Overlanding – Seeing the World on Four Wheels - Tuff Stuff Overland

Overlanding – Seeing the World on Four Wheels

Overlanding is becoming more and more popular each day. A combo between off-roading and road-tripping. This article will focus on Famous Overlanding Trails, Basic Requirements for Overlanders, and Tips for Driving in High Heat as an Overlander.

By Ferenc Elekes of Overland Site

Overlanding is becoming more and more popular each day. A combo between off-roading and road-tripping, overlanding is great for those who just want to escape their city homes. It’s a reason to explore while getting a change of pace. This article will offer you some basic details on overlanding so that you may plan your next trip.

History of Overlanding

The concept of overlanding has been around for quite some time. The first ideas of overlanding could be traced back several centuries ago, in the bushes of Australia. At that point, farmers would seasonally guide and transport their livestock across a great distance. This would usually be essential when the weather did not allow them to properly raise them.

One more reason for their trips would be exploration. In their desire to find more lands that could be farmed, people would travel around on various forms of transportation. It is said that Marco Polo’s trip from Venice to the Court of Kublai Khan was also a form of overlanding. 

These days, overlanding is like a road trip where it’s not the destination that matters; it’s the trip itself. This kind of adventure was meant to be unplanned (for the most part), as the passengers would discover various corners of the world.

Famous Overlanding Trails

While overlanding is a type of trip that is pretty much planned on the spot, you still need to have a broad idea of where you are going. First and foremost, you need to pick a trail. Here are some options for you to drive on: 

Pan American Highway
If you are looking for some adventure, you might want to consider trying the Pan American highway. It starts in Alaska and stretches out all the way into Argentina. This route is among the most popular options for overlanders, and it makes a lot of sense why. It’s easy to travel on, you have beautiful sights, and it is also very affordable to go over.  
The Dalton Highway
If you want to escape the heatwave and go over a slightly cooler route, then you could try out the Dalton Highway in Alaska. Sure, the road may have its challenges – but during summer, it is heaven-sent in terms of temperature comfort. Plus, if you are lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis.
The Rubicon Trail
Just like with the Pan American Highway, the Rubicon Trail is also a very popular option for overlanders. You have everything from dirt trails to paved roads, with a lot of scenic areas that will take your breath away. Featuring plenty of forests and lakes en route, this is a trail that you can definitely relax on.

Basic Requirements for Overlanders

When you are overlanding, there are several pieces of equipment that you need to take with you. This will make the difference between a comfortable trip and one that feels lacking. Here’s what you need to put on your shopping list: 

A Well-Equipped Vehicle
When you are overlanding, you may want to consider investing in a good 4x4 that can handle more than paved roads. Once you settle on the vehicle, make sure your trunk has all the necessary recovery and maintenance gear. Spare tires are needed not only in case you run over an obstacle but also in case the heat bursts your tires. Also, make sure you bring oil and coolant with you – because the chances are that your battery and overall car will be placed under various extreme conditions.
A Cooler
When the temperatures are high, you can expect the food to go bad very fast. To prevent that from happening, you might want to get a cooler. Try to get something spacious enough to fit your food and at least a couple of bottles of water. The last thing you want is to drink lukewarm water on a hot day. 
You can also book a room somewhere on the road, but when you are overlanding, the chances are high that you’ll end up camping in different places. This is why you need to buy the right gear. 
Get a tent with polyurethane impregnated canvas or cotton and taped seams for waterproof protection and water leakage prevention. For the hot days, a 280g cotton-poly ripstop fabric is also great because of its breathability that allows you to stay a bit cooler under the sun. Also, when choosing the sleeping bag, do some research on the minimum temperature in the area – after which you can choose accordingly.


Tips for Driving in High Heat as an Overlander

With Canada hitting a record of 121 degrees Fahrenheit during the heatwave, you can only imagine what overlanding in these conditions looks like. Death Valley is expected to reach 127 degrees the following days, and we are barely in July. Summer is just starting. To make things easier for you, here are some tips for you to deal with high heat as you are overlanding.

Avoid the Overly Hot Routes 
The best way to handle high heat is to avoid those routes altogether. Stick with the areas that reach only temperatures you can handle. You can always pick up the other trails when the heatwave goes down and things become more comfortable. 
Test the Air Conditioning
The last thing you want is for your air conditioner to break down when the temperatures are at their highest. This is why, before setting off, you should have your AC checked. This should especially apply if you’ve noticed it acting funny before.
Gauge the Car Tires
Tires are very sensitive to high temperatures, which is why you may want to check their pressure. If temperatures are too high, the pressure might increase, leading to a blowout. Make sure to check the spare as well.
Stay Hydrated
Perhaps the most important point to remember is that you should stay hydrated. Since it’s warmer in the backseat, make sure those passengers have access to water and moisturizing snacks – perhaps some apples or other fruits. 

The Bottom Line

Overlanding is a great way to catch your breath and let loose. You just need to prepare for the trails you have in mind – and after that, it’s all about having fun.