A list of curated overlanding hacks to make your off road, overlanding and camping life easier.
Overlanding Hack – Engine Block Cooking
After several hours on the off road trail its nice to have a warm meal rather than cold sandwiches. An easy way to accomplish this is engine block cooking – or using the heat from the car engine to cook or heat your food. This can be done safely by wrapping food in heavy duty aluminum foil multiple times and crimping the seams to avoid any fumes from getting to the food.
After several hours on the off road trail its nice to have a warm meal rather than cold sandwiches. An easy way to accomplish this is engine block cooking – or using the heat from the car engine to cook or heat your food. This can be done safely by wrapping food in heavy duty aluminum foil multiple times and crimping the seams to avoid any fumes from getting to the food. The starting temperature and density of your food will determine the ultimate cook time, but for consider that most engines are about 250 degrees just above the headers. I recently made engine block tacos using pre-cooked ground beef and cheese, rolled in flour tortillas, wrapped in heavy foil and placed on a Jeep engine block for 1.5 hours and they came out perfectly! It was a great lunch break while rock crawling at the local off road park.
Portable Air Compressor
Airing down your tires on off road trails gives you a smoother ride, increases tire traction by creating a larger contact patch, and helps protect tires by allowing them to deform over rocks and sharp obstacles. But airing up your tires can be difficult if you are far from a gas station. Plus, driving on paved roads with deflated tires is dangerous and can destroy tires quickly. That’s where the portable air compressor comes in! Add one to your equipment list and never worry about finding another gas station with an air compressor. Air down your tires before you hit the off road trail and when done, easily air back up using the portable air compressor you stored in the back of your rig. They can also be used to air up mattresses, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, balls, toys and other inflatable camping accessories. You can check out our review of the Smittybilt 2781 portable air compressor that we use.
Frozen Gallon Water Jugs Keep Coolers Cold
Food safety is critical for ensuring you and your passengers don’t get sick out on the trail, but keeping a standard cooler cold over several days can be challenging. One great way to keep your cooler cool with taking up a lot of space is to buy 1 gallon plastic jugs (like the kind milk comes in) and freeze them before your trip. Place them in the cooler to provide a couple of days worth of safe, cold temperatures. As the jugs melt they can be used for drinking water or cooking/cleanup. It’s an effective way to keep your food cold without wasting space and making sure you have enough water for your trip!
Store Recovery Gear on the Roof
You never know when or how you are going to get stuck, but it’s usually unexpected and not in a prime location for accessing your cargo hold. Often times your rear tire will bog down, dropping your rear bumper significantly, which can impede your ability to open a lift gate or swing out door. Often times, rear doors will be blocked by deep ruts or trees. All of this makes it difficult to easily and quickly access your recovery gear. Instead, store your recovery gear in a weather shielded box on the roof appropriately attached to a roof rack. This way you’ll have easy access to jerk straps, tree savers, static lines and other recovery gear when you need them most.
Check out this article on using simple bolts to attach recovery boards like Maxtrax to your roof. DIY Traction Board – Prinsu Designs Roof Rack