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An honest talk about Overlanding

devildodge

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Thank you, originally from New York so grew up backpacking and an occasional car camping trip. Similar to @AdamChandler only seen overlanding when moving out west, tried crawling with my built Discovery II but the waiting was boring so now back country and general exploring with some technical stuff, but only to get to a destination and not to see which rock I can crawl over.

I did love living in Pittsburgh and might move back that way. The west is nice but I miss the green.
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This green.

I am about 2 hours east of Pittsburgh.
 

jkm312

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I spent last week in Death Valley, 500 miles of offroad, including lots of stuff that's not on the newer maps. No wildflowers this year, bummer. May have passed you on a trail.
I've been having fun following along with this thread. I live in the midwest and have ridden both coasts several times as well as along the Gulf shores all on Harley's. I don't ride like you do anymore, I know better, my ole body would just raise all kinds of hell with me. Crossed Death Valley twice, all on paved roads. Hats off to you and your sense of adventure and skills. I've always traveled light, motorcycling has it's challenges. I have no idea what I would do with a whole truck load of gear! I've always been on the move too much to even think about it. I do like to see folks getting out there and having fun.
 

HeavyRotation

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I'm not that old yet but over the last few years, I've stopped really worrying about how other people spend their money. Priorities, means, put it all on credit and pay it off later? Whatever man, your time & money.

As someone from the Northeast, the concept of Overlanding is hard for me personally because we don't really have that here. what I mean is, there are thousands of dirt roads where I live in northern NH but every square inch next to those public dirt roads are privately owned and posted signs every 100 feet. The Class IV / Class VI roads (unmaintained public roads) are usually too narrow for a truck like a Ram 1500 and again, you can't pull off and camp unless you forgo a fire. If you have an ATV, you can ride in ATV areas that permit them, again with strict negotiation with land owners and those rights are always being challenged and clubs do their best to ensure those relationships stay healthy

So I've grown to love motorcycle riding because our bikes which are street legal can explore those old public roads safely without worrying about clearance, drop offs and huge logs in the road..we just jump over them or drag our bikes under them but I'd never "overland" on any of those roads with a truck.

I feel like Overlanding is a west coast thing which is cool. Bike Camping & Car Camping are totally different kinds of equipment. I personally don't want to off-road a vehicle because it's too slow. I've been stuck behind a few jeep trains when I'm in Colorado and man, that just seems so boring. I point my wheel in the direction I want to go and give it throttle and these guys have cameras, spotters and are crawling at 2-3 miles per hour. It's just not for me but again, their time, money and hobby. It does make for some cool YouTube videos!

..one consideration. I don't have kids so I don't Bring the whole family along so a motorcycle works for me perfectly. Maybe if the only holiday I get is with my kids, that might bring me over the edge to stick a dirt bike on the back and some fancy tent setup.
Holy cow, what are the odds i just responded to your pm about a clutch pack on advr lol. Similar taste in bike and truck.
 

AdamChandler

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Holy cow, what are the odds i just responded to your pm about a clutch pack on advr lol. Similar taste in bike and truck.

I'll get some photos for you and send those over. I'm packing up for a trip tonight and I'm back Sunday. IT always helps too that I'm my first and last name everywhere. Super easy to stalk!!!
 

ayoslickxd

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i took my rebel to some vermont trails ... lucky for that ppf film haha very tight and alot of branchs snaping and slaping the trucks bed steps and under protection
 

TrailOtter

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I just completed 5 days off gravel driving through Death Valley, 2 people and a dog and here is the total gear that I brought with me and MPG:

- 70qt Pelican Cooler
- 2 Plano 56 quart storage (Food, Utensils, Propane, condiments, cooking gear, water, dog food, headlights, clothes, speaker, misc stuff)
- Small 4 person tent
- 2 tarps for shade and under tent
- 2 Self inflating mattress
- 2 Pillows
- 17in. Blackstone Griddle
- 5lb. propane tank
- Butane Burner
- Coleman Northstar lantern
- 2 Sleeping Bag (40 degree)
- Recovery gear
- Tool Bag
- First Aid Kit
- Hydraulic Jack
- Tire repair kit
- Viair 400 inflator/deflator (I am planning on mounting an onboard system so this would go away for future trips)
- 7 Gallon Water Container
- Jerry Can (5.6 Gallon Fuel)
- 2 lightweight folding chairs
- Folding Table

Everything fit in the bed of the truck under the cover. This is the gear I use for most trips because I am both on and off roads. Off road I was avg. 11.6mpg and on road 16.8mpg for this trip, there were 3 4runners and an extremely lifted Subaru on this trip, the only car that got more range than me was the subie, the Toyotas did have to exit the park to refill once.

On this trip specifically, I spent time in Vegas prior to Death Valley. I also do many kayak based camping trips so some of my gear is small and low weight so that I can pack it into the kayak.

I have been considering a RTT but if I do I would look to mount it low so it sits behind the cab. This would be for convenience because we move locations frequently and currently setup and breakdown takes time.

Lastly, if I am looking for comfort I pull a travel trailer which kills gas mileage to 10.8mpg and limits how adventurous I can get.
Regarding ease of setup of RTT vs ground tent, the RTT takes a LOT longer to setup and is a PIA in comparison. Going anywhere in your truck away from site becomes onerous. I had a very nice RTT on my camper top, went back to tent camping.
 

JBV

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Regarding ease of setup of RTT vs ground tent, the RTT takes a LOT longer to setup and is a PIA in comparison. Going anywhere in your truck away from site becomes onerous. I had a very nice RTT on my camper top, went back to tent camping.

i'm not going to trash overlanding as a concept here, but honestly, your observation seems wise and obvious. the idea of spending the high dollars on RTT compared to a really nice large car camping tent, seems nuts when you consider the limitations. i bet it's awesome to wake up somewhere in the southwest and open a window from on high, but everything else about it just seems over complicated, over priced and puts other limitations on your vehicle and travel. as someone who routinely carries canoes or kayaks, a RTT is a non starter but i know that's not everyone.
 
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Back in the 90s I did a fair amout of dirt biking on BLM land in Utah and Arizona and am blown away now by how the overlanding sport has evolved with all the new gear. I'll grant you that the RTT is over the top both figuritively and literally, but a good deal of the rest of the stuff is pretty handy for all sorts of other purposes. I've installed the BuiltRight molle plates and am festooning them with implements of destruction, including a WaterPort that gives me 4 gallons of pressurized liquid. Stealth for me remains a high priority and all traces of my conversion are hidden under a Leer 100RCC with fold up doors and no windows. I expect to do only the lightest of overlanding, and expect most of this setup to be useful for beach runs and as an adjucnt to on-pavement camping with my TT. When it comes to blowing money, in my opinion, fancy camping gear within limits is one of the least sinful of addictions.
 

lkjk

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i'm not going to trash overlanding as a concept here, but honestly, your observation seems wise and obvious. the idea of spending the high dollars on RTT compared to a really nice large car camping tent, seems nuts when you consider the limitations. i bet it's awesome to wake up somewhere in the southwest and open a window from on high, but everything else about it just seems over complicated, over priced and puts other limitations on your vehicle and travel. as someone who routinely carries canoes or kayaks, a RTT is a non starter but i know that's not everyone.

Gonna disagree, as someone who trashed RTT owners for years, and still do since most of them just go overlanding to breweries and beard conventions anyway.

I got one this year and will never ground tent camp again. Ever. main reason is the mattress. I have a 6" memory foam mattress in my RTT, and it is insanely comfortable. The breeze you get being up high is also really nice (live in CO, very hot in summer).

I have the smittybilt Gen2 XL, so its huge, but also only cost like $1500. The iKampers and others that are $3-4K seem dumb. They pitch the setup/takedown time as the main benefit. Probably faster, but putting stuff in/out of the tent is what takes the most time, not setting it up, so who cares if you set it up 3 minutes faster. If you leave it on your vehicle all the time I'm sure those will hold up better, but mine is on a hoist in my garage unless i'm actually camping.
 
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Gonna disagree, as someone who trashed RTT owners for years, and still do since most of them just go overlanding to breweries and beard conventions anyway.

I got one this year and will never ground tent camp again. Ever. main reason is the mattress. I have a 6" memory foam mattress in my RTT, and it is insanely comfortable. The breeze you get being up high is also really nice (live in CO, very hot in summer).

I have the smittybilt Gen2 XL, so its huge, but also only cost like $1500. The iKampers and others that are $3-4K seem dumb. They pitch the setup/takedown time as the main benefit. Probably faster, but putting stuff in/out of the tent is what takes the most time, not setting it up, so who cares if you set it up 3 minutes faster. If you leave it on your vehicle all the time I'm sure those will hold up better, but mine is on a hoist in my garage unless i'm actually camping.

Is getting the truck level an issue at all? I always wondered how that works off road. Can the tent itself be leveled on an unlevel truck?
 

lkjk

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CaptainCJ35

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Gonna disagree, as someone who trashed RTT owners for years, and still do since most of them just go overlanding to breweries and beard conventions anyway.

I got one this year and will never ground tent camp again. Ever. main reason is the mattress. I have a 6" memory foam mattress in my RTT, and it is insanely comfortable. The breeze you get being up high is also really nice (live in CO, very hot in summer).

I have the smittybilt Gen2 XL, so its huge, but also only cost like $1500. The iKampers and others that are $3-4K seem dumb. They pitch the setup/takedown time as the main benefit. Probably faster, but putting stuff in/out of the tent is what takes the most time, not setting it up, so who cares if you set it up 3 minutes faster. If you leave it on your vehicle all the time I'm sure those will hold up better, but mine is on a hoist in my garage unless i'm actually camping.
I feel like "Overlanding" is really an African, Australian and maybe central Asian thing whose true definition has been brought over to the US to now mean something else. In those places, its all about crossing huge distances while being completely remote. That's where things like a RTT really pay off too... because you're driving 8 - 10 hours a day, every day, for a week or more, with no base camp. It seems a lot of the newer overlanding crowd are simultaneously trying to be "influencers" too, with a lot of strategic product placement.

That said, it doesn't mean I don't enjoy overlanding content on YouTube and daydream about doing stuff with my truck... because I do!
 

lkjk

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I feel like "Overlanding" is really an African, Australian and maybe central Asian thing whose true definition has been brought over to the US to now mean something else. In those places, its all about crossing huge distances while being completely remote. That's where things like a RTT really pay off too... because you're driving 8 - 10 hours a day, every day, for a week or more, with no base camp. It seems a lot of the newer overlanding crowd are simultaneously trying to be "influencers" too, with a lot of strategic product placement.

That said, it doesn't mean I don't enjoy overlanding content on YouTube and daydream about doing stuff with my truck... because I do!
Agreed. in the US overlanding usually just means glamping.

I have a fridge/freezer, "solar generator" as they are stupidly called, 440w of solar panels, and a waterport for pressurized water, so i'm all about the glamping. No, you don't need all that stuff, but after having it, I wouldn't camp without it.
 

CaptainCJ35

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I can see how people like, and like to use RTT's. If you're not spending more than a night in one spot and are always on the move, I think they make a TON of sense. Same goes for Fridge/Freezers and pressure water systems... if you have a use case and truly use them... then by all means! Campers and RV's have had them for decades. But I do find there's a perception being pushed that "I'm more hard core because of all the stuff I cram on my truck". And hey... I admit... I like looking at it, and seeing what people do with it.

Guess my main point is people should NOT feel like they NEED to have X,Y, and Z to get out on a trail and have a good time... which is all that matters.
 

JBV

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looks wonderful. would you have made it to that spot on the stock tires or is that a 35's only type of camping spot?
 

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