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What is Overlanding?

what is overlanding
what is overlanding

Well, first of all, it’s awesome but more to the point: 

Overlanding is going out into the wilderness to remote faraway places, taking care of your basic needs by living off the land, catching your own food, navigating by primitive measures, making your own fire, building your own shelter, learning about and interacting with people from other cultures for several days, weeks or even months. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.


Overlanding is gathering your family and/or friends heading out of the city, finding the road less traveled, trekking to a trail in the woods and finding a nice remote place to spend a few days, enjoying your time in the great outdoors and getting away from the noise and daily grind. It’s also not about the destination, it’s about the journey and making memories that will last a lifetime.

In other words, Overlanding is what you make it. It can be a month-long excursion in the Australian desert or it can be a weekend getaway to the woods to enjoy nature and togetherness.

Sure there may be purists that follow a stringent Overlanding code of conduct but that sounds a little rigid to us. We are from the school of have fun, get outside, enjoy creation and make moments to remember. 

What Do I Need for Overlanding?

Typically you need a backpack full of necessities, weather-appropriate clothing, food or a method of obtaining your own food legally and various forms of transportation. Personally, we like to use the four-wheel-drive variety but that’s not mandatory (although it’s a lot more fun). 

You can bring along mountain bikes, ATVs, motorcycles and kayaks to reach destinations inaccessible to traditional vehicles. 

Another necessity is shelter, whether that takes the form of a tent or truck tent or something you make yourself, it’s good to have a place protected from the elements, bugs and animals. Speaking of animals, bring your dog! Dogs probably have more fun Overlanding than humans do. Just be sure to bring whatever they need as well.

Extreme Overlanding

There are also those that take Overlanding adventures that last months and cover several miles and through a multitude of countries and a wide variety of terrain. We don’t suggest that as your first trip but that is the highest form of this experience.

Goals of Overlanding

It’s about exploration. It’s not about climbing the highest peak or shooting the toughest rapids. It’s about living in the moment, facing challenges, finding yourself and seeing what you’re made of. It’s not “Glamping” and it’s not RVing. It’s a temporary lifestyle of roughing it with the enduring contentment of time well spent.

Most likely you will face challenges along the way, whether it’s a difficult trail to hike or a tricky current to traverse, they are just obstacles in your way, getting past them is not the goal. The goal is to be present in the world, at that moment, at that time, in those circumstances either by yourself or with people close to you, adventuring on a journey on this beautiful planet.

Learning about your surroundings, appreciating the wildlife and the gorgeous scenery, being self-sufficient and learning what you’re capable of. It can be simple, it can be complex but the end result is not to get a result, it’s to find a special peace on Earth. That’s the reward of Overlanding.

Why Overlanding is Different

There are different ways to spend your time with nature. They may take the form of dirt biking or four-wheeling or it could be going to a campground and taking a walk in the woods. You might go fishing for a few hours or kayaking down a river. Those are great ways to spend some time outdoors. 

With Overlanding your purpose is to include two or more of the following:

  1. Traveling to a remote destination for multiple days or weeks
  2. Learning about the culture and getting to know about the people of that area
  3. Exploring areas not previously designed or built for outdoor recreation
  4. Self-sufficiency in unfamiliar territory without the reliance on modern conveniences

When Overlanding you seek a more challenging route as opposed to a well-worn trail as part of the experience.

Summary: The Components of Overlanding

  • Main Purpose: The adventure. The exploration. The experience.
  • Time Span: A weekend, a week, a month, several years.
  • Preparation: Planning route, researching requirements and environment are mandatory.
  • Course: Navigation via planned routes with previous documentation suggested
  • Habitation: Tents, vehicles with attached dwellings, natural or manmade shelters
  • Location: Remote areas away from populated regions
  • Demarcation: International borders rarely crossed
  • Risk: Low risk to participants. Potential risk to equipment dependant on conditions
  • Terrain: Trails, backcountry routes, hills or mountain paths, waterways