With several previous interests, I’ve found that once I started looking into them, the first impression was always that there was still so much to learn and research!
It was overwhelming — find out how much there was to know about a single topic.
It wasn’t any different with overlanding either. When I got passionately interested in overlanding some time ago, I couldn’t stop watching YouTube channels or buying books on vehicle-based expeditions and overlanding guides.
Below is a list of books that I read outlining why I recommend them, as well as one that is always with us on our overlanding adventures.
1. Overlanders’ Handbook by Chris Scott
Quite simply, I think this is a must-read for overlanders.
It provides advice on trip planning, technical help and education, how to choose an overland vehicle (listing all the different types available), and itineraries around the world (including when is the best time of year to go).
Chris Scott educates the reader on every single aspect of overlanding, and I loved this book from beginning to end.
I keep my copy in my vehicle at all times.
2. We Will Be Free by Graeme Bell
Graeme Bell doesn’t need introduction in the overlanding world. He and his family are overlanding royalty. He has written several books already about their decades long overlanding lifestyle.
We Will Be Free is a binge-read-worthy adventure book that will grab your attention mainly because you will feel like you’re sitting with them in their mighty Land Rover, struggling through the rainforests of South America.
3. Survival of the Quickest: Across Africa. In a Porsche by Ben Coombs
Ben Coombs chose a vehicle for overlanding that not many people would have: an old Porsche 944. And not just for any overlanding. He drove from the UK to Cape Town through the Middle East, tackling many challenges along the way.
As you can imagine, the book therefore includes some fascinating stories. Once you’re reading it, it’s hard to stop. Coombs has had similar adventures before, his latest drive being with a TVR from the northernmost pub in the world to the southernmost one.
I’m sure he is already writing a book about this, and when it’s published I’ll definitely be buying a copy.
4. Adventure Capitalist: The Ultimate Road Trip by Jim Rogers
A fascinating adventure of a 3-year trip with a yellow Mercedes SLK – and not any SLK.
The roadster had been modified to the max, and received a G-Wagen’s power train and suspension. Jim Roger’s book is as unique as the vehicle he got built; it’s truly one of a kind.
5. Morocco Overland: A Route & Planning Guide by Chris Scott
This second Chris Scott book I can wholeheartedly recommend.
We used this book extensively on our African adventure in 2018, and it has some great information on local customs as well as containing itineraries.
It includes route ideas that you wouldn’t be able to discover on your own, so if you want to really explore Morocco, this book is highly recommended.
6. Bearback: The World Overland by Dr Pat Garrod
This is the book I took with me during our overland expedition to Southeast Asia.
If something’s endorsed by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, I’m almost guaranteed to like it. Most importantly though, author Dr. Pat Garrod and his wife Vanessa have done years ago what we’ve also done a few years ago: they just quit their jobs and hit the road.