September 24, 2023

Just Moments

Travel Groove

Can You Be a True Overlander If You Don’t Like to Camp?

Overlanding has really come into its own since the COVID pandemic. It is an outdoor activity that combines travel and adventure in ways that other types of travel just can’t match. Camping is a big part of it. But do you have to like camping in order to be a true overlander?

Technically, no. You neither need to like camping nor actually do it. Bear in mind that the strictest definition of overlanding involves traveling over land in such a way as to emphasize the journey rather than the destination. It is entirely possible to overland and still sleep in hotels and B&Bs every night. It is just that few hard-core overlanders do it.

Staying Off the Beaten Path

A general rule among avid overlanders is to stay off the beaten path. Overlanders like to go where RVs and travel trailers cannot. They tend to prefer being self-sufficient whenever they are out on an adventure. All of this leads to camping rather than staying in hotels. So it’s not unusual for overlanders to invest heavily in camping gear.

Rooftop tents secured to platforms with Rollercam truck tiedown straps are pretty common. So are inflatable air mattresses, campfire cookware, portable electric lights, and on and on. Still, overlanders are only as primitive as they want to be.

Modern Overlanding Rigs

There are those overlanders who still prefer staying off the beaten path but aren’t all that fond of sleeping in a tent and cooking over a campfire. So instead, they build themselves modern overlanding rigs that offer sleeping accommodation as well as many of the general comforts of home.

A modern rig can offer amenities like toilet and shower, a small kitchen, air-conditioning, etc. It is a matter of how much an overlander wants to invest in making the journey comfortable. If you have the money and aren’t afraid to spend it, go for it. Primitive camping is not a requirement.

Overlanding in the Digital Era

Something else to consider is your need for digital devices. Whether you choose to camp or not, will you be using digital devices during your journeys? If so, you’ll need a power source at the very least. You will also need a way to connect if you hope to get online.

Vehicle electrical systems are usually sufficient for powering cell phones, tablets, and computers. You can also invest in solar-powered chargers for your small electronics. As for internet connectivity, you may need to invest in a specialized modem or satellite device. It depends on where you intend to travel.

If You Do Decide to Go Primitive

Only you can decide whether you are up for camping. If you do choose to go primitive though, take some time to research typical overlanding equipment. Your staples include things like hand tools, cam straps and other tiedown options, first aid kits, spare vehicle parts, and more.

Keeping a good selection of equipment and supplies on hand means spending more time on your journeys and less time on maintenance and repairs. On the other hand, carrying only the bare minimum is an open invitation to trouble you don’t need.

The internet is rife with guides for new overlanders. Research to your heart’s content. Also, don’t be afraid to ask other overlanders for their advice. Most are more than happy to share.

Do you have to like camping to be a genuine overlander? No. Still, most overlanders prefer to camp as part of the experience of enjoying the great outdoors while still being entirely self-sufficient. You make the call for yourself.