Home Gear Overlanding Basics – Spontaneity & the Great Outdoors
Overlanding Basics – Spontaneity & the Great Outdoors

Overlanding Basics – Spontaneity & the Great Outdoors


This is the type of text exchange I have with my husband on a regular basis:

Screenshot 2015-10-19 15.26.47

(That’s me in blue. I’m an outdoors pusher.)

This was my 38K foot question to the husband-unit on a flight home from a business trip. It was Friday. I landed at 10AM, home by 11AM, Michael was home at 12:30PM and we were on the road by 1PM.

Our first night on Slickrock Trail





























Michael talks ALL THE TIME about getting out of town as fast as possible. And it’s for a reason: He powers through his weekdays in the SF video game industry (Fun fact: He was one of the original team members on SimCity!), and his sense of work/life balance comes from his ability to get the F* out of dodge on a dime.

When my husband gets to the mountains, his entire demeanor changes. His face lightens. He breathes deeper. He is a new person as soon as the air turns fresh and the drone of traffic falls away. There is nothing better than seeing his face brighten up with the suggestion of a last minute overlanding excursion.

There is a strong element of planning and prepping with every new overland journey we take. But when spontaneity strikes, we use the following guidelines to seize the moment, load up and explore!

1. If You Fail to Prepare…

Joshua Tree
Don’t be unprepared in the middle of nowhere.

At the end of each trip we take inventory of what we used, what we discovered we needed, and what we can cut from our 3 Plano cases.

Once we have everything on a list, we execute on it. We don’t wait for the next scheduled adventure. We always have the core essentials on the ready.

For example, our dry foods plano will *always* have spaghetti, sauce, and packets of parmesan. We know we have one solid meal option with our outdoor kitchen setup wherever we land.

I also keep a duffle bag fully loaded with clean outdoors clothing. When we get home, we wash our dirty gear, and it goes right back into the ‘adventure’ duffle. No running around trying to find the merino wool shirt or the green adventure pants Friday afternoon. Just grab and go! (I swear, Michael would live in those pants if I didn’t immediately pack them away.)

We aren’t perfect at this! Sometimes we grab from the pantry to restock the cases; however, we’re conscious that the more we do at the end of a trip, the faster we are able to launch into the next one.

2. Stay On Your Maintenance Game

I HATE wondering (and worrying) about anything technical or mechanical while overloading in the 1996 FZJ80. I am the one scheduling oil changes, tune ups, tire/brake checks, WHATEVER. We stay on maintenance when we’re grinding pavement so we don’t have to think or worry when we’re off-road. And the last thing I want to ask just as we’re pulling out of the driveway is, “Hey, when was the last oil change?”

3. Familiar Routes

Spontaneous trips = Familiar routes. We know the ins-and-outs of the Slick Rock Trail in Lake Alpine, CA and the off-road camping sites available along the trail.
When we take off down the spontaneous trail, we KNOW the terrain and final destination. Spontaneous trips aren’t for new trails. We allow plenty of time for planning and research before hitting a new region.

Me and Smookems
Just Go!

4. It’s the Spice of Life

When asking each other what we’re going to do on a Friday night, we always have the option of shaking up our
scenery and driving away from the crowds! Having the ability to pick up and go reminds me to seize my time and make the most out of life. And it’s always fun to watch my husband reconnect with his deepest passion: the outdoors.

Make the time between your spontaneous ‘YES’ and getting outdoors as short as possible! It doesn’t matter what you do to be on the ready for adventure. Have a pre-packed bag, have a case, have several cases, have everything, have nothing, do your thing, but always remember that adventure is only one ‘YES’ away. Only always.


Co-Founder and Lead Editor of Overland Bound. Can often be found behind the camera during trips.

Adventure seeker. Dog wrangler. Writer. Partner in crime to Michael.  Lover of nature and all things outdoors. Here's to forging down new trails, connecting with others, and the unapologetic pursuit happiness! #outfitandexplore


  1. Great article, Corrie! The wife and I have had those same text exchanges. We’ve learned to keep the go-boxes and go-bags ready for those get-out-of-dodge moments.

    Love what you guys are doing! Keep it up!

      1. I am a new member. I love this post and hope to be able to do similarly! Unfortunately we live in the panhandle of Texas and are 4 hours from mts. lol. No excuses though!

  2. What I’m reading is I need to invest in a few boxes I can leave packed and ready to go. Pick up some additional “outdoors clothes” I can leave packed. And do a better job on the tail end of the trip.

    Thank you! None of these things have actually crossed my mind before and sometimes it’s the simple things. 🙂

  3. I’ve been following you guys for a little bit now. And I’ve noticed that you don’t use a rooftop tent? Not a big thing actually. But I’ve been considering one lately and have noticed that with all the setups that you guys use. I kinda figured that would almost be a given since you guys do so much pack up and go type stuff. Any advice from you for or against them? I’m trying to weigh all the options before a large purchase like that! Thanks

    1. Kerry,
      We debate this quite often, and we’re *still* going back and forth on the tent question. At this point, Michael has the roof load up completely down. It’s a no brainer. But I keep nudging us towards the roof top tent because easy up and down for sleeping. We’ll keep posting about it as our rig setup evolves! A great place to dig in, ask around and read more is our forums! (And maybe create a pro/con list of what’s important to you when you’re offroad?) -Corrie

  4. Corrie, great advice! I have to do a better job of repacking the three boxes and dedicating clean clothes at the end of a trip. It is also nice to see you include you son on these trips. Before long, when he get REALLY INTERESTING, he will be off doing his own thing…so you won’t regret the memories made with him. Thank you for a well written article! Mike 0473

  5. I wish my wife enjoyed it as much as you….she tried …..but unfortunately I’m on my own for my offroad adventures. I do miss her company. But I dont want her there if she doesnt want to be there….no body’s perfect!

  6. Hi there. I came across your site today and am super excited! My other half is a work-a-holic and we love backpacking but really want to get into overlanding! We’ve been watching an overland series on youtube lately and cannot wait. I will definitely be following your posts. It’s hard to know where to begin. I figure we’ll start mainly with our backpacking gear and then slowly evolve to more “overlanding” gear. 🙂

  7. Loved this article. We are newish at getting in to this although we have been camping with a 31′ trailer for 12 years. Kids are all in college and we are now empty nestors. Wife is a public as well as on-line school teacher, I own a Architecture Business, am a Fire Commissioner, Fire Fighter and Paramedic. We work too much, and need to commit to getting away. She loves to geocache, which has been my in for this. Thank you for your articles such as this and your videos which I really enjoy. You are a wealth of information for all of us to gleen from. Thanks again for what you have been doing.

  8. Back when i had more free time for drives/rides  and adventuring ( darn adulting and responsibility ) i use to keep a map of oregon and washington on my wall and a couple of darts handy . I would close my eyes and toss a couple and try to go wherever the nearest or most interesting dart landed . Was a great way to explore new places and keep things new and fresh.