The Status of Overlanding Today

Is overlanding becoming a glorified excuse for more bolt-ons and less about travel today?

  • Yes

    Votes: 119 92.2%
  • No

    Votes: 10 7.8%

  • Total voters
    129

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
Part of the issue is that, for me at least, "Overlanding" is not (necessarily) trail running or "four wheeling." It is long term, overland tourism, typically involving international travel in countries that are less visited because of less developed infrastructure. For Europeans and North Americans, South America and Africa come to mind. That said, if I take my truck to Europe, it probably qualifies as "overlanding." An overlander will drive a dirt road if required, but will not necessarily go looking for four wheel drive trails - that is not the point.

Here is my favorite definition:

Overland journey?
By "overland journey" I mean something considerably more demanding than a two week trip to the South of France but less demanding than pioneering a new route across the Sahara. Most of what I call overland journeys would:

  • Be more than (say) ten weeks long.
  • Involve significant travel on poor, often dirt roads.
  • Be wholly or partly in sparsely populated areas of the world without official campsites.
  • Often involve travel at high altitude or in hot, cold or very wet conditions.
This from: http://www.silkroute.org.uk/equipment/choosevan.htm
 

tacollie

Glamper
It's been 24 years since I had 10 consecutive weeks off and it'll probably be another 24 before I do. I need to go rethink some things 🤣

A lot of the consumerism is advertised as overland gear for extended travel. Most people probably buy it for 1-2 weeks trips. My buddies Tacoma with a Gofast would fit in well at Overland Expo. We joke it's the $100k Tacoma. He uses it to explore the southwest US 1-2 weeks at a time. He's not on social media. He just likes the history.

In the next 5 years we hope to do a four week trip. Everything else will be 2 or less. I've never claimed to be an overlander. I do like some of the gear though.
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
Actually, I think you will find that the hard core/extended overlander population is larger than you think, but it doesn't really matter. The original question was whether the availability of toys for your vehicle diminished overlanding. My simple answer is "no"; I want the mud chuggers, off road racers, and RVers, and even backpackers to keep producing new products. Not all will be useful, but some will be. I like having choices.

Interesting that this discussion quickly turned to the point that the Americans have so little leave time. Almost every developed nation guarantees a minimum of four weeks leave per year. Makes a two or three week trip much more feasible.

And to a final point, some of us chose our careers so that we could travel. ;)
 

Desert Dan

Explorer
Been doing this for about 50 years. I LUV all the gear heads, off road racers, etc., because, from time to time, they produce stuff I can use. Examples from my past include Vic Hickey's extra fuel tanks, Lonnie Woods (Rough Country) with his Blazer suspension, whoever invented roof top tents, etc. Same is true on the RV side - we have nesting cookware (30 years old) from ******** Cepek, collapsible bowls, and a few other things.

At the end of the day, buy what you need for the way you travel and ignore the rest. But it is still fun to window shop at Overland EXPO. ;)

EDITED TO ADD: Seems the Forum doesn't like the first name of a gentleman from South Gate who was the first major purveyor of large, high flotation tires, and who coined the phrase "Baja Proven."

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Attachments

mtnbike28

Expedition Leader
I said no. It has changed a ton since I first started, my Tacoma was teh only one in town with an ARB in 2005, now I think everyone has a front bumper. But at the same time, I see more and more people camping in the woods than ever before, I have several spots that I could roll up to and have a place to camp at 9pm on Friday. Now they are taken. For those in North Carolina, old NC105 used to be open all weekend for example. I think the change is more folks getting into now are looking for a place to wheel. I did a trip this summer west, everywhere I went there were lots of overland builds, but they were all out doing something and not at a mall. My truck is way overbuilt for what I do, but I enjoy it!052721podTaco.jpg
 

RoamIt

Active member
I think that it's just like any other endeavor that has become popular, it has evolved. Some of it good, some not so good. You get to choose what to adopt or ignore, how awesome is that!?

I'm amazed at the people who truly traveled overland decades ago. And we all have heard of people traveling the globe on foot or via bicycle. So if you are in the camp (see what I did there?) that too many people buy too much 'gear', then I would humbly suggest you look at your own set up. Because all you really need is a good pair of shoes and a backpack....

That being said, in most any area of interest, you'll have the old hands who lament that 'things aren't what they used to be'. And you'll have the newbie's that are eager to do it 'their way'.

The lines between off-roading and true overlanding has become muddy (ha! I did it again!). On this forum, I've seen rigs that are obviously weekend toys, not expedition vehicles. And I've seen other rigs that cost hundreds of thousands of $$ that the owners probably don't know how to operate half of it's features and it's a status symbol.

So what? You do you.
 

4000lbsOfGoat

Well-known member
Just the other day someone in a campground asked if we were "overlanders"! I wasn't sure how to answer that question since you never know what anyone means by the term...

A few years ago we started with 2 goals - 1) spend as much time outside as we can possibly can and 2) spend as little money as possible on a daily basis. After a lot of research and investment we now live out of a squaredrop trailer, on public land whenever possible.

Being outside all the time means following the nice weather. Stay-length limitations on public land also means moving regularly. So I move my rig over the land on a regular basis, typically looking for that sweet spot where no one is around but we still get decent cell service.

Am I "overlanding"? I don't know...but I know that I need all of the same gear/information/advice that would be needed by someone who was "overlanding". This community (along with TacomaWorld) has been an excellent resource for me as I planned out my rig and my life.

Sure, I also giggle when I see the fully built out grocery-getters around town but if lots of folks who didn't really need the gear weren't out there buying it anyway then there would be less good gear available for those who really do use it.
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
And sunglasses! why, back in my day we just used a hand over our eyes! Bet their polarized lenses too, so fancy ;)
At the risk of being serious, they were Ray-Bans. Wore Ray-Bans until I first took the "crash bang" course and the driving instructors all raved about Serengeti Drivers glasses. Wore them until I needed prescriptions. :(

Joke is that the first thing I say in my Culture Clash courses is "Take off yer damned glasses!" There is a reason that State Troopers wear mirror lenses and that is not the effect you want when traveling.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
Been doing this for about 50 years. I LUV all the gear heads, off road racers, etc., because, from time to time, they produce stuff I can use. Examples from my past include Vic Hickey's extra fuel tanks, Lonnie Woods (Rough Country) with his Blazer suspension, whoever invented roof top tents, etc. Same is true on the RV side - we have nesting cookware (30 years old) from ******** Cepek, collapsible bowls, and a few other things.

At the end of the day, buy what you need for the way you travel and ignore the rest. But it is still fun to window shop at Overland EXPO. ;)

EDITED TO ADD: Seems the Forum doesn't like the first name of a gentleman from South Gate who was the first major purveyor of large, high flotation tires, and who coined the phrase "Baja Proven."

View attachment 691743

yep, this nails it.

I started reading car mags in the 1960s, grade school and even then it was all about hot rodding the 4x4.
Same old same old..... marketing, consumerism is our culture.
Always has been.

From Dyck Cepek thru Bob Chandler, we have been copying whatever gets media attention.

I think youtube channels are whats new and changing the industry more than consumerism.
But who cares? I go out do my thing mostly in old home built garage sale stuff, my Jeep is 15 years old.
Most of the guys I see once off the beaten trail are the same, no Maxx Tracks, no shiny paint and most of the RTTs are in real campgrounds or within 5 miles of town. The guys who drive over the powerline passes run pretty basic trucks.

Won't see no shiny Toyotas on this trail.

 
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billiebob

Well-known member
Something every seasoned hiker knows is you hike your own hike. You can start with buddies and you have an allegiance with everyone on the trail for the benefit of all but your hike is yours alone.

Go on and run those LTX's if you're not here for Instagram. Run that grandpa hi top camper shell on craigslist for $100 it's roomier than the $3600 flat black erector set camper shell from the banner ads and paint it white no matter what color your truck is so it's cooler in summer too. Keep your secret spot secret for real. Use a regular gardeners shovel it works better than the $250 one you saw on Facebook otherwise gardeners who move dirt occupationally would buy the Facebook ones too. Get a set of halogen PIAA driving lights they are dramatically better than anybody's LED bar in wet weather at any speed worth driving and just as good in dry weather. Run the smallest and most fuel efficient, most easily available tire size that will still accomplish the kind of travel you're doing. That way spares take up minimal space and you won't throw your back out trying to change one. If strangers on the internet advise you to get bigger tires without you asking, invite them to ship you a set on their dime if it's important to them.

None of those things are fashionable of course but you kinda either have to be in it for the 'gram or not.. if you're in it for the 'gram just a little bit you can't really get upset that someone else is grinding on that "like" farm harder than you. :cool:
Best comment this year. :cool::cool:
 

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