I’m no backcountry expert, can I still overland?
Yes! The biggest misconception for those that hear of “overlanding” is that they must be an expert to enjoy this type of adventure. This definitely is not the case! While there are certainly some routes or terrain that require experience and knowledge, there are also countless journeys and destinations suitable for travelers who are just getting their feet wet. Like anything else, you can start by dipping in a toe and as you gain more experience, go for the full monty, exploring new challenges and more remote areas.
Overlanding is for anyone who loves the outdoors and is looking for a unique adventure. Cookie cutter vacation packages and hotel travel is boring. Overland travel is for those looking for more authentic adventures in the great outdoors, and - thanks to rental options - is available and accessible to all. You don’t need to own your own fancy rig or even have your own camping equipment.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Overlanding offers amazing adventures for both beginners and experts alike.
Where can I go?
The beauty of overlanding is the world is your oyster! Or at least the rental term agreements, if you are renting! Overlanding opens up a world of opportunity to explore the vast landscapes and terrain in the U.S. and beyond. There are some overlanders that travel through other continents, living the overland life full time.
For those planning an adventure in Colorado or the surrounding states, there is so much to see and do that you could spend a lifetime exploring and never see it all.
And you said I’ll sleep where?
Under the stars! After a day of exploration - hiking, mountain biking, relaxing in hot springs, or whatever fits your fancy, you’ll pull your rig into an established campground or dispersed camping area, and you’ll be home for the night! You’ll relax around the campfire with messy s’mores and lots of laughs as you retell stories about the adventures of your day. And when your eyelids start to droop, you’ll settle into your al fresco accomodation under the Milky Way.
While many who overland camp in ground tents, quality rigs can include roof-top tents that are quick and easy to set up, as well as more comfortable than their ground-based counterparts. Roof-top tents also save on interior space in your vehicle, so there’s more room for any other gear you may need for your daytime adventures.
I saw something about a guy overlanding Africa for over two years. I don’t have that kind of time.
Overland adventures can span from simple weekend trips that cover less than 100 miles to multi-year expeditions that cover thousands of miles across several continents. The focus is exploration and adventure, but you certainly don’t need to undertake a multi-year adventure to have an amazing overland experience.
While there are some that make overlanding a lifestyle, the most typical trips for those who are overlanding as a unique adventure vacation range from long weekends of three to four days to longer explorations of one to three weeks or up to a month. There really is no amount of time that is too short as long as you are able to get out for a couple of days. Particularly in the great landscapes of the western United States, there are countless weekend adventures and longer trips you can make.
What about planning and logistics? Doesn’t this type of travel require a lot of planning?
Overlanding does require some advanced planning, but the amount of planning will depend on your travel style and the duration of your trip. Short trips and/or trips in more focused areas may require less planning than longer trips or trips where you move around more often.
Some planning considerations will include:
How many days/weeks will your trip be?
What region(s) do you want to explore?
What activity or activities do you want to do?
Are there certain sites you’d like to see/explore along the way?
Would you like to camp every day or only some days?
Do you prefer established campgrounds, dispersed camping, or a combination of the two?
How close do you want to be to town/city amenities? (For example, will you be bringing along food for your entire trip, resupplying as you go, or planning to eat at restaurants often?)
Many people love the planning aspect of the trip and plan absolutely everything before they begin the journey. Others prefer to fly by the seat of their pants, planning as they go. Both of these travel styles lend themselves well to overlanding. There is a wealth of information online and, if you are renting, some rental services will also provide itinerary suggestions and assistance.
When planning, keep in mind that you don’t want to be so rigid in plans that you don’t allow for some adventure when new opportunities present themselves (or a change of plans with a change in weather), but you also don’t want to be so loose in planning that you are scrambling to find places to sleep at night, particularly if you are planning on traveling in very popular areas. Campsites and even dispersed camping options (depending on location) can fill up, especially in the beautiful summer months.
Generally speaking, planning a trip does not need to be difficult, and you can pour as much or as little advanced planning into your expedition as you desire. Either way, it’s sure to be an adventure!