What began as a practice of necessity in the remote Outback of Australia has grown into a worldwide phenomenon. Across the globe, people are modifying vehicles with any sort of off-roading capabilities into full-on excursion ready vehicles so that they can participate in the fun that is overlanding. While not necessarily a new tend, overlanding is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. The wide expanses of western states like Colorado and Utah have been a Mecca of sorts for overlanders for years, but interest for the activity is beginning to pick up in the southeast as well.
As interest grows, dealerships can capitalize on the hobby by offering vehicles ready made for overlanding straight from the showroom floor. Here’s everything you need to know about overlanding.
WHAT IS IT?
Simply put, overlanding is the act of going on a vehicle-dependent trip to a remote location or chain of locations, often for extended period of time. Unlike traditional off-roading, the objective of overlanding isn’t to overcome difficult obstacles with a vehicle – rather, overlanding focuses on exploration and self-reliance away from civilization. Furthermore, overlanding trips at the very least span multiple days and can last for months at a time. Think of it as backpacking, but in a vehicle.
Anyone looking to get into overlanding is going to need the right vehicle and the right gear. On extended overlanding trips, the right vehicle and equipment spells the difference between adventure and being stranded in the middle of nowhere. The following list will cover the necessary vehicle and vehicle parts/accessories that are essential to a successful overlanding trip.
First and foremost, overlanders need four wheel drive. There won’t be any pavement while overlanding – in fact, they’d be lucky to had gravel. Vehicle trails are more often than not dirt or mud, especially in the southeast. Mix these traction conditions with unpredictable weather patterns and a 4×4 vehicle becomes an absolute necessity. Popular choices for new vehicles include Jeep Wranglers and Gladiators and smaller 4×4 trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado and the new Ford Ranger.
The right equipment for overlanding is that which allows an overlander to carry the most cargo (tents, water, fuel, etc.) and that which can get them out of sticky situations. Here’s a succinct list of the most necessary overlanding accessories.
A good roof rack or bed rack can greatly expand cargo space on an overlanding expedition. Overlanders will need this for hauling tents, fuel, clothing, bedding, food, fishing/hunting gear and tons of other equipment.
Because sometimes you’ve got to pull yourself out of a sticky situation – literally.
This one goes without saying, but on overlanding vehicle needs a good set of all-terrain tires to handle the myriad of terrains experienced on the trail. In the southeast, overlanders face plenty of mud with exposed rocks and roots, as well as sand depending on where you are.
News flash – there’s no street lights out on the trail. When the sun goes down, there’s two lighting options; hope there’s a full moon, or auxiliary lighting. A solid light bar will brighten things up more than enough fo navigating in the dark hours.
In the event tires should lose traction and a winch can’t be used, overlanders need a backup plan. Traction pads will give them the grip they need to get out of mud, sand or otherwise.
IT'S COMING - BE READY
While overlanding hasn’t hit the Southeast in the same capacity as out west, it is steadily gaining in popularity. Dealerships who get ahead of the curve by offering overland-ready packages will turn inventory quickly as the trend continues to pick up speed and more people get into overlanding for the first time.
ABOUT SOUTHERN OFF-ROAD SPECIALISTS
Southern Off-Road Specialists offers three distinct dealership packages, each of which features several standard features. However, each package can be custom tailored to fit a dealer’s needs. Add a bed rack, light bar, traction pads and a winch to our Valor or Anthem lift packages for an ideal overland vehicle – straight from your showroom.