The Status of Overlanding Today

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

  • Yes

    Votes: 100 93.5%
  • No

    Votes: 7 6.5%

  • Total voters
    107

Grassland

Well-known member
One thing I'll tell you I'm jealous about is you Southerners who don't have to deal with rust.
It blows my mind when I see people not only finding, but buying, fixing/modding and then wheeling 20 years old rigs!!

There are a few early 2000s vehicles I miss, but majority of them are rusted out, or at the very least it's a constant battle dealing with rusted components and body.

It's why I had to get rid of my 02 WJ. Even after all the money into repairs and upgrades, was still on a timer with the unibody rusting away. Snapping bolts because they are seized, etc.

You really don't need a brand new Wrangler to overland if you can find older stuff that's usable where you live.
 

bjp

Rez roamer
I tell people that I've been doing this so long we use to call it car camping.
just like “bike packing” used to be called “touring”…… I know it’s just words, but some of this kind of stuff just irritates the ******** outta me.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Most definitely became a super commercial marketing slogan. The biggest contributor to that push that pulled in big multi national companies latching on to the concept is the SEMA show. The whole gear up to explore the rugged west was blown up with crazy builds and Auto Maker sponsored stuff.
Like most things that start out being really good clean, creative and somewhat affordable then get crazy popularized ruins what originally made it good.

I’m just glad that my first love/type of adventure has remained very grounded, very affordable, uncrowded, and unregulated for the most part. Which are the fundamentals that made “Overlanding” pretty cool. Even Expedition Portal has been posting articles about $180,000-$500,000 marketing puff pieces in recent months.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Walking ?
Lol nope and I aint sayn given if ya don’t know about it thats just fine😆😆😆. But yeah some utubers been channeling it for yrs, it just requires skill beyond turning a key so tends to be governed by Mother Nature who doesn’t tolerate being a dummy. Rescue is also far between if not totally not an option which seems to really help keep the credit card band wagon away.
 

dman93

Adventurer
I’ve never done any true international overlanding; ie crossing borders beyond just US/Canada. But I have been exploring forest and desert dirt roads since the late ‘70’s, first in an Alfa Berlina, then various small FWD hatchbacks until I finally got a 600 thumper and then a 4wd Datsun pickup in the early 80’s. Since then, I‘ve explored a bit further afield including California to Inuvik on my 600 in the late eighties. I even fell down the RTT rathole a few years ago but sold it and went back to a ground tent. And then … last year we sunk a huge amount of money into a full-custom AWD van build, essentially a short Class B. Yep, all the farkles, inside at least; it’s still got stock steel wheels with hubcaps, and no ladder, so doesn’t look very overlandy. Anyway, since then we’ve used it for at least 20 trips, 2 days to 4 weeks, 20K miles. And though I’m retired my wife works full-time as a hands-on health care provider so no WeBoost-assisted work from the van. So for us, both in our 60’s now, the gear and gadgets have made travel easier, more fun and much more frequent.
 

Niks

Member
I have very mixed feelings about "Overlanding" and the business industry its turned into. Yes, I agree with some points made earlier regarding some of the cool new modern products we can benefit from, but not how it has distorted and twisted what true spirit of adventure really is all about.

Here is a classic example. I once attended the Adventure and Overland Show here in the UK, many vendors selling overland gear under the sun including all their purpose built demo/show 4x4's and also all the club vehicles from Toyota, Landrover, Nissan, Jeep, Ford Rangers and so on. Whils't browsing all the display vehicles and other cars people owned, I got talking to some of the guys from the Toyota club with all their fancy fully done up 80/100/120 series Landcruisers. The guy was showing me all his fancy new stuff on the car such as bumpers, winch, lift kit, storage/kitchen build, engine mods, RTT and Awning, big lighting, interior mods and so on. My eyeballs almost popped out when he told me how much he had invested in his 4x4. I thought damn he must have done some extensive travelling in this thing so I was really eager to know of his travels and what advice he can give me. Loads of people were hovering around his car and checking it out. Turns out, all he has done is some "green laning" and some trails around Salisbury, Yorkshire and Wales. He goes "occasionally", but his boasting put me off.

A few hours later I just randomly happened to see this senior couple sitting next to this old Series 3 Landrover, faded green/blue with bits of rust, small steel wheels with skinny tires, spare wheel on the bonnet, cups and towels hanging off hooks screwed into the body work and a DIY home made steel roof basket welded to the pillars with another spare wheel racheted down in the middle of it with some jerry cans and boxes. I wandered over to say hello as it seemed nobody even batted an eye lid towards them. I introduced myself and the couple (who were extremely polite and down to earth) introduced themselves and started talking about the car. Well, the gentleman showed me around his car and even said "sorry there isn't much to look at but this is our Betty" - he said it with so much affection and pride! His wife was telling me about how they managed with anything they could salvage from their old house to take with them on their journeys. Then she produced this huge folder full off photographs, taken by a SLR film camera. My jaw dropped when I saw the pictures! They had been travelling all over the world in this thing for over 15 years. There were pictures of the car and them all over Eastern Europe, Khazakstan, Mongolia, India, Australia... then pictures from Morocco to the Kalahari and everywhere in between, photos of the car in different shipping containers, road side fixes, photos with other travelers they met... the photos went on and on! I ended up talking with them for the rest of the day, they even invited me to have dinner with them (as it was a 2 day event and everyone was camping). They talked of amazing stories from driving in different countries, dealing with political siutations, the different cultures, border crossings, how warm and welcoming people really were compared to our perceptions by what we see on the news, the times they got lost and stranded. Not even once did they mention the word "Overland". These were her words "we were just touring really, we thought ok lets drive to the next country and see whats there and thats how we did it, just carried on driving and stopping to see things, it carried on like that and years went by, we forgot about coming back home...". I asked if they ever thought about writing a book about their travels as I could happily put them in touch with people who could help them out, but they said no, they were just happy to explore and enjoy their time traveling together. Such an inspiration! I tell you, I saw that Landrover in a whole different set of eyes and for me they were the highlight of the show!

So, that to me is real adventure. Is "Overland" even a real thing? to me, no. Its an industry, nothing more.
 
The newest trend is to haul a trailer or mini camper around, now nothing says I'm treading lightly like taking 2 vehicles on a trail instead of 1. That is of course if your really even going offroad with it or just staying at national parks and the desert.
If your gonna do it let's see it on some 2 tracks getting pinstriped then be sure to video yourself on trail running on top of a mountain crest trying to turn around.

This would be an example of where your going to have trouble most of the trails around here dead end at a fire tower or where ther used to be one.

20190622_123409.jpg
 

Av8Chuck

New member
Here is the reality:

All the websites (even this one). All the social media. It's all funded by gear. And I don't say that condescendingly.

It's not just Overlanding. Look at any outdoor enthusiast website or magazine. You have to sell something to keep moving. I can't think of a single hobby-based forum, Facebook group, or social media account that doesn't largely focus on gear reviews, or gear list, or other gear-related shenanigans. How much traction would an Overlanding forum that wasn't based on this stuff get? There is horizons unlimited. That's the only one I can think of...and that is largely funded by selling books.

And even if they don't need the money, people still like the "stuff." We all like to look the part, even if we're just grabbing a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Then we like to complain about other people getting the stuff and going to Starbucks. It's just the way the world works. :ROFLMAO:
Most of the sites that highlight the gear do so because it's easy to quantify, there's a potential to make money and equipment is easy to talk about. Most of the posts are people complaining about it, not much depth to the conversation about what Overlanding is or what it means to people who do it. If this thread went down the path of talking more about the social impact, where and why are people getting into it, the conversation would probably not go well. Probably more to do with the nature of the internet and what effect it has had on Overlanding. I'd like to hear about peoples adventures and what Overlanding means to them but people don't want to talk about that crap..
 

JamesReddish

New member
In my humble opinion the word overland now does indicate more bolt ons.

I personally feel people who hark back to the 'good old days' probably would of loved what's available today though. Not many people can honestly say they wouldn't have what's available today if budget allowed.

I do think for alot of what people do they could use less or lesser quality kit. You can kick a ball in any shoes but you can also buy really good shoes just for the job etc.

For me I enjoy vehicles, I also enjoy vehicle based travel. Is that what I'd consider overlanding no it isn't, but the ideas follow on, and regardless of where I travel I like to be as self sufficient as I can. I'd rather take the stuff to make a coffee than buy a coffee regardless of where it is I'm going. More kit and more space for kit allows me to expand on that. I also love options, so I have multiple ground tents, I can sleep in my vehicle, but I'd love to add a rtt and a caravan to the mix to suit what and where I'm going. Having a slightly less enthusiastic partner also means it needs to be comfortable and easy for them, made easier for me by the introduction of more kit.

Over and above all this is my current hobby, so once what I priotise above this has been paid if I have money left I can put that towards kit or an adventure if I like, due to my lifestyle free time is at a premium so money goes into kit rather than the adventure.
 
I guarantee that overlanding has hit its peak, with the new fuel prices( and other stuff happening) we will find out this summer who is wealthy or not and who really loves this hobby.
I imagine there will be a lot of people quitting pretty soon, the plus side is there will be plenty of second hand gear for sale at rei, play it again sports, and other consignment shops.
 

Zeep

Adventurer
I guarantee that overlanding has hit its peak, with the new fuel prices( and other stuff happening) we will find out this summer who is wealthy or not and who really loves this hobby.
I imagine there will be a lot of people quitting pretty soon, the plus side is there will be plenty of second hand gear for sale at rei, play it again sports, and other consignment shops.
Fuel is cheap, when you get politics out of it!
 

MOAK

Adventurer
Interesting topic. Yes, we do have a few creature comforts packed in and bolted upon our 80 series and we do drag a small 1500lb GVWR trailer. All told we tip the scales at just under 7,000 lbs. However, we don’t have all that much money dumped into it. As an example, the 80 cost peanuts 9 years ago. We’ve since had the head off, chased some oil leaks, and replaced all of the rubber things. It used to be silver and as our build is targeted to the southwest USA, I had it painted a flat sand color to blend in. I abhor shiny things. The plastic cladding is rattle canned and the paint job was el cheapo. I saw no sense in giving it a top o the line paint job as that would be a waste of money. Bottom line, way less than 20k into it. The trailer is my design, and was heavily modified from a Tractor Supply 4x6 framework. We do have a middle shelf RTT stop the trailer which is our greatest improvement for creature comforts. I’m 68 and my wife is 65 so we have witnessed the overlanding craze grow from nowhere in the late 80s when we had a bit of expendable income into what it is today. Sorry to insult anyone, but when a forum has over 41,000 self proclaimed overlanders, where are they all at? We head west sometimes twice a year for 3-6 weeks. We find ourselves in some very nice remote areas and will see no one for days at a time. We were on the Rim Rocker a couple years ago and saw exactly 3 people on bicycles. So what are all of those 41,000 members doing? So many people have the money to buy the perfect vehicle, equip it with the perfect equipment, have plenty of vacation time and yet the only place I ever see them is on pavement and in state parks. What we do, off grid back country camping, I believe, takes a certain amount of dedication to the hobby. A dedication that most folks are not willing to give. One can throw all the money at this hobby they want to, but without a commitment to it, they will be going back to their resorts and cruises as this is not a hobby for the feint of heart.
 
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