What is Overlanding?

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RedRob

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Thanks m_lars for the clarification.

I was serious. Perhaps too serious.

I fully abide by and agree with the OB core principles that Overlanding is for everyone and it doesn’t matter what you drive. Outfit and explore.

But what I think of as “true Overlanding” is a rare thing in the US. I don’t want to disparage anyone or be elitist or try to keep Overlanding “exclusive.” I’m glad people are getting out in the world. But I don’t think driving a Subaru around Death Valley for a few days is really “Overlanding.” I think taking a trip where you must carry fuel tanks is “true Overlanding.” That’s what I truly desire to do, but just because it’s what I want doesn’t give it any more value that what somebody else wants.
 

MOAK

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I've read and re-read these posts. I've listened to Jason on the video. In full disclosure I unsubscribed from his channel months ago. I'm a member of EP and I subscribe to OJ. I'm by no means any sort of elitist, cripes I drive a 22 year old rig and tow a home built trailer. We photograph different places and things, and I write stories about our experiences in the back country. I share those stories with family and friends and hope that once in a while they find themselves into the printed medium so that others may enjoy my stories as well.

I cannot for the life of me understand why using, or over using the term overlanding is even a debatable subject. Why are so many folks, Jason included, so damned defensive, then somewhat abrasive, about the use of the word overlanding? (rhetorical question) It all just begins sounding like a sales pitch after a while.

Look, if you drive, ride a horse, mule, motorcycle or bicycle, train, or walk without traveling in the air of on water then you are an overlander. If you do any of the above and stop somewhere along the way to actually breath or heaven forbid, take in the local culture, then does that make us gypsies or simply modern day hobos with a little money in our pockets?
 

Correus

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I've read and re-read these posts. I've listened to Jason on the video. In full disclosure I unsubscribed from his channel months ago. I'm a member of EP and I subscribe to OJ. I'm by no means any sort of elitist, cripes I drive a 22 year old rig and tow a home built trailer. We photograph different places and things, and I write stories about our experiences in the back country. I share those stories with family and friends and hope that once in a while they find themselves into the printed medium so that others may enjoy my stories as well.

I cannot for the life of me understand why using, or over using the term overlanding is even a debatable subject. Why are so many folks, Jason included, so damned defensive, then somewhat abrasive, about the use of the word overlanding? (rhetorical question) It all just begins sounding like a sales pitch after a while.

Look, if you drive, ride a horse, mule, motorcycle or bicycle, train, or walk without traveling in the air of on water then you are an overlander. If you do any of the above and stop somewhere along the way to actually breath or heaven forbid, take in the local culture, then does that make us gypsies or simply modern day hobos with a little money in our pockets?


Well...since the original meaning of overlanding is the moving of cattle "overland" from one place to another, perhaps those who take offense could go with another term.

There is "trekking".

There is also "tripping".

There are several other possibilities as well.

I kind of like those first two. Put them together and you could have "tripping trekkies"!!!!
 
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m_lars

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perhaps those who take offense could go with another term.
I don’t take offense to it. It’s just become kind of cliche.

It all just begins sounding like a sales pitch after a while.
This line is great. It’s become more about a look.

It has become a brand new Toyota, with a RTT, Hi-Lift and all the expensive kit you can add to it, quickly followed by the obligatory “just get out there with what you’ve got” statement. Right before they go into a high production value video showing a box someone sent them, or describing the thought process behind the flashlight they chose for the team in their next overland expedition. And all of the sudden one starts feeling the NEED for (insert product here).

It’s cool that something you’ve done for years is now popular. The new products that come to market are great! But then it’s too much.

Maybe it bugs me a little more because I live next to, and work in, a mountain resort town where having “the look” is VERY important. Lots of beards, plaid shirts and craft beer!
 

Correus

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I don’t take offense to it. It’s just become kind of cliche.



This line is great. It’s become more about a look.

It has become a brand new Toyota, with a RTT, Hi-Lift and all the expensive kit you can add to it, quickly followed by the obligatory “just get out there with what you’ve got” statement. Right before they go into a high production value video showing a box someone sent them, or describing the thought process behind the flashlight they chose for the team in their next overland expedition. And all of the sudden one starts feeling the NEED for (insert product here).

It’s cool that something you’ve done for years is now popular. The new products that come to market are great! But then it’s too much.

Maybe it bugs me a little more because I live next to, and work in, a mountain resort town where having “the look” is VERY important. Lots of beards, plaid shirts and craft beer!
I don't mind the use of the word "overlanding" at all, it doesn't bother me at all.

However - everything else you said is spot on! I agree 100%. It has become way too commercialized.

I know of a handful of hardcore vintage Land Rover enthusiasts who use to attend, as well as organized, some of the highest profile Rover events in the country. These were events where you got down and dirty; you drove obstacle courses, you tested your winching skills, you did a lot of things you'd see done during a Camel Trophy race.

Note though that I said they "use to attend".

Eventually these events, organizations and clubs got inundated with posers who wanted the lifestyle without doing the work. They threw money at it instead of learning how to make do. And then the hipsters got involved as well.

These these events, organizations and clubs became more and more "look at me" things. It became a pissing match to see who could out do who by buying the latest and greatest.

Hell...several of the posts I see deal with people showing off equipment that costs more than some people make in a week!

Anyway, back to those these events, organizations and clubs. Those that are no longer involved said they got tired of it. They hated participating any longer because the events became more and more nothing tha glamping. These people would show up in rigs that cost in excess of $40K, tricked out in all the latest and greatest name brand gear. Guess what - they didn't do much of anything other than sit around and pat each other on the back and saying things like "oh, I see you got the latest this-that-or-the-other from (any name brand)".

The wife and I looked at a bunch of photos from one of these events that took place a couple years ago. She couldn't believe she saw women in them that were "roughing it" in ensembles that approached the $1-$2k range.

About 6 months ago we got our annual invitation to attend one of these events. It was to start on a Friday afternoon and go till Sunday afternoon, with the main events taking place on Saturday. On Saturday there were two trail rides scheduled, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each one was to last roughly 2 hours. Between the two rides the participants were to be treated to a catered lunch. After the second ride, promptly at 5PM, cocktails were to be served. After that, a catered dinner. Both meals were being catered by a restaurant noted for its food and high prices. Afterwards came the highlight of the weekend - a raffle and door prizes. The total value of these items was $33k - there were only about 200 invitations sent out.

My wife is the chairman of a small town's annual spring festival. This thing draws several thousand people over the same amount of time and the total value of the door prizes they give out is a lot less than $10k.

So yes, this "lifestyle" has become one big advertisement for snooty businesses who think their products are God's gifts to mankind. It has also become one big "love fest" for posers and such.

It is no longer - in the mainstream anyway - about getting out there and exploring; not about a man and his rig taking on the world.

If a person wants to see what TRUE overlanding is and what the TRUE spirit of overlanding should be, all they have to do is read the book "First Overland: London-Singapore by Land Rover".

In all honesty...when I look at my Rover and consider what gear I want to go with it all I have to do is look through this book. These guys spent over a year in their Land Rovers without ANY of the fancy-shmancy gear often talked about on this forum as well as others like this one. They didn't have RTTs, on-board fridges, GPS, and so on. HELL - they didn't even have AC! On top of that they had to learn how to be mechanics and not just take their rigs to a shop and throw money at it.

I really wonder how many people on here, as well as on those othe boards, could do what they did.

Guess I'll get off my soapbox now...
 

m_lars

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If a person wants to see what TRUE overlanding is and what the TRUE spirit of overlanding should be, all they have to do is read the book "First Overland: London-Singapore by Land Rover".
I was just listening to the story of the Oxford Rover from First Overland being tracked down and returned to the road on the Centre Steer podcast. Incredible story.

The use of the word doesn’t bother me, it’s just silly when compared to the use of it in that book.
 
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Correus

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I was just listening to the story of the Oxford Rover from First Overland being tracked down and returned to the road on the Centre Steer podcast. Incredible story.
I was fortunate enough to get one of the books signed by all of the members. I still talk with Tim Slessor periodically. He has given me lots of advice on practical gear.

By the way... when it comes to fancy-shmancy gear, I had ment ti point out a couple of glaring examples.

The 1st one is the trash bag/duffel people hang on their rear spare tire. Some will pay big bucks for a name brand and turn their noses up to an Alice pack.

The 2nd one is sand ladders. People will pay into the hundreds for the latest and greatest yet ignore the humble Marston Mat. I wonder if they realize this things were some of the first, widespread used items for sand ladders and that they were built for use in sand. I see sets of sand ladders made out of polymer type material that sell in the hundreds. Those are typically only 4' long. You can get a good, 10' section of Marston Mat for about $95 or less, sometimes a lot less.
 
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rgk401

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Lord. Cynical much? Lol.

Yes, overlanding is trendy right now. Trendy terms aside, it’s also just the current take on something people have been doing forever. Exploring. And what’s wrong with someone driving to work everyday with a roof top tent on their vehicle? If that makes them happy, and they enjoyed the RTT the one time they used it, and spent the rest of the time enjoying being trendy, then cool? Doesn’t effect me being able to camp or do whatever I want to. On the flip side, maybe they do that because they take it out every other weekend, but also use that vehicle to get to work. Just because something is trendy doesn’t mean it has to be ruined for people. Just accept people where they are, and enjoy what you want to do regardless of them.

@SwellRunner I subscribe to your channel, and enjoyed the video.
Amen well said. Thank you.
 
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Todd & Meg

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I have a love, hate relationship with sites like this. And I happy to see I'm not alone. I even consider myself as anti-overland. It's not that I'm against camping, exploring, getting out into the wilderness. I love doing it in our Jeep, I'm even building a teardrop to pull through the desert and mountains. I come to sites like this to find new places to go, and more important it is find roads and trails that are suitable for the trailer. I hate when you see a trip report and it looks like a cool place to go and there are a ton of cool pictures but not details of the route. One time I even PM'e the OP if he had a track of the trip. He said he wouldn't share it. So why the hell post anything in the first place. It's ego, I'm know where these cool places are but am not going to share with you because I'm and better at Overelander than you. But here is a link to the YouTube video I made, make sure you subscribe. No I'm not going to subscribe, I don't do Twitter or Instagram either. I do have Facebook but it is only for friends that I know and family.

So what is Overlanding? It's a lifestyle. People have seen figured out a way to profit off of camping and four wheeling. It is no different than Harley selling a lifestyle around a motorcycle. Throw in the social media stuff and you have Overlanding.

I was watching a video someone posted on this site. I can't tell how many time they said "Do it for the Gram". No, don't do it for the Gram. Do it because you want to do it, take a picture and share it with your close friends and family. Not a bunch of strangers you don't know but want to impress.

I just want to grab my wife, camp gear, food and drink (soon teardrop) and head out in the Jeep for a night or week. Some times we'll go a few days and not see another person. Sometimes we'll be in a traffic jam in a National Park. Some will call that Overlanding, we just call it camping.

Todd
 

Anak

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I have a love, hate relationship with sites like this. And I happy to see I'm not alone. I even consider myself as anti-overland. It's not that I'm against camping, exploring, getting out into the wilderness. I love doing it in our Jeep, I'm even building a teardrop to pull through the desert and mountains. I come to sites like this to find new places to go, and more important it is find roads and trails that are suitable for the trailer. I hate when you see a trip report and it looks like a cool place to go and there are a ton of cool pictures but not details of the route. One time I even PM'e the OP if he had a track of the trip. He said he wouldn't share it. So why the hell post anything in the first place. It's ego, I'm know where these cool places are but am not going to share with you because I'm and better at Overelander than you. But here is a link to the YouTube video I made, make sure you subscribe. No I'm not going to subscribe, I don't do Twitter or Instagram either. I do have Facebook but it is only for friends that I know and family.

So what is Overlanding? It's a lifestyle. People have seen figured out a way to profit off of camping and four wheeling. It is no different than Harley selling a lifestyle around a motorcycle. Throw in the social media stuff and you have Overlanding.

I was watching a video someone posted on this site. I can't tell how many time they said "Do it for the Gram". No, don't do it for the Gram. Do it because you want to do it, take a picture and share it with your close friends and family. Not a bunch of strangers you don't know but want to impress.

I just want to grab my wife, camp gear, food and drink (soon teardrop) and head out in the Jeep for a night or week. Some times we'll go a few days and not see another person. Sometimes we'll be in a traffic jam in a National Park. Some will call that Overlanding, we just call it camping.

Todd

Preach it brother!!
 

MOAK

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I have a love, hate relationship with sites like this. And I happy to see I'm not alone. I even consider myself as anti-overland. It's not that I'm against camping, exploring, getting out into the wilderness. I love doing it in our Jeep, I'm even building a teardrop to pull through the desert and mountains. I come to sites like this to find new places to go, and more important it is find roads and trails that are suitable for the trailer. I hate when you see a trip report and it looks like a cool place to go and there are a ton of cool pictures but not details of the route. One time I even PM'e the OP if he had a track of the trip. He said he wouldn't share it. So why the hell post anything in the first place. It's ego, I'm know where these cool places are but am not going to share with you because I'm and better at Overelander than you. But here is a link to the YouTube video I made, make sure you subscribe. No I'm not going to subscribe, I don't do Twitter or Instagram either. I do have Facebook but it is only for friends that I know and family.

So what is Overlanding? It's a lifestyle. People have seen figured out a way to profit off of camping and four wheeling. It is no different than Harley selling a lifestyle around a motorcycle. Throw in the social media stuff and you have Overlanding.

I was watching a video someone posted on this site. I can't tell how many time they said "Do it for the Gram". No, don't do it for the Gram. Do it because you want to do it, take a picture and share it with your close friends and family. Not a bunch of strangers you don't know but want to impress.

I just want to grab my wife, camp gear, food and drink (soon teardrop) and head out in the Jeep for a night or week. Some times we'll go a few days and not see another person. Sometimes we'll be in a traffic jam in a National Park. Some will call that Overlanding, we just call it camping.

Todd
Well spoken Todd. I confess it took me a while to figure out what kind of gram you were talking about. A few years back I was invited to be a charter member of a website that was all about trails. Once I figured out that a very detail oriented point to point, turn to turn, waypoint to waypoint, description of trails was going to be published I dropped out, rather quickly. For us there is nothing more exciting or adventerous then putting the map away and exploring by the seat of our pants. I agree about the instagram stuff. Our daughters suggested I post up all our best photos. Ah, no thanks.. They are for family and friends. (sidenote; If a photographer were any good, wouldn't they be paid for their best work. LOL)
 

Correus

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I have a love, hate relationship with sites like this. And I happy to see I'm not alone. I even consider myself as anti-overland. It's not that I'm against camping, exploring, getting out into the wilderness. I love doing it in our Jeep, I'm even building a teardrop to pull through the desert and mountains. I come to sites like this to find new places to go, and more important it is find roads and trails that are suitable for the trailer. I hate when you see a trip report and it looks like a cool place to go and there are a ton of cool pictures but not details of the route. One time I even PM'e the OP if he had a track of the trip. He said he wouldn't share it. So why the hell post anything in the first place. It's ego, I'm know where these cool places are but am not going to share with you because I'm and better at Overelander than you. But here is a link to the YouTube video I made, make sure you subscribe. No I'm not going to subscribe, I don't do Twitter or Instagram either. I do have Facebook but it is only for friends that I know and family.

So what is Overlanding? It's a lifestyle. People have seen figured out a way to profit off of camping and four wheeling. It is no different than Harley selling a lifestyle around a motorcycle. Throw in the social media stuff and you have Overlanding.

I was watching a video someone posted on this site. I can't tell how many time they said "Do it for the Gram". No, don't do it for the Gram. Do it because you want to do it, take a picture and share it with your close friends and family. Not a bunch of strangers you don't know but want to impress.

I just want to grab my wife, camp gear, food and drink (soon teardrop) and head out in the Jeep for a night or week. Some times we'll go a few days and not see another person. Sometimes we'll be in a traffic jam in a National Park. Some will call that Overlanding, we just call it camping.

Todd




Todd -

I really like what you said, especially the part about social media. I don't do Facebook anymore at all, too much drama and "me, me, me" attitudes. Don't do Twitter, Instagram and etc either. I do love the looks I get when people say "just follow my..." or "what's your..." and I tell them I don't have an account. You'd think I was from Mars or something. I know of people, online, who will not talk to you unless you follow them.

As to "overlanding"... not too long ago I saw a very expensive type rig that had been tricked out with all the latest and greatest gear. There wasn't a spot of trail dirt/mud on it; looked like it just rolled out of the showroom. From what I could tell it was in the middle of an epic overlanding adventure - parked at a Starbucks in the middle of the most expensive/exclusive shopping strip mall in the area. Not too far from Banana Republic and Backwoods.
 

Eabmoto

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Now this is overlanding. This way I always have WiFi. No need for the truck either. I do have a substantial suspension upgrade on the rolling platform the camper sits on... and a solar panel... outside. C0946F5C-C421-4BA4-B542-06ADBDB2A3A3.jpeg
 
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Correus

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toposs just doing some further thinking about "overlanding", my personal rig and overlanding as our forefathers knew it.

When it comes to my rig - a '63 Land Rover SIIa 88 SW trop top - I consider the gear available at that time as well as what those who traveled overland via older vehicles and animal drawn wagons.

The basic gear was all the same. Some was fancier than others, yet it was all designed to do a job and survive the long haul.

A buddy of mine desperately wants a vintage LR like mine but with the 109 wheelbase. When I find one for sale I pass the info along to him. After his reply to the 1st one I sent all the others are basically jokes. In response to the 1st one he asked questions such as "does it have AC", "does it have power steering", and so on.

His questions, along with so many posts I see on here and elsewhere have often made me ask "really - seriously?".

It use to be that overlanding was more than vehicle dependent camping or going out and running trails.

Back then you wouldn't find all the luxuries you find on so many rigs today - onboard fridges, air systems, GPS/communications arrays, and so on.

We, as in those who like to get out and enjoy vehicle dependent living, have strayed from the tenents of "KISS" and have fallen for all the gadgetry one can get.

Don't get me wrong - I LOVE gadgets - but there are limits.

For example, our forefathers didn't have onboard fridges yet they took food with them and survived. What are you going to do if your fridge no longer works for some reason?

What if your onboard air system breaks down, you have a flat and the spare needs air?

What if you fancy GPS/communications array doesn't work and you're out in the middle of nowhere?

Do you see what I'm getting at? We have gotten to the point that we realy on, or must have all of these sophisticated gadgets to make life easier and more comfortable.

I know some of you will say"if the fridge goes out I'll use a cooler"; "if the GPS goes out I'll use a map"; "if the air system goes out...what?".

I don't use any of those items. In fact, I'm striving to use no gear newer than my rig. The only exception is a cellphone, but I don't use the GPS.

My "onboard air system" is an air pump that can connect to the battery as well as a foot powered one. I use a cooler for food or pack foodstuffs that don't require being cold. I use actual maps - gazetteers & topos - and I know how to use them as well as use a compass.

I don't want to be at the mercy of a bunch of gadgets that can break down.

The same can be said about your rig. The rigs I see so many get are incredibly complicated. It's about to the point you have to be a trained mechanic to change the spark plugs or starter! How many people out there, who buy such vehicles, can HONESTLY say they can fix the thing if it does on them out on a trail? AAA can't get everywhere and mechanic shops aren't open 24/7 and as prolific as Starbucks.

My rig is a simple, basic rig. It was designed to be worked on out in the middle of nowhere with the most basic of tools. I even have a picture of one that busted a tie rode and it was repaired using a tree branch! Can that be done with today's rigs?

In fact, I'm about as far from being a mechanic as you can get however, part of the deal in purchasing my Rover is that I had to learn to fix it. I can now say "yes - yes I can". I might be slow, but I can do it.

As part of learning to do this I completely dismantled my rig - and I mean completely - and am rebuilding it. Every single part, down to the last window retainer screw, will have passed through my hands by the time I'm finished. This process has been a tremendous learning experience and I am now intimately acquainted with every aspect of my rig.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we need to get away from all the fancy rigs and gear and get back to basics. And when we look at purchasing a rig, or a bit of kit, keep KISS in mind and ask yourself - "do I really need this and can I operate without it or fix it if it breaks down.
 
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m_lars

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I guess what I'm trying to say is that we need to get away from all the fancy rigs and gear and get back to basics. And when we look at purchasing a rig, or a bit of kit, keep KISS in mind and ask yourself - "do I really need this and can I operate without it or fix it if it breaks down.
I get where you’re coming from, but this may be a little too far in the opposite direction. You are living the relicrun.com every time you go out. I don’t think modern gadgetry is detrimental. It doesn’t, however, make you an overlander because you have it. I’m not sure your rig is great example of spending less money either, but I may be misinterpreting “fancy” as “expensive”. Don’t get me wrong, I’d LOVE to own a Series Land Rover, but frankly, I can’t afford it. I can afford my LR3 and yes, I do my own maintenance and repairs. I think we can all agree though, it’s not about the gear!