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What is Overlanding? Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

Take your adventures off the beaten path with overlanding.

Feb 21, 2022 | Tips

Over the past few years in the travel community, a new trend has emerged called overlanding. But for those interested in joining the movement, the first question might be “what is overlanding?”

In this guide, we’ll outline what overlanding is and cover everything you need to know to get started.

The Definition of Overlanding

Overlanding is a form of travel that focuses on self-reliance and on experiencing the journey of life off the beaten track. While overlanding can take many forms, most overlanders are adventure seekers who utilize a rugged vehicle to take the road less traveled.

Often, overlanding has no destination, but instead, focuses on the journey. Most overlanders travel without reliance on the grid, utilizing solar power and water filtration systems to avoid the need for hookups.

Overlanding can be done in trucks, campervans, RVs, and home-made rigs. The goal is to spend an extended time traversing a path, either in one’s home country or across foreign lands.

What You Need to Get Started

To become an overlander, the first thing you’ll need is an overlanding rig. While there is no singular definition of what constitutes an overlanding vehicle, the following are generally accepted as necessary to create an overlanding experience:

  • Vehicle that can handle rough terrain: For most in the overlanding community, getting away from the crowds and pushing your vehicle to the limits is core to the joys of the journey. For this reason, most overlanding rigs feature upgraded tires, four-wheel drive, and high clearance.
  • Vehicle that is self-contained: Because the goal of overlanding is to spend extended periods off the grid, you’ll need to invest in a rig that provides you with the necessary living amenities. This generally includes a place to sleep, a water supply, an ability to cook meals, and a bathroom. With these items in place, you are no longer confined to camping in places with amenities and are free to travel anywhere the road takes you.
  • Sense of adventure: Your rig will provide you with the means to travel and will allow you to sleep peacefully anywhere you go, but it is truly your sense of adventure that will make overlanding a positive experience. Be ready to go with the flow, laugh off mistakes, and embrace the unknown.

The Best Gear for Overlanding

While your vehicle is the foundation for your overlanding adventures, the right gear will help make the trip enjoyable. Make sure to pack all of the following before heading down the road less traveled:

  • Recovery boards: These boards can be used to navigate your way out of sand or mud. There are numerous options available on the market, and which ones you pick will depend a lot on the size and style of your overlanding rig.
  • First-aid kit: For most who overland, part of the fun is enjoying outdoor recreation in the most remote of locations. In reality, this can mean that accidents occur with little to no access to medical assistance. Make sure to bring along a first-aid kit and basic medical supplies.
  • Water filtration system: If you’ve ever heard of the rule of threes, then you’re well aware of how important it is to have access to clean drinking water. To ensure that you never face a three-day stint without water, make sure to bring along a water filtration system. This could be as simple as a LifeStraw or could include a more complex, built-in filtration system.
  • Solar grid: Whether you want to power your GoPro to capture the action, or you plan to work off your laptop deep in the woods, a solar grid can help ensure that you have steady access to power without the need for civilization. Many campervans today are upfit with built-in power systems featuring lithium batteries for improved consistency in power.
  • All-weather gear: Make sure that you pack your rig with clothing that can hold up to the rigors of time spent outdoors and offers protection against a variety of elements. This should include at least one raincoat, cold weather jacket, waterproof pants, and waterproof boots. As a bonus, make sure to pack at least three more pairs of socks than you imagine necessary.

Joining the Overlanding Community

While overlanding might be focused on traveling away from popular, crowded destinations, it is not an activity without community. In fact, there are numerous overlanding meetups held each year and several online communities where overlanders can connect.

To get involved in the overlanding community, check out the following resources:

  • Overlander Community: This Facebook page was created to allow overlanders to connect, share stories, and learn from each other. This is a great place to visit as you prepare for your first overlanding adventures.
  • The Expedition Portal: A community of adventure travelers, Expedition Portal — or ExPo — features 4,000+ editorials, 180,000+ community members, and over 2.5 million forum posts. This is the perfect place to find like-minded travelers from around the world and learn from the experience of the well-traveled.
  • Overland Bound: Founded on the belief that overlanding is a movement and mission for all who feel the call of the wild, this forum is a great place to meet others, find resources, and swap tales of the road.
  • Women Overlanding the World: Specifically designed to connect women in the world of overlanding, this Facebook group is a must join for any females who are looking to swap stories and create connections with fellow adventuring women.

Overland with an Antero Campervan

If overlanding sounds like a lifestyle you are ready to embrace, we’ve got you covered. Check out our quality rigs, perfect for taking the road less traveled. With a built-in solar grid and self-contained build, you can get away from it all without missing a single comfort of home.

Check out our rigs and find a dealer near you to begin your next overlanding adventure.

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