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First three mods?

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kentrik

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There's probably an answer to this question already that everyone has a general consensus on, but for the sake of those of us who are just starting out ....

If you had to start over from the beginning, tabula rasa, what would you say are the first 3 most important things you would need to start overlanding and off-roading (assuming that a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit are an ABSOLUTE given...)?

I'm new enough to this particular field of camping and the outdoors that I feel like I've been inundated with information and am really not sure where to start, haha.
 
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MMc

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I would start with air compressor, shovel, kinetic rope or strap. I assume you have camping gear, if not camping gear. I camped all over the place with a 2 door coupe, drove 1000s of miles on dirt roads, camping and climbing, surfing, fishing and mountaineering.
 
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kentrik

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Yeah, the general car camping setup is .... extensive, haha. But as easy as setup and takedown of the Kodiak Canvas tent IS, it's also a pain to lug around everywhere, so I'm hoping to move more into a rooftop tent for the more overlanding aspect of travel. It works great when we're going to a place where we're gonna leave the tent set up for 3-5 nights and STAY in a specific place, but for roaming place-to-place just myself or me and a friend, I'd like to do something a little more mobile than that.

Like I said, I'm new enough to THIS aspect of camping/exploring (been car camping and backpacking for the better part of the last 30 years) that some advice on how to get going in the 4x4 realm would be great. ^_^
 

static

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I'm just getting started myself, but I'll offer my perspective.

To your list of absolute givens I'd add some basic recovery equipment: a shovel, maybe an axe or saw, at least one rated recovery point, a shackle or two and a recovery rope. A bottle jack is also a useful recovery tool. Hopefully other, more experienced members will chime in on these items if I've missed anything.

If we're talking about vehicle modifications only and not equipment, the simplest advice I've seen repeated often is work from the ground up. Tires first, then (probably) rock sliders. After that, probably either suspension or undercarriage armor depending on the kinds of trails you intend to run. After that, things seem to branch out in many possible directions, and it's easy to get overwhelmed and/or go crazy.

On the equipment side, it's even easier to go crazy (ask me how I know), but based on my limited experience and a lot of good advice I've seen here: start simple and refine your setup over time as you figure out what works best for you. I don't have a roof tent, but opinions are decidedly mixed. Based on what I've seen, besides the significant up front investment, there are many other tradeoffs, not all of them obvious.

For my part, I'm sticking with a ground tent for the foreseeable future. So far, the tent/sleeping arrangement is not what occupies the bulk of our time when setting up and breaking camp. Plus we have a large-ish (60lb) dog, and dogs do not climb ladders :)

I hope this helps. Experiment and enjoy the process. Every overlanding setup is unique: part of the fun (for me anyway) is dialing in a system that works perfectly for you :)

Kris
 

static

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There's probably an answer to this question already that everyone has a general consensus on...
As you can see from the responses in this thread, and probably guess by poking around the forum as a whole, there really isn't general consensus on *anything* :)

Seriously though, that's one of the things I've come to really like about this community: everyone has their perspective, but you will find very few prescriptions and little dogma. Pretty much everyone here is open with their experiences and opinions, and even more importantly everyone is really good about explaining the reasons *behind* their suggestions. The Overlanding hobby and community seems very big on personal responsibility: everyone is happy to share their point of view but ultimately you have to make your own choices based on your goals, tolerance for risk, etc.

Kris
 

MMc

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What are you driving,? I see you are in Utah, how much wheeling do you plan to do? Those Spring bar tents are great. I have a number 3 tents, three season and a four season. They all go up and come down in less than 10 min. Something to think about when traveling solo.
 

MidOH

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Tires. MT or Hybrid on a MT carcass.

Lockers. Both axles. Front autolocker, rear elocker. (gears included)

Truck Claws.
 

cug

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A lot of technical stuff has been said already, but one hint is missing:

Depending on where you go, research local legal requirements. That could include sand flags, fire suppression equipment beyond a fire extinguisher, etc. Then get the common sense items for that area. E.g no need for a saw if you only go on sand dunes or to the highly frequented trails close by, but that’s just an example.

Just make sure to research and cover these before thinking about other equipment. A little bit of research beforehand regarding conditions and recommended vehicles etc. can save you a lot of money in recovery gear …
 

J_Walker1977

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I've been off-roading all my life. That doesn't mean I know more than anyone else, but I've built or helped build more rigs than I can count. I know you only asked for three suggestions, but I am gonna do 5 so you can see how and why I prioritize what over the other... I will also comment in blue to tell you where my latest build (2016 F150 FX4) sits at the moment Here is my opinion:

1. TIRES!!! generally speaking the biggest you can fit, and don't go cheap! As stated above - what and where will determine the best tread pattern. Know here that more sidewall equals more tire equals tougher and just better. So stay with a smaller rim if you are changing them out. I know 20's look cool...but I'll never have them on an offroad rig!
1. The main accessory for tires is a repair/patch kit and compressor as well as a jack appropriate for your vehicle (in my case a high-lift is considered a must-have) You aren't going anywhere on a flat tire unless you're willing to kill the rim.​
2. I am going to include a lift here because if you plan on a lift I say do it first so you're not going back changing other things you hadn't considered prior to the lift (one example would be shocks, another might be gears, driveshafts, it actually can be a very long list, so just do the lift as soon as you can afford if that's something you want)​
In my case I bought a truck with a decent 6 inch lift installed as I didn't feel like doing that part. I went from the 33" tires to 35X12.5 on 17" rims. The BS shocks that came with it will soon be upgraded, but this isn't really a real critical to function part unless you're dessert running.
2. Recovery - This is something that will almost always be evolving, but has to start somewhere! This is number 2 because number 1 can fail!
1. Recovery Strap, u-bolts AKA Shackles, and make sure (as stated above) you have a minimum of one recovery point on your vehicle. this is also a tool that others can use, so you might be of help even when you're not needing help!​
2. Traction boards - you kinda get what you pay for again here, but since I have the hi-lift I go for boards with the jack footing in them. This is number two because while the photos always show these things alone getting you unstuck (and sometimes they can) more often than not a small tug is all you need.​
3. Winch and winch accessories.​
My current build is at step 2, but I don't do real serious trails as much anymore so I haven't fully decided if I NEED the winch. My build includes a full tool roll as well, and some backup items like misc fuses, Zipties, etc.
3. Protection - protecting the underside of a rig is critical! Depending on your trim package some or all of this may already be done. This is #3 because getting unstuck is VERY often the cause of damage that will end the weekend. So, once you have lift, tire, and recovery points this becomes obvious.
1. Skid plates - especially fuel tank and oil pan​
2. Transmission plate if available​
3. Protect looks with rocker bar (yes, this one also increases capability over rocks)​
Luckily the FX4 package comes with pretty decent undercarriage protection. Again, I don't do many hard trails so if I efe up the stock "rock bars" then the wife won't care if I upgrade them as well.
4. Additional power - in the old days this was a dual battery set-up (or more) - Today I prefer a solar set-up IF AND ONLY IF you have an AC converter in the car. My converter charges a second battery while the vehicle is running, and solar charges it while the vehicle is not running. This setup can keep a compressed fridge running virtually indefinitely while still running plenty of LED camp lights, air compressor, etc. Do some planning and math before committing to one or the other
5. Gears and lockers - and if you have gotten to this point and don't know what these do or why you would change them you probably need to stop and do A LOT of research. DO NOT make these choices based on a whim or single recommendation! These components are critical to acceleration, top speed, torque, etc... you should be well versed in this unless you just have a lot of cash to burn before spending the dough on these components.
Again, FX4 package - locked rear should be plenty for the trails and conditions I wheel. The gears however were upgraded in both diffs shortly after I bought it. This was the only thing I needed to do because of the vehicle trim package, and luckily here as well ford makes a larger gear for those diffs.

You may have noticed I left out lights, and I don't think anyone has recommended them thus far in the thread - I am assuming in my post you have at least stock fog lights. If not, I would suggest some additional lighting after additional power IF you're going to be doing a fair amount of offroad driving at night.
Really hope all the detail helps with what you're looking for! Happy trailin!​
 

bryceCtravels

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Totally dependent on your situation. What vehicle? What environment? What are your goals? Car camping or just day trips? Are you somewhere that gets cold? You probably want something to keep you warm overnight if you get stuck. But you don’t need that in Florida. That goes for everything. I would go with what MMc said without you giving any other info.
I would start with air compressor, shovel, kinetic rope or strap. I assume you have camping gear, if not camping gear. I camped all over the place with a 2 door coupe, drove 1000s of miles on dirt roads, camping and climbing, surfing, fishing and mountaineering.
 
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Renegade

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If you had to start over from the beginning, tabula rasa, what would you say are the first 3 most important things you would need to start overlanding and off-roading (assuming that a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit are an ABSOLUTE given...)?
1) Dependable, Reliable Vehicle.
2) Decent Shelter (tent + sleeping bag).
3) Means to cook food.
 

TahoePPV

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Fuel, food, basic camping gear. The rest will become obvious as you get out and explore.
 
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freak4life

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There's probably an answer to this question already that everyone has a general consensus on, but for the sake of those of us who are just starting out ....

If you had to start over from the beginning, tabula rasa, what would you say are the first 3 most important things you would need to start overlanding and off-roading (assuming that a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit are an ABSOLUTE given...)?

I'm new enough to this particular field of camping and the outdoors that I feel like I've been inundated with information and am really not sure where to start, haha.
Is it safe to assume you mean mods to your vehicle and that vehicle doesn’t need any repairs.
Tires/wheels
Suspension, lifted or not
Lighting
But that is just my .02 cents worth.
Protection, skids under the rig, sliders are also important.
 
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slomatt

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3 most important things you would need to start overlanding and off-roading
In my opinion these are...

1) A way to transport enough water for everyone in your vehicle, plus extra
2) A navigation device, and knowledge of how to use it
3) Good tires, including a full size spare and working jack
 
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Mavirick

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MHO … Camping gear … Water… food

Then go for a few close to home day trips you will quickly find out that order of upgrades

Mine was

Recovery gear
Slider
Types
Suspension
Under protection aka bash plates very important
Bars and winch

Then started going on longer trips
Water tank
Comms
Lights

And the list goes on
 
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