Overlanding is an activity similar to camping where the journey is the main goal, rather than occupying places. It is more than camping. You live in your vehicle, travel and explore.
There is always a misunderstanding when comparing camping with overlanding. Is it just a synonym for camping, or is it much different than that? Continue reading to get the answer to this and even more questions that you may have.
The majority of you is probably familiar with the meaning of camping. But are you aware what overlanding means? Or, are you able to make a difference between them? Before we can continue to more complex things, you need to understand the basics.
So, to make a clear distinct between camping and overlanding, let’s emphasize what the characteristics of both of them are.
• setting up a temporarily living in one place, where you can relax and explore a particular area
• you can set up a tent, or use your trailer, and even if you decide to go for a long walk, you will leave something behind, marking the area as taken
• it is ideal to go on camping in a crowd, so your group will settle down on one place, relaxing with friends and family gathered around a campfire
• using your vehicle as a camp, overlanding is driving and exploring more places, rather than settling up on one spot
• you will need a specific vehicle, as you will have to “live in it,” including eating and sleeping
• overlanding is not practical for more than one family, as you are constantly moving
Time to choose – which one is better?
Well, this one is a pretty tough question, and there is no wrong answer. It depends on your needs and preferences.
If you want to explore just one area, settle down in a tent or trailer and stay there for a while, you should go camping. It is an interesting activity to get closer to nature and spend some great time with people you love.
On the other hand, we have the overlanding.
In case you like to move and visit several places, sleep and eat in your well-equipped vehicle, the choice you should make is overlanding. Overlanding is an activity where the journey is the main goal, rather than occupying places.
Now, since you know what overlanding is, it is time to find places to educate yourself a bit more about it.
Overland camping forums
A forum is used for sharing opinions, getting help and ideas from people who have knowledge and experience in a particular topic. To understand overlanding, here is a suggestion of several forums that you should consider joining:
– Expedition Portal – on this forum, you will receive instant updates about the trips of the members, as well as trip reports and overland adventures planning
- Overland Bound – this community offers discussions on a variety of topics, including overland ideas and navigations, so it is definitively worth your time
– The Overlander – ranging from general discussions on overlanding, up to more specific ones like choosing a vehicle, this forum is a great source of information for anyone interested in overlanding
- Overland Sphere – overland adventures and expeditions, as well as overland preparations, this forum has a lot to offer so you should consider visiting it
Hopefully, these will be more than enough to get you started. Communities like the forums above are not only a great source of information, but also a chance to meet new people. I am pretty sure that the forums cover this section too, but, how familiar are you with the term off-roading? Put your focus on the next paragraph to find out.
Overlanding vs. off-roading
You already know what overlanding is, but can you imagine what off-roading is? Clearly, the similarity between them is that both are “traveling –off-road,” but off-roading has a quite different meaning.
While the purpose of overlanding is to explore areas, travel weeks and even months with little or even no risk, off-roading is completely different.
The off-roading goal is to overcome tough obstacles, which is very risky, so the traveling ranges from one to a couple of days. Off-roading is a synonym for going over the limits, dealing with rocky terrain, mud or sand dunes is quite exhausting.
As this explanation may seem dry, this video should help to get a visual of what exactly it is.
Best overland vehicle
To go overlanding, you will need a specific vehicle, as your city car won’t be able to stand a trip of such difficulty. However, picking the right vehicle is always tough, regardless of your knowledge and experience in overlanding.
To choose the right vehicle, you will need to consider several parameters including the comfort you need, the duration of the trip, the size of the vehicle, your goal, and of course, your budget.
Ultimate overland camping vehicle
The market is full of many different vehicles, so most of you are trying to figure out what is the ultimate overland camping vehicle. The answer is simple– there isn’t one. There is no such thing as a perfect vehicle, so don’t look for it. Each model has pros and cons, so it is up to you to choose what you value the most.
But to find the perfect vehicle for you, there are several steps you will need to follow.
First of all, define your budget before you even start looking for a vehicle, because believe me, these things can cost you from tens of thousands of dollars up to a million, and you need to know what is your limit.
Next, size matters, especially when you are looking for an overloaded vehicle. As you will see, size affects other parameters, like comfort and power, so make your choice wisely.
Finally, remember that making modifications to your vehicle is very important. Buying a van and spending much money on it is not going to work unless you can modify it later based on your needs.
The choice is down to 3 types of vehicles:
As I mentioned above, it is a matter of personal choice, but to make it easier for you, here are several recommendations you might like.
– Chevrolet Colorado Z2 – it is basically a mid-size vehicle, quite cheap compared to others, but not enough powerful
– Toyota Tundra – enormous vehicle, very heavy, but offering big interior space, so this is the pick if you are looking for both comfort and power
– Sprinter Van – this vehicle is extremely big, but the size can give you much comfort, which is especially good for people that like to put a bed in their vehicle or install a kitchen or a toilet
In case you need a more detailed explanation of the pros and cons of these vehicles, this video will do the job.
Buying a vehicle is crucial, but it is not the only thing you should focus on. Since you will need to eat, your vehicle needs to be equipped with the right stove as well.
SUVs – SUV combines off-road capability and the ability to carry more passengers. It is a popular choice for expeditions due to its off-road design. It can also be quickly customized in body-and-fender shops to accommodate Overlanding.
Jeeps – A common sight in the Overlanding community, Jeep can be inexpensive and durable. The availability of parts is also what makes it attractive. Some second-hand jeeps can be bought cheaply and can be retrofitted with tents, storage rack, a sleeping cot.
Pick-up Trucks – The unique design of a pick-up makes it easier to put up a shell that can be used for sleeping and storage. A truck’s powerful engine and 4×4 capability make it a great choice in Overlanding. Toyota 4x4s gained notoriety after a propaganda video of a Middle-Eastern terrorist group performed a show of force using Toyota 4x4s. But the charm of a Toyota is in its availability of parts and its decent 4×4 qualities.
Adventure Bikes – Possessing the qualities of both a street bike and a dirt bike. These adventure bikes are fitted with hard storage cases. Some common bikes repurposed is the Kawasaki KLR and the BMW GS.
Vans – One aspect that vans dominate is its space and headroom. In an Overlanding vehicle, space is premium. However, you will have more leeway in a van. Not all vans are equipped with 4WD capability. However, some enthusiasts converted their vans to a 4WD right in their garage. Some tap the talents of local automotive shops that provide 4WD swapping.
Luxury SUVs – These vehicles are catered to provide the comforts of home in an Overland vehicle. However, the uniqueness and luxury of its design can make it expensive if a part needs to be repaired or replaced. The added items of a luxury SUV can be superfluous in the long run.
Luxury Bus – These are the ultimate vehicle of the Overlanding community. It boasts massive space that can support a kitchen, comfort room, multiple beds, own theater system, massive water tanks, and generates its electricity. However, a luxury bus isn’t a good fit for rough roads and they are expensive.
Overland camping stove
A good camping stove can be of great use, as it will save you much time and effort in food preparation. Although this process is less complex than choosing a vehicle, it is not easy to make a pick.
Generally, the main difference between the camping stoves is in power. Smaller sized stoves are less powerful and bigger ones are more powerful. The power of a camping stove is measured in BTUs, which stand for British Thermal Units. In case you are not familiar with this unit, 1 BTU is equal to 1055 J.
There are smaller options, lightweight, that are easy to carry around, but they are also less powerful. You can use it to boil water or cook some food, but it will be barely enough for one person.
Next, there a mid-sized stoves, that are enough to cook food for far more than one person. This is basically the classic camping stove that heats up way faster, reducing the time to cook a meal.
And finally, since you have a vehicle, you might even want to go with a bigger one. It takes more space, but it will definitively help you as you will be able to cook much faster with it. If space is not a problem for you, the last option seems to be the best.
In case you want to hear some more benefits from each type of camping stove, I suggest to take a look at this video.
Overlanding on a budget
Buying a vehicle, choosing a camping stove are expenses that you do once in a couple of years, or maybe once in a lifetime. However, overlanding has other expenses that you cannot escape from.
Those expenses include gas, sleeping setup, kitchen setup, and so on. Logically, you would like to minimize those expenses, so in order to learn how to do that, I would strongly recommend you to take a look at this.
To conclude, overlanding is a great activity you should definitively try. It is quite different than the regular camping, and I am pretty sure that you will love it.
On the other hand, you can just stick to the regular camping. So, which one do you prefer and why?
Camping or overlanding? Feel free to leave a comment below.