what is overlanding

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What is Overlanding? (The Best Tips For Your Next Camping Adventure)

What is Overlanding?

Overlanding is self-reliant adventure travel, typically undertaken in remote regions. It’s the perfect way to explore the world if you enjoy spending time in nature and getting off the beaten track.

When Overlanding, you’re usually self-sufficient, carrying all the gear you need in your vehicle. This means you can stay in remote areas for extended periods without relying on accommodations and facilities like shops, restaurants and stores. 

Overlanding trips can be a few days to several months in duration. And while they often involve some camping element, this isn’t always the case. Some overlanders prefer to stay in hotels or hostels for short durations during their adventures, while others will camp out under the stars every night. 

What is an Overlanding Vehicle?

An Overlanding vehicle is any vehicle capable of taking you on an overlanding trip – whether that’s a 4WD, a van, or even a motorcycle. Your vehicle type will depend on your specific needs and goals. For example, if you plan to do a lot of off-road driving, you’ll need a vehicle built for that.

What Is an Overlanding Trip?

An overlanding trip is defined as an adventure taken by vehicle, where the journey is as important (if not more so) than the destination. An overlanding trip can last anywhere from a few days to months at a time, and can take you across state lines or even countries. The only limiting factor is your imagination (and sometimes, your budget).

Overlanders are a unique breed of traveler. They are part adventurer, part mechanics, and part survivalist all rolled into one. They are often self-sufficient and capable of problem solving on the fly.

When overlanding, you are responsible for your own safety and well-being. This means being prepared for anything and everything that might come your way. From breakdowns to flat tires, you must be able to problem solve and get yourself out of (or into) any situation.

What is Overlanding Camping?

Overlanding is a type of camping done in remote locations, often off-the-grid. It requires more preparation than traditional car camping, as you will need to be self-sufficient for extended periods of time.

This means bringing all the necessary gear and supplies, including food, water, shelter, and a way to cook.

Overlanding camping is a great way to explore remote areas of the country that you would otherwise not be able to get to. It allows you to spend extended time in nature and uniquely connect with the surrounding environment.

Where Did Overlanding Originate?

Overlanding is a term that describes self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is more important than the destination.

Overlanding History

The history of Overlanding can be traced back to the early explorers of Australia in the 1900s, who used simple covered wagons or caravans to transport themselves and their supplies across vast distances in often diverse environments.

This practice began on these original routes built by farmers and ranchers alike who had the need or desire to travel long distances without any help from others along their way – all while establishing practicality with utilitarianism.

With the advent of the automobile, overlanding became more accessible to the average person, and it wasn’t long before people were using cars and trucks to explore the world.

There is no one way to overland, and each person or family will tailor their adventure to suit their needs and interests. Some people go alone, while others travel in groups or on an organized tour.

Others may choose to purchase a fully equipped overlanding vehicle, while others prefer to build their own from scratch. No matter how you go overland, the most important thing is to get out there and explore the world.

Growth in the Popularity of Overlanding

Overlanding took off in the 1960s and 1970s with the rise of adventurous young people looking to escape the confines of traditional travel. With the advent of the internet and social media, Overlanding has become more popular than ever, with people sharing their stories and experiences online to inspire others to get out and explore.

Overlanding has also been made more accessible by technological advancements. Working remotely has allowed people to bring their job with them on vacation. All you need is a laptop, an internet connection, and some power, and can do your job while taking in the view.

What Makes a Good Overlanding Vehicle?

There are no hard and fast rules about makes a good overlanding vehicle. However, the vehicle you’re using will determine your overlanding journey’s success.

A few key characteristics will make your life on the road easier.

  • Off-road capability: Ensure your Overlanding vehicle can deal with varied off-road conditions. Look for a vehicle with 4WD and plenty of ground clearance.
  • High ground clearance– Helps clear the vehicle from obstacles in its path and prevents you from getting stuck.
  • Storage space: You’ll need to carry all your gear when overlanding. So, choose a vehicle with plenty of storage space. A roof rack is also a good idea, as it will give you extra space for things like camping gear and spare tires.
  • Fuel economy: When Ooerlanding, you’ll often be covering long distances. This means fuel economy is an important consideration. Choose a vehicle with good fuel economy to save money and extend your trip.
  • Comfort: You’ll be spending a lot of time in your overlanding vehicle, so choosing a comfortable one is essential. Look for a vehicle with plenty of headroom and legroom and good suspension.
  • 4-Wheel drive – This is essential for getting through rough terrain. 4-wheel drive vehicles have better traction and can handle more challenging terrain than 2-wheel drive vehicles. 

Top Picks for the Best Overlanding Vehicles:

  • Jeep
  • Wrangler
  • Toyota
  • Land Cruiser
  • Earth Cruiser

No matter what kind of Overlanding vehicle you choose, make sure it’s one that you’re comfortable with and meets your needs. With the right vehicle, you can have the trip of a lifetime.

How Do I Prepare for Overlanding?

Being prepared for anything when you’re out on the open road is essential. That’s why outfitting your vehicle for overlanding is so essential. By outfitting your vehicle with the right gear, you can be sure that you’re prepared for whatever comes.

Right Tires:

There are a few things to keep in mind when outfitting your vehicle for overlanding. First, you’ll want to ensure that you have the right tires. All-terrain heavy duty tires are a good choice for overlanding vehicles. They provide good traction and can handle a variety of terrain.

Lighting and Power:

One of the most important things to consider when outfitting your vehicle for overlanding is how you will power your electronics. You can’t just stop at the nearest outlet to charge your phone or laptop when you are miles from civilization.

That’s why it’s essential to have a plan for powering your electronics. There are a few different ways to do this, but one of the most popular is to install a solar panel on your vehicle. This way, you can use the sun’s power to keep your devices charged.

Water and Food:

Another essential consideration when outfitting your vehicle for overlanding is how you will store water and food. When you’re on the road, you won’t have easy access to a grocery store, so it’s essential to have a plan to store your food and water.

There are a few different options for doing this, but one of the most popular is to install a fridge in your vehicle. This way, you can keep your food and water cold even when miles from civilization.


When you’re out on the open road, it’s essential to have a place to sleep. Many people choose to install a rooftop tent on their vehicles. This way, you can have a comfortable place to sleep no matter where you are.

Overlanding Gear

In addition to modifying your vehicle, choosing your overlanding gear can also be a lot of fun. When it comes down to it, overlanding is a type of adventure travel, so you need to be prepared. There are certain items that you will make your journey much more enjoyable.

Tents and Awnings

When you’re out on your adventure you’ll want to have a place to sleep. Tents and awnings are a great way to do this. They provide you with a place to sleep and protect you from the elements.

Sleeping Bags and Pads

Sleeping bags and pads are a must-have when you’re out on the open road if you’re sleeping in a rooftop or ground tent. They will keep you warm at night and provide a comfortable place to sleep.

Cooking Gear

Of course you’ll need to fuel your travels with some food. Be sure to pack all of the cooking essentials for your trip.

Overland Recovery Gear

Recovery gear is a must-have for any Overlanding trip. It can help you escape a challenging situation and get back on the road.

  • Tow rope
  • Wench
  • Spare tire and jack (full-size spare)
  • Shovel
  • Max Traxx or something similar
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Air compressor & tire repair kit
  • Navigation Equipment

Can You DIY an Overlanding Camper?

Yes, absolutely. It’s not uncommon for people to make their own campers or add ons for overland vehicles. The key is to know what you’re doing and have the right tools.

You’ll need considerable expertise in electrica, welding, construction, design, and other areas. Overlanding campers must endure rugged terrains; as a result, they must be well-engineered. You can even find pre-made kits to make it easier, we purchased our “box” from Total Composites out of Victoria B.C.

Learn more about our DIY Overlanding Camper here!

Join Our DIY Overland Camper Build Group

Meet fellow builders for inspiration, advice, and tips to help you build your ultimate camper.

How to Get Started Overlanding

There are many different ways that you can learn more and get started with overlanding. For starters, you can find others who are already doing it to get you rolling. Find someone who will let you tag along and learn from them some of their tricks of the trade.

Using the internet’s resources is another great method to learn from people with more expertise. Watch YouTube videos, follow influencers, read blog articles, and participate in forums like Expedition Portal to learn more.

The Skills You Need for Overlanding

The skills you need for Overlanding are just as important as the gear. You’ll be able to enjoy your trip more if you’re comfortable with your vehicle, navigation, and camping skills.

Overlanding is all about being self-sufficient. You’ll need to be able to handle any situation that comes your way with the skills you have on hand. If a tire blows, you must know how to change it. If you get stuck in the mud, you’ll have to use your own resources to get your vehicle out.

You also want skills that will allow you to plan and enjoy your trip. You’ll need to know how to use a map and compass, as well as how to navigate with GPS.

Where Do People Go Overlanding?

One of the great things about overlanding is that there are thousands of routes to choose from. You might choose to travel through developing and even under-maintained regions.

Many destinations will have little to no information about the trails, making you feel like an explorer. Essentially, overlanders are “adventurers who go out and explore what feels like new territory”.

Overlanding isn’t the same as visiting a specific place using a GPS. Instead, it’s about getting on the road and seeing where it takes you.

Most overlanding occurs on public lands, such as National Forests or areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Overlanders must ensure they do not stray onto private land and observe all Leave No Trace principles.

Why Do People Like Overlanding?

People enjoy overlanding for many reasons. Some like the freedom that comes with it, while others are interested in the experience of seeing new places and meeting new people. For some, it’s about the challenge of getting somewhere without a traditional road map.

In recent years, overlanding has increased in popularity among those looking for more authentic travel experiences. It’s a way to get off the beaten path while still having access to some of the luxuries of home.

Overlanding is about experiencing the world on your own terms and at your own pace. It’s not necessarily about the destination; it’s about the journey.

How to Find Overlanding Campsites

If you’re thinking about overlanding, planning your trip is the best place to start. You can plan your trip using a variety of tools, including:

  • Google Maps
  • A GPS device
  • A paper map

Once you plan your route, it’s time to start looking for campsites. You can find campgrounds and public lands worldwide by using various apps such as Freecampsites.net, iOverlander, and the NF or BLM websites.

Overlanding vs. Off-Roading: The Difference

There are many similarities between overlanding and off-roading, but there are some key differences too.

Off-roading is about driving on unpaved surfaces, whether dirt, mud, sand, or rocks. It’s about testing your limits and pushing your vehicle to its maximum potential.

Overlanding, on the other hand, is a journey. It’s about exploring new places and discovering what’s over the next hill. It’s about making memories and enjoying the scenery along the way.

Here are a few things to take into consideration when deciding which activity is aligned with your travel goals:

1. Overlanding is more than just driving on dirt roads

Off-roading is all about the destination. You’re focused on making it to the trail’s end, no matter what. Overlanding, on the other hand, is about the journey. Yes, you want to reach your destination, but you’re also interested in enjoying the scenery.

2. Overlanding requires more planning

Since Overlanding is more than just driving from point A to point B, it requires more planning. You need to map out your route, find places to camp or stay overnight, and ensure you have all the supplies you need for your trip.

3. Off-roading is typically a smaller group activity

Many people enjoy off-roading by themselves or with a small group of friends. Overlanding, on the other hand, is often done with a larger group. This is because it’s more logistically challenging and requires more planning.

4. Both Off-roading and Overlanding is about pushing your limits

Off-roading and overlanding is about testing your limits and seeing what your vehicle can do. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself (and your vehicle) to the max.

6. Overlanding is about enjoying the journey

Overlanding is about slow travel and taking the time to enjoy the scenery around you. It’s not about rushing to reach your destination; it’s about savoring the experience of being in the outdoors.

7. Both Off-roading and Overlanding are often done in remote areas

Many off-road trails are located in remote, rural areas far from civilization. This can be part of the appeal, as it allows you to get away from it all.

8. Overlanding requires more gear

Since Overlanding is a journey, not just a destination, you need to be prepared for anything. This means bringing all the gear you need for camping, cooking, and repairs.

9. Off-roading is typically faster-paced

Off-roading is often a race against the clock, as you’re trying to make it to the trail’s end before dark. On the other hand, Overlanding is a slower-paced activity that allows you to enjoy the scenery and take your time.

10. Both Off-roading and Overlanding can be dangerous

Off-roading is inherently risky, as you’re driving on unpaved surfaces in remote areas. This can be part of the appeal, but it’s also something to consider if safety is a concern for you.

Overlanding vs. Off-Roading: Which is Right for You?

Now that you know the difference between Overlanding and off-roading, which is right for you? If you’re looking for an adventure and are willing to do some planning, Overlanding might be the perfect activity for you.

Off-roading might be a better fit if you’re more interested in testing your limits and pushing your vehicle to its maximum potential. Ultimately, the decision is up to you – so choose whichever activity sounds more fun and get out there and explore.

Overlanding is About Connecting With The Community and Different Cultures

Overlanding is about more than just driving your car to the next campsite. It’s about connecting with other people and different cultures around the world. You’ll have a chance to learn new things about yourself and the world around you. You’ll also have a chance to meet some incredible people from all over the globe.

What Are the Risks of Overlanding?

There are a few risks to take into consideration when overlanding:

  1. You’re venturing into unknown territory, so you could get lost.
  2. You might encounter dangerous wildlife.
  3. The terrain can be dangerious, so you need to be equipped to deal with recovering your vehicle.

Our Best Tips For Overlanding

Overlanding is a great way to see the world and experience new cultures. It can be done in any vehicle, but an overland vehicle is specifically designed for off-road travel.

Overland vehicles are built for comfort and durability, and they come equipped with all the necessary gear for a safe and successful trip. Do your research and plan if you’re thinking about taking your overland journey. With a bit of preparation, you can have the adventure of a lifetime.

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