Overlanders Handbooks – Books on Preparing your Overland Adventure


See the opportunities for adventures, not the constraints that get in the way.

~Alastair Humphreys
Camping along the Tapajos River, Brazil

When we decided to travel the world, we wanted to leave as quickly as possible. The reason it took eight months was that I, Karin-Marijke, had a house to sell and that took time.

Initially, we figured to fill our backpacks and fly to Bangkok from where we’d start traveling around the world. However, when we dug a bit deeper into the topic of what we really wanted, the main issues came up: freedom.

Which made me wonder aloud:

“Do you have freedom if you depend on public transport and hotels?”

The short answer: no, not for lovers of the outdoors like we are.

From here it was a small step to changing our trip to an overland adventure, even though we didn’t know the word ‘overlanding’ existed yet, nor that there were overlanders handbooks. We just figured a car would give us more freedom, and it has.

Read More: The Journey

Having an Overland Adventure: camping in the desert
Wild Camping in Iran

Preparing your Overland Adventure, or Just Go?

Then came the practical questions:

  • What about the practical part?
  • How do you prepare for such a journey?
  • Should you prepare at all?

Short answer: There is no perfect answer.

We bought a beat-up Land Cruiser, took two months of fixing the old rusty beast and to got it equipped, and left.

Others prefer taking their time to thoroughly prepare their trip. Since we have gotten so many emails with questions about this preparation phase – about the vehicle, the paperwork, the itinerary – I thought it would be helpful to put together a collection of overlanders handbooks that may help you along.

Read More: Books on Overlanding – Meet these Fabulous Overlanding Authors

Camping in Japan

Overlanders Handbooks to Get the Overlanding Vibes:

A free e-book in which we have interviewed overlanders who debunk myths to hit the road.

Free E-book – Overlanders Inspired

We interviewed overlanding veterans on:

  • Traveling with kids,
  • with a chronic disease,
  • with dogs,
  • without money,
  • and other excuses.

These overlanders shared their stories in a photo-rich E-book.

Download the Free E-book Here

50 Women Share their Overland Story

I am biased about this book, as I was one of the 50 women interviewed for this fantastic, inspiring and colorful coffee-table book: I Can, I Will; Women Overlanding the World, by Sunny Eaton, Laurie Holloway, and Karin Balsley.

Fifty women on a motorcycle, bicycle or by car, talk about their journey. Be careful to whom you give this book before you know it, that person may have bought an overland rig and is off on his/her own overland adventure!

Dan Grec’s Story

Apart from his personal overland adventure through the Americas (The Road Chose Me) and a photo book about his travels through Africa (999 Days Around Africa), Dan Grec wrote two other books on distinct topics.

In Work Less to Live Your Dreams Dan Grec teaches readers how to be mindful of their money and to understand the true cost of money, enabling them to reduce or eliminate work so they can live their life dreams

In Overland Travel Essentials: West Africa, Dan Grec puts commonly-held myths to rest once and for all, and provides practical and real-world information and advice to successfully traverse the coastline in your own vehicle.

The Bell Family – Travel the Planet Overland

The Bell Family traveled in Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Graeme chronicled the first part of their family’s nomadic life in We Will be Freefollowed by Overlanding the Americas; La Lucha.

In 2016, Graeme Bell wrote Travel the Planet Overland, in which they share their acquired wisdom of life on the road.

Chris Scott’s Handbooks

The Overlanders’ Handbook has been available for a number of years and has been heralded by many overlanders as a perfect guidebook to get you started.

The newest edition dates from 2017. Expect topics on planning, vehicle choice, and outlines of routes.

The Adventure Motorcycling Handbook is the version motorcyclists most likely are looking for. Chris Scott hasn’t left it at that and has written a number of other books on overlanding that you may find useful and/or inspiring (find them here).

Tom Sheppard’s Guides

The Vehicle-dependent Expedition Guide (4th edition) by Tom Sheppard and co-authored by Jonathan Hanson are 600 pages on everything you need to know about undertaking an overland expedition, small or big.

Tom Sheppard has written more books on off-roading and Four-by-Four Driving is his latest.

Life Remotely’s Books

The authors of Liferemotely.com contributed to our free e-book Overlanders Inspired.

As we never traveled to Central America & Mexico, we never got around to reading their book about overlanding in Mexico & Central America, but many overlanders have shared this book in the overland community because it has been so useful to them.

If you wonder how in the world you’re going to cook some delicious, but easy, diners along the way, Life Remotely also wrote Forks in the Road, in which they share some of their favorite recipes.

Americas Overland, by Donald Greene

Americas Overland; the Driving Handbook, by Donald Greene, is another book specifically written for overlanding on the Americas.

Africa Overland (Bradt Travel Guides)

Not having been to Africa, I can’t judge this book, but being a fan of Bradt Guides (we have a number of them on Central Asia), Bradt’s Africa Overland Travel Guide would definitely be on my list for an overland adventure in Africa.

Oh, Did You Know?

Boeken: Van het pad af, Omwegen, en Over bruggen (©Coen Wubbels)

That we published books ourselves? Three of them are in Dutch – find ‘Van het pad af‘, ‘Omwegen’ and ‘Over bruggen’ here.

Forever Off Track, Detours, Bridging the Gaps - books on overlanding

Our first book in English is about to be launched (Jan ’24): Forever Off Track! To be sure to get hold of a color-photo and signed limited edition (and other news about our books in English) sign up for the book-newsletter here.

Tips, Suggestions, Feedback?

What have been great books for you to get your overland journey started? Which books did we miss?

Please share your favorite overland book in the comment section below. Thanks.

First published May 2018 / Updated January 2024

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6 thoughts on “Overlanders Handbooks – Books on Preparing your Overland Adventure”

    • Hello Martin, how good of you to hear from you. How are you doing? We are still going strong. Now in Russia and on our way to Mongolia.

  1. Hi there
    I’m another COVID “victim” leaving me with a lot of time to kill. I used the time to write three book altogether.
    The “Overlander Handbook” – containing all about planning, preparing and executing an overlander trip, including an aid to help select the “perfect” vehicle.
    “Overlanding with 4×4” – Covering most aspects of 4×4 travelling from technique, equipment to driving and recovery.
    And finally “Panamerciana” – The story of our two year trip from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.
    All three books and more are downloadable in English and German from our website here:


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