Welcome to Expedition Wire! Whether you’re just beginning to explore the idea of overlanding, or you are a seasoned adventurer; we’re here to help.
Let’s explore what overlanding and adventure travel is all about.
What is Overlanding?
In a nutshell; people exploring the world by vehicle — mostly 4x4s.
Granted, there are various definitions floating around on the internet… but we think that sums most of them up pretty well. To us the heart of overland travel lies in long term international travel, but in practice it is all about the journey and getting away from the daily grind. Close to home or on another continent It’s a lifestyle, a way to decompress, and an approach to travel that resonates with the adventurous among us.
What does this adventure travel ideology look like? It varies. The remoteness, duration, and length of the trip are entirely up to you, the adventurer. Some cross continents; while others do what they can in the span of a few days. Some overlanders set out on expeditions to discover; while others head out for a few days on Forest Service roads. Don’t spend too much time worrying about the semantics, just get out and explore. You’ll find the definition that suits your style of travel.
Let’s cover what you need to get started. First, an appetite for adventure. Second, the ability to learn and problem solve. Third… transportation. Everything beyond that is only there to enhance the experience, keep you healthy, and get you home safely. You’ll typically find members of the overland crowd behind the wheel of a four wheel drive or straddling an adventure motorcycle. However, as the industry continues to grow it encompasses other modes of mechanized transportation. Bicycles for example. It’s not so much about what vehicle you use, it’s more about the journey – and the memories.
Types of overland vehicles. And what to expect from each.
The ”OG Overlanders”
The venerable 4×4 resides at the core of overland travel. Land Cruiser’s, Land Rover’s, Jeep’s, Patrol’s… the list goes on and on; these are the vehicles that come to mind when we think about overlanding. They are the vehicles that cross continents, the stars of the legendary Camel Trophy, and the first thing that comes to mind when the words expedition or overland are uttered. The 4×4 earned its seat at the table, and will likely remain the go to choice for the majority of the overland community. Check out the following video by Expedition Overland, it’s a great example of what an expedition-ready overland vehicle looks like. But, to be honest you don’t need all of this to start out… or even travel to Africa. It’s a good point of reference. But, don’t get too wrapped up in things. Obsess over making memories and seeing new places.
While not as ubiquitous as the 4×4, adventure motorcycles hold their own at the table of overland legends. They too cross continents, inspire adventure, and compete in grueling challenges. And, here in the US the enthusiast community is very, very well established. For many adventure bikes are a way of life, and it’s easy to understand…adventure bikes are insanely cool. We dare anyone out there to watch Long Way Round and not spend the next week daydreaming about crossing a continent on a GS.
One could argue that Adventure Bikes are in a category of their own, and aren’t “overlanders” per se but the spirit is certainly there and those traveling the globe by bike share a lot more in common with their 4×4 counterparts than people camping and wheeling on the weekends.
Bikepacking is an excellent way to connect with nature. You will cover much more ground than if you were on foot, and bikepacking is way cheaper than going full expedition vehicle or adventure bike. The other clear benefit; it’s a great way to get some exercise while scratching your adventure itch. We like to think of it as the adventure motorcycle’s gateway drug.
Would we classify this as Overlanding if we had to? Probably not. But, we think its a great way to dip your toes into the water without investing too much into gear… or quitting your job to travel.
Alternative and non-traditional
One of the greatest things about the overland and adventure travel community is that we’re a welcoming bunch. You don’t necessarily need a built out 100 Series to join “the club,” there are a growing number of adventurers outfitting non-traditional adventure vehicles. Take a look at FozRoamer’s Subaru Forester. Its awesome and serves as a perfect example of run what you have, fall in love with adventure, and go completely crazy building it into your perfect adventure vehicle. The same goes for motorcycles. you don’t necessarily need a $10-20k adventure bike. Becky, of Motoventuring.com, sets out on absolutely amazing adventures on her DRZ400 – crossing continent kinds of adventures. Basically, the point we’re trying to make her is: any mechanically propelled vehicle can give you a taste of the overland lifestyle.
Now that we’ve made our point about turning your current vehicle into an overland adventuremobile… let’s briefly talk about the other end of the spectrum. Want to go on an adventure without leaving the comfort of your own home? Check out the crop of $100k+ overland vehicles built to navigate austere environments while making sure you can shower at the end of each day. The brandish names like EarthRoamer, Unicat, and Earth Cruiser to name a few. They are as impressive as they are pricey.
What Overlanding is not.
First and foremost, overlanding is not going out for a day or two in your 4×4 tearing up trails, seeing what you can crawl over, or otherwise damaging the environment. It is not car camping in a state park. And, most importantly… it is not a community of people looking down their noses because a person doesn’t fit into a stringently defined “box.” Everyone needs to start somewhere, right?
The overland community is a welcoming group. A community that cherishes interactions with nature, other cultures, and the unknown. They are explorers and adventurers; born a few hundred years too late. To scratch their own itch they set out to cross continents or explore nearby backcountry roads and trails. They are for the lack of a better term; great people.
Overlanding Guides, Skills & Resources.
- Overland Essentials – Our picks for the skills and gear you must have to get started.
- Handheld Radios – Skip the CB, check out our page on choosing the right communication tool.
- Basic Gear – Things you’ll want and need beyond the items that will keep you safe and out of trouble.
- Camp and Kitchen – Gear to improve meal prep, sleep, and time spent in the overland campsite.
- Choosing a Vehicle – Information on popular adventure vehicles
- 4 of our Favorite Youtube Channels – Great intro to Adventure Travel
Welcome to the Overlanding Community!
First of all, thank you for coming to our site. But, more importantly, we want you to know that we appreciate you and hope to be a guide as well as a trusted friend.