6 Interesting Facts About Overlanding
Off-roading has been growing in popularity at a steady rate for a few years. In 2020 off-road vehicle sales surpassed $15 billion, and was predicted to increase at about 7% per year (per Global Market Insights).
According to Bloomberg, the RV portion of the off-road industry is growing at double digits annually, and Overlanding in particular, has already reached a sales volume which had originally been predicted for 2027!
What exactly is Overlanding, where did it come from, and why should we know about it? Most importantly, how does it fit into a conservationists perspective of wilderness exploration? After all, we are talking about gas powered four wheel drive vehicles, and not electric cars, or traveling by foot…
Below are some interesting facts that we learned about this niche hobby that seems to be exploding in growth post COVID (for obvious reasons...).
- The term Overlanding is of Australian origin, and was originally used to describe how farmers moved their cattle from one side of the country to another with the change of seasons. The first true overland expedition happened in the 13th century when Marco Polo traveled from Venice to China. This pastime has a little bit of history behind it eh?! It's safe to say this was not documented in Instagram.
Overlanding is defined in Wikipedia as self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. Typically, but not exclusively, it is accomplished with mechanized off-road capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the main form of lodging is camping, often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and spanning international boundaries.
In short, there is just as much of an emphasis on the journey itself, as there is on the final destination…
Overlanding vehicles can range in price from $1000+ (a bicycle) to over $1,000,000. The least expensive way to knock out an overland mission, is to get a few bags for your bike, and plan a route in the Wilderness. A good example of this could be riding the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango. The rugged trip is just as much about the journey, as it is the destination. On the far end the the price range, an EarthRoamer SX has a base price of just under $1,000,000 without any options, and sells for well over a million dollars with amenities like satellite security, a gun safe, an Italian espresso machine and a full size washer / dryer…just the basics right?
Unlike driving an RV, which oftentimes includes towing or hauling a recreational vehicle, Overland vehicles are your primary recreational vehicle…this means that you are only filling one vehicle up with gas, and are using only one engine, which utilizes a street legal exhaust system, and not a loud and less than environmentally friendly 2 stroke UHV engine with an often times uncorked exhaust pipe. Believe it or not, Overlanding is one of the lower impact ways to travel to far and away places…
How is Overlanding different from off-roading (Overlanding vs off-roading)? As previously mentioned, Overlanding is as much about the journey, as it is reaching the destination (to a remote place). Many times, the destination involves doing human powered activities like climbing, hiking, running, or biking.
Off Roading is driving off road for the sake of driving off road - four wheeling, and / or rock climbing (crawling) is often the primary goal (Ex. Moab, UT).
Why is a company like BAR-U–EAT, a granola bar manufacturer, doing a blog post about Overlanding? Well, according to MotorTrend magazine, having a stash of granola bars in your kitchenette, or even your cup holder, may be the way to go for your food source — traveling light is the name of the game (minus the washer and drier in the Earthroamer). And if you find yourself in a place where you may want to throw on a pair of approach shoes, and scramble up a peak, there is no better trail snack than an all natural, organic granola bar like BAR-U-EAT!