Overlanding vehicles are gaining popularity as more adventurers seek to escape overcrowded campgrounds and enjoy the outdoors. These outdoor enthusiasts modify their vehicles to make recreational and full-time traveling convenient and comfortable. Because overland vehicles are so unique, you’ll have a hard time finding two that are identical.
We love checking out what other overlanders have done with their rigs. So much so that we’ve gathered five of our favorites you can find on YouTube. Let’s take a look!
What Are Overland Vehicles?
When it comes to unique and custom vehicles built for off-roading, it doesn’t get much better than overland vehicles. These vehicles are built for self-sufficiency and taking adventures off paved roads. If you don’t like off-roading, an overland vehicle might not be for you.
These vehicles have everything an adventurer could need to enjoy the overlanding lifestyle. An overland vehicle allows travelers to enjoy the journey and experience new locations for extended periods. Many overlanders use their vehicles to travel for months or even years at a time.
What Do You Need in an Overland Vehicle?
The beauty of an overland vehicle is that it can be as complex or simple as the overlander wants. The most important characteristic of an overland vehicle is that it meets the needs of the overlander for their journey. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on a tight budget or have an unlimited supply of money; you can create an overland vehicle that can get the job done.
Because you’ll be taking this vehicle out on trips and adventures, you’ll need a place to sleep. You can accomplish this by converting the usable space into a space for sleeping or installing other equipment such as a roof-mounted tent. Most options can easily provide room for one or two people to sleep comfortably.
While you don’t need a 4×4 vehicle to overland, it can be extremely helpful. You’ll also want to ensure you have a good set of all-terrain or mud tires and plenty of ground clearance. These are helpful features on an overlanding vehicle to help avoid getting stuck in remote locations. You may not have cell service to call for help if you do find yourself stuck while overlanding.
Pro Tip: Looking for an epic overland rig? Check out our article on Ovrlnd Camper: Not Enough Letters But Thousands of Mods.
Our 5 Favorite Overland Vehicles on YouTube
We’ve found five of our favorite overland vehicles on YouTube that we want to share with you. We hope these different vehicles will inspire you and give you ideas if you’re looking to jump into overlanding. Let’s get started!
1. Expedition Overland
If you’re looking for inspiration, there’s no better place to start than Expedition Overland. This channel follows a team of overlanders as they experience the most incredible places in the world. Their “Last Frontier” series to Alaska showcases two Toyota Tacomas and the Patriot Campers X3.
Pro Tip: Want to learn more about this crew? Check out our deep dive: Who Is Expedition Overland (XOverland)?
The 2021 Toyota Tacoma is likely the furthest thing you can get from a stock truck. What they’ve done with this beautiful truck is turn it into one of the toughest overlanding vehicles available. The crew calls this the “ultimate production headquarters.” Their roof-mounted sustainable power supply allows them to keep their camera batteries and gear fully charged. The Custom CBI Aluminum bumper also has a 10,000-pound winch to help ensure they never find themselves stuck in a hairy situation.
Expedition Overland is also responsible for a 2020 Toyota Tacoma. This overlander’s dream has a 3.5L V6 engine. It’s incredibly versatile and can do so much that they say it’s like a Swiss Army knife. It houses a 47-quart fridge/freezer to hold all of the perishables for weeks. A 120-watt solar panel keeps the batteries charged and powers all of the truck’s systems. A high clearance rear bumper, roof rack storage, and mounted Jerry cans are just a few of the useful additions to this truck.
The Patriot Campers X3 is an extremely compact and rugged trailer built for just about anything you can throw at it. It has plenty of space for sleeping after a day of adventuring and more storage compartments than you could ever imagine. It even comes with an 80W solar panel, 300AH batteries, and a diesel water and tent heating system. You can take this beast on some epic adventures and not worry about it getting beat up by the terrain.
Vehicles from Expedition Overland have the latest technologies and truly showcase what’s possible for overlanders. While these vehicles may be a bit out of reach financially for most people, it’s good to dream. Right?
2. 4×4 Overlanding Mercedes Sprinter Van – Living The Van Life
If you want to take a peek at what one overlander created from a 2020 4×4 Mercedes Sprinter Van, you have to see Chad’s vehicle from Living the Van Life. This is a full-time living overlanding machine. Chad had to make a few upgrades to make this Sprinter Van more livable.
One of the first upgrades he made was to add some massive and rugged all-terrain 35-inch tires. To get these beefy tires on the van, he had to add a 2-inch lift kit to the rig. This not only allows him to put larger tires on the van, but also increases the ground clearance. This upgrade allows Chad to take his rig on some pretty epic adventures.
However, protecting his van while on those adventures is important too. When looking at this van, you’ll notice that it’s not just any Sprinter Van. Chad added a Hammerhead bumper that protects the essential components, provides recovery points, and houses a 12,000-pound winch.
We had the opportunity to interview Chad. He took us inside his van and showed us the incredible job he did creating a functional and easy-to-use rig. He takes advantage of every inch of the Sprinter, and it’s hard to find any wasted space. Chad’s van is a work of art that helps him live the overlanding life.
3. DIY EarthRoamer – Andrew Muse
Why spend half a million on an EarthRoamer when you can build one for a fraction of the cost? That’s exactly what Andrew Muse did! Andrew started his DIY build with a budget of $30,000. However, Andrew quickly realized that $30,000 was unrealistic when the box for his camper cost $50,000. The box sits on what was once the bed of a 2004 Ford F-550 4×4.
Andrew wanted a rig he could take off-roading and not worry about getting stuck or facing any obstacles. That’s why he put massive 41-inch tires and a 4-inch lift on his truck. It gives him plenty of clearance for obstacles along the way. The upgraded bumper with a 16,500-pound winch helps him take his overlanding adventures to the next level.
While on an adventure, he can set up camp in a matter of minutes. He can even create some shade with the electric awning that extends at the press of a button. Storage compartments circle the camper’s base, and he has additional storage on the back for two bikes and a surfboard. If that’s not enough, you hop on top of the camper, and there’s more storage and enough solar panels to keep the batteries charged.
4. Jeep Gladiator with a FIREPLACE, a TOILET, and MORE – TrailRecon
Yes, you read that correctly. This Jeep Gladiator has a fireplace, toilet, and much more. In this video, the TrailRecon channel talks with Josh, the Jeep’s owner, about the overlanding vehicle he uses for his adventures. It’s out of this world and unlike any Jeep you’ve ever seen!
This is a 2021 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon. However, you won’t see Josh filling this Jeep up with gas because he opted for the 3.0L diesel engine. He gets much better miles per gallon and more torque for handling the off-roading adventures. It’s a powerful and beautiful-looking Jeep!
Pro Tip: Your choice of a diesel or gas truck will depend on many factors, including whether or not you’re towing a trailer. Check out our full analysis on Diesel vs. Gas Trucks.
Josh put 37-inch tires and a 2-inch lift on this Jeep to give him maneuverability and more ground clearance. An upgraded suspension system helps him handle the bumps with relative ease and minimal discomfort.
Since he’ll need a place to sleep, Josh added an Alu-Cab canopy camper. The canopy sits inside an aluminum casing to help protect the tent while traveling. When fully extended, there’s plenty of space to stand up inside the tent and more than 9 feet of length for plenty of legroom while sleeping. Josh has easily spent over 10 days living out of this overlanding beast.
5. Off-Road Truck Camper – Mortons on the Move
We may be biased with this one, but this 20-year-old truck camper is one of our personal favorites – it’s ours! There were several modifications to our Ram 5500 to get what we needed. We increased lighting for maximum visibility and added a rear-view screen for a backup camera. Additionally, we installed flatbed storage boxes to help us quickly and easily access some of our most-used pieces of equipment.
After 20 years, most truck campers will need some major renovation no matter how well you treat them. We renovated everything to turn this truck camper into a luxury overland vehicle. We also painted every wall and updated almost every surface, fabric, and cushion. However, one of our favorite aesthetic upgrades was the epoxy countertops. They provided the perfect touch that helps you forget you’re in a truck camper.
Because we were renovating the entire truck camper, we could pick colors that fit us and install electronics that met our needs. The 12V air conditioner fits perfectly with our off-grid electrical system and allows us to stay cool when we’re boondocking or camping in warmer temperatures. We feel we were able to create an inviting and comfortable space that we can easily enjoy anywhere we take our truck camper!
Enjoy Off-Road Adventures in an Overland Vehicle
There’s something special about taking the road less traveled. It’s even more special when you can take your home with you and stay for a few days. An overland vehicle can allow you to enjoy some of the most remote locations and be miles from the nearest person.
The sound of silence will be music to your ears, and you can easily become addicted to the lifestyle. So get out and start making some overlanding memories!
Rooftop tents are a good entry point for new overlanders who don’t want to spend thousands of dollars upgrading their rigs. Discover the 5 Best Overlanding Roof Tents for Ultimate Adventure Camping.
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