The Perfect Social Distancing Sport
With the radical changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to our lives, people across the US are gearing up for a very different kind of summer. With cases still on the rise, large gatherings of friends in public places will likely continue to be restricted well into the warmer months - even after the shelter-in-place orders are lifted. However if you're anything like us here at SORS, we know you'll be dying to get outdoors this summer. You may be wondering, what outdoor and/or off-road sports can you still take up while limiting your interaction with others? We think we have the answer - Overlanding.
Overlanding began as a practice of necessity for those navigating through the remote Outback of Australia, far away from any civilization. Across the globe, people are modifying vehicles with any sort of off-roading capabilities into full-on excursion ready vehicles so that they can participate in this new phenomenon and get themselves away from the hustle and bustle of the civilized world. While the wide expanses of western states like Colorado and Utah have been a Mecca of sorts for overlanders for years, interest for the activity is beginning to pick up in the southeast as well.
So what do you need to get into overlanding? In this blog, we'll dive into the essential gear you need to overland this summer..
What Is It?
Simply put, overlanding is the act of going on a vehicle-dependent trip to a remote location or chain of locations, often for extended period of time. Unlike traditional off-roading, the objective of overlanding isn’t to overcome difficult obstacles with a vehicle - rather, overlanding focuses on exploration and self-reliance away from civilization - so in a way, social distancing is built right into the sport. Ooverlanding trips at the very least span multiple days and can last for months at a time. Think of it as backpacking, but in a vehicle.
The Necessary Gear
Anyone looking to get into overlanding is going to need the right vehicle and the right gear. On extended overlanding trips, the right vehicle and equipment spells the difference between adventure and being stranded in the middle of nowhere. The following list will cover the necessary vehicle and vehicle parts/accessories that are essential to a successful overlanding trip.
First and foremost, overlanders need four wheel drive. There won’t be any pavement while overlanding - in fact, you'll be lucky to have gravel. Vehicle trails (if there even is a trail) are going to be blazed through the dirt and mud, especially in the southeast. Mix these traction conditions with unpredictable weather patterns and a 4x4 vehicle becomes an absolute necessity. While any 4x4 vehicle can be an overlander, the most popular choices for include Toyota Tacomas, 4Runners and Landcruisers. Jeep Wranglers are also great choices, as are other midsize pickups like the Ford Ranger and Chevy Colorado.
Roof Top Tents
First and foremost, you''ll need to affix some sort of shelter to your vehicle. Roof top tents are the most common form of shelter for overlanders, and they're our first choice. Mounted directly to a roof rack, bed rack or a set of bed rails, these tents fold up and out of the way when not in use. However, simply fold them out and you'll have a spacious place to sleep and escape any harsh conditions, high up and away from the cold, damp ground.
Our favorite roof top tent is the Overland Vehicle Systems Nomadic 3. This tent will comfortably fit up to three people and featuers a marine grade 600D rip-stop polyester cotton canvas waterproof body Learn more here.
Because sometimes you’ve got to pull yourself out of a sticky situation - literally. At the bare minimum, you'll want a good winch, traction pads, tow straps and a snatch block or recovery ring/soft shackle combo. You can view a our array of recovery gear here.
This one goes without saying, but on overlanding vehicle needs a good set of all-terrain tires to handle the myriad of terrains experienced on the trail. In the southeast, overlanders face plenty of mud with exposed rocks and roots, as well as sand depending on where you are. Gives us a call and we'd be happy to recommend and quote you on the best set of tires for your needs!
We know these are strange and frightening times for everyone. It seems like a return to normalcy gets pushed out a little further each day. However, we feel there's still room to go out and have some fun in the outdoors while the rest of the world seems to be shut down. This summer, get your vehicle overland ready and go experience the outdoors while practicing social distancing and helping flatten the curve!
About Southern Off-Road Specialists
Southern Off-Road Specialists offers three distinct dealership packages, each of which features several standard features. However, each package can be custom tailored to fit a dealer’s needs. Add a bed rack, light bar, traction pads and a winch to our Valor or Anthem lift packages for an ideal overland vehicle - straight from your showroom.
To learn more about Southern Off-Road Specialists, visit our main website.