What is Overlanding?
“Overlanding” is best known as vehicle-based travel over land to remote places where the journey or adventure is the primary goal.
Today when we think of overlanding, we think of people packed into a modern-day adventure rig that can hold all of our camping supplies, food and family or friends. As a ModernJeeper, our favorite adventure rig is, of course, the Jeep, but no matter what rig you choose, if you are doing vehicle-based adventuring over land, you, too, are an “overlander.”
America’s Original Overlanders
When we think of the real early days of overlanding — the 1800’s — we think of the folks who made the tough trip west in covered wagons over famous trails like the Spanish Trail, Santa Fe Trail, Lassen-Applegate Trail, or the Oregon Trail. It was not always a successful overlanding adventure for them.
Early settlers (overlanders) had to depend on the land to feed them, their equipment to protect them, and their wits to keep them on course. If they failed at any point, it could mean not only the end of their overlanding journey, but the end of their lives. But, when they succeeded, they had an amazing adventure that was truly life-changing.
Of course, today overlanding is so much easier. We take our favorite rig, fill it with fuel and supplies, and head towards adventure and excitement at the touch of a steering wheel.
ModernJeepers may be more experienced taking their Jeeps up over rocky trails like the Rubicon or awesome trails like those that snake through Rausch Creek. But overlanding can be just as exciting. One day we might be in the high mountains of the Sierra Nevada or touring the Southwest deserts — next we might be traveling the tundra of the North or the woods of the East — but no matter where you take your rig, you are creating your personal overlanding adventure.
Just like many of us, I started out going on camping trips with my parents at a young age — the outdoors and the smell of a camp fire mixed with the taste of meat grilled over the open flame — memories and experiences I share with our kids to this day. Overlanding is the ModernJeeper’s camping trip of choice and I hope that my kids continue this tradition with their kids.
Two Great Resources
If you want to take your rig and experience the adventure of overlanding, there are plenty of web sites to help you find the right gear to survive in the mountains or desert for a few days or weeks on end. Two that I am familiar with and visit quite often are Overlandbound.com and Overlandjournal.com.
Overland Bound is a good website with reviews of products, trip ideas and a huge host of others resources on their forums and podcasts. The forums are friendly and helpful and even have a map function so you can find like minded friends in your local area to meet up with compare overlanding notes.
Overland Journal is a beautiful magazine published to help people learn about overlanding around the world. Chris Collard as “Editor-at-Large” helps facilitate a large product review edition once a year with just about any product you might need while on your journey. They have contributors from around the world giving you an idea of how others travel overland.
And don’t forget, ModernJeeper also has a forum thread dedicated to overland adventures here. And locally, you can do what we did and set up a overland-specific “meet and greet” in our new Texas community to meet other adventures.
Is There a Right Way?
There is no right or wrong way to overland. The key is preparation. You could start out small; and as long as you have room in you rig for all of your camping gear for a weekend or a single overnight trip, you can have fun.
You don’t need all the high dollar tents, sleeping bags and other gear to enjoy your adventure. We’ve done it with simple tents and other gear stuffed into our Jeep TJ. On one of our trips to Mirror Lake Trail with our club, the Jeep was packed to the gills, stuff was tied down to the top and we still had room for us and the dog (can’t forget Fido).
We have “overlanded” with our Chevy truck going into the hills to get away for a weekend. It is just nice to escape your work/home environment, hang out in nature, and melt into the woods.
There are just a few rules to remember when you Overland:
- Be Prepared – Make sure you bring everything you may need to make it through your trip — food, gear, and safety equipment.
- Keep it Clean – Remember to Pack-it-in and Pack-it-out. Keep the lands as clean or cleaner then you found them.
- Always Have Communications – There are other articles on MondernJeeper.com about radio communications. Many times you may be out of cell range, so always have a means to reach others in case of Emergency.
The main goal is always the same… have fun! So plan your trip, get out there, and let your Adventure Begin!
Editors Note: We welcome your overlanding stories. Have a story to share? Email email@example.com with your story idea.