5 Reasons Overlanding is Popular

Overlanding provides people the opportunity to get outdoors and explore. Unlike the fans of #vanlife, overlanding fans want a rig that can take them anywhere, especially off-road through difficult terrain. Although vans can be converted into overlanding rigs, vans are mostly for travel on pavement. Overlanding’s goal, however, is to reach further outdoors, beyond the pavement. It is a segment that has been steadily growing in popularity. Here are five reasons why.

A white Toyota Landcruiser crosses Salt Flats in Bolivia
Toyota Landcruiser on an overland adventure being riven through the largest salt flats in the World | Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images

1. A strong economy, sort of

Overlanding is not inexpensive, and up until the global COVID-19 pandemic, the economy was slowly becoming stronger. So, people were looking to overlanding because of improved income and the promises of it providing an adventure that opens up the great outdoors. Also, more and more companies were becoming better organized at creating and offering overlanding products. 

COVID-19 put a pause on all that. Although RV and overlanding vehicle and equipment sales boomed early during the regional pandemic lockdowns, the manufacturers ran low of products as plant stoppages began. This meant stock on the shelves and vehicles in the lots disappeared. Additionally, the Overland Expo was cancelled. But, even now, people still want a weekend or vacation alternative to office life. So, look for this segment of the economy to bounce back quickly once all the manufacturing plants are back up and running, and regional lockdowns are eased. 

2. Overlanding information is everywhere

The internet has brought information to our fingertips. So, GPS location services are available in cars, cell phones, laptops, and other devices. This means two things. First, people can scout out trips and trails a lot easier than in decades past. Second, the online overlanding community is easily reachable. It is easy for people to learn the safest yet fun ways to plan and experience their trip. Also, if people come into a hardship on their trip, that same online community can support them through the obstacle. 

3. Overlanding is a getaway from the crowds

Another reason overlanding is popular is that it is an opportunity to get away from crowds. There is no need to feel hovered over in the outdoors, nor is there the need to worry about the cleanliness of the hotel people stay in, or the bus they ride on. They want to be away from the crowds and be able to experience original, fresh, prairie or mountain air, not recirculated air. If they can do it through fun, nature-oriented, or even off-grid activities, then even better. 

Green Toyota Tundra with Toyota Tundra with Scout Campers Olympic truck camper mounted in the bed
Toyota Tundra with Scout Campers Olympic truck camper | Scout Campers

4. Solar power is easier to set up

Overlanding equipment and gear manufacturers have made it simpler to work with solar products. Decades ago an overlander needed to electrical knowledge to set up a solar system on their site. Now solar systems are as simple as rolling it out and plugging equipment into it. No headache-inducing wiring schematic needed. Solar energy systems can heat water for showers, charge laptops, and more. 

5. Working from home is more accepted

Employers have been forced, through the COVID-19 fiasco, to face the reality that working from home is a legitimate way of getting things done. As long as there is a cellular or satellite signal, a person can work from home, or on the road on an overlanding trip. No longer does overlanding require a person to take long periods of time off. With a connection, people can work a few hours, travel, work a few more hours, etc.

A Sync Vans conversion on a Mercedes Sprinter van
A Sync Vans conversion on a Mercedes Sprinter van | Sync Vans

RV Sales Spike During COVID-19 Lockdown

The improving economy, the availability of easily accessible information, and the need for people to get away from crowds have led to growing overlanding popularity. So has the ease of which solar systems can be set up, and the acceptance of working from home. These are just five reasons. There are other reasons. As the hobby and lifestyle grows, there will be others that are attracted to it. This will lead them to post about it online, and consequently, the circle will continue. But, it’s a circle that gets people out of their routine, into the outdoors, and able to take a mental pause. It sounds pretty good, right?