Overlanding Guru Jason Specht Dishes His Go-To Gear

Overlanding is a simple concept—drive a 4WD vehicle across rugged, off-road terrain and camp. Jason Specht created Mountain State Overland as a YouTube-based series to document his adventures in overlanding throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. “Having grown up in the area and paddled in West Virginia, I knew there were so many opportunities for this kind of adventure right here.”

Specht leads guided overlanding trips, and gear is a large part of his show. His Tacoma and 4Runner are decked out in the latest overlanding goodies, but Specht insists those interested in overlanding don’t have to spend a fortune overhauling their trucks. “Lots of people get excited about gear. That’s a big piece of it, but you don’t need all of the stuff we use to do it,” Specht says. He says beginners should take a couple of trips with the gear they currently have before dropping cash on signature overlanding goodies like a rooftop tent. The important thing is to get outside and explore.

Tembo Tusk Skottle $275

The Skottle is a tripod cooking surface that looks like a wok, but it’s flat. You can cook everything on it, so it eliminates the need for carrying pans and pots. That’s the single most used piece of equipment in my truck.

Garmin inReach $400

The inReach allows us to track our location, and we can integrate it with an iPad and I can navigate on the fly. And I can communicate with my family with it and reach out in case of an emergency.

Midland MXT 115 $150

To talk truck to truck when there is no cell service, we use these radios, which are very reliable. You can plug the radio into the lighter and stick the antennae on the roof. It’s got great range and it’s plug and play, ready to go.

James Baroud Discovery  $3,399

Rooftop tents are a worthy investment. These tents offer the best night sleep I’ve ever had in the woods. It’s a hard shell rooftop tent, with solar fans in them that pull air through the tent, and the sleeping surface is amazing.

Blue Ridge Overland Gear

This company is local, and they build textile products that organize your gear, so you know exactly where everything is in your truck. I rely on the Gotta Go Bag ($139) a shoulder bag that keeps my laptop and camera safe. And I love the Forerunner Attic (Featured-$99) that allows you to use that space above your head to put things away.

Tilley Hiker’s Hat $100

The UPF 50+, sun-protective Hiker’s Hat with a 3.5” brim is designed with an evaporative cooling insert to help relieve heat stress during treks. It’s only a featherweight 3.8 ounces and floats in water, yet it’s rugged, durable, and guaranteed for life.

Salewa Wildfire Trail Running Shoes $129

Weighing in at only 13 ounces, the Wildfire is built for speed—and built to last. They have been especially popular with Appalachian Trail thru-hikers in recent years for their durability and agility across rugged terrain. They’re also the go-to shoes for trail runners and ultramarathoners training on our region’s rocky, wet, root-covered trails.

MSR Huba Tour Tent, $649

With its unique exoskeleton frame, poles connect outside the rainfly, keeping setup simple and dry. This spacious tent also features two entrances, and internal glow-in-the-dark zipper, a large hooped vestibule, and built-in storage clips and lofts.

Patagonia Nine Trails Backpack, $199

Versatile and functional, this new minimalist trail pack features gender-specific strap construction, mesh back panels for increased airflow, and stretch woven front pockets for easily accessible gear storage.