Has overlanding become elitist ?

  • Hi Guest, you may choose a LIGHT or DARK theme that works best for you with the "Style Chooser" button at the bottom left on this page!

John D.

Rank V
Member

Advocate III

1,978
porterville, ca
First Name
John
Last Name
Duffy
Member #

7950

Let me start off by saying, being on disability I may be biased, but still no need to rip me a new one. I watch many, many overlanding videos from all kinds of overlanding Youtube channels, and I have yet to see one, except "iamjake" that doesn't have $10,000 or close to it (usually more) worth of gear on their rigs. Now I'm not talking about people that live in their rigs full time, but rather those that go for a few days at a time or less. Now I know it's very difficult to not pay a premium to get out there. I mean even good tires can be $1,000 or more a set. Just seems to me that overlanding has gone the same way SUV's, Harleys, trucks, and other things have gone. They got popular by people with pretty good size budgets, then parts costs skyrocket because a lot of people can afford it, and the little guys like me get left out. Now I can and do go out there as far as I can for now but I'll bet my gear costs less than $300. You work hard I know, I don't begrudge you that, you earned it GREAT. Just sucks to not see people more like me out there too.
 

reaver

Rank III

Contributor III

511
US
First Name
Brian
Last Name
McGahuey
I hear ya, and at times, I may agree with you. Personally, I'm pretty new to this whole "overlanding" thing myself. But, you don't necessarily need to spend a ton of money to do it. The first trip I went on was 4 days into the Oregon desert, using a bone stock 04 colorado and camping gear I had laying around. Had a blast, didn't get stuck, and went everywhere everyone else did.

This stuff can be spendy, but you don't need a huge rooftop tent, 2 sets of max trax, brand name bed rack, etc. Keep it simple, and get only what you need. Keep your vehicle maintained, and have some decent recovery gear (I'm still working on this one), and get out there. That's what I'm working on.
 

ScottE

Rank VI
Member

Navigator I

3,377
Austin, TX
First Name
Scott
Last Name
Etkin
Member #

13439

Let me start off by saying, being on disability I may be biased, but still no need to rip me a new one. I watch many, many overlanding videos from all kinds of overlanding Youtube channels, and I have yet to see one, except "iamjake" that doesn't have $10,000 or close to it (usually more) worth of gear on their rigs. Now I'm not talking about people that live in their rigs full time, but rather those that go for a few days at a time or less. Now I know it's very difficult to not pay a premium to get out there. I mean even good tires can be $1,000 or more a set. Just seems to me that overlanding has gone the same way SUV's, Harleys, trucks, and other things have gone. They got popular by people with pretty good size budgets, then parts costs skyrocket because a lot of people can afford it, and the little guys like me get left out. Now I can and do go out there as far as I can for now but I'll bet my gear costs less than $300. You work hard I know, I don't begrudge you that, you earned it GREAT. Just sucks to not see people more like me out there too.
John...I totally hear you. I bought my rig used with most everything on it. I travel more than most and added a roof top tent and camping lights. Getting all the, "cool," gear is pricey. I just hope you get out there with whatever you have and enjoy a good group of people and God's beautiful creation.
 

J.W.

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

1,479
Cincinnati
First Name
J
Last Name
W
Member #

17839

Ham Callsign
KE8AYE
How do you get a beach body?
Simple, have a body and go to the beach.

Same with overlanding. Travel over land and you’re overlanding. Yes, people spend a ridiculous amount of money on gear. I’m guilty of it myself lately. But I remember taking a couple of trips to the Boundary Waters in an Escort GT in the late 80s and early 90s. I spent months traveling and camping in that car and had a blast. Did I get stuck? Yep. Did I get out? Yep. I had a hand-me-down tent, a borrowed canoe, and I lived off pilot biscuits and canned food. I’m fortunate to be able to have some better gear now but I would make those trips again with the same gear if it was between that or not going. And I’m definitely not going to judge someone for not having expensive gear.

I’m more interested in the clever things people come up with when they don’t want to spend a lot of money to do something. That being said, there are certain things that are safety concerns which require the right gear. Worn down street tires on muddy terrain? Stay on the pavement or gravel until you can make some upgrades. Still, that’s not a judgement about income, it’s simple physics. This is a hobby that can welcome anyone who enjoys and adventure. There are plenty of gravel roads that lead to beautiful landscapes. No reason to let your budget be the thing that keeps you at home.
 

Cottonwoody

US West Region Member Rep
Member

Pathfinder I

2,271
Redding CA
Member #

3457

I hear you. I have always have been a supporter of "you can have awesome trips with simple affordable rigs". I started out with a 2wd '93 Toyota pick up and I drove it all over Baja California and the So Cal dessert. Needed to be very careful where I drove but learned how to dig out of the sand and had a wonderful time. Matter of fact, the less capable your vehicle is, the easier it often is to extract. The lockers and traction control can get you deeper into a situation that requires an even more capable vehicle to get you out. I moved up to a "95 Toyota PU 4x4 with a camper shell and slept in the back. You don't need all that stuff; there are ways around them. My original Max Trax was a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood cut into quarters. My good friend use to wheel a '65 Volkswagon split window van all over Baja; had awesome trips. Just stay within the limits of the vehicle; and even the expensiveness ones have them. You don't need to rock crawl a 5' boulder to Overland and see stuff. Heck, you can even lock the rear end of a 2wd and now you have a pre-runner.

Yeah, It can get a little "over the top" when you start to think that you can only "overland" a Toyota LC 70 series with a diesel with a 600 mile fuel range to explore the world. In our country, it's not even an option. This is the reason I joined "Overland Bound" because "it's not what you drive". What you drive does have parameters; but you can take what you have a go to some amazing places. In some ways, my 2wd was alot more fun to drive in the dessert than my current 4runner. I put the smallest BFGs that would fit on that vehicle, better shocks and because the center of gravity was nice and moderate, you could throw it around a corner like a race car. Lock the rear end and I could have gone 70% of the place my buddies could with their 4x4s. Good subject.
 

John D.

Rank V
Member

Advocate III

1,978
porterville, ca
First Name
John
Last Name
Duffy
Member #

7950

Thanks for the replies, you all are awesome. One reason I joined Overland bound was for community. I DO get out there as much as I can sorry if I didn't mention that. Me n my '99 Buick do what we can. Honestly, I don't go out with other overlanders yet because I'd be embarrassed with my car. And I am NOT camping in bear country in a ground tent LOL
 

Cottonwoody

US West Region Member Rep
Member

Pathfinder I

2,271
Redding CA
Member #

3457

Taken from Overland Journal What is Overlanding :: Overland Journal

Overlanding is about exploration, rather than conquering obstacles. While the roads and trails we travel might be rough or technically challenging, they are the means to an end, not the goal itself. The goal is to see and learn about our world, whether on a weekend trip 100 miles from home or a 10,000-mile expedition across another continent. The vehicle and equipment can be simple or extravagant - they, too, are simply means to an end. History, wildlife, culture, scenery, self-sufficiency - these are the rewards of overlanding.

I've been recently struggling with the thought pressure to upgrade for capability reason and I am finding that it is distracting my attention from the orignal reason I went off into the wilderness; adventure. The pressure to increase tire size; then having to regear. Big bumpers, big winches, big batteries. In some regards, staying stock will help you go deeper into the adventure. When traveling to foriegn countries, it is often easier to get stock factory parts than some custom part from a manufacturer in America.
 

Cottonwoody

US West Region Member Rep
Member

Pathfinder I

2,271
Redding CA
Member #

3457

Stock vehicles are very capable. This isn't a competition, we are enjoying each others company while exploring. Heck, having 31" tires back in the day was impressive. Didn't hear alot about changing UCAs, you just added a leaf to the rear pack and cranked up the torsions bars. I love keeping it simple as possible.
 

Contributor I

Even though it sometimes rips this group, OverlandMemes on Instagram also pokes a large amount of fun at the "social media Overlanders" who seem to imply it's all about the gear or that you need to have super expensive mods to have fun. It's done a good job of reality checking me from feeling like I need to go overboard with equipment or mods to have a good time out there.

Have you checked out Ronny Dahl from Australia? Though he has an expensive rig, he has lots of videos promoting how little you really need to go Overlanding/4wheeling (as he calls it). Personally, I think there is a great amount of pride that people should take for having a blast and getting out there with the less spend the better. I've got a 3rd gen 4Runner that I paid slightly over $7k for and havent really done any mods to yet that I feel can take me on all sorts of great adventures. Don't try to keep up with the cool kids!
 

Billiebob

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

1,760
Nakusp, BC V0G 1R0, Canada
First Name
Bill
Last Name
Tobey
Member #

18893

Guys who do the youtube thing do it to show off their gear. Guys like you and me who overland for the pure pleasure of living with nature likely don't even consider the distraction of making a "movie". We might not even take photos.

edit, but there are many overlanders who do youtube share the culture and travel very well. But their theme is showing the experience, not the gear they use to do it.

unfortunately youtube has attracted egos to build it, show it off, park it. Without really overlanding.
 

Billiebob

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

1,760
Nakusp, BC V0G 1R0, Canada
First Name
Bill
Last Name
Tobey
Member #

18893

The pressure to increase tire size; then having to regear. Big bumpers, big winches, big batteries. In some regards, staying stock will help you go deeper into the adventure.
I've done all that.... a few times. For the past 5 years I've been returning my TJR to stock.... except for 33s and the AEV HighLine. But no lift, stock shocks, stock springs, stock engine..... I actually found taking out the lift increased the capability, stability. Spend your $$$$ on refrigeration, solar, communication. Jeeps and Toyotas, the Colorado and Ranger are incredible off the showroom floor.

I've always liked passing a BMW in a Cortina..... Be the "underdog" you will never be embarrassed. And accept branches sideswiping yer car as scars of honour. Nothing is worse than a 4 wheeler trying to keep his $80K investment looking like a trailer queen.
 

Ashton

Rank IV

Pathfinder I

My 94 Dodge 2500 light duty with 31in stock tires, a 316 small block v8 and 4x4 cost me $3000. Took that darn thing everywhere an expensive rig could go, save the super tight switchbacks, and a lot of places they wouldn't. When you pay $3000 for your overland rig, you look forward to the character building inevitable pin-striping.
 

grubworm

Rank V

Pathfinder I

1,685
Louisiana, USA
First Name
mike
Last Name
c
Member #

17464

Has overlanding become elitist ?

The cool thing is that it is whatever YOU chose it to be! A person can focus on themself and nature and enjoy the experience OR focus on what everyone else is doing and what they have and be pissed off. Either way, everyone is free to feel how they wish.
 
Last edited:

sabjku

Rank VI
Member
Supporter

Pathfinder I

2,741
Alexandria, VA
First Name
Steve
Last Name
B
Member #

13840

Personally, I definitely fall into that category of being a gear freak! I admit it, I really like gear, and love to personally experience the difference between products, and have no problems spending my hard earned money on it. I'm also not married and don't have any kids lol, which definitely makes it easier!

I've been in the bicycle industry for all of my working years and there is no better industry to feel the impact of product innovation and evolution. Want a new bike and only want to spend $300? You can do it. Want a new bike and want to drop $20,000 this Saturday? I have those in stock as well. All industries/hobbies have vast ranges of equipment, to satisfy all budgets. Spend as little, or as much as you choose. The money you spend doesn't necessarily correlate to how much you enjoy the hobby, although good equipment can definitely create a more pleasurable experience when that product is put to use. We have plenty of customers with $20k bikes, the latest in apparel, $400 helmets, etc. but they aren't racers at all. They just love buying gear! It's also these same folks that purchase this equipment, that allows our industry to evolve, and allows trickle down technology to come into play. If they weren't buying it, then we wouldn't have the quality and selection of equipment in our industry that we do now.

The posting of high end equipment and elaborate builds on sites like IG are always going to garner more attention than those that are out on the weekends using their 20 year old camping equipment-(no offense at all to those that fall into this category. I'm simply using it as an exagerated means of comparison for this example). It doesn't necessarily mean the folks with high end builds and gear are having more fun, but it creates product interest and potential demand for said product. It sells gear.

With that said, I 100% agree with everyone's posts in this thread. I just told a friend of mine the other day that I had just as much fun heading out on the weekends with just my backpack tossed in the back of my Jeep as I do now with all of the other gear I've acquired. There's no real reason for all of it, other than I wanted it, and made a decision to purchase it. Yes, some of it was necessary, but a lot of it was luxury. Do I get out and use it? Yes, absolutely. But was it all needed? Nope.

I got out this weekend and explored West VA some more. I realized Saturday night when I was sitting at camp as to how much I was looking forward to getting up early on Sunday and doing as much driving as I possibly could, to see as much as I could, and to find new spots to venture out to in the future-the primary definition of overlanding, at least in my eyes. It had nothing to do with my Jeep or any of my equipment.
 

reaver

Rank III

Contributor III

511
US
First Name
Brian
Last Name
McGahuey
Stock vehicles are very capable. This isn't a competition, we are enjoying each others company while exploring. Heck, having 31" tires back in the day was impressive. Didn't hear alot about changing UCAs, you just added a leaf to the rear pack and cranked up the torsions bars. I love keeping it simple as possible.
This right here. This is exactly what I'm doing with my 04 Colorado. Stock rear auto locker (which works surprisingly well). I'm planning on a 2" shackle and 2" torsion crank with a differential drop and ball joint flip, and that's it. That should give me about 10" of clearance, and maybe if I'm lucky, enough room to clear 33's with a bit of trimming. I'm already running 31s.

I'm definitely in the keep it simple camp. I'd rather spend my money fixing things when I inevitably break something, or replacing old worn out camping gear (like an old tent that had a tree land on it).
 

1Louder

Rank V
Member
Supporter

Advocate I

2,566
AZ
First Name
Chris
Last Name
K
Member #

1437

Ham Callsign
K1LDR
To each his own. Drive what you can afford. Buy gear you can afford. It doesn't matter what other people have.... I like to buy and try lots of gear. I guess I work "hard" and now can afford said stuff. 25 years ago that was not the case. 25 years ago I also used to be able to carry a 50lb plus backpack 2 days up a mountain to camp for a week at 12,500. Stuff changes. I don't worry about what others have.

Are there Grammers and YouTubers who think they can get everything for free because they have "followers" and are "overlanders?" Sure. I think they are dumb but who am I to judge.
 

MidOH

Rank V

Traveler III

1,268
Mid Ohio
First Name
John
Last Name
Clark
Ham Callsign
YourHighness
Go a bit further up the mountain. The poseurs disappear. It's easy to see who walks the walk, and who just spilled a quadratec catalog on their jeep. Not that enthusiastic newbs aren't a bad thing. Got to start somewhere, but you don't need to bolt 1000 pounds of cash to your truck for this. Start with less, and build your gear as you gain experience.

Remember expo east? Everyone got stuck in 3'' of mud. Not a set of tire chains to be seen anywhere.