What is Overlanding? Let's discuss!

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Jeepsies

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I'd really been wrestling with this for the past few weeks. There's so much snark out there in most forums when you try and discuss it and define it. I'm hoping that won't be the case here.

Some say it's just glorified car camping, while others claim it is a movement. After doing my own research I wrote this article "What is Overlanding?"

The TL;DR version is that after 6 years of fulltime travel, this is what I've come up with so far: A lifestyle of self-reliant, vehicle-based travel over an extended period of time, during which the traveler experiences differing terrains, micro-cultures, and people groups, and where the journey, experience, adventure, and memories made are the primary focus.

I'd be interested to hear your definition and discuss.

Eric aka Jeepsies #OB14045What-Is-Overlanding.png
 
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MidOH

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''Vehicle dependent travel'' is still the best definition.

Self reliant? Nope, most of us lack showers and fridges/coolers. Motorcycle overlanding is wildly popular, and responsible for our nicest, easy access, trail. The TAT. My favorite trips are to water sources, not away from them, lately.

Extended period of time? Nope, the other overlanding forum defined it as months of expedition travel and started a $#!t storm. Most of us only do this 2 weeks a year and on weekends. Many decide to go live where they can overland all the time from home.

The rest is all correct though. I'm a bit tired of micro-cultures though.

I would personally define it as ''Camping travel, with as much off road, as can be packed into the trips plans.'' Maybe that's the whole trip like the TAT,maybe it's nearly none, like 1 mile of beach.
 

OtherOrb

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One of the reasons I joined OB after being part of several other overlanding communities is because of the definition of overlanding used here.

"Vehicle dependent travel."

For a while even that definition bothered me...I thought, well, why doesn't a foot-based trek across the Alps or along the Arizona Trail count?

It does. A vehicle is defined by all major dictionaries as, basically, "a thing used to transport something."

That is, to me, a vehicle includes shoes, boots, bicycles, carts, wagons, beasts, cars, trucks, trains, boats, hovercraft, planes, jets, spacecraft, etc. This means, to me, anyone and everyone can overland. And so, OB's definition fits best with my desires, which is to be part of a community that welcomes all kinds of people with all kinds of vehicles doing all kinds of things.

It's about the mindset. Let's get out there and enjoy, clean up, and protect our world.
 

Jeepsies

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''Vehicle dependent travel'' is still the best definition.

Self reliant? Nope, most of us lack showers and fridges/coolers. Motorcycle overlanding is wildly popular, and responsible for our nicest, easy access, trail. The TAT. My favorite trips are to water sources, not away from them, lately.

Extended period of time? Nope, the other overlanding forum defined it as months of expedition travel and started a $#!t storm. Most of us only do this 2 weeks a year and on weekends. Many decide to go live where they can overland all the time from home.

The rest is all correct though. I'm a bit tired of micro-cultures though.

I would personally define it as ''Camping travel, with as much off road, as can be packed into the trips plans.'' Maybe that's the whole trip like the TAT,maybe it's nearly none, like 1 mile of beach.
I would say that Motorcycle Overlanders are hard core, and definitely self-reliant. You don't need a fridge or shower to be self reliant. You can find a stream and cold food is a luxury. So I would disagree with you there. I believe self-reliance is a core to overlanding. But that's just me.

As far as extended period of time, that is subjective. For some people an overnight trip is as much as they can do, and I totally validate that, to them that IS an extended period of time. But surely you aren't suggesting that anything less than an overnight trip could be considered overlanding?

Personally I love the micro-cultures, to experience Lorman, Mississippi, vs Ashland, Oregon is as varied as traveling different countries but they are both found here in the good ol USA.

What I really like is how YOU defined it, because that's what it means to you. I like that for everyone it is different.
 

Jeepsies

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One of the reasons I joined OB after being part of several other overlanding communities is because of the definition of overlanding used here.

"Vehicle dependent travel."

For a while even that definition bothered me...I thought, well, why doesn't a foot-based trek across the Alps or along the Arizona Trail count?

It does. A vehicle is defined by all major dictionaries as, basically, "a thing used to transport something."

That is, to me, a vehicle includes shoes, boots, bicycles, carts, wagons, beasts, cars, trucks, trains, boats, hovercraft, planes, jets, spacecraft, etc. This means, to me, anyone and everyone can overland. And so, OB's definition fits best with my desires, which is to be part of a community that welcomes all kinds of people with all kinds of vehicles doing all kinds of things.

It's about the mindset. Let's get out there and enjoy, clean up, and protect our world.
That's a good word OtherOrb, I like it.

I'd just been wrestling with this a lot personally as I travel fulltime and I'm taking my toddler with me. So it's just been something that has been on my mind. In doing so, I decided to put my thoughts into article form. As much for my own personal reflection as for anyone else who may have interest in what my thoughts were. Appreciate your comment and glad you are here. I love the inclusivity of Overland Bound. One of the things that drew me here as well!
 
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OtherOrb

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I believe self-reliance is a core to overlanding. But that's just me.
I don't believe anyone is ever really self-reliant, so I'm not a huge fan of that being a core component... Simple example: the fuel you use to run your vehicle (whether it's gasoline, diesel, petrol, water, grain, grass, whatever) was probably processed by someone else. So, perhaps "temporary self-reliance" is reasonable, but that still seems exclusive to me...

As far as extended period of time, that is subjective. For some people an overnight trip is as much as they can do, and I totally validate that, to them that IS an extended period of time. But surely you aren't suggesting that anything less than an overnight trip could be considered overlanding?
Why not? Someone who hikes 50 miles round trip in 12 hours is experiencing more of their surroundings than someone who bikes 50 miles round trip in five hours, who is experiencing more of their surroundings than someone who drives 50 miles in 45 minutes. But none of those is "better" than the others, they're just different ways of overlanding.


Personally I love the micro-cultures, to experience Lorman, Mississippi, vs Ashland, Oregon is as varied as traveling different countries but they are both found here in the good ol USA.

What I really like is how YOU defined it, because that's what it means to you. I like that for everyone it is different.
100% agreed with both of these points.
 
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MidOH

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I'm not self reliant, at all, on my DRZ400s. Something goes wrong, and I'm done for. The only backup plan is the rest of your group, hiking boots, or the kindness of an overlander with a truck. Tire repair kit, and a backpack loaded like a normal backpacker, are my only backup gear.

Mk1 hiking boot has WhiteBlaze.com. But I call that hiking or backpacking.
Horses have horse forums. They don't type well. I call that horseback riding.

I consider those to be related interests, but not overlanding any more than my scuba addiction is. I can't sell scuba as overlanding, because the location I start in, is the location I end the day in. Might have drift dived 10 miles, but effective travel = zero. You can make an analogy about jeeping and dirtbiking with that same issue. Does going around in a little circle count?

Stopping to climb Mt.Washington, I recommend the Tuckerman pass, is something I do while overlanding, but is not overlanding. And spending a day on the mountain for me, is still effectively zero travel. I start and end at the same trail head.
 
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OtherOrb

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That's a good word OtherOrb, I like it.

I'd just been wrestling with this a lot personally as I travel fulltime and I'm taking my toddler with me. So it's just been something that has been on my mind. In doing so, I decided to put my thoughts into article form. As much for my own personal reflection as for anyone else who may have interest in what my thoughts were. Appreciate your comment and glad you are here. I love the inclusivity of Overland Bound. One of the things that drew me here as well!
To be clear, I'm not trying to argue in a negative sense.

I think what you're doing is incredible and I'd like to start doing something like that myself. Spawn is about ready to move off to college, and my partner and I both telework, so we're looking at the sensibility of doing more, longer overlanding and other types of travel.

The great thing about OB is that they invite and expect differences of thought and opinion and definitions, so we can all learn new ideas here. :)
 
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Boostpowered

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Its whatever you want it to be there arent any set rules on the definition, before it was overlanding it was expeditionary before that boondocking, car camping and so on. Call it unicorning if thats what you want but folks wont know what your talkin about
 

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Overlanding: Going, Seeing, learning, doing, experiencing, whether it is over a two rut single lane back country road, or an 8 lane concrete slabbed super highway. It is the enjoyment of going somewhere different, to see what it looks like and to experience the joy of discovery, meeting new people, and the adventure that is getting there and then back home.

This may not be your overlanding, but it is MY overlanding!
 

Anak

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I bet there are a whole bunch of definitions, and most of them valid.

I think the Indians with their dogs dragging their sleds or travois were the earliest known overlanders on this continent. The Conestoga wagons followed them. Neither group had ARB fridges or RTTs.

50 years from now I bet a bunch of our current gear will look pretty obsolete.

"vehicle dependent travel" isn't bad as a definition, but driving to work in the morning doesn't quite constitute "overlanding" in my mind, so yes, there is something more to it.

For myself it has to do with getting off the beaten path and taking the road less travelled. Might be different for someone else though. I don't claim to be self-reliant for too many days on end. Fuel, food and water keep rearing their heads as requirements to return to pavement. If someone wants to say that all I am doing is camping, well, I am fine with that. That is all it has ever really been in my mind. I don't need a $6 label for myself. A fifty cent word is good enough for me.
 

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From Willie Suarez aka The Lone Overlander.. Not sure if its his words or not..


Take only what you can carry,
Only what you need.
Just enough to feed and water
You and a faithful steed.
Forget the path well trodden,
That will not help you on your way.
Instead forge your own trail
For others to follow one day.
Never shy from an opportunity
Throw yourself through every door.
For this life is an adventure,
Now go,
Explore.
 

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Its whatever you want it to be there arent any set rules on the definition, before it was overlanding it was expeditionary before that boondocking, car camping and so on. Call it unicorning if thats what you want but folks wont know what your talkin about
Change approved. This site shall henceforth be known as unicorn bound.

I don't have a solid definition of overlanding and I don't necessarily care to have one. "Overlanding" and all the accessory stuff that goes into it has been an avenue for combining a bunch of my hobbies into one neat package. Working on cars, electronics, camping, mountain biking, fishing, skiing, building stuff, being in nature, traveling, getting outside with the spouse and the dog. I don't much care about the label, I just want to do fun outdoor and handy stuff that I like.
 
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