Fake Overlanding?

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GUTB

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Hi, I'm new here but I'm curious about the overlanding I see on many youtube channels. It seems to me that what they're doing is going on flat, very well-worn offroad trails which look like a Corolla could cross them let alone a lifted Jeep. Also I see them crawling along, so I wonder if they might as well be driving Corollas. I had this idea of overlanding being something like long-range off-roading, or off-roading with camping mixed in. Off-roading to me meant crossing a terrain you couldn't in a regular commuter vehicle. Do I have an incorrect concept of overlanding or is what these guys are doing amounts to pretend overlanding?
 
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Charles M

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I think it is hard to define an exact terrain for overlanding. While it is certainly off the beaten path the path is not always beat up. In my personal experience I have done a lot of smooth trails both sandy and very muddy needing 4x4, tracks with ruts, grooves, rocks and steep inclines and up hill runs without 4x4. I have also been in the desert running for 50 miles at speeds of 60 mph... When I was in Moab for a few months I did all sorts of trails some were at a snails pace others I had fun spinning tires and sliding through turns.

Camping for me is certainly a part of it. With out group we have done over a 100 miles off road and I am pretty sure a corolla would not have made all of it but, maybe some parts.. My camping might be in a tent or the back of my 2 seater Tahoe or even just under the stars on the ground.

My guess is many of those videos are taken in areas with smoother trails or maybe they are like my wife and I when get into the rough sections we are often to busy hanging on to video it and we seldom if ever get out to video the action.

Either way I think overlanding can be varied in many ways terrain, vehicles, tents or lack of tents, distance or number of days.

I would also point out jeeps are not the average overland vehicles too.
 
Fake is a strong word, I drove 5000 miles from the UK to the Gambia and only a relatively small portion of that would meet your definition above, but as it was vehicle dependent and across land I'd certainly judge it overlanding?

Certainly overlanding is more likely to involve the road less travelled, but does it mean inaccessible car breaking trails(and filming/photographing yourself doing so), for me absolutely not.

As for the Corolla, there's many a local 2wd Toyota pilot in Africa capable of off road driving to places perceived as inaccessible.
 

Motoboss

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Overlanding is car (jeep, truck, corolla) camping. It's the same thing that has been done since the wagon trains went west. Some areas require more recovery, survival equipment than others but it's still the same thing. The longer and futher you go the more you need to take. Go with what you got, enjoy the outdoors and nature as you go.
It is definitely the journey not the destination no matter how you get there.
 

Dilldog

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To me overlanding is just using your car to get out into the world and experience something outside of your normal. It will typically include some off highway but I dont even think it needs to. Its just all about getting to areas that you find interesting or exciting. In short, my belief is that the term overlanding is purely subjective anymore. When the term was first coined it was synonymous with high adventure and month long expeditions where you dont see any sign of civilization except at resupply points, but with how things are anymore I dont believe this needs to be the case.
 
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Road

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It should not be about intentionally finding the rough way, in my experience.

Anyone ages ago traveling long distances by vehicle to experience and explore local culture, society, and new places would avail themselves of the easiest route, not the roughest or biggest challenge to their vehicles. Though it often meant fording streams and going across remote passes, it more often meant using old trade routes worn smooth by generations of travelers before automobiles. To that end, as well, they would stay over in towns to interact with locals when needed or desired, not intentionally avoiding them to stay only back country and off-road.

Overlanding, for me, is not about being ONLY off-road or intentionally finding rough terrain. It feels like you may be confusing the two. I think the more you're out there doing it, the more you'll see it is not about just being on a rough or rocky road.

My vehicle, though high clearance, is only rear-wheel drive and I go pretty much wherever I want.

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LonestarXV

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As others have said in similar words Overlanding to me and my understanding is motor based adventure. That is to say that I’m using a motorized vehicle as my primary source of transportation to experience new and interesting parts of the world, some close some far, some on highway or paved roads some on trails. I will also say that adventure is a personal thing that means different things to different people so each of us needs to define and adjust what overlanding is for themselves.

On a side note, I’ve seen many Corolla navigate terrain that seemed difficult for some MRAP and 7-ton drivers to pass in Afghanistan so...
 

1Louder

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I'm too lazy to produce videos. But if I did I would be focused on the technical sections of any given trail vs capturing the magic shot. So in a nutshell maybe a lot of what you see on the YouTube doesn't include the technical stuff because they are focused on the trail and safety vs being "all about the gram." I have taken my vehicle and trailer down so technical stuff and while I wished a few photos would have been snapped we were focused on the trail.

Yes it can be funny to see a group airing down and get passed by a Civic but it is what it is. I have also helped a 4 door Lexus car off of Lippincot Rd trying to drive up to the Racetrack because Google told them to go that way. They wouldn't have made it. So some folks in their cars just don't know any better. Those familiar with Schnebly Hill Rd between Flagstaff and Sedona friends stopped a Cadiliac ( I think) from going all the way down it. Same thing Google said go that way and he needed to get to Sedona. Before they could give him directions he turned around and flew back to Flagstaff all while parts were literally falling off of his vehicle. Good times..

I dunno many have said it in other threads. Who cares what others think and who really cares what I think.

Safe travels....
 

GUTB

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Wow. The fact that you can off-road just fine in a van that looks like it has some minor suspension and wheel upgrades does put a different light on things. It's just that, why is this forum filled with highly upgraded Jeeps and other common off-roading type vehicles? A serious lift kit + suspension and wheel upgrades is a lot of money, why are there so many people doing this? I've seen pre-built "overland" Jeeps for $80-100k. Why on Earth would anyone spend that kind of $ on a Jeep when they could be overlanding just fine on pennies in comparison? Am I missing something?
 

MazeVX

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Wow. The fact that you can off-road just fine in a van that looks like it has some minor suspension and wheel upgrades does put a different light on things. It's just that, why is this forum filled with highly upgraded Jeeps and other common off-roading type vehicles? A serious lift kit + suspension and wheel upgrades is a lot of money, why are there so many people doing this? I've seen pre-built "overland" Jeeps for $80-100k. Why on Earth would anyone spend that kind of $ on a Jeep when they could be overlanding just fine on pennies in comparison? Am I missing something?
I think it's mostly because most are car guys and gearheads... And who really wants to turn around when there is a obstacle on the chosen trail?
My jeep has a moderate lift and 33" tires, probably more than I really need but the upgraded suspension gives confidence, handles the weight better and is way more comfortable offroad than stock. That's enough reason for me.
 

Road

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Wow. The fact that you can off-road just fine in a van that looks like it has some minor suspension and wheel upgrades does put a different light on things. It's just that, why is this forum filled with highly upgraded Jeeps and other common off-roading type vehicles? A serious lift kit + suspension and wheel upgrades is a lot of money, why are there so many people doing this? I've seen pre-built "overland" Jeeps for $80-100k. Why on Earth would anyone spend that kind of $ on a Jeep when they could be overlanding just fine on pennies in comparison? Am I missing something?
.
I'm assuming this is in regards to my post showing van and trailer.

I think it's all about what you have, what you want, what you can afford, where you're going, and for how long. For some it's more about the look to get 'serious lift kit + suspension and wheel upgrades', for others it's that they want to be able to do more serious rock-crawl type trails or to be more nimble in general.

I tend to stay out for months at a time and may explore several different types of environments with a wide range of weather conditions in one adventure, so haul more than many might, including a lot of photography gear and stuff I'm testing and reviewing and stuff for folks who might join me along the way. A van and the extra room work well for me, and I already had it, am used to working on it, had a very similar one before this, and it's what I know.

I can do most trails marked "4WD Vehicles Only" and have, all over the place, though know where I'm going and what kind of trail it is before doing them. I've used my bike more than once to scout a trail to be sure there's not an arroyo washed out or for some other reason would be unwise for me to drive my big-assed van towing a trailer back in there.

My van has no suspension or wheel upgrades, though does have a one-ton rear end done by Penske on an otherwise 3/4 ton vehicle. I can't say I'm a serious "off-roader" in the sense that many think of it, though I've gained a ton of confidence in what I and my rig are capable of.

I've seen tiny stock Datsun rwd pickups and other smaller rwd vehicles on some 4WD only trails along the border where I thought the guy was nuts, but he made it just fine.

It is surprising, though, how many rangers and border patrol and other guys I've talked to who are out there full-time in their vehicles and how often they say they rarely ever engage 4wd.

It's there though, when they need it, and that's a great point.

I may still get a 4wd conversion and 3-4" lift to be able to do even more, like help with extractions of those who get themselves in trouble, or be able to tow better in winter climates, and to better get back in further solo than I'm comfortable doing now in some places.
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oldmopars

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I think with good driving and some recovery equipment(and knowledge to use it) you can go a lot of places in even 2wd vehicles. However in a decent 4wd you can go even farther.
Most of the places that we want to go, have some kind of road that leads to them, even if it may be a rough road, there is almost always a road. And, to keep with the "Tread Lightly" mind set, you want to stay on the roads, not go making your own.
Until recently all my "Overlanding" has been done by motorcycle. Several different kinds, some very modified, some stock. I did a lot of off road, but it seems for every mile of off road, I had to do 5 miles of road just to get there.
As has been said, "Overlanding" is just a new term for car camping. In the 1950's you would load the family, dog and camping gear in the family wagon and head out, often to where there were no paved roads, you went slow.
Now we have better vehicles and often 4wd, but we also have better and more paved roads.
I think you may be getting "4 Wheeling" confused with "Overlanding". 4 Wheeling they build big trucks, lots of money, suspension travel, big tires, winches, etc. with the goal of climbing big , muddy, steep, rocky obstacles. However, they often tow those trucks to the trail, or drive short distances to the trail because the trucks are rarely comfortable to drive on the road for very long.
I think most of the people here aim to be somewhere in between the family station-wagon and the lifted monster 4x4s. But gear geeks will build some cool stuff, even if they don't really need it.
 

Jku Ben

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Wow. The fact that you can off-road just fine in a van that looks like it has some minor suspension and wheel upgrades does put a different light on things. It's just that, why is this forum filled with highly upgraded Jeeps and other common off-roading type vehicles? A serious lift kit + suspension and wheel upgrades is a lot of money, why are there so many people doing this? I've seen pre-built "overland" Jeeps for $80-100k. Why on Earth would anyone spend that kind of $ on a Jeep when they could be overlanding just fine on pennies in comparison? Am I missing something?
Some people make way to much money & have to build a bigger vehicle than their neighbor :) just having fun.
On a serious note there are some people with Subaru’s, Andy many other vehicles than built up Jeeps or 4 runners etc. even seen a post on a guy that had a pretty sweet Kia Soul with a lift kit & Offroad tires. IMO it’s whatever vehicle you can make work & the simple fact of getting out & exploring this beautiful country we live in. Just my 2 cents.
 
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Billiebob

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Hi, I'm new here but I'm curious about the overlanding I see on many youtube channels. It seems to me that what they're doing is going on flat, very well-worn offroad trails which look like a Corolla could cross them let alone a lifted Jeep. Also I see them crawling along, so I wonder if they might as well be driving Corollas. I had this idea of overlanding being something like long-range off-roading, or off-roading with camping mixed in. Off-roading to me meant crossing a terrain you couldn't in a regular commuter vehicle. Do I have an incorrect concept of overlanding or is what these guys are doing amounts to pretend overlanding?
you are right on the mark
overlanding is a cool term today so everyone thinks they are doing it
in reality it is just an excuse to build a "cool" camper and stroke your ego.

Real overlanders are few and far between
Heres one, 1957.
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Billiebob

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For me overlanding is about meeting people, discovering new cultures... expanding yer mind.
Otherwise you are just camping or wheeling.
Overlanding challenges you mentally..
and emotionally.

Technically you don't need a 4x4 or even a vehicle.
Some of the best "overlanders" do it by sailing around the world.
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Billiebob

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why is this forum filled with highly upgraded Jeeps and other common off-roading type vehicles? A serious lift kit + suspension and wheel upgrades is a lot of money
Because it is also about ego....
Overlanding is cool today.

You get 20 guys who go wheeling together in their "overland" rigs.
Or 10 guys who meet to go fishing, hunting in their "overland" rigs.
Or a dozen school friends who go glamping in their "overland" rigs.
Technically they are wheeling, fishing or camping.
Overlanding involves risky social situations which challenge your cultural norms.
Maybe force you to learn to communicate in a new language.
Until you step out of your bubble, you are not overlanding.
 
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GUTB

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Dallas to Anchorage Alaska is a less-than-3-day trip according to Google Maps. Basically that means there are highways that will take you all the way across the North American continent. I mean IS there such a thing as "overland" travel in the US and Canada? Would I need to go explore deep into the Arctic before going into "overland" territory?

There's these Earthroamer off-road capable "expedition" campers. 900 mile range, nice appointments, etc. But for a half million dollars for what amounts to a tough truck camper....if I had that kind of money I'd buy a big sailboat and cross the Atlantic. I would be center of attention at the overland camp though.

So, could I just get a used van, put a bed and portable toilet in the back and basically do overlanding? It seems like you wouldn't even need a tent.
 
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