Beginner Overlanding Tips from the Pros at 7P Overland
Learn more about this adventure-loving company and the team’s off-roading insights.
By: GoLife Staff

Having an adventure van or RV capable of going off-road offers some exciting travel options and opportunities to take on new challenges. With the growing popularity of overlanding, many RVers are feeling drawn to this way of travel. However, it can be very intimidating to actually commit to taking on new terrain as a beginner. That’s where the team at 7P Overland comes in. 

We spoke with Jim West, one of 7P Overland’s six partners, to learn more about the company, their offerings, and pro tips for getting started with going off-road. 

(Note: Special thanks to THE REVEL CLUB for allowing use of their photos from their Baja, Mexico, and Moab, Utah, excursions with 7P Overland.)

About 7P Overland 

7P Overland provides technical driving and travel skills training to inspire, educate, and equip individuals with the experience and knowledge necessary to adventure safely. This also includes keeping the environment safe. Which is why 7P Overland is dedicated to “responsible four-wheeling.” They always make sure they are providing their trainings and tours in a way that doesn’t have a negative impact on the outdoor places they are exploring.

The partners and trainers at 7P Overland are some of the most knowledgeable in their industry, with more than 200 years of off-pavement, combined experience as well as a deep shared passion for going off road. 

“If we aren’t teaching it, we are out doing it,” Jim shared – noting a recent overland trip with his wife to the more remote areas of Mexico. But 7P Overland’s experience doesn’t just extend across this continent, the team has overlanding experience (and offers tours) all around the world – from well-known trails in Utah to the remote reaches of Namibia. 

7P Overland Training & Tours

Speaking of exploring, 7P Overland recently took the THE REVEL CLUB (organized By Celia and John Waterhouse) to Baja, Mexico, for a fun and educational overland adventure! This exciting trip gave these Winnebago Revel owners the opportunity to learn new overlanding skills, get comfortable crossing a border, explore a new place, and connect with other adventurous travelers. 

Jim mentioned that one of the biggest perks to going on a group outing with an owner group is that you get the chance to see how other owners overcome challenges in the same vehicle you are in. For those who may be unsure of what their RV is capable of, this helps to build confidence quickly!

7P Overland offers foundational courses that are perfect for beginners who want to learn the basics and push themselves just outside their comfort zone. Expert instructors are there to make sure you don’t damage your rig or get stuck in a bad situation. An instructor will usually be right there in your passenger seat to help offer guidance and support in real time.

An important foundational goal of the company is to prevent vehicle loss or damage. That means they will never push a driver to do something that could even scratch the paint on their rig. “Overlanding isn’t hardcore four-wheeling,” Jim explained. It’s for people who just want to get out to cool places safely. Of course, getting to and from remote places safely means having a working vehicle to get you there and back. That’s why the 7P Overland team is focused on expeditionary style teaching which places extremely high value on vehicle preservation. 

“Your vehicle is your life-line in some situations,” Jim cautioned. “The style that we teach is that no damage is acceptable.” This is especially appreciated by RV owners and others who have made a major investment in their adventure vehicle.

While four-wheel drive vehicles are common in these courses, the team can accommodate all-wheel drive vehicles also, and they are happy to tailor their training to your type of vehicle

Learn more about 7P Overland.

4 Pro Tips for Overlanding Beginners 

Do you have an RV capable of going off-road but are unsure how to build the skills needed to confidently roll off the pavement for the first time? Jim shared some really insightful tips for overlanding beginners:

1. Know Your Vehicle Very Well

Before you take your RV overlanding, the first step is to really get to know it. Open the hood. Crawl under it. Look closely at the engine and other important components. “You don’t need to know exactly how it works, but you need to be able to recognize what normal looks like,” Jim recommends.

2. Keep Your Vehicle Well Maintained & Vetted

He also notes the importance of making sure your vehicle is well vetted before any overlanding trip. Often, you will be taking your RV to remote places where help may be a long way away. Being able to trust your vehicle is key. If anything is broken or close to needing to be replaced (especially tires!), be sure to do that before going off-pavement to prevent any major issues.

3. Know Your Vehicle’s Capabilities

This is something that takes time, but it is important to put in the driving hours to really learn what your RV can and can’t do. Even if you are an advanced overlander, Jim always recommends not to do anything that looks too risky. You can still have plenty of fun on more manageable routes!

4. Learn Recovery Prevention Skills

Since RVs are heavier than many vehicles, it does make them really stable but also more prone to getting stuck. Having a plan of how to get out if you get stuck or get into a difficult situation is key. While reading up on best practices is helpful, real-world experience is the most valuable. Learning and practicing your recovery options can help you have a better understanding of when to stop before you get into an even worse situation as well as which tools to use if you do get stuck. 

In 7P Overland’s trainings they like to encourage their trainees to get their vehicle stuck in order for them to know their limitations as well as practice the recovery procedures. Of course, doing this in a class environment with the pros is much less stressful than being out on your own – that’s why these courses have become so popular in the overlanding community!

To learn more about overlanding and tips specific to RVers, read this guide

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