Overlanding is a very entertaining activity – and this is one of the reasons why it keeps growing in popularity over the years. More and more people are considering overlanding adventures, not only because of the challenging aspect but also because they get to explore the world.
This article will show you the beginnings of this phenomenon, respectively its history, worthy overlanding routes, as well as the skills and basic gear required for it. Let’s get to it!
Overlanding and Its Origins
The term “overlanding” comes from Australia. It used to refer to driving long distances across the Outback, until later when its meaning changed. It started being used by road construction crews when they opened up the landscapes of Australia.
Overlanding is a type of adventure that focuses on the journey, rather than the destination. It can go through both cities and off-road trails, with the overlanders using camping as a form of accommodation. It is done by using a van or an off-road vehicle because you need a strong car to be able to deal with this adventure. It isn’t for everyone, but it will give you memories that you will never forget.
However, overlanding shouldn’t be confused with off-roading. Off-roading happens on unsurfaced roads or no roads, which is different from overlanding. The latter doesn’t focus on the type of road. Unlike overlanding, though, off-roading focuses on the destination.
Overlanding – The History
Believe it or not, but the first overlanding trip originates from back in the 13th century. It wasn’t the type of adventure that we know it today, but it was still a form of overloading. The first form was used by Marco Polo, during his trip from Venice to the Court of Kublai Khan.
The term was used when farmers in Australia had to move their cattle by traveling across long distances. Then, the meaning changed when the workers built highways to open the Outback – these roads are still used in Australia by overlanders.
Although Australia and South-Africa are known to have been explored by using self-contained vehicles, one of the first suitable vehicles can be traced to the U.S., in 1903. It was George A. Wyman who went on a trip from San Francisco to New York by riding a motorized bicycle. Sadly, after going 3,800 miles in 50 days, the engine broke, making him pedal.
The Popularity Growth of Overlanding
Overlanding grew in popularity as the years passed, thanks to the improvement of technology. Considering some people are able to work from their laptops, all they have to do is bring their laptop on the trip and they’ll be able to work even during an overlanding trip. They only need an Internet connection.
Not to mention that people love how cheap it can be to overland nowadays – you can simply camp and you don’t need to spend money on expensive accommodation. Conversely, you can also go in a larger group, either with friends or your family, which makes it much easier in case there are issues with the car. Bringing your pets is also possible as long as you have enough food for them and good conditions.
Make sure you have all the legal permits to go abroad, not only for yourself but also for the pets. Overlanding is amazing in this respect, because you don’t have to worry about being rejected from an accommodation because of your pet. You can settle for camping.
Favorite Routes for Overlanders
There are many routes that you can pick for your overlanding trip, but it seems that many people have their favorite roads. One of these is the Silk Road, which can be found in the Eurasian continent. The route will go from China to Rome or Paris, and many other European areas.
If you’re a European, you might also love going from Budapest or London and all the way towards Singapore. The Rubicon trail is yet another favorite route for overlanders, which is located in the Sierra Nevada area of California. Other routes are the Pan American Highway, the Cape Town to Cairo route and Australia.
Things that You Need for Overlanding
Before you go overlanding, you need to plan for the trip. First of all, you need to decide the route, as well as your budget and the time you’re going to spend on the road. Everything must be well-thought.
Another important aspect is picking the right car. Keep in mind that you can’t go with a small, casual car. You need an off-road one or a van to deal with the unexpected. In addition, you must know the car’s limits before you do anything that might put yourself in danger.
You also need some special gear for the trip, which will keep you safe and help you recover your vehicle in case there are any problems on the road. You are going to need:
- Fire extinguisher
- Light truck or better tires
- A tool kit suitable for your car
- A full-size spare tire
- Car spares that suit the vehicle
- Drivetrain fluids
- Jumper cables
- Front and rear recovery points
- Spare key
Another thing to bear in mind is that you will need some specific skills for proper overlanding. You must know the local road rules to avoid fines and keep yourself safe. You should also understand hand signs in case you’re being told to stop. And don’t expect flashing lights to mean the same thing wherever you go. It may mean something else in a different country.
It’s essential to know the basics of overlanding before you go on your trip. You will be able to explore the world and create unforgettable memories. If you think you can deal with the responsibilities, then overlanding will be amazing for you. You’ll get to connect with nature in a way you couldn’t before.
Understand all the basics and ask questions if you’re unsure what to do. You can also ask other overlanders for advice.