What is Overlanding (Definitions):
Overlanding has grown over the years, and it’s definition varies slightly depending on where you look. Here is a few definitions for overlanding found online:
Expeditionportal.com – Vehicle-supported, self-reliant adventure travel, typically exploring remote locations and interacting with other cultures.
Overlandjournal.com – Overlanding describes self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal. Typically, but not exclusively, accommodated by mechanized off-highway capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping; often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and often spanning international boundaries. While expedition is defined as a journey with a purpose, overlanding sees the journey as the purpose.
Overlanding is about exploration, rather than conquering obstacles. While the roads and trails we travel might be rough or technically challenging, they are the means to an end, not the goal itself. The goal is to see and learn about our world, whether on a weekend trip 100 miles from home or a 10,000-mile expedition across another continent. The vehicle and equipment can be simple or extravagant – they, too, are simply means to an end. History, wildlife, culture, scenery, self-sufficiency – these are the rewards of overlanding.
Wikipedia.com – Overlanding is the self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. Typically, but not exclusively, accommodated by mechanized off-road capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping; often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and spanning international boundaries. Historically, “‘overlanding'” is an Australian term to denote the driving of livestock over very long distances to open up new country or to take livestock to market far from grazing grounds.
My Personal Definition and Opinion:
I personally like the Overlandjournal.com definition, although I don’t believe you have to cross international boundaries for it to qualify as overlanding. You could spend weeks and even months just exploring the country you’re in.
Overlanding VS Off-Roading:
Off-roading is not the same as overlanding. Even if you camp while you’re off-roading. The biggest difference is that when off-roading, you’re typically confined to a designated off-road park for the day or weekend, and the goal is to tackle challenging obstacles in that area. It’s not an ongoing journey where you’re required to be self sufficient for weeks, and traveling off-road just to get to a destination.
Overlanding VS Road Trips:
While ‘overlanding’ seems to be a foreign term that’s fairly new to the U.S., ‘road trip’ is a phrase that’s very much American. Is there any difference? Well, overlanding usually takes place off of pavement, and involves travel and being self sustained while camping outdoors. These trips are generally thought out well in advance to ensure you have all of the proper equipment and supplies.
Road trips can also involve camping as well, but mostly revolve around hitting the highway to distant locations and either camping, staying in a hotel, or with a friend or family member. Road trips are more of a spontaneous event where you grab a few things, jump in the vehicle, and go.