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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Yes, Budget Overlanding is Possible!

Photo by georgeclerk via iStock

One of the biggest barriers to overlanding is the cost. You need to pay for fuel, vehicle maintenance, and vehicle accessories, among other things.

Thankfully, budget overlanding is possible, and that’s exactly what we are going over in today’s article. 

Table Of Contents 

Use a Rooftop Tent Instead of a Trailer


Rooftop tents aren’t cheap, but they are certainly cheaper than a camper trailer. Also, they put less stress on your vehicle; therefore, you save money on fuel and maintenance while also being able to access some more remote areas due to the lighter weight.

Our Rooftop tent of choice is the SMRT The Softshell.


This is a durable and tough product designed to accommodate 4 people. 

It is made of 320g ripstop polycotton canvas that’s seemed, and polyurethane coated for waterproofing and UV protection.

SBS zippers are used on the windows and most used zippers have pull rope ends. 

The rainfly is made from 420-denier oxford ripstop polyester fabric with waterproof PVC coating.


As the travel cover is going to be exposed to the elements the most, it is made from 650-denier waterproof PVC coated fabric.

For weight and strength purposes, the base of the tent is made from honeycomb aluminum and is then covered with a 1mm coated aluminum diamond plate. 

Organization inside the tent is also simple with 4 internal accessory pockets, 2 large shoe bags, and a base-mounted tent pole storage pocket.

A heavy-duty base-mounted cargo net adds storage under the tent when set up.

softshell-tent-from-smrt phone holder

Sleeping will be comfortable thanks to an EPS open-cell foam mattress that is 2.5 inches thick. It is wider than a queen and longer than a king so you can stretch out. 

For cleaning purposes, the mattress cover is removable.

softshell-tent-from-smrt inside

Finally, a double reinforced mounting track provides strength and rigidity. Stainless steel reinforced hinges and all stainless-steel hardware offer longevity and corrosion resistance. 

This is a product of great quality that will provide comfort and simplicity to your adventures for a lower price than that of a trailer. Plus, you won’t sacrifice comfort, and since this is a tent that is built to last, you won’t have to worry about constant maintenance or repairs – just enjoy your overlanding trips!

Travel with Company

overlanding sunrise

Photo by AscentXmedia via iStock

Vehicle costs are easily the most expensive part of overlanding. Fuel and maintenance can burn a big hole in your budget, which is frustrating. 

However, if you travel with company, you can pay half of those costs. Take a friend or your significant other with you and agree on paying travel expenses together. 

A 100-dollar fill-up bill turns into 50 dollars and a 500-dollar garage bill into 250. 

This is a great way to stay on the road longer and have more fun along the way! 

Drive Less Over a Longer Period

overlanding on a desert road

Photo by helivideo via iStock

If you do a 3000-mile trip over a month, you will be spending more money per day than if you did it in two months. 

This is mainly because you will be driving far more often than you will be if you spread out the distance over a longer period. 

This is a great way to stay on top of your expenses. 

Keep in mind that for this to work, you will need to be camping. If you are planning on staying in hotels along the way, then the increased duration will start getting expensive. 

Undertake Trips with the Bare Minimum Equipment

Buy Used Gear

Photo by apomares via iStock

One of the best budget overlanding tips is to go on a few trips with just the bare minimum. Take a tent, a table, a stove, a cooler and some water and food. Nothing else. 

This will help you understand exactly what you do and don’t need as during those trips you will get a great idea of what you are missing. 

If, for example, you are struggling to keep food cold for the entirety of your trips, then it may be worth getting a fridge

If sleeping in a normal tent feels a little uneasy, it may be worth investing in a rooftop tent that keeps you up and away from the ground.

On the other hand, you may find that a normal tent and cooler work perfectly and there is no reason in spending money on the upgrades.

Use What You Have

Person standing on a 4x4

Photo by brunomsbarreto via iStock

At first, it is perfectly fine to use what you have. There is no need in having the latest and most capable truck or the latest camping gear. 

As mentioned above, a simple setup will do the work – especially if you have mates that can help. 

For example, you may not have a winch, but one of your mates might; so, you know that you do have a way to be recovered in case a snatch recovery isn’t an option. 

The same is true for other accessories such as fridges. You may not have a fridge, but a friend of yours may have one meaning that you can store some stuff in there.

I am a firm believer that if you don’t camp with the simple stuff at first, you will never appreciate the comforts offered by the gear you buy along the way. 

Budget Overlanding – Final Thoughts

Road through the forest

Photo by ozgurdonmaz via iStock

Budget overlanding may sound like a lie but if you follow the tips mentioned above, we guarantee you will be saving a lot of money. 

Use the correct gear, plan carefully, save up some money, and the trip of a lifetime is possible. 

If you have any further questions regarding budget overlanding or for anything off-road or overland-related, head over to the forum section of our page.

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