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Caution!  Not Being Prepared in the Backcountry May Mean Disaster Caution!  Not Being Prepared in the Backcountry May Mean Disaster
WHAT TO BRING on MODERNJEEPER and BACKCOUNTRY ADVENTURES – LIKE the RUBICON TRAIL Showing up on a serious back country jeeping or overlanding trip... Caution!  Not Being Prepared in the Backcountry May Mean Disaster


Showing up on a serious back country jeeping or overlanding trip without the “right stuff” can mean disaster, if not at least an uncomfortable trip.  I get asked a lot about the famous Rubicon Trail and being prepared for a long weekend trip.  So here’s my list of suggestions to help you (with any overnight type trail).  I offer this as the Founding Trail Boss of Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR).

For your comfort and safety, I suggest you consider bringing the following:

Layers are important as it can get cold at night and hot during the day in the mountains and even deserts sometimes.
Swim suits, flip-flops and water fun gear if you’ll be near a creek or lake.

Always bring your sturdy hiking boots.
Dry socks for sleeping; just in case it gets cold and you have wet feet.

Always have a light-weight rain jacket stuffed in the rig.

Sun screen, floppy hats for soaking without sun-burning, wet wipes and your extra toilet paper (in case).

Lip gloss/Chapstick are important too. Shower gear in case you get the chance. Shave and medicine bags as needed. Feminine products and proper disposal bags. Electric shaver if you like the clean look.

There are porta-potty type set-ups in some camp sites on the Rubicon, for example, but if you bring your own toilet like a PETT toilet system, be sure to bring the right chemicals and disposal bags.  We all should be on a mission to eliminate “white flowers” (toilet paper) that ends up along some trails.

Even if someone else is providing meals, I suggest you bring own coffee/tea pot in case you want something before the cooks get in gear along with something to heat it up if you so desire.

Tent and sleeping bag (or bags, with extra blanket); sleeping pad or air mattress for comfort, along with the right air pump and connectors. Bring a sleeping bag rated to keep you comfy below freezing. Bring anchors/pins to secure your tent in case of wind, along with an ax or hammer.

Campfires; you should check with the landowner (or agency like the USFS) before the trip to determine if there are any fire restrictions.

Do not forget bug spray. Get the good stuff with plenty of Deet.

Bring a lantern as well as hand held flashlights for walking back to camp in the dark.

Tent heater;  check the weather before you head out as it might help determine if you need a tent heater (safe, and appropriate for enclosed spaces like catalytic).

If you camp in/near trees, you might be able to sling up a hammock if you like one for naps and resting. If windy, try not to camp under trees with dying or loose limbs!  Loggers call these “widow makers.”

Pick tent sites carefully, and not under trees with dead limbs if it’s going to get windy.


Bring your own drinks, ice chest (or electric fridge) and ice with a commercial ice-keeper wrap or insulator.  See article about making ice last longer here.

Trail snacks are always in my jeep when we do the Rubicon; just in case.  High protein or energy bars are always good to have stored in the rig.

Plenty of waters for sure!  Take a large jug for refilling at supply points then refill your small bottles with it.

Bring a good one and learn to make ice last


Binoculars, if you like to bird watch or check out distant scenery.
Guide books that cover your adventure area (wildflowers, wildlife, and trails) .
Good sunglasses with an extra pair in the glove box (with a glass cleaning kit and perhaps a glasses repair kit with those itty bitty screws).
Camera/phone (and charger).

GPS, first aid kit and recovery gear are essential on some journeys.

If you have a “go bag” or emergency bag like those used in disaster survival, throw that in as well.  It never hurts to have a little extra of a well-packed back pack.
Your vitamins, pills, medicines are critical.  And be sure and let your fellow wheelers know if you have a condition that merits them being informed.

Carry a trash bag and always do your part


Special thanks to Kent Reynolds of Overland Bound for his overlanding input.

Del Albright Ambassador

Internationally published author; WorldWide ModernJeeper Abassador and 2014 Inductee of the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. Del has been involved in the Jeeping Lifestyle for longer then most of us can count. His educational and mentorship programs have helped developed warfighters in the ongoing battle to keep Public Lands Open to the Public.

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