You don't need to be a fearless backcountry explorer to enjoy nature. Overlanding and off-road camping is all about getting away, but with comfort and convenience. That's our idea for a room with a view.
Water: how much should I bring?
The total amount depends on the longest leg of your trip without re-supply. We provide 20L hard plastic canister, which should be enough for 2 day trip for 2 people. Plan on re-filling it when possible. Here are the rations:
Clothes: what should I wear and pack?
Here is a list of one person’s kit on a single-vehicle, 7 day trip in desert and bush in early summer - night temperatures 5°C-25°C (41°F-77°F), Day 20°C-40°C (68°F-104°F )
Preferred fabrics for layers: wool, cotton or linen, preferably lighter colours if in the dessert or sun. Merino wool is our favourite.
2 Pairs of long bottoms - ie leggings and pants
2 pairs of short bottoms
5-6 t-shirts - a mix of long & short sleeves. Long sleeves protect again sunburn and mosqitoes.
Warm wool socks to sleep in & wear in morning and night - we recommend Bridgedale socks. They combine everything you need in a sock: warmth, comfort and wickability. Bonus: blister protection.
Layers - vest and a jacket
Proper shoes - hiking shoes (Scarpa/Merrell), Birkenstocks or Blundstones
Campsites are full: how do I find places to camp?
States like California, Utah, Colorado allow dispersed camping in National Forrest and BLM land. Download the iOverlander app to find more information on campsites near you.
How do you know when you are in the National Forrest? Use GaiaGPS with pre-downloaded maps to see the NF boundary and make sure you never stay at someone’s private property - you don’t want THAT wake-up call in the morning.
Otherwise, talk to us about a custom trip plan - we are explorers and are always adding secluded camping spots to our trip itineraries. Here are a few ideas to get you started
Campfire: where can I get firewood?
Fireside chats are awesome. In California, open fires require permit that you can get for free online. Some national forrests will also require a wood cutting permit.
In general, towards mid-summer when grass and land dry up, the campfires are only allowed at organized campsites with proper fire rings. Be sure to check for seasonal restrictions
Reception: how do I let others know I am safe?
Some parts of California have no cellphone reception, like a long stretch in Big Sur, Death Valley and most national forests. We include a satellite-based text messenger. We monitor it 24/7 to support you and answer questions that arise.
Plan to download the maps you will need for navigation ahead of time.
Personal hygiene: what about the shower... and bathroom?!
Personal hygiene doesn’t have to suffer. From our experience, having full-body wet wipes are sufficient for a 3 night/4 day trip. We provide a pack of full-sized body wipes for every booking. For longer trips, we weave in shower stops.
Most frequently asked question - “How do I go to the bathroom in the woods?”. Rest assured, our ancestors have been doing it for millennia. Rule #1: Leave No Trace. Every rig we rent out has a shovel - use it for #2. General rule of thumb: do the deeds at least 70 steps (200 feet) from your campsite, trail or body of water. For other details check out REI Expert Advice.
What's the best way to reach you?
Email is great - (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can always text us or whatsapp call or message at +1(510)906-7446. All vehicles are equipped with Garmin satellite messenger so you can reach us or emergency services anytime
What do past customers say about their trips?
"The Jeep came with the highest quality gear I have ever seen" - Palash N, San Francisco.
How do you go about planning customer itineraries?
Once the trip is booked, we work with our customers to plan the road trip of their dreams. We are explorers ourselves and we are often away exploring places like Death Valley, High Sierras, Yosemite NP, Big Sur, Southern California etc. We are always on the mission to find awesome dispresed camp spots. So when the customer says "We want to see Yosemite, Death Valley and Big Sur in 8 days" - we work together to develop a day-by-day itinerary with GPS coordiantes for overnight stays.
This is our first time overlanding - camping in the roofop tent. Is that ok?
We love beginners! We were all beginners once and remember how intimidating this all seemed. Rest assured, you will feel ready to get on the road after going through the vehicle and gear orientation, which is mandatory when you pick-up the vehicle. No joke - we once hosted an expedition guide from Iceland and he still received orientation from us. To give you peace of mind, every vehicle comes with a satellite messenger - you can always reach us even in the most remote of places with no cell reception.
What's the minimum driver age?
As per our insurance requirements, minimum driver's age is 25 years.
How does insurance work for international drivers?
Same as for local drivers - everyone has to have a valid drivers' license to be eligible for the 4x4 vehicle insurance.
Can I drive off-road?
Depends. If it's a gravel road that will lead you to an awesome secluded camp spot - absolutely. If it's rock crawling on the iconic Rubicon trail - absolutely not. Our vehicles, while iconic for off-roading, are stock and do not handle extreme trails well.
How does insurance work?
If you are a local and have your own car insurance policy, check with the provider whether it provides RV insurance. Most insurance companies won't deal with vehicles that were off-roading. Same with credit cards that provide insurance - those only cover insurance for big rental companies like Hertz. A $1000 deposit will be charged before departure and refunded upon return.
What's your animal policy?
As much as we love animals, we don't allow them since some of our customers are allergic to them.
What's the security deposit for?
We charge $1000 security deposit the day you depart and refund it upon your return. In an unlikely situation where something breaks or need repair, we hold the deposit until we sort the incident out with insurance.
How far can I drive the vehicle?
Daily mileage limit is 150 miles/day. Every additional mile will be charged at 30 cents/mile.
Can we camp in areas that are not campgrounds?
In short, yes, you can camp anywhere, but only within the boundaries of national forests.
I am travelling with a toddler - is that ok?
Absolutely! We have had multiple customers bring their kiddos - age groups between 2 and 6. We don't provide child seats so plan to bring their own. Rooftop tents are safe and suitable for 2 adults and one child.
Can I get picked up at the airport or my hotel/airbnb?
Absolutely - we can arrange pick-up and drop-off to and from San Francisco Airport, Oakland Airport and San Jose Airport, as well as your hotel or airbnb, for an additional fee. SFO airport pick up and drop off is $170 USD.
Why should we book with Cypress Overland?
Reason #1: we give you the tools to get off the beaten path and enjoy nature. It's in our DNA and the main reason we created Cypress Overland. It's simple: we are on a mission to reconnect people with nature. This modern world has made us more stressed than ever - we see the incredible transformation our customers experience when they spend time in nature, away from the stress of their everyday lives.
Is there camping in California in the winter?
Yes! We love California because it lets us camp year-round. Summer months, between June-October, are perfect for exploring Sierras, Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe. Pacific Coast Highway and Big Sur are beautiful any time of the year. Winter time is a great time for heading to places like Death Valley, Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree National Park. Too hot and dry in the summer, they are best expored between the months of October to May.
Do I have to worry about wild animals like bears?
We will cover all the questions you have during orientation upon vehicle pick-up but in a nutshell, bears in California are rarely dangerous and if not provoked, will never attack you. However, there are rules for bear safety. Every vehicle comes with bug spray to protect you from mosquitoes, ticks and bees.
What's the main difference between RVs and your vehicles?
No walls! Head to https://www.cypressoverland.com/post/overlandingvsrv to read the rest.
Do you ever provide any discounts?
Yes! We want more people to experience outdoors and come back calmer and more relaxed - so for all bookings over 8 days/7 nights, we provide a discount of 10%.
Is it possible to rent the vehicle for a one way trip?
At this time - unfortunately not. We don't have the infrastructure in place to accomodate one way rentals. Speak to us if that's the only way you can manage the trip and we will discuss. Otherwise we will work with you on making the itinerary in a way that doesn't feel like you're doing the same route there and back.
Can the rigs be driven into Canada?
Yes! We love Canada. Please speak to us in advance about crossing the border.
Why is the Satellite Messenger fee mandatory?
Some of California's most beautiful and remote locations don't have cell reception. Should anything happen - we want you to have access to us and emergency services. Your safety and well-being is our main priority.
What's the deal with the rooftop tent? How does it work?
We love rooftop tents! Once you've tried them - it's hard to go back to traditional tents on the ground and RVs. Adventure travellers in Australia and Africa have been using rooftop tents for decades and the trend is finally arriving to North America. All our rooftop tents have mattresses and are super comfortable. You are guaranteed a great sleep under the Milky Way.
What's included in my rental?
We realize that this type of travel may not be cheapest but when you think of how much gear and equipment you're getting - it's so worth it!
How should I handle a break down or accident?
Always call us first or message us through the Satellite Messenger provided - +1(510)906-7446. All the bookings also come with Roadside Assistance for your peace of mind.
What am I responsible for while the vehicle is in my posession?
- You are required to use the correct fuel (all our vehicles use the standard 87 fuel) and return the vehicle with a full tank of gas. If returned not full, we will refuel at a standard rate and charge the security deposit.