Definition of Overlanding

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Alanymarce

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So, just to add a few cents:

It's whatever it means to each person - I'm not going to disagree with someone's opinion that it's driving to a campsite and then exploring around it for a few days, for example - each definition is valid.

I guess to try to add something to the thread - I do have some boundary conditions:

Driving from my home out into the desert or forest for a day isn't my idea of overland travel (but could be someone else's).

Driving from Brussels to Stockholm over 10 days, staying in BnBs isn't my idea of overland travel either.

The vehicle is irrelevant - it's simply a means to an end.

How you sleep is irrelevant - you could stay in posadas when travellling to Tierra del Fuego and back over 6 months and it's still an "overland" trip, I think. You could camp every night for a year travelling around Africa and it's equally valid.

What is relevant is the purpose, I believe. The trip is an exploration, and adventure, or just a wander, finding places which offer what you're interested in. If that's "rock crawling" then so be it (although if you haul your vehicle out to a 4x4 course for a weekend that wouldn't fit my view, albeit that it may yours). If you tour South Australian vineyards for a month in your vehicle then so be it. If it's Nairobi to Cape Town to visit national parks - so be it. It's very much each inidividual's objectives which matter.

I do have a minor niggle with the word "overlanding" - "overland" is an adjective (as "overseas" is). Creating a new participle from this and then reverse engineering a verb "to overland" is uncomfortable for me. So, I think of "overland travelling" as the activity. When I think of "travelling" as the focus, with "overland" as a qualifier, my view of "overlanding" is clearer.

So, to give some examples of what I personally do which I would consider "overland travel":

11 months and 49,000 Km around South America - mostly posadas, little camping.

9 months and 45,000 Km around Southern and Eastern Africa, camping about half the time, lodges, bandas, and hotels the rest.

10 months and 45,000 Km around Australia, mostly camping.

Plus a lot of shorter trips like Selebi Pikwe-Bulawayo-Great Zimbabwe-Victoria Falls- Kasane-Maun-Makgadikgadi-Selebi Pikwe in 3 weeks, camping all the way.
 

Chill

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there’s not a community of like minded individuals that are able to agree on the very word that defines their group
actually, that is a good thing! if this was a group that had defined boundaries that were already laid out and everyone had to agree to them and follow them specifically, then it would have definitely lost it's appeal a long time ago. a lot of folk on here are "like minded" to a point. you could also ask the same question "What is cooking?" most folk would agree they like to heat up food and eat it. then it would break down to cooking is ONLY a direct flame and cast iron and people arguing over whether a microwave is "cooking" and are you really camp cooking if you're not using a Spork, etc, etc...

we're ALL like minded to the point of knowing we like to eat and we like to get in our vehicles and go places....the best thing is how we help each other. you may be new to this forum, but you live in north carolina and automatically you already know a lot more about the state than i do. the wife and i had accidentally ventured into maggie valley a couple years ago and liked it and want to travel more in NC. now with you on here, i have another source of help and a better chance of finding out about cool places that may not be on a map. we may not agree on what to do once we get somewhere, BUT everyone on here will definitely help you get to where you want to go and that is where we shine as a community! :grinning:
Well said. Come join me for and adventure in NC anytime!! I’d be glad to show you around.
 
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Chill

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So, just to add a few cents:

It's whatever it means to each person - I'm not going to disagree with someone's opinion that it's driving to a campsite and then exploring around it for a few days, for example - each definition is valid.

I guess to try to add something to the thread - I do have some boundary conditions:

Driving from my home out into the desert or forest for a day isn't my idea of overland travel (but could be someone else's).

Driving from Brussels to Stockholm over 10 days, staying in BnBs isn't my idea of overland travel either.

The vehicle is irrelevant - it's simply a means to an end.

How you sleep is irrelevant - you could stay in posadas when travellling to Tierra del Fuego and back over 6 months and it's still an "overland" trip, I think. You could camp every night for a year travelling around Africa and it's equally valid.

What is relevant is the purpose, I believe. The trip is an exploration, and adventure, or just a wander, finding places which offer what you're interested in. If that's "rock crawling" then so be it (although if you haul your vehicle out to a 4x4 course for a weekend that wouldn't fit my view, albeit that it may yours). If you tour South Australian vineyards for a month in your vehicle then so be it. If it's Nairobi to Cape Town to visit national parks - so be it. It's very much each inidividual's objectives which matter.

I do have a minor niggle with the word "overlanding" - "overland" is an adjective (as "overseas" is). Creating a new participle from this and then reverse engineering a verb "to overland" is uncomfortable for me. So, I think of "overland travelling" as the activity. When I think of "travelling" as the focus, with "overland" as a qualifier, my view of "overlanding" is clearer.

So, to give some examples of what I personally do which I would consider "overland travel":

11 months and 49,000 Km around South America - mostly posadas, little camping.

9 months and 45,000 Km around Southern and Eastern Africa, camping about half the time, lodges, bandas, and hotels the rest.

10 months and 45,000 Km around Australia, mostly camping.

Plus a lot of shorter trips like Selebi Pikwe-Bulawayo-Great Zimbabwe-Victoria Falls- Kasane-Maun-Makgadikgadi-Selebi Pikwe in 3 weeks, camping all the way.
Sounds like some really cool adventures. I guess I started this thread because I feel strongly about traveling instead of staying in one place when it comes “overlanding” or overland travel.
 

grubworm

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Good god, I wish people would quit trying to "define" everything, or "label" everything. Once something is defined or labeled the arguing begins.
It matters not what we call it.
exactly. it doesn't matter and that is why we can have that fun banter between members on here yapping about things that DON'T matter.
have fun...not every thread or post has to be serious
 
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4x4tripping

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This is a difficult discussion, across severall languages.





These is called a "Camping-Platz" in German language. Can be translatet to campsite. They are usually crowded, noisy and very regulated (no campfire) and so on.

That above is camping for me.



Then you have idiots who like to staying wild - in big groups - without any facilitys or maintenance. They just seems to be near the beach - for free. I dont get a naming for those jet.

So - when we are collecting what overlanding NOT is - helps to define it?
 
Last edited:

GHCOE

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1,212
SW Idaho
Well lets break it down a bit...
Overland by definition
o·ver·land
(ō′vər-lănd′, -lənd)
adj.
Accomplished, traversing, or passing over the land instead of the ocean:

That would mean that Overlanding is partaking in some form of overland experience. Whether it be by car on the highway, a 4x4 on a two track, or hiking a trail you are by definition overlanding. I guess this would be why no one can really figure out the meaning of overlanding since in reality everybody (who is on land) is overlanding at some point during the day. I would suspect that by walking to the bedroom in your house, if it is on land, would be considered overlanding. It really is a pretty broad definition.


In the American old west there was the Overland Trail The Overland Trail Across the American West – Legends of America . Or travel by sea around the Cape Traveling to California - CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH (weebly.com) .

In Australia there was the Canning Stock route Canning Stock Route (on.net) which opened up taking cattle across the Australian outback instead of transporting them by sea.
Which is related to the movie the "Overlanders" The Overlanders (film) - Wikipedia .


In the article mentioned above, Canning Stock Route (on.net), the first vehicle to drive the full length of the Canning Stock (overland) Route was in 1968. I believe that this is where the term Overlanding became a new definition as we know it today and how I would describe what I believe overlanding is to me. You have a destination, You have no support but what and who is with you. You are relying on yourself and others in your party to get to that destination. You stop only to refresh yourself enough to continue the journey. You are traveling roads that are not roads used for normal daily travel by others. You are visiting along the way historical locations and areas. Yes, you are driving vehicles which would be capable of driving in these kinds of conditions.

Well....OK! I hope that clears things up. George.



I
 

Michael

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So...I’m new here and if this has already been discussed please directly me to the thread. But I wanted to get some thoughts on how other people define overlanding. My buddies and I recently had a disagreement on what we felt it was and I’ve come to realize that it’s a spectrum and can’t be defined to just one single thing. So what’s overlanding look like for you? Thanks!!
Why don't you start telling us what is your and your friends definition?
I realize now that probably no one will answer my question straight out, and that’s okay. It’s a tough thing to define and the whole thing has been commercialized to death that it’s tough to even use the word anymore. I agree that it can be simplified to “vehicle dependent transportation” and I also believe there should be a strong emphasis on transportation or travel over land. The rub between me and one of my buddies came when he began to define it as...drive to a campsite and set up “base camp” for the weekend. I love the outdoors and that can certainly be fun but I don’t feel like I’m “overlanding” if I could drive a Prius to that same spot and just camp for a few days and then drive home. That’s car camping to me. I could be way off here and that’s why I’m asking. Hoping that this community cares enough to contribute meaningful dialogue with a new guy. If not...then I’ll be quiet or move along.
Hey Chill,

There is a fallacy in defining overlanding, that's why we simply call it 'vehicle dependent travel'. Consider this question, "What is the definition of boating?". Now if you go into a boating community and you start telling people that their definition of boating is not "real" boating, that just makes you an ass, and I think most here would agree, it would be kind of pointless.

For me, there is a point to this community - many people do not understand the basic benefits of heading out for adventure and relying on themselves, and then, their community. That process creates character, and people with character treat other people better. By introducing and supporting people in vehicle dependent travel, we hope to help folks who can benefit from the experience. It helped me greatly, and we're trying to pay it back. I am so grateful that this community does this every day.

I think there is a ‘rub’ in general when it comes to how hard you use your vehicle. For some, you are not Overlanding unless you are breaking parts. I break parts on almost every trip, but that’s partly because I drive a 25 year old vehicle. Mostly, this is because I just go to places that are hard on vehicles, BUT, I don’t like breaking parts. It’s expensive. One thought I'll introduce - hard core vehicle-breaking trails and rock crawling is a sport. Example, King of the Hammers. It's not really a sustainable lifestyle.

If a person has the need to prove to others that they are tough, have a thick skin, can live off the land, chew the head off a rattlesnake, and are the equivalent of Chuck Yeager (RIP) behind a 4X4, they can do that within overlanding. But let's be real. You are not William Clark or any one of the brave Americans traveling East to West in the early days of the US. The simple fact is, we explore because we can, and choose to, but for most, not because our life depends on it.

We now have many friends who are full-time overlanders. They travel slow, and deliberately. The last thing they want to do is break parts and spend money on gas. Many travel with families and safety is a concern.

Check out the worldwide travels of Graeme Bell here on our website: Overlanding as a Way of Life - Overland Bound

He’s written many articles from his perspective often counter popular culture which we like. For example, why do all you Americans want to Overland in Africa? North America is Overlanding Nirvana. The USA is Overlanding Nirvana - Overland Bound

If I had to - because you forced me - go out on a limb and define a true overlander, I'd point back to our founding principles. We did not invent these character traits. We compiled them specific to our community. By being a good, centered, supportive contributor to the community, you will receive great respect.


M