5 Things To Consider Before Buying An Overlanding Vehicle

Overlanding is an excellent method for exploring the road less traveled. Think of it like a road trip but taking unpaved roads, camping under the stars instead of checking into hotels, and the route being more important than the destination. 

Overlanding can take you to places that few people ever see in person. Imagine the freedom of taking a dirt road into our country's National Forests or other public lands and taking advantage of dispersed camping opportunities with epic mountain views alongside crystal clear streams.

The downside is that while overlanding, you'll often be in remote areas without immediate access to supplies or services. Personal comfort during an overland excursion directly depends on your level of preparation. In addition to your comfort level, your safety depends on being well-prepared for anything you might encounter on the trail. 

The first decision you'll need to make likely centers around the overlanding vehicle you'll drive. You can convert nearly anything, from a motorcycle to a campervan conversion, into an overland rig, but the benefits and drawbacks vary with each choice. Consider these five things before buying an overlanding vehicle.

Daily driver or weekend warrior?

How you'll use your overlanding vehicle is the first thing you must consider before buying one. Are you planning to go all-in by living in the rig and working from remote parts of the country? Will you drive your overland rig around town daily or reserve it expressly for overland adventures as time allows?

An overlanding vehicle capable of supporting long-term travel and work requires a robust electrical system beyond what's typically provided by manufacturers. If you plan to spend extended periods away from civilization, your rig will also need more storage space for water, food, supplies, etc., than most.

Many people outfit their overlanding vehicles to allow moderate off-road capability while maintaining enough civility to drive to work or shopping. However, daily driving your overlanding vehicle requires secure gear storage and exposes equipment to unnecessary wear, tear, and UV degradation. A design with stealth in mind often serves the daily driver overlanding vehicle well.

If your budget allows, the best option for part-time overlanding enthusiasts is the purpose-built overlanding vehicle that spends off-time in a garage until you're ready for a trip. But that doesn't mean you should avoid overlanding until you can afford a special rig. The experience gained by overlanding with the vehicle you have goes a long way toward developing your preferred style.