Ever wanted to take off on the open road for a few days, or even weeks, and not make a single itinerary? Sounds freeing right? Sure, going for a day trip out to your local off-road spot is a great way to unwind, but if you’re craving more adventure and wide open spaces then you may want to explore the growing trend of overlanding. All you need is a self-sufficient mindset, the passion to chase the horizon and an ideal vehicle setup that ensures your ride is comfortable, durable and well equipped to be a “home away from home.”
Camping In Your Vehicle
At the most basic level of overlanding you will need a place to sleep in your truck or SUV. Thankfully, there are multiple ways to make use of the space and help create a comfortable sleep spot for you and your family. One of the easiest solutions is to use an inflatable air mattress to convert your truck bed into an actual bed. There are several companies that have custom-fitted air mattresses that are meant to take into account the entire area and incorporate indents for the wheel wells. Imagine sleeping under the stars after a long drive through the wilderness.
To expand into the space surrounding your off-road vehicle, a vehicle tent attachment may be perfect. There are a number of vehicle tent solutions that can mount behind, on the side, or even on top of your vehicle's roof. Most roof tents fold away to save space while driving and can be expanded when you find a spot to sleep for the night. You can instantly transform your truck into an ultra-capable RV by expanding a side sun shade and roof tent out on the trail. The roof tent also has the added benefit of keeping you up off the ground and away from various creatures. Expanding your tent to the outside can allow for additional storage compartments in the truck bed or rear hatch of your SUV. Expanding tents to all sides and rear of your vehicle is also a perfect solution to add a changing room or space to sit and rest away from the elements.
Towing an Off-Road Trailer
But what if you want to have the additional utility of a trailer without transforming the interior and exterior of your vehicle? Thankfully, more and more manufacturers are making rugged trailers that can withstand the terrain on even the most brutal journey. Mopar even created a “Jeep” branded pop-out trailer to tow behind your Wrangler. Outfitted with all-terrain tires, these tough trailers are compact enough to not weigh you down but have enough room to store all your equipment. Each trailer is normally equipped with expandable tables, storage compartments, and convenient places to store your tools.
In addition to storage, these trailers can expand to include a large family tent, stove, and even a refrigerator. Several popular brands even include power outlets and a solar panel to keep all of your devices charged when remote. Once unpacked, these off-road trailers can easily be disconnected from your vehicle. That way, you can explore the local area freely while still keeping a local campsite during your journey. Beyond the basic utility, many trailers can also be painted to match your vehicle. Who says style and capability can’t go hand in hand?
Complete Camper Conversions
To take things to the extreme, why not convert your vehicle into the ultimate in self-reliant transportation? There is a hardcore group of enthusiasts that live out on the trail for months and even years at a time. This level of use generally requires a complete conversion of your truck into the ultimate camper. Most off-road campers remove the back truck bed or cabin portion of a vehicle and construct a trailer body onto the frame. The heavier weight means that a full size pickup is the most ideal candidates for this conversion. To retain the use of the truck bed you can also simply add a camper shell to the back, dependent on the terrain and conditions you will be driving through.
With larger conversions, modifications are also made to the suspension and engine to ensure it can support and accelerate with the additional load. The basic forms of a camper conversion add storage, tents, propane grills, and many elements from the off-road trailers. The larger upgrades look like a complete RV on the inside with a bed, sink with water hookups, and even a toilet and shower. These conversions are modified to hold large amounts of fuel, water, and even generate power through solar panels to make longer journeys possible. There are many owners who have traveled in their trucks across various countries and used their self-reliant transportation to see the world.
The trend of overlanding and expedition travel continues to grow and we expect continued development on accessories to help add extra utility to your off-road vehicle. Regardless of your budget or vehicle, there are plenty of ways to start modifying your ride now to become self-reliant on a long journey off the highway.