Camping is one of the best ways to explore the world, with different camping types to suit everyone’s preference, from budget-friendly backpacking camping to comfortable, glamorous glamping. Adventurous outdoor travelers, in particular, love Overlanding camping. Travelers like them understand that going off the beaten path usually leads people to the most beautiful places.
Overlanding camping is a self-sufficient adventure vehicle trip where travelers venture into remote destinations with the journey as the primary purpose. Overlanders will go on the road for as little as a quick weekend trip or as long as months, even years, across international borders, and all the while utilizing their vehicle and a variety of tent setups as their primary form of lodging.
For the carefree and adventurous, Overlanding camping seems like a dream adventure or way of life. If you are interested in exploring the world in this style, keep reading as we’ll discuss Overlanding camping, where you can Overlanding, and some of the most popular 4WD Overlanding vehicles.
The Definition of Overlanding Camping
All travel has a purpose. People embark on a journey for different reasons, like discovering new cultures, exploring cuisines from all around the world, finding themselves, and more. Without a purpose, most people would find traveling pointless; that’s not the case for Overlanding camping, though.
While most travels focus more on a journey with a purpose, Overlanding camping sees the journey as the purpose. Overlanding camping is more about exploration and less about beating challenges. Overlanding travelers don’t just overcome the ups and downs of their travels but go through every journey so they can live it.
Overlanding camping emphasizes never-ending adventures. The goal is to explore the world, within the country or across continents, to see what the world has to offer, be it wildlife, architecture, historical sites, or test self-sufficiency. Travelers hit the road even in the simplest vehicles — as long as they can travel and visit new places — and camp as they travel.
Overlanding vs. Off-Roading
Overlanding and off-roading, while they may look the same, are two different things. Overlanding vehicles are typically set-up for both traveling and living, be it for short-term or long-term travels. With Overlanding vehicles, you will see camping equipment, cooking utensils, food supplies, first-aid kits, and more.
Even if your Overlanding 4WD vehicle is capable of overcoming rough terrain, it still won’t be suitable for off-roading, four-wheeling, or rock crawling. Off-roading set-ups are usually simpler (and less stuff) and more technical than Overlanding ones. That’s because off-roading vehicles have to find the right balance between rugged terrain and the number of things they can carry to get the best performance.
Overlanding and off-roading are also different in terms of travel purposes. Off-roading focuses more on traveling and driving over rugged terrain, whereas Overlanding focuses more on the journey and exploration. Overlanding tends to be more relaxing than off-roading because travelers don’t need to be technical to enjoy their off the beaten path exploration.
When Did Overlanding Begin?
Historically, the term “Overlanding” is derived from an Australian term that refers to livestock driven out for long distances to open up a new country or take livestock to a market far from grazing grounds. On the contrary, the modern form of Overlanding does not involve livestock, but mechanized transport, like 4WD trucks. They were already pioneers traveling in simpler vehicles before 4WD trucks, though.
Overlanding has become increasingly popular in the past decades, and gatherings of overlanders are becoming more common. Thanks to the internet, like-minded travelers can exchange information and tips on overland trips in different regions. Overlanding can be much more challenging than many other kinds of travel, but travelers’ unique experience is often satisfying.
Where Can I Go Overlanding?
Overlanding camping can be intimidating initially, but with a mapping project like iOverlander, your Overlanding journey does not have to be stressful and complicated. iOverlander compiles together many overlander accommodation listings into a single platform, and travelers can share ideas as well as GPS coordinates, too. Download iOverlander’s mobile app here:
How To Start Overlanding
Unlike travel tours or a quick getaway to a beach near you, Overlanding requires much more planning. Even if you’re only going for a couple of days, you’ll want to plan: where to go, what to pack, who you’ll be traveling with, and so on. The end goal is to hit the road, explore new things, and have fun.
Plan Ahead of Time
When packing for your Overlanding camping, you’ll want to bring essentials only, like enough clothes, food supplies, water, medication, camping equipment, bug spray, and a reliable backpack. Gadgets like a travel charger or smartphone would come in handy, especially when there’s an emergency. You’ll also want to inform your friends and family about your trip for safety reasons.
Give yourself some time to create your checklist, set up your vehicle, and plan out your travel itinerary. If you’re traveling with someone, make sure the two of you can agree on the plan you create. It would be beneficial to download apps for navigation, camping grounds, or meeting new people.
Have a Travel Buddy You Can Trust
Who you travel with can make a difference in your travel experience. After all, Overlanding is all about enjoying the experience. You may want to share those special moments with another person.
Of course, the journey might not always be comfortable. At least if you have a travel buddy, you would have shoulders to lean on. And if your vehicle breaks down, at least you’ll have someone to help you push your car.
Love Car Camping and the Open Road
When Overlanding, you’ll spend most of your time driving. It won’t be boring with good scenery, playlists of your favorite songs, some ice-cold water and snacks, and a travel pillow. Whenever you feel tired, call it a day and find a place to camp.
Get Your Cameras Ready
Whether you’re taking photos and videos with your smartphone or a dedicated camera, the goal is to capture as many beautiful moments as you can from your trip. You can always look at all the pictures and videos again next time. Maybe go for a romantic picnic over sunset with your partner and capture that moment for you to share with your friends and family.
Do Your Research Before You Go
Before pursuing longer trips, perhaps you should start with short trips first, like a weekend trip, so that you can learn from the first few mistakes new overlanders would make. Join travel communities on Facebook or get tips and recommendations from other overlanders on YouTube.
Jot down everything you find necessary from the Overlanding trips you take so that you can learn from your mistake and improve your research and planning skills.
You’ll want to check the weather before you go, too. If you’re traveling somewhere wet, then you should pack your rainwear and maybe carry an umbrella, also. If the weather is cold and you will be going to the mountains, you’ll want to make sure your vehicle is well-insulated and has enough blankets and a hot shower.
If you’re planning on meeting someone at your destination, you’ll want to inform them about the timeline of your trip.
Learn Car Repairing Basics
It would be helpful if you learned necessary vehicle repairs before heading off for your first trip. Learn how to change tires, jumpstart a car, or change wiper blades. To avoid problems on the road, always check your vehicle (engine, tires, etc.) before departing.
Popular 4WD Overlanding Vehicles
One of the best cars you could ever have is a vehicle that is suitable for Overlanding. Overlanding vehicles are multi-functional, so you can use them for running daily errands or even go on-road adventures. Overlanding vehicles can also help you avoid traffic as they’re also great for urban off-roading.
Some of the popular 4WD Overlanding vehicles are:
- Jeep Wrangler JL
- Toyota Tacoma
- Jeep Gladiator
- Ford E350 Alpha Van
- Lexus GX
Overlanding camping is a fun outdoor activity that can be enjoyed alone or with friends. Overlanding camping’s goal is the journey itself, therefore enjoy every moment you have on the road. Compared to off-roading, Overlanding is much more relaxing because there is no need for technicalities when driving.
Overlanding camping is suitable for long-term travelers or anyone who wants to go out for explorations, whether in their backyards or across continents. While Overlanding might not be for everyone, people who pursue it can create unique memories from it. Overlanding is a great way to connect with the planet.
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Erick is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. Growing up in Nairobi Kenya and now calling Glasgow, United Kingdom home. Sipping on homemade spiced swahili tea and enjoying a good book is his idea of bliss.