What is overlanding?





View Poll Results: Overlanding is a trip by car, that:

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  • Lasts a few days, visiting more than one overnight stop

    8 5.33%
  • Lasts a week or more, might require 4x4

    4 2.67%
  • Lasts a week of more, might need 4x4, accomodation mostly self reliant

    45 30.00%
  • As above, but also requires navigation/mapreading

    16 10.67%
  • As above, requires map reading/navigation, accomodation irrelevant

    21 14.00%
  • As above, but must cross a country border

    17 11.33%
  • As above, but requires full self reliance. Incudes unmapped terrain/areas with no roads

    39 26.00%
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  1. #1
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    Default What is overlanding?

    The thread about carrying 2 spares or not, as well as the recent thread about buying an overlander for 150k, both of which are very interesting discussions, got me thinking about what different people see as overlanding, and more importantly, where the barrier between road trips/overlanding sits.

    I did a search and saw there was a thread a few years ago, but instead of reviving that, I think it’s time for a new discussion, and a poll. (This is not meant as a peer reviewed, controlled focus group poll, I tried to cover as many scenarios as possible, pick the one that suits your definition best, but feel free to elaborate on your definitions in a post).

    The dictionary/Wikipedia definitions are pretty straight forward, and basically any journey on land taking at least a couple of days, up to months or years, with any vehicle, is overlanding. I want this to be more specific to the self-drive 4x4 market. So let’s ignore bike trips, horse trails and overland truck groups.

    what does overlanding as a 4x4 driver mean to you, and when does a Road Trip become an Overland Trip?

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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    Personal opinion
    A road trip can be done in your Grannies Peugeot, over landing is an extended trip over various terrain done in a 4x4
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    I screwed up the poll.... will try again

    and again.... polls questions can’t exceed 100 characters.... if one of your questions does, it fails to load the poll, and you have to start all over
    Last edited by RPiet; 2020/02/14 at 05:54 PM.

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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    Overlanding is a self-drive adventure off the beaten track in generally more than one country that will occasionally require use of 4wd. It can range from about a week to years.
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  7. #5
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    From this website: https://overlandjournal.com/what-is-overlanding/

    Overlanding describes self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal. Typically, but not exclusively, accommodated by mechanized off-highway capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping; often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and often spanning international boundaries. While expedition is defined as a journey with a purpose, overlanding sees the journey as the purpose.
    Overlanding is about exploration, rather than conquering obstacles. While the roads and trails we travel might be rough or technically challenging, they are the means to an end, not the goal itself. The goal is to see and learn about our world, whether on a weekend trip 100 miles from home or a 10,000-mile expedition across another continent. The vehicle and equipment can be simple or extravagant - they, too, are simply means to an end. History, wildlife, culture, scenery, self-sufficiency - these are the rewards of overlanding.
    To me the defining point is, that the journey itself is the purpose, rather than the destination.
    It's not about using a 4x4, at all. Overlanding AND expeditions have been done in way less capable vehicles than 4x4s.
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  9. #6
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    As to the difference between an Offroader and an Overlander: https://www.adventure-journal.com/20...nd-overlander/

    The off-roader and the overland traveler are often thought to be the same, but there are important distinctions. An off-roader uses his vehicle, usually highly modified and not his daily driver, for recreational purposes and perhaps the odd holiday, where he will venture into the realm of the overlander for a brief time. His priority is to test the limitations and endurance of both himself and his vehicle either in designated 4×4 areas or on a round trip to an adventure destination where he will rely on the vehicle to take him to remote places over difficult terrain. The off-roader has nerves of steel.
    The overlander’s objective is adventure travel over vastly changing terrain while testing his own courage and resourcefulness, and the vehicle’s endurance and reliability, all while maintaining some degree of comfort, usually over an extended period of time. Not all overlanders like to drive far from the beaten track and many will never exploit the off road capabilities of their vehicles. There is nothing wrong with this. Many amazing places are accessible by a well driven, unloved sedan. If you are an offroader who intends to become a long term overlander you will have a fantastic journey if you are willing to adapt your mindset by carefully considering your travel needs.
    Last edited by HugoNotte; 2020/02/14 at 05:59 PM.
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  11. #7
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    Quote Originally Posted by HugoNotte View Post
    As to the difference between an Offroader and an Overlander: https://www.adventure-journal.com/20...nd-overlander/
    that is an interesting description.

    This however remains a very personal “indentifier”. In some ways a guess the question is almost like gender roles these days (TIC).

    I like the above descriptions, and at the same time I don’t feel like I fit into either box....

    my personal feeling is there needs to be a certain something that differentiates ”overlanding” from road tripping, and at the same time differentiates overlanding from 4x4 travelling. But it’s a very hard thing to do.

    in my mind, as much as I enjoy what most people see as overlanding, the bulk of it is just a road trip. Overlanding is what Kingsley Holegate does. It’s what the guys from 4x4 Action do, or even the old top gear specials, and grand tour specials (although their vehicle choices sometimes a bit off). Everything else is just a road trip.... But this definition puts these into the 4x4 trip category.

    I agree that it must be about the adventure, and the journey is more important than the destination, but I think on a proper overland trip, the destination must also not nescesarily be guaranteed. From the outset there should be an acceptance that you might not reach the point you are planning to go, and may need to rethink your plan multiple times on the trip.

  12. #8
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    Quote Originally Posted by RPiet View Post
    that is an interesting description.

    This however remains a very personal “indentifier”. In some ways a guess the question is almost like gender roles these days (TIC).

    I like the above descriptions, and at the same time I don’t feel like I fit into either box....

    my personal feeling is there needs to be a certain something that differentiates ”overlanding” from road tripping, and at the same time differentiates overlanding from 4x4 travelling. But it’s a very hard thing to do.

    in my mind, as much as I enjoy what most people see as overlanding, the bulk of it is just a road trip. Overlanding is what Kingsley Holegate does. It’s what the guys from 4x4 Action do, or even the old top gear specials, and grand tour specials (although their vehicle choices sometimes a bit off). Everything else is just a road trip.... But this definition puts these into the 4x4 trip category.

    I agree that it must be about the adventure, and the journey is more important than the destination, but I think on a proper overland trip, the destination must also not nescesarily be guaranteed. From the outset there should be an acceptance that you might not reach the point you are planning to go, and may need to rethink your plan multiple times on the trip.
    I agree very much with what you are saying, however I would still think that a 4x4 is rather a "nice to have" than a necessity. In our day and time a 4x4 vehicle is much more accessible from a financial point of view than what it was some 30 or 40 years ago, but I would think that back then already people did "overland" despite not being able to use a 4x4.
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  14. #9
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    Depends who you ask

    https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dic...glish/overland
    (of travel) across the land in a vehicle, on foot, or on a horse; not by sea or air

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overlanding
    Overlanding is self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. Typically, but not exclusively, it is accomplished with mechanized off-road capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping, often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and spanning international boundaries.

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  16. #10
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    Road trip... Driving on tar roads and staying in city accommodations etc regardless of destinations.

    Overlanding .... Driving where a std vehicle cannot go, off the beaten track as mentioned.
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  18. #11
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    Ek wonder of ons trip later die jaar met die W123/6 Mercedes beskou word as n roadtrip, of overlanding trip.
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    For me it’s a state of mind.

    Travelling as an island, ignoring the local culture and cuisine, merely hopping from one spot to another is going on a trip.

    Immersing yourself in your journey and destinations, absorbing local heritage, culture and food, chatting to locals and living the journey is what overlanding is about.

    Unfortunately it requires time, something that is in short supply without a concerted effort.

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  22. #13
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    This forum is a 4*4 Forum and , as such, Overlanding , for us, can only be a 4*4 journey.
    There’ s an African saying that its greater to travel, than to arrive ...
    for me that attitude is definitely integral.
    I think timetables and schedules , deadlines and other time-respecting disciplines should, only idealy, not predominate or be too constraining.
    Its a licence of freedom and a celebration of it.
    For me overlanding needs one to leave behind many of the conventional comforts and resorts of normal life ...
    It needs be simple and basic and uncluttered travel & living...
    so yes the capacity of self-sufficiency is key, its the way to do it.
    I find once I travel to and through remote places, I want to avoid tarred roads and I dont want to go through big centers ...
    when I did a 6000km trip over 6 weeks through the Richtersveld and Kalagadi I didnt want to include larger centers like Alexander Bay
    or Rosh Pinah or even Keetmanshoop (!) ... even though one need restock provisions and refuel & regather.
    Overlanding, here, is seeking and savouring the Africa thats fast disappearing and for me its the pristine natural side I want to enjoy.
    Last edited by BushNomad; 2020/02/14 at 09:45 PM.
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  24. #14
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    To me overlanding is to see places and appreciate these places which the average person do not experience.
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    You get yuppie overlanding which is keeping up with the Jones and then you get the odd chap that visits Africa in his single cab Isuzu and sees it all. It is basically traveling in a vehicle to remote destinations and experiencing new things..

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  27. #16
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    What Hugo posted.

    Contextually, I deal with numerous business issues that arise because people have their own definitions or interpretations of established definitions that once corrected, reestablished and understood, make the issues clearer and rectification of the problem easier. Simplistic example, load shedding vesus power failure.

    As for the use of a 4x4 only to comstitute overlanding as Nomad suggests is nonsense. My mother embarked on an open ended trip around the coast of Australia in a Holden Fleetwood with numerous diversions into the interior. The journey itself was the objective with the end point being Perth at some point as this is where she started from. She was self sufficient and wild camped the majority of the time.

    Overlanding is not equipment based or defined by what equipment you do or dont have. Its about a mind state. The person following the same path for the same reason beit in a 2cv or on foot is welcome at my camp fire as an equal.
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  29. #17
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    For me.

    Touring the escarpment of Mapumalanga visiting the waterfalls and Blyde Canyon, eating in restuarants and sleeping in guesthouses is a road trip.

    Driving the Namakwa Eco Route, camping at dedicated camping spots as well as wild camping is overlanding.

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  31. #18
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    A roadtrip of which the schedule and next destination are mere suggestions, to which you may or may not stick, voluntarily or - usually - otherwise.
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  33. #19
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Estee View Post
    What Hugo posted.

    Contextually, I deal with numerous business issues that arise because people have their own definitions or interpretations of established definitions that once corrected, reestablished and understood, make the issues clearer and rectification of the problem easier. Simplistic example, load shedding vesus power failure.

    As for the use of a 4x4 only to comstitute overlanding as Nomad suggests is nonsense. My mother embarked on an open ended trip around the coast of Australia in a Holden Fleetwood with numerous diversions into the interior. The journey itself was the objective with the end point being Perth at some point as this is where she started from. She was self sufficient and wild camped the majority of the time.

    Overlanding is not equipment based or defined by what equipment you do or dont have. Its about a mind state. The person following the same path for the same reason beit in a 2cv or on foot is welcome at my camp fire as an equal.
    ... pedantic !



    I started with a qualified statement you perhaps missed or chose to ignore :

    “ ... This forum is a 4*4 Forum and , as such, Overlanding , FOR US,
    can only be a 4*4 journey... “

    ... the OP asked for our perspective,and I gave mine
    ... difficult to be wrong let alone “ nonsense “.!!!

    So, eg, I purposely excluded the various exploits & travels of :
    my Gt Gt Gr-father , Master Mariner and pioneer settler in Australia ,
    my sister who also travelled round Oz in 2WD etc ...
    and even my Gr Father who was effectively a ‘white’ pioneer settler
    in Nthn Rhodesia.

    ... Think of ‘us 4*4 overlanders’ as a real subset of some theoretical Universal Set of “All Overlanders “ ... if you must !
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  35. #20
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    Default Re: What is overlanding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Viertrek View Post
    For me.Touring the escarpment of Mapumalanga visiting the waterfalls and Blyde Canyon, eating in restuarants and sleeping in guesthouses is a road trip.Driving the Namakwa Eco Route, camping at dedicated camping spots as well as wild camping is overlanding.
    I agree with this.When you do and can live from you vehicle and be self sufficient then you are over landing (This might include some set accommodation nights due to safety or such). But if you only stay in B and Bs etc, and only use the vehicle as a means of transport, then it is a road trip.
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