What you need to start overlanding. (The answer may suprise you) | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

What you need to start overlanding. (The answer may suprise you)

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Rank VI

Influencer II

Methuen, MA
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I see a lot of questions about what rig is the best rig for overlanding, what is needed on a rig and/or what rig to buy to get started. So I wanted to post a thread to encourage all of you to get out there with what you have, because ultimately, it's your experience that will get you further, not your rig (within reason).

I have a 2002 Isuzu Trooper that I added a 2" suspension lift, not so much for the lift but because I wanted better than stock suspension and adding 2" cost the same as not. so wth, right, why not add a couple inches. This netted me about 1.5 inches in overall gain once the suspension settled. My tires are 265/70/R16 BFG KO2 (nothing special there, most stock SUVs can fit them with no suspension upgrades). My rig goals are different from other peoples goals. And guess what, that's perfectly okay. I want my rig to appear mostly stock. I don't have a roof rack (apart from factory cross rails), no steel bumpers and all my lighting is hidden behind portions of the bumper and really isn't special. The only conspicuous thing about my rig is the CB antenna, when I have it up. Guess where I take my rig... really, take a quick guess in your mind. Does it surprise you to know I go everywhere my friends do with their 6 inch lifts, 42 inch light bars, bull bars / swing out tire carriers and whatever other upgrades they can think to buy. Seriously. And don't get me wrong, I would love to own a decked out rig with everything possible. But I drive my rig daily. So I need some comfort on pavement and the ability to corner at Texas speeds (we drive fast here). And frankly, my cash flow doesn't allow for upgrades that aren't 100% vital to the daily driving of Ol' Troopy. When I get into a sticky situation, I fall back on my experience off road and the guidance of others who may have a better way to get out.

My first rig was a 92 VW Jetta 5 speed manual. That poor car was driven hard. Dirt roads, trails, iced over lake... You name it, I drove it there. And got stuck there as well.

Why am I telling you this? Because there is a stigma arising in the overland community that your rig isn't overland ready without a lift, light bars, roof top tent, and $5000 in snow peak kitchen gear. I, and many others here on the forums, are living proof that you just don't need all that stuff to overland. If you want it, and it makes things easier for you (which a lot of that stuff makes things easier) then by all means get it. I'm not saying that stuff isn't warranted or even in some cases absolutely necessary. If I had the money, I would have a nice bull bar on the front of Ol' Troopy, but for now, I just pay close attention to where my bumpers are pointed and where they will be when I drop off that ledge. And that is the point I want to make. Experience will save you / prevent you from sticky situations. And when you off road responsibly and with the limits of your vehicle in mind, you can go pretty far. Just take a look at some of the crazy places our Subaru owners on the forum take their rigs? There are plenty of Kia's and even a Suzuki SX4 on the forum who are getting out there and running trails alongside full size trucks and Land Cruisers. It's incredibly inspiring.

So, if you are wondering what you need to get started in overlanding. Head over to the window and take a look at your driveway. In most cases, it's already sitting right there. What you need to ask yourself, is how you define overlanding. Are you just looking to travel and camp on fire roads? Do you want to go the other extreme and do some rock crawling? Or are you somewhere in between? How you plan to overland and how comfortable you are with what you have is what will determine what you need to upgrade on your rig. So don't let what you have hinder your adventurous spirit. Hop in that Civic and hit the road or trail. Because getting out there and doing it is what will inform you of what you want from overlanding. And that is the ultimate goal anyway; getting out and creating an adventure.

Scotty lock

Rank V

Influencer II

Lockerbie, scotland
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Like you my rig is mainly standard apart from tyres with bf Goodrich A/T2 and a lot of 4x4 are very capable stock straight out the factory. But like you said we all have different ideas and likes and dislikes....we all have different budgets too and it sometimes takes a bit of creative thinking to get the best out of your truck and travels. I have travel extensively in the UK and some of it was in 4x4's and some in normal cars. You are only limited by your imagination and it can still be fun even if you are only going a small distance. You only limited by your own imagination...let's get out and explore

Member III

Member #


I think I've addressed this before, but my first vehicle, purchased from my parents when I was old enough to drive, was a 1985 Dodge Caravan. In high school and after, I took that vehicle all over the place. I wasn't really smart enough to know which roads I should avoid, so I definitely went places I shouldn't. I barely had any gear- sleeping bag, headlamp... that's about it. I couldn't run 4WD trails obviously, but there's a lot of wilderness accessible by FS roads and whatnot. Bottom line: Just Go.