What is “Overland Built” ???

Finn

Adventurist
#1
Has anyone else noticed with the surge in popularity in the outdoor industry there has also been a surge of people slapping a few modifications on their 4x4 and all of a sudden it’s “Overland Built”. As if light bars make you any more self-reliant when traveling in the backcountry. I’ve seen the title “Overland Built” or “ready for overland” so many times that it has me shying away from wanting to use the term Overland at all anymore. I’ve seen vehicle posted for sale that are far less reliable then they where from the factory due to all the modifications now with a $10k price increase just because they’re “Overland Ready”. Or people who think you need to spend several thousand in mods to your 4x4 just to go camping.

So my question to you is: What exactly is Overland Built?


Alright rant over. But I figured some of you might agree.

Full Disclosure: I have spent far too much money on modifications and gear that I find beneficial for me and do enjoy. But if I do ever sell my rig I won’t be asking $10-$20k over its actual value either.
 

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#3
So my question to you is: What exactly is Overland Built?
My very blunt answer: it’s a marketing tool made up solely to sell you stuff. To say that something is “overland built” means little in and of itself.

The term "Overland" is being over-used in my opinion. Which is why here at AAV we try really hard to not use the O word for our fancy car camping stuff.

;)
 

Jonathan Hanson

Adventurist
Founding Member
#5
I could easily define "overland built," but it wouldn't match much of what is sold as "overland built." In my mind an "overland built" vehicle is one that has been modified to enhance its utility and comfort for long-distance backcountry travel without compromising reliability or durability. It's that last bit that frequently is ignored when the "builder" tacks on big wheels and tires, wheel spacers, racing suspension components, and enough bolt-on accessories to blow through the GVWR.
 
#6
I reckon the question isn't towards the budget minded or the individual with big bucks, or the vehicle pimped out with all the accessories & decals. I was told on a site I wasn't a "Overlander" because I drive a full-size truck, it's not lifted, nor has navigation system or I carry recovery gear. For one I never claimed to be Overlander or any other word associated with it's definition. I do carry recovery gear (lots of it), I just don't show it off, my vehicle has "some" suspension upgrades, my navigation system is the wife & I are users paper forest maps, topo maps, small GPS unit & it takes me & the wife were we plot to go, off the main National Forest dirt rds, 15 to 28 miles in. I fancy ourselves (the wife & I) more as offroad dispersed campers with a journey than Overlanders. We know our limitations & the vehicle's limitations.

What bothers me more is the ones on You Tube, Instagram or any other social network site & forums that want there subscribers\followers to help pay for their adventures, upgrades & gear by Patreon, Donations or Go Fund Me's. These type's of people are what I classify as want-a-be celebrities which I've seen many of these types come & go when I had my businesses in the custom firearm industry from TV hunting shows to so-called Pro Staffers for hunting products putting themselves on a pedestal like they are really going to do me a flavor for me & my business. I do not miss these types when I retired & sold my business after 20 plus yrs, what I do miss is the normal well grounded folks who are no different you or me.
I like certain products in the offroad community & I choose to own: Engel, Front Runner, AT Overland, General Tire (Grabbers), Scepter, Rhino Rack, Tuff Stuff, Master Pull, Lock n Roll, VMax Batteries, Pelican Coolers just a few. I get invites from groups here in Arkansas & I choose to decline those offers. I'm going to be 60 yrs old in a few weeks, I find myself wanting to be more by myself (wife & I) because the BS is at it's zero level.
 

Robert

Adventurist
#8
Glorified and overpriced car camping. I've ridden a stock Chinese 150cc scooter over rougher terrain than many of the vehicles I see on-line will ever encounter. Oh, I had a North Face Base Camp duffel bag strapped on the back- definitely overland rated.
 
#9
I stopped building my truck after better skids, 33's and a slight lift. And a back seat hammock for the dogs. I have hidden storage for my recovery gear and easy access, for me, to my med kit.
 

Greg

Adventurist
Senior Staff
#10
In my opinion vehicle range is a big part of the utility portion of what makes an overland vehicle.

My litmus test is the last stretch of the Dalton Highway. It's 240 miles of nothing. If the vehicle can't make it with a single tank of gas it's not an overland vehicle.

Why a single tank when I can carry extra? What if I get to my destination/stopover and fuel is unavailable for some reason? That extra I will be carrying is going to get me back home.
 

Dean

Adventurist
Founding Member
#12
I'm likening it to when Ford started bragging their F150 was built with "military grade" aluminium. Anyone who has spent anytime around the military knows that's not exactly something to brag about. It usually means minimum specifications with minimum effort and minimum cost with a contract awarded to the minimum bidder. I'm starting to suspect something similar with "overland built" gear. Manufactures are just latching onto buzz words that are popular in order to push their stuff out there. There's lots of "crap" be peddled to the overland market mainly catering to the weekend warriors who want all that cool gear they saw on YouTube or Instagram.
 
#13
I could easily define "overland built," but it wouldn't match much of what is sold as "overland built." In my mind an "overland built" vehicle is one that has been modified to enhance its utility and comfort for long-distance backcountry travel without compromising reliability or durability. It's that last bit that frequently is ignored when the "builder" tacks on big wheels and tires, wheel spacers, racing suspension components, and enough bolt-on accessories to blow through the GVWR.
I'm glad to see that some people aren't afraid to call it like they see it.

In my view, "overland" has become a marketing/hype term and mindset. A lot of people see and read about other "overlanders" and automatically think that they need to spend thousands of $ and build up their vehicle to tackle the Simpson desert. I see all types of people running around western NY in lifted jeeps turning 37" tires and tacoma's with roof racks, lights and sliders. The thing of it is: I'd bet dollars to donuts that most of these vehicles do nothing but pavement driving for 99% of their useful lives, and that 1% of true offroading could probably be accomplished with far less modification and money spent.

Certainly, there are some people out there who are truly going to need a vehicle with extensive modification...but that's a situational decision that should be made at the individual level. As @Jonathan Hanson points out: overland modification is for a certain purpose or functionality...and to add to his bit, that purpose or functionality can be vastly different from one person to the next. Just because you see a youtube video of some overland celeb driving a highly modified 4x4 over some remote stretch of road doesn't mean that every other overland enthusiast needs a similar vehicle for their own travels and recreation.

The fellows driving mostly stock Tundra's and F-150's to their camping and hunting spots have more overland credibility than the fellows driving highly modified Tacoma's and Jeeps back-and-forth to work every day. The former has modified their vehicle just enough to accomplish the task at hand, whereas the latter has modified the hell out of their vehicle for the sake of appearances.

In my opinion vehicle range is a big part of the utility portion of what makes an overland vehicle.

My litmus test is the last stretch of the Dalton Highway. It's 240 miles of nothing. If the vehicle can't make it with a single tank of gas it's not an overland vehicle.

Why a single tank when I can carry extra? What if I get to my destination/stopover and fuel is unavailable for some reason? That extra I will be carrying is going to get me back home.
Also, I agree the above. For all the time and money people spend on "improving"their vehicles, there is a lack of focus on vehicle range. Either people load up their vehicles to the point of degraded fuel economy or they neglect to look at range improvement options (bigger tanks, jerry cans).

Having explored some of the remote bits of eastern Canada, I'd prioritize range enhancements over sliders, lights, bull bar, ect...you can get through most parts of North America with a relatively stock 4x4, but range (or lack thereof) can come back to bite you in the butt if you're not careful.

I also wish OEM's would focus more range..the tank sizes they are putting into many of their 4x4's and trucks is woefully inadequate IMHO.
 
Last edited:
#14
I will now admit publicly that the term overland applied to what I actually do. (Car camping.) Has always struck me as funny.

We in America really do not have unexplored wilderness to explor/conquer.

I live and play in the Mojave Desert. Which along with the Sonoran Desert are probably the only sizable wilderness's left in the lower 48.

My jeep has better tires, shocks and a J30 top for sleeping. Not even lifted and it has taken me everywhere I've ever wanted to go in the Mojave.

My AWD Express van has better tires, a bed, solar panels that feed a fridge, fan and some lights. Not lifted either but it too has hauled me everywhere I have wanted to take it. Although it won't go everywhere the jeep will. It does its job.

The upside of this overloading fad are some nice products that did not exist before. So my camp set up is a bit easier, nicer and more durable than it once was.

By the way. I am the only person in America without a sticker panel so I can advertise for free what I had to pay for?
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#16
Over the years I've seen far too many people build interweb monsters that are miserable pieces of doo-doo to live with. I find the term "adventure travel" to fit what I do better than "overland"...of course it's overland, if it wasn't I'd need a boat for "overwater travel"!:cool:
 

Greg

Adventurist
Senior Staff
#17
We in America really do not have unexplored wilderness to explor/conquer.
I would say an Explorer is an Overlander but and Overlander need not necessarily be an Explorer. Before the railway took over the overland cattle drives of the 1830s-90s in Australia were sometimes on well established routes. Considering the goal of those long distance cattle drives, get a product to market from point A to point B, long haul truckers are more of an Overlander than the ready-for-the-gram overland vehicles.

I saw a ready-for-the-gram "overland" Jeep Liberty yesterday. There was stuff bolted on that thing that I could not figure out why it was there. A snorkel but from a different vehicle make just poorly bolted on with the ram head facing out the side. A flag pole base attached to the fender. What that Jeep Liberty didn't do was be a means to an end. It wasn't a tool designed to facilitate the accomplishment of a purpose. It was a very large Halloween costume.
 

toneout

Adventurist
#18
I have built my truck to do what I need it to do. I also know its capabilities and limitations. Does it rock crawl? No. Does it mud bog? No. It does take me and my family down back roads in the woods to get to camping sites. It will do the same thing pulling my travel trailer with kayaks strapped to the roof. But it does all that for less than 3K. I bought it for $1800, had it for 6 years and done minimal repairs. It got stuck once on horse/motorcycle/jeep trails in Ocala Nat'l Forest. Other than that, it has done exactly what I want without complaining. I don't know if I am an overlander or if my truck is overland built, but I don't really care. Then again, maybe I am. I have lots of stickers! (of where we've been!)
 
Top Bottom