Gear Guide

The Explorer's Toolchest

A gear guide to overlanding and off-road exploration.

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Camping isn’t easy; it isn’t supposed to be. Yet we set out to immerse in the outdoors and rough it out for a few days to remind us of the beauty of nature, the joy of adventure—and the sweet comforts of our own home.
 
So why is it that life on the rough road looks anything but tough when 4x4s, vans, and other utility vehicles are involved? Overlanding is loosely defined as off-road camping, a practice that has long been popular in places with vast wild terrain such as Africa, Arizona, and Australia wherein people use sturdy vehicles and military grade equipment to explore, enjoy—and not merely survive—the outdoors whether it’s for a weekend jaunt or several years (and kilometers) on end. Meanwhile, the #vanlife has slowly been catching up in the Philippines, appealing to the bohemian spirit of the surfing and nomadic culture with its more rustic and laidback approach to mobile dwelling.
 
So we hit the road with a band of completely outfitted off-roaders: a Land Rover Defender 130, a 2003 Nissan Patrol Cruiser, and the latest Ford Everest pickup and found that the romance of outdoor adventure shouldn’t have to compromise safety and comfort, as well as a couple of luxuries in life—such as a really good cup of coffee.
LED BEAMS
OFF-ROAD TRAILER
ALUMINUM CHAIRS
SOLAR PANELS
LADDER
SUNSEEKER AWNING

Shelter

LED BEAMS
This PIAA LP570 LED White Long Range Driving Beam Kit is powerful enough to spot prowling predators nearby—or your evening BBQ party. (HitchPro)

OFF-ROAD TRAILER
Built for rough roads, this compact beast pops out a sink, a burner, and a roomy tent without compromising space in your vehicle. (HitchPro)

ALUMINUM CHAIRS
Who ever said folding chairs have to be ugly and bulky? These Recaro aluminum chairs are way lighter than a regular monobloc and seamless to fold (or unfold) if you’re in a rush.
 
SOLAR PANELS
How can you not finally go off the grid when you’re powered by the sun? At 100 watts, you can get these mountable solar panels from Hankinson Philippines.
 
LADDER
Just like those folding chairs, this sturdy ladder is as lightweight as it is easily collapsible to be stowed neatly in the trailer. (HitchPro) 
 
SUNSEEKER AWNING
The Rhino Rack Sunseeker 2 lets you draw shade for a group of five in less than three steps. (HitchPro)
TIRE DEFLATOR
SHOVEL
NAVIGATOR
HUNTER BOOTS
BLADES AND FIRE

Just in Case

TIRE DEFLATOR
Higher and bigger isn’t always better. Whether crushing rough roads or seeking shade in a mall basement, there’s a chance you’d need to deflate your 4×4. (Tire deflator from ARB)
 
SHOVEL
Never underestimate the use of a shovel, especially when you’re out in the wild and kilometers away from a lavatory. (Lifeline shovel from HMR)
 
NAVIGATION
Whether it’s Waze or Google Maps, we all need some sort of compass to lead us from point A to B. Boost gauge available in most auto hardware shops.
 
HUNTER BOOTS
These boots were made for surviving wild, muddy terrain—not just outdoor music concerts and festivals.
 
BLADES AND FIRE
Because you just never know when you’ll need the stuff you think you don’t need. From left: Browning utility knife; Unbranded utility knife with saw, seatbelt cutter and carabiner clip center; Zippo windproof lighter.
CHARCOAL GRILL
TEPPAN GRILL
JAPANESE KNIVES

Cookery

CHARCOAL GRILL
It’s hard to imagine camping without a bonfire. But nowadays, you can still be a happy camper without risking a wildfire outdoors. This portable grill gives you
a BBQ in three steps and folds flat when packed and stowed away. (HitchPro)
 
TEPPAN GRILL
If the taste of charcoal need not be a priority, this tabletop teppanyaki grill can get the job done just as well. Bring a handheld smoking gun if the smoky flavor is still desired. (Gourdo’s)
 
JAPANESE KNIVES
Left: Shujihiki knife for deboning meat, made from Damascus steel with hammer marks; Right: Nakiri knife for slicing vegetables, made from Damascus steel with chisel marks. Handcrafted by Yu Kurosaki, purchased from Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan.
SINK AND BURNER
CRISPER AND FREEZER
ESPRESSO MAKER

Hydration and Caffeination

SINK + BURNER
This pressurized sink and single burner rolls out of the off-road camper trailer with one pull. Make sure the hydration unit (also in the trailer) is filled up before changing location. (HitchPro)
 
CRISPER + FREEZER
Leave the Rubbermaids at home. This icebox is no larger than the average cooler but comes high powered with a separate freezer for your meats and below-zero beers. (HitchPro)
 
ESPRESSO MAKER
Life is too short for bad coffee. Coffee gear fits in the top five essentials for most mobile adventurers we’ve asked. This double-lever manual espresso maker is as beautiful as its extractions. (ROK Kitchen Tools)
 
COFFEE GRINDER
Again, there’s no need to compromise freshness while on the go. Grind only when needed with a handheld grinder and keep your beans fresh for longer. (Rhinowares)
 

Special thanks to HitchPro Philippines, Caferista, and Rafael Oca. Originally published in Volume 5.