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Building an Overlanding Vehicle

photo by AscentXmedia via iStock

If you are new to the scene, building an overlanding vehicle can be a daunting task. The accessories are endless and choosing the ones you actually need is near impossible. 

In this article, we will provide advice on building an overlanding vehicle. This will help you focus on the accessories you need; therefore, avoiding unnecessary bills.

Planning an Overland Vehicle Build

man working on metal

photo by South_agency via iStock

In today’s era, we get bombarded with videos and articles that showcase all the different accessories one can have when out overlanding. The fact is that you don’t need most of those accessories. 

The best thing to do is go out on a short trip with nothing but the essentials – then, you’ll know what you need and what is just nice to have.

Where Should You Start? 

Roof Rack on a 4x4

photo by Caliphoto via iStock

Start from the accessories that will add the most weight to your vehicle like a winch, bar work, roof rack, and other amenities such as a fridge. This will ensure you choose the correct spring rate for your suspension to compensate for the added weight. 

When the time comes to change tires, think about your suspension lift and the wheel arch clearance you’ve got. 

An Overland Vehicle Build Needs Storage and Convenience

Storage on An Overland Vehicle Build

photo by Stephen Barnes via iStock

To help with storage, a pickup will need a canopy and a wagon roof rack. If you are adding a canopy to your pickup go for an aluminum dust-resistant unit. This will help keep everything clean inside. 

When installing a roof rack make sure you know what its dynamic load capacity is and avoid putting too much weight up there. Weight on top of the vehicle will increase it’s center of gravity and big items will introduce wind drag. An increased center of gravity will make your vehicle unstable and wind drag will lead to worse fuel economy 

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First Aid Kits and Fire Extinguishers 

First Aid Kits

photo by Vitalii Petrushenko via iStock

All people in your convoy should know where your first aid kit is. Do not store it in a place that is hard to locate. Find an easy to reach space and put some kind of marker like a sticker to make clear that a first aid kit is stored there. In the event of an accident, this can save precious time. 

The same is true for the fire extinguisher. Put one on an accessible and visible place where you can grab it as quickly as possible in case something goes wrong. 

Overland Vehicle Builds Require Having Quality Work Done

person doing electrical work

photo by Volha Levitskaya via iStock

Poor workmanship will have the worst effects on electrical items. Electrical items take time and expertise to install; therefore, in many cases, they are done incorrectly. When the time comes to install electrical accessories specify that you need the installation to be as good as possible. Be willing to pay more for a clean install and always go to reputable shops

Engines are also subject to poor workmanship, especially with tuning. Do not go for plug-and-play units as each vehicle is different – even if it is the same make and model. If you want to tune your vehicle, use reputable chip brands that also require dyno tuning to maximize results out of your specific engine. 

Never go for the highest number, opt for the reliable and powerful enough setting.

Saving Money by Going DIY

Building an Overlanding Vehicle Engine

photo by dvulikaia via iStock

There are plenty of things that you can do yourself that will help save a lot of money and in most cases time. 

Electrical installations can be one of them. If you do something yourself you will know exactly how it was done and the quality of work that has gone in. Another aspect many people do not think about is that when something does go wrong you will have the knowledge to fix it. 

If your vehicle is out of warranty then servicing it yourself can help save the labor costs a mechanic would charge. You can start from the simple repairs such as changing your oil, oil filter, and air filter while slowly working your way up to more complex repairs. 

Working on your own vehicle will also increase the chances of you knowing how to fix it if it breaks out in the middle of nowhere. 

Overland Vehicle Build: Overlooked Items

Building an Overlanding Vehicle tow rope

photo by Daria Nipot via iStock

Many people tend to overlook recovery accessories. Make sure that your vehicle has rated recovery points and always carry the necessary shackles and straps needed to perform a recovery. 

Self-recovery is also extremely important. It doesn’t have to be a winch, a shovel and some traction boards can go a long way when it comes to getting your vehicle unstuck. 

I hope this article has helped you get on the right path when it comes to building your first overlanding vehicle. The most important thing to remember is that more isn’t always better. Spend time working out the accessories you genuinely need and avoid the ones you don’t. 

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