When it comes to outdoor adventures, overlanding has a little bit of everything. Overlanding blends camping, offroad driving and exploration into one huge trip that gives you a chance to test out your off-roading skills while also journeying into unknown territory. As a simple answer, you can define overlanding as any trip that requires you to take your vehicle off paved roads and into remote areas where you plan to stay at least one night while being completely self-reliant. Yet, there is so much more to understanding exactly what this outdoor experience is all about.
Key Differences Between Off-Roading Vs. Overlanding
People often get confused about what makes overlanding different from off-roading. As a general rule, an offroad adventure involves taking a defined route with the emphasis on traversing obstacles. This is usually done in a four-wheel drive vehicle on dirt roads that may include water crossings, hills, narrow passageways and other elements that increase the challenge. While some people may camp during these trips, many are planned for daytime only and with the sole purpose of making it from one point to another.
Overlanding is more about the actual journey than trying to tackle increasingly difficult levels of challenge. In fact, you can overland with any vehicle that you know will be capable of handling the terrain. For example, some overlanding enthusiasts have started engaging in boondocking, which is basically spending one or more nights in an RV at locations without any hookups. Trucks, vans and even bicycles have also been rigged up to work for trips across rugged terrain.
Planning the Ultimate Choose-Your-Own Adventure
The reason for the popularity of going on overland trips lies within the opportunity to customize your adventure to fit your goals. You can choose to stay a single night at the end or midpoint of your destination. Alternatively, you can plan a trip that spans several weeks or months so that you can truly get a feel for the area that you visit. Once you have an idea of where you want to go and how long you want to stay, start researching everything you can about the climate and culture so that you can put together your gear.
Essential Gear for Self-Reliant Travel
Every trip is different, but one thing rings true for all outdoor adventures. Careful planning means having everything you need to handle any situation that could arise while you are alone in the wild. Satellite phones and GPS systems are essential for helping you to communicate in an emergency and navigate your route. Camping gear, such as tents and cook stoves, are also items that you’ll want to bring along. Finally, you also need storage containers that help you stay organized so that anything you need is easy to locate.
While it may seem overwhelming at first, remember that you can always start simple and add to your gear as you increase your time off the road. Some of the most avid overlanding enthusiasts are constantly updating their gear kits.
Overlanding is one outdoor pursuit that is defined by what you make of it. You can easily get started by planning a trip that ventures from an unpaved state road to a non-designated camping spot, or you can go on a cross-country adventure overseas. The best advice to follow is to stay organized, safe and choose the right gear that allows you to focus on immersing yourself in a life changing experience.