The Status of Overlanding Today

Is overlanding becoming a glorified excuse for more bolt-ons and less about travel today?

  • Yes

    Votes: 161 94.2%
  • No

    Votes: 10 5.8%

  • Total voters
    171

Ryan Rogers

Adventurer
Here is the reality:

All the websites (even this one). All the social media. It's all funded by gear. And I don't say that condescendingly.

It's not just Overlanding. Look at any outdoor enthusiast website or magazine. You have to sell something to keep moving. I can't think of a single hobby-based forum, Facebook group, or social media account that doesn't largely focus on gear reviews, or gear list, or other gear-related shenanigans. How much traction would an Overlanding forum that wasn't based on this stuff get? There is horizons unlimited. That's the only one I can think of...and that is largely funded by selling books.

And even if they don't need the money, people still like the "stuff." We all like to look the part, even if we're just grabbing a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Then we like to complain about other people getting the stuff and going to Starbucks. It's just the way the world works. :ROFLMAO:
 

JCliftonB

Active member
Here is the reality:

All the websites (even this one). All the social media. It's all funded by gear. And I don't say that condescendingly.

It's not just Overlanding. Look at any outdoor enthusiast website or magazine. You have to sell something to keep moving. I can't think of a single hobby-based forum, Facebook group, or social media account that doesn't largely focus on gear reviews, or gear list, or other gear-related shenanigans. How much traction would an Overlanding forum that wasn't based on this stuff get? There is horizons unlimited. That's the only one I can think of...and that is largely funded by selling books.

And even if they don't need the money, people still like the "stuff." We all like to look the part, even if we're just grabbing a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Then we like to complain about other people getting the stuff and going to Starbucks. It's just the way the world works. :ROFLMAO:

Very true. It is what it is, essentially!
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
In today's world EVERY HOBBY OR ACTIVITY starts at $10K to git involved.

You gotta have the "Stuff" if you wanna play or more importantly be KOOL and part of the clique!

Everyone wants to a part of something.
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
Here ya go!

Another 600,000 new RV's produced in 2021 on top of the 430,000+ produced and sold in 2020.

Gittin crowded out there Boy's and Girl's.

Looks like you might be drivin another mile down that crappy washboard road to find the peace and tranquility you seek in life!


 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
Here ya go!

Another 600,000 new RV's produced in 2021 on top of the 430,000+ produced and sold in 2020.

Gittin crowded out there Boy's and Girl's.

Looks like you might be drivin another mile down that crappy washboard road to find the peace and tranquility you seek in life!


I still think once travel opens up a lot of people will be selling camping stuff. RV's included.

Even given supply chain issues / chip shortages blah blah blah..... Most RV dealers lots here are packed with inventory. So I think demand is starting to wane.

I've already seen quite a bit of 2020 model year RV's pop up for sale. 'Tried it and it wasn't for us' type of thing.
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
The "True Cost" of RV ownership comes once a month for the vast majority of RV owners in the form of what can be as much as a 20 year mortgage contract with monthly payment they must make on an RV they just had to have and NOW rarely if ever use!
 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
Exactly. Once the true “cost” of RV ownership…maintenance, fuel costs, storage…comes home to roost, there’ll be a glut of lightly used, late model units for sale. Want to buy a Class A or C? Just wait until late next year.
Yep. And I wonder how many people couldn't travel so thought... let's try camping! Went full bore and figured out they didn't like it after 3 trips....

Just a couple samples... I didn't even look for motorhomes....




 

Kevin108

Explorer
After more than 20 years of enjoying the hobby, prior to the current name, I find my interest in what others are doing with their vehicles has basically evaporated. The exceptions to that are older vehicles (typically pre-90s) that are still dependable or rare/unusual builds.

When I was young, I made the mistake of putting all my time and money into the build, very seldom getting out and using the thing. I enjoyed immensely the handful of off-road trips I took back then, but they were few and far between.

The last 10 years have been more about taking a stock or near-stock vehicle out to do the things I worried about when I was new to the sport...and having more comfort and fun than ever.
 

perterra

Adventurer
If anything overlanding and traveling is more popular in the US. That's what's driving the overlander consumerism. It's a lot easier for most people to buy a vehicle and build it while working. It's a lot harder for most people to figure out how to get time off to actually travel. I think what we're seeing in the US is just people working and building vehicles. I do think people actually do want to get out and travel and the "overland lifestyle" offers them the idea of freedom. Ironically they could get out and travel more if they spent the money on traveling versus building. But it's hard to get out of your daily norms. I think the influencer craze has caught on because most people don't have that much time off work and they want to figure out how to make money traveling. People like having the "security" of regular income.

In the business world I revolve in (be it very small circles of revolving) its called liking the hunt but disliking the processing of the game. In other words, more important what you have than actually using it.
 

Av8Chuck

Member
We recently purchased a Jeep built for "Overlanding." This is my third Jeep, built the first for rock crawling - could climb the side of a building but other than fun it was useless, second was a grocery getter - wife loved it (happy wife, happy life), and this one is all about camping. I'm older so I'm more focused on creature comforts and simplifying the experience, that's where much of the gear comes in, but it's more than that. There seems to be a confluence of social media, technology, availability, and even to some degree community.

I don't really think it matters what we call it, I'm more interested in how it differs from what preceded it and why? RVing is more about the destination, head out for somewhere that meets your lifestyle needs, get there setup and camp. Camping is often about the journey and the destination which provides a much more intimate experience with nature. For me I'm too old to hike in the gear to make camping "comfortable." Overlanding provides the mobility to broaden and enjoy the journey, the capability to explore off road destinations that would be impossible to reach in an RV, and and enables me to photograph areas away from the millions of cellphone, social media influencers, who are just interested in creating clickbait.

It is challenging to figure out what the Overland Lifestyle really means to me and how much am I willing to change or strike a balance between all of the different definitions to be a part of it? I will say this about it, make me feel like a kid again.
 

ZMagic97

Explorer
I think it's a glorified excuse for some, but not all.

For example, I just got a new truck and plan on doing travel in it as well as use it for daily commuting. I was picky on "needing" things like 4WD, 120V power in the cab and bed, and front and rear bench seats. Of course, some other goodies I got were nice as well.

I am going to get a Retrax retractable bed cover that supports rails for things like an RTT or cargo baskets if I want in the future. I feel like cover supports camping gear or suitcases being secured in the bed, depending on the trip type.

Do I have a fridge I'd like to have in the bed? Yes. Do I NEED it? No. Is it a fancy brand? Also no. But I'll say it's an awesome thing to have for camping and long road trips.

For me, I already decided to not lift the truck. I don't do serious off road trails, but more of forest roads and easier trails. Therefore, it's worth keeping it stock to me for highway MPG for overall use. I also like the stock ride comfort. However, some people need a lift for what they often do. But, I feel like a lot (not all) of people lift 4x4s for the look and feel, more than use. We all see it around us everyday.

Can the same be said about RTTs, fridges, winches, etc? Of course. However, I don't mind the market being fueled by these people as it creates a demand for new products to come out, and mass manufacturing of items make it cheaper. There are some things I have that are nicer than needed, but I am very slowly collecting them over my life.
 

RCP

Member
I think it's a glorified excuse for some, but not all.

For example, I just got a new truck and plan on doing travel in it as well as use it for daily commuting. I was picky on "needing" things like 4WD, 120V power in the cab and bed, and front and rear bench seats. Of course, some other goodies I got were nice as well.

I am going to get a Retrax retractable bed cover that supports rails for things like an RTT or cargo baskets if I want in the future. I feel like cover supports camping gear or suitcases being secured in the bed, depending on the trip type.

Do I have a fridge I'd like to have in the bed? Yes. Do I NEED it? No. Is it a fancy brand? Also no. But I'll say it's an awesome thing to have for camping and long road trips.

For me, I already decided to not lift the truck. I don't do serious off road trails, but more of forest roads and easier trails. Therefore, it's worth keeping it stock to me for highway MPG for overall use. I also like the stock ride comfort. However, some people need a lift for what they often do. But, I feel like a lot (not all) of people lift 4x4s for the look and feel, more than use. We all see it around us everyday.

Can the same be said about RTTs, fridges, winches, etc? Of course. However, I don't mind the market being fueled by these people as it creates a demand for new products to come out, and mass manufacturing of items make it cheaper. There are some things I have that are nicer than needed, but I am very slowly collecting them over my life.

If you are planning on getting the Leitner setup to go with the Retrax Pro, be sure to get the powered version. Otherwise the lever that you lift to operate the cover will hit any of the Leitner storage pods. I just switched to this setup and the powered version works perfectly, but its pricy, expect about 3k for the powered cover installed.

As for the topic at hand, I voted yes, but I won't pretend to be someone who isn't also caught up in the new shiny stuff that is on offer today. My truck is a 2018 Power Wagon, which by itself doesn't meet the old criteria for an "overland" vehicle. Lack of payload, terrible fuel economy, too large for tight areas etc. But for me its the perfect vehicle. My own personal version of "Overlanding" is being able to take myself, my wife, my stepdaughter and our two dogs comfortably anywhere in the western part of the US. We tow a travel trailer and try to find off grid campsites whenever possible. Sometimes though, for full transparency, we do also make reservations and ensure we have hookups. Summer trips with the dogs we prioritize being able to have the AC running for them when we are not bringing them to different parks. But it all trickles down to what some say is the key to what "Overlanding" is, vehicle based adventure travel. I am not saying I get out and get remote the way Dan Grek or Andrew St. Pierre White do, but we do use the truck to get out and explore the backroads and trails in our part of the country.

I have had my travel trailer (OutdoorRV 23KTS) for about 3 years now, and it does not surprise me that there has been an influx in lightly used trailers on the market recently. When you factor all the expenses together (monthly payment/insurance/maintenance/upkeep/additional fuel costs) I think I end up spending more per night camping than it would cost to stay in a hotel for the same duration. For some that is simply unacceptable and so they dump their trailers as the cost builds. For me it makes sense, I would rather have the freedom to get away from the populated areas and park my trailer somewhere on BLM land for a few nights. Or when we camp in established sites, not have to worry about finding pet friendly rooms for the dogs.

I am slowly building the truck to be more of a self contained camping setup so that I can go on longer trips without the trailer. It doesn't seem feedable to tow a travel trailer on the CDT or the HOTW tracks. Nor would the trailer survive a journey up to the arctic circle, it would be shaken to death. With that in mind I have slowly been prepping the truck for extended trips, like ZMagic79 said, do I need a fridge? Nope, but I will end up with one since I hate dealing with melting ice. Do I need the Leitner rack? Nope, but it makes organizing the bed of the truck much easier and allows me to throw three mountain bikes over the tailgate. Do I need on board air? Nope, but I like the idea of not having to find a gas station to inflate my tires, and it makes filling the air bags in the rear suspension a breeze.

Most of the things bolted onto or inside overland vehicles are not needed, but if it makes you happy who am I to stop you. What is needed is a desire to get out and explore, and if you do that in a Volvo station wagon or a fully built MANN expedition truck, as long as you are out doing what you enjoy I would say that is overlanding.
 

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