Day dreaming about exploring the beauty of winter away from the city? Finding yourself sadly opting out on account of wavering confidence of your vehicle’s off-road performance? Well, winter overlanding doesn’t have to be an unobtainable aspiration necessitating 40 inch mud tires, a 6 inch lift, and 6000+ lumen auxiliaries (though if that’s what you’re rolling, you’re a few steps ahead of the game). Overlanding is for everyone, you just need to know how to prepare for it!
Before You Head Out
First things first, know the terrain you’d like to explore. This is one of the most important steps to take because it allows you to determine potential risks before venturing off. Do some research and try to gain an understanding of where you’re heading so you can appropriately prepare for your time out. You can simply escape for the day on a remote paved, gravel, or dirt road with no requirement for 4x4 capability or high clearance, or alternatively, you can head entirely off grid into rugged landscapes of ice, rock, and snow. If the latter is the case, then certain vehicle features are a must if you’re expecting an enjoyable time out and a safe return.
Check out below for some recommended essentials to have on hand when taking your vehicle into the unknown:
In case you’re having too much fun and your day takes an unplanned turn, be sure to have some basics to keep you warm and your necessary fluids inside your body (yes, your blood is necessary. This is not the area of your vehicle to cut weight). It’s all about the bringing the basics to start & stop a fire, to respond to medical emergencies, and to keep you from freezing. Snow is wet, cold, and slick, and it can be your worst enemy if you’re not properly equipped or prepared. Here are a few items to have on you in an accessible location:
- Lighter/ Matches/ Striker rod
- Portable Extinguisher
- Emergency Reflective Blanket
- Hand Warmers
- Extra Warm Clothes (preferably wool, as the saying goes “Cotton Kills”)
- First Aid Kit
First things first, do yourself a favor and make sure your vehicle is fully charged or has a full tank of gas before hitting the road. Something this simple gets overlooked way too often and creates an easily avoidable headache. Now that you’re reminded, you won’t run into this situation because you’re forward thinking and will properly prepare, right? Right! You’re welcome.
No matter how capable your vehicle may be, mother earth can somehow find a way. From black ice, a muddy patch, packed snow, or simply a flat, it’s too easy to find yourself in a situation that most likely wasn’t on your itinerary. Consider bringing some tow straps and basic recovery items to help when you’re in a rut, and tire chains never hurt as a preventative option for some added traction.
- Foldable/ Small Shovel
- Multi-Function Flashlight (Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight)
- Small Tool Kit & Work Gloves
- Battery Jump Starter
- Tire Patch Kit
- Jack & Base Support
- Portable 12V Air Compressor
- Recovery/ Traction Boards
- Tire Chains
- Tow Straps
- Synthetic Line
Navigation & Communication
However you choose to explore and prepare for your outing, your lifeline is your ability to stay connected. Ensure you do some research before heading out -- get a map, have a backup, and have the ability to charge your devices if your car battery kicks it.
- Hardcopy Map
- Satellite Navigation
- Satellite Phone
- Hand Radios (useful for groups)
- Portable Power (Goal Zero Yeti 200X)
With Goal Zero Yeti Power Stations or even our smaller Power Banks, you don’t have to worry about carrying the many variations of battery sizes with you for your assorted devices (radio, flashlight, GPS, lantern, etc). Goal Zero Portable Power solutions hold plenty of juice for when you need it most, and for all intents and purposes, the power is limitless when paired with Goal Zero Solar Panels. In the event your devices are dropping power and you don’t want to rely on your vehicle’s battery, or physically can’t, Goal Zero will keep your essentials powered, you connected, and your adventure continuing onward!
One final note for all you brave explorers. As most of you prepare to rig-out your two-wheel drive daily commuters for lifelong winter adventure memories, here are few tips to make sure we explore these beautiful landscapes thoughtfully and responsibly to preserve them for future use and admiration.
- Stay on utilized routes if possible
- Be aware of sensitive habitat
- Don’t disturb, approach, feed, or touch wildlife
- Always make sure your fires all completely extinguished
- Pack out your trash and food waste
- Leave only footprints (treads prints?)
At the end of the day, it’s all about having good ole, overlanding fun. Hopefully you’ll never need to utilize any of these listed items, but when things unexpectedly nosedive, you’ll sure be happy you were prepared!
Power. Anything. Anywhere.