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The 2/2/2 Rule Explained

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Overlanding is such a fun way to spend your time. But it can also be incredibly taxing – both physically and mentally. The question is, how do you help reduce that stress so you arrive at your destination feeling good, feeling excited, and ready to explore? That’s easy – you use the 2/2/2 rule! This rule of the road is used by many folks that overland in an RV. But even if you overland in your truck or SUV or some other vehicle, the 2/2/2 rule can be of benefit to you. Let’s explore what it is and how it can help!

What is 2/2/2 Rule?

As you might have guessed, this rule has three components, each of which has something to do with the number two…

Don’t Drive More Than 200 Miles in One Day

2/2/2 rule- Truck pulling a camper

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I know 200 miles is not a great distance… But remember that overlanding is all about the journey, not the destination, nor is it about “making good time” as my dad used to say on our marathon overlanding trips. Instead, when you’re planning where to head next, find a spot that’s about 200 miles away. This keeps your travel day short and manageable, plus without feeling like you have to drive forever, you will be more inclined to stop along the way to have a few adventures. I will admit that limiting yourself to 200 miles a day is very difficult. When you’re excited to get underway and see as much as you can, it is all too tempting to push it and drive 400 or 600 or 800 miles or even further. Just don’t do it! You’ll be tired, cranky, and won’t want to explore anything when you get to your destination.

Take a Break Every Two Hours (or Be to Your Destination by 2pm)

rural gas station

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The next component of the 2/2/2 rule is to take frequent breaks – every two hours, in fact. Taking frequent breaks will keep you feeling fresh, both mentally and physically. Get out, stretch your legs, use the restroom and walk the dog. You can count fuel stops as a break, too! Besides, the more you stop, the more opportunities you will have to explore interesting sites along your route. Alternatively, if you’re feeling good and drive the entire 200-mile distance in one fell swoop, aim to be at your destination by 2pm. person relaxing outside of a camper

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Again, 2pm seems like an awfully early point in the day to call it quits, but if you think about it, it offers so many advantages. First, you get to set up camp and enjoy the surroundings. It gives you a chance to explore and have a few adventures before it’s time to settle in, make dinner, enjoy a campfire and go to bed. Second, campgrounds usually fill up well after the 2pm mark, so you will be more likely to find a premium spot. Who doesn’t want that? And third, by arriving in the afternoon, that means you don’t have to deal with the situation of pulling into camp at night. Not only is it a little embarrassing to be the one disturbing the peace after dark, but it also makes it harder to get camp set up. Arrive early instead, and you’ll reap all these rewards!

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Stay for Two Days – The Final Component of the 2/2/2 Rule

People camping

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Wherever you stop, stop for a couple of days. Again, overlanding is about what you see and do along the way, and setting up camp for a couple of days gives you the opportunity to have some adventures before hitting the road again. Go hiking or fishing. Do some wildlife viewing. Head to the nearest town and visit a museum. Sit around camp and visit with other campers. There’s so much you can do! Another advantage of staying for a couple of days is that you don’t have to set up and tear down camp as often. If you have a travel trailer or RV, you know what a process it is to get everything ready to go for the night. Having to set up one day and take it all down the next can be quite a drag. So, get out your camp chairs, kick up your feet, and stay awhile. You never know what adventures you can find, even in places that seem fairly mundane!

Other 2/2/2 Rule Options

Person reading in a roof top camper

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Variety is the spice of life, so if the 2/2/2 Rule isn’t your thing, there are other options. Some overlanding enthusiasts adhere to the 3/3/3 Rule, which as you can imagine, is a limit of 300 miles, taking breaks every three hours or stopping by 3pm, and staying three nights. The 3/3/3 Rule gives you a little more leeway in terms of how far you get in a given day, but it also gives you that extra day at each destination for adventuring. Of course, you can modify the 2/2/2 Rule to meet your specific needs, too. Perhaps you set a 200-mile limit for daily travel, but set a 3pm deadline for arrival. Alternatively, you might develop your own 2/3/3 rule for driving 200 miles, arriving by 3pm, and staying for three days. The point is that you figure out what works best for you and how you want to travel, and then stick to the parameters of your rule. Doing so will enable you to enjoy the journey, stay physically and mentally fresh, and get plenty of rest each night.

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