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How to Choose the best Overlanding Vehicle

What is Overlanding?

It’s 2020, and the Overlanding craze in North America is charging full steam ahead with no signs of slowing down. The self reliant outdoor travel, known as overlanding is a huge market with it’s roots deep in truck and outdoor camping equipment. Overlanding’s fundamental ideologies of total outdoor survival and exploration have overflown and rubbed off on motorcycles, industrial and miltary vehicles, hiking, offgrid living and dooms-day prepper territories.

The latest SEMA show in Las Vegas, which draws over 150,000 buyers, manufacturers and industry reps every November, lauched a dedicated SEMA Overland Experiecnce area.  It’s expected SEMA will continue to expand the overland areas over the coming years, only strengthening the industry.

Overlanding origin mind map
Mind map detailing Overlanding roots and industry overlap

Which overland build is best?

When choosing a overlanding platform vehicle there is lots to consider. Some questions to ask yourself are

1. What distance am I going to travel on my expeditions and adventures?

Do you need an expedition vehicle suitable for cross country trips, or are you focusing on short distance weekend getaways?

2. How many passengers should your expedition rig hold?

Consider that each person has nessesities and gear they will need to pack along for the adventure. Even dogs require more planning than you might think.

best overland setup blog post
Photo by Iqbal Muakhid

We are on holiday, so we decided to do a trip in Malang. This is one of the places we are headed. We were on Mount Bromo, it was 7:00am in the morning in Malang. So cold ! Too many stories out here, I had some promise to share what i’ve seen here so I’ll keep that promise, Now I already miss it. Lovely places lovely friends and good story.

3. What if my overland build breaks down mid trip?

Parts for that 1968 Jeepster aren’t going to be as easy to source from a roadside mechanic than a 2020 Toyota Tacoma.

4. How many stops are you planning on your overland expedition?

Overland kitchen setups can range in complexity. If you tow behind a small tear drop trailer with a built in kitchen, a quick stop to cook a meal is easy. However unpacking the entire back seat of that new Jeep Gladiator to reach the coolers, well not so much.

Top 10 accessories for your overland build

The old saying “buy once, cry once” comes to mind. I haven’t checked recently but I dont recall too many Overland Outfitter stores in the middle of Baja. You want to select quality gear for your fundamental accessory setup. Items you will be using every day like the cook stove, pans, pocket knives, to straps and winches. Don’t forget about a travel tool kit. Limit budget gear to ground tarps and bungee straps.

Knowing how much gear is too much

We have all seen the jeep driving down the highway with 3 shovels, 5 jerry cans, a roof rack with 2 spares and a ratchet strap bouncing off the pavement, while the rear suspension cries out in pain. There’s two solutions here. Either the chosen overland build is too small for the trips it sees, or they just packed way, way too much stuff.

Multiples of tools and other redundacies are not required for a carefully thought out overland rig.

Choosing the right gear for your travels

I mentioned above that SEMA introduced the overland expedition section to their latest event. There is definitley no shortage of brands and gear to choose from. Youtube and gear review blogs are the best place to research and discover new and useful pieces of kit to bring on your next adventure.

reading a map
Photo by Taras Zaluzhnyi

The conclusion: Overlanding

Overlanding blends many old and new hobbies, techniques and information. It’s a word to encompass everything realting to the outdoors and vehicular travel on land. Trip planning and reading up on the next destination is equally as important as buying the right gear. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay in the know!


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