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I don’t know about you, but when I think about overlanding vehicles, my mind always goes to things like Toyota Landcruisers. And while Landcruisers are the kings of overlanding, they aren’t the only vehicles that allow you to head out and explore the world for days, weeks, or months at a time. In fact, you can overland with virtually any vehicle – from a bicycle to a pickup. In this quick guide, we’ll give you some insights into these and other overlanding vehicles you might consider for your next trip.
SUVs – The Best Overland Vehicles
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As I just mentioned, SUVs like the Toyota Landcruiser are the type of the best SUV for Overlanding most people think of. Also included in this group are Jeeps and Land Rovers. These SUVs have been around far longer than the term SUV came into popular use. They are rugged, offer plenty of cargo space, have tried-and-true 4×4 systems, and can be outfitted with all kinds of accessories for overlanding, from brush guards to light bars to rooftop tents. By and large, these old, reliable rigs offer supreme durability and dependability, yet can be repaired easily in the field should something go awry. Newer iterations of Landcruisers, Jeeps, and Land Rovers offer better ride comfort and more luxurious interior spaces, but still have that trail-proven technology to get you from Point A to Point B in style. But SUVs aren’t the only game in town…
Trucks are Becoming More and More Popular Overlanding Vehicles
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Trucks big and small are also the best overland vehicles. Smaller trucks like the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger are especially popular, but full-size trucks like the Ford F-150 and the RAM 2500 are gaining steam as go-to options as well. Regardless of whether you choose a small or full-size truck, you get the advantage of having a truck bed for storage and increased towing capacity over many SUVs. Additionally, you can add a bed cover or bed topper to enclose the pickup bed for security while also having the option of adding a bed rack for even more storage space. In some cases, overlanders add a bed camper for upgraded accommodations, but word to the wise – if you have a bed camper, off-roading is a non-starter! The height of bed campers drastically changes the center of gravity and if the trail gets too rough, you could find your rig on its side.
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Types of Overlanding Vehicles: Motorcycles and Bicycles
Though it might seem odd for a motorcycle to serve as an overlanding vehicle, it really can serve the purpose. Overlanding is all about the journey, about enjoying your surroundings. And what better way to do that than on a motorcycle? Sure, you can’t take your Harley off-roading, but you sure can enjoy the wind in your hair! If you travel light, you can make a motorcycle work just fine for overlanding. You’ll likely need to rely on roadside accommodations and restaurants much more than your compatriots in a more traditional overlanding vehicle, but add some saddlebags or a sidecar (or even pull a small trailer) and you’ll have enough storage to spend a few days on the open road.
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Heck, you can overland on a bicycle if you want! You’ll often see bicyclists touring the country on the shoulder of highways in the summer. With little more than a backpack or saddlebags, these folks are overlanding in about the simplest way possible. I, for one, will happily bring my bike on my overland adventures, but I’ll stick to driving my truck to get from one place to the next, thank you very much!
Unusual Overlanding Vehicles
When you think about the different types of overlanding vehicles, my guess is that the first thing that comes to mind is not a VW Bug… Yet, overlanding Bugs exist! I had the chance to interview Jamie Wiseman, owner of TVR Automotive in Tuscaloosa, Alabama last month and learn more about his 1967 VW Bug overlanding build. It is truly an impressive car, and one I would dearly love to take overlanding. It is a prime example of how overlanding can be done with virtually any vehicle. It helps that Jamie has the skills, time, and money to modify the Bug to make it a more capable overlander. But regular folks like you and I can buy rigs like this if we want. Talk about an overlanding experience!
Which Types of Overlanding Vehicles are Your Favorites?
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You can overland in an RV, pull a trailer with your truck, set out in your station wagon or minivan, or even hit the trail in a sedan or coupe if you want. Truly, the possibilities are endless. So that begs the question – which types of overlanding vehicles are your favorites? For me, you simply can’t go wrong with an FJ80 Landcruiser or an old Land Rover. Talk about a classic overlanding ride! But I see the value in other types of rigs, too. Whatever vehicle you use, get out there, enjoy yourself, and stay safe!