered one of my glove containers, incase I wish to preserve my handgun close by and able to go. Past protection, getting some grub is one other process that would come in useful in a pinch. Within the again seat Lockbox I preserve a GoReel for some impromptu fishing, and a Black Bunker air rifle if I believe I’ll be off the grid for an prolonged time period.

Photo of more overlanding items in the back of a pickup truck.

Above: The bench locker is a superb place to retailer different provisions, like meals, maps, or a an air rifle just like the Black Bunker BM8.

First Support and Hygiene

Gadgets used for treating accidents and staying clear are one other typically missed necessity. Having a well-stocked IFAK ensures that I’ll have a tourniquets for traumatic accidents, and sufficient provides for minor cuts and scrapes. Within the mattress of the truck, I preserve a 5-gallon bucket with a rest room lid for when nature calls, together with some TP, moist wipes and hand sanitizer. I additionally convey at the very least 5-gallons of potable water, not just for staying hydrated, however for staying clear within the subject.

The place I, and plenty of within the US stay, there’s a very actual danger of wildfires in the course of the dry summer time months. Having pushed by the smoke of a big burn earlier than, I do know all too properly how necessary with the ability to breath clear air is to a wholesome and productive life. To assist mitigate the hazards of smoke inhalation, I’ve embody two full face respirators with filters rated for smoke particles.

What Goes In The Again

Past the requirements, overlanding is a person and customized expertise. Some people wish to tough it with minimal gear, others like a extra extravagant “glamping” expertise. However for the sake of staying stealthy, I preserve virtually every part I’ll want in a tote that I can simply seize from storage and throw in mattress of the truck. This consists of issues sleeping baggage, mess kits, freeze dried meals, a hand pumped bathe, and an inflatable air mattress particularly designed to suit the Silverado’s mattress.

Photo of storage options for the bed of a pickup truck.

Above: With a Costco tote and a 20L water can, bugging out is as fast and simple as tossing a couple of objects within the mattress of the truck.

No matter is positioned within the again, it’s meant to be loaded comparatively shortly, and compact sufficient that it stays hid beneath the Silverado’s tonneau cowl. Relying on my anticipated overlanding period I’d tweak the contents to one of many following configurations:

The Weekender Loadout

Generally, I’ll most likely simply wish to go benefit from the wilderness for a day or two on the weekend, which implies I gained’t want a lot past what I have already got. For this, I’ll use the Napier Sportz Truck Tent, which is quick to arrange, gentle weight, and nice for a sizzling summer time journey. The aim of this load out is to be a grab-and-go setup, one thing you wouldn’t should overthink, or plan too far prematurely. As such, the weekender loadout is right for getting out of dodge in an emergency state of affairs.

Photo of a nylon tent on the bed of a truck.

Above: Napier’s nylon tent is lightweight and simple to arrange shortly.

The Expedition Loadout

For overlanding journeys longer in period, or for journeys in colder climate, I’ll tweak the contents of the loadout to be extra sturdy. This consists of swapping the nylon tent out with a Kodiak Canvas Truck Tent, bringing a small propane grill, a Stihl chainsaw, some axes and a buck noticed, and a few extra severe cast-iron cookware. That is additionally a enjoyable load out to incorporate a Kokopelli inflatable watercraft. Because the objects of this loadout are extra suited to long run tenting, it makes a fantastic setup for searching journeys.

Photo of a canvas tent on the bed of a pickup truck.

Above: Canvas is nice for longer durations, would not lure moisture like nylon, and is robust sufficient to face up to the load of snow.

Stealth Overland Construct

Complete: $7,619!

Last Ideas

When it’s all pulled collectively and totally loaded, my stealth overlanding rig appears similar to an empty truck parked on the facet of the street. However in a second’s discover, I can hop in, head out, and know that it might deal with most overlanding challenges. With out accounting for the addition of firearms, your entire arrange is near $8000, together with the $1000 I spent to have a storage set up the leveling package and tires.

It’s not unusual to spend tens of 1000’s, even on a “low funds” construct, so preserving it underneath $10k is a reasonably large deal. Since completion of the stealth overlander, the Silverado has been parked in one of the vital densely populated city facilities within the US with out a single break-in, proving the idea is efficient.

Probably the most necessary classes I discovered whereas placing this construct collectively is that by specializing in the necessities, overlanding is comparatively accessible. All the pieces past the necessities is very individualistic and situationally dependent, which implies you may concentrate on what actually issues to you. Certain, it doesn’t have adjustable suspension, a inbuilt mini-fridge, or an excessively posh sleeping association, however it would get me on some rugged trails and having fun with the good open air every time I really feel inclined to take action. All with out breaking the financial institution, or tempting a low-life to pillage my gear.

Learn Extra

Subscribe to Recoil Offgrid’s free e-newsletter for extra content material like this.

Editor’s Be aware: This text has been modified from its authentic print model for the net.

STAY SAFE: Obtain a Free copy of the OFFGRID Outbreak Challenge

In situation 12, Offgrid Journal took a tough have a look at what you need to be conscious of within the occasion of a viral outbreak. We’re now providing a free digital copy of the OffGrid Outbreak situation if you subscribe to the OffGrid electronic mail e-newsletter. Join and get your free digital copy


Most Popular