Going Off the Beaten Path: Overlanding and Off-Road RVs

Team OutdoorsyOctober 30, 2020

Going Off the Beaten Path: Overlanding and Off-Road RVs

Those who favor the rough side of camping might be skeptical of RVs. You might think they offer too many comforts and are for those who prefer to stay in a cozy RV park with all of the bells and whistles. But nowadays, there are RVs for every type of camper. Yes, you can even find a rugged off-road RV.

Modern technology and innovative design have made taking your RV off the grid possible. Forget the typical road trip— you can now drive to a place where only your canoe or hiking boots could go previously. Even some luxury RVs are now equipped to go where few or none have gone before. Here’s what you need to know about overlanding and finding RVs that will take you where you really want to go.

What is overlanding?

This relatively new phenomenon is taking the outdoor community by storm. In short, overlanding combines elements of camping and off-roading. It’s taking RVs off the grid to remote destinations and exploring wide open spaces.

According to the Overland Journal, “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.”

Off Road RV Off Roading
Lead Off Road RV vehicle from the 2016 Overland Expo

When you overland, you take your off-road RV across the countryside, virtually heedless of the lack of roads or wilderness features that would normally block your path. This activity has become popular enough to warrant two yearly national expositions on the subject, one for the eastern half of the country, the other for the west.

Each Overland Expo features the most hardcore and impressive collection of off road RV vehicles, along with the latest technology and travel resources. Some of the dominant brand names that are featured at these displays include EarthRoamer and Global Expedition Vehicles (GXV), companies that are as no-nonsense as their monikers imply.

Earth Roamer Overland Expo
An EarthRoamer Off Road RV from the Overland Expo

What makes an RV off-road worthy?

So what sets off-road RVs apart from the rest? While every RV is different and customized by the owner, most overlanding rigs have the following in common.

Alternative Power Sources

The first concern you might have about taking your RV off-road would be the lack of utility hookups. Fear not, as alternative power sources are one of the first distinctive features in many of these off-road RVs, right after the four-wheel drive and industrial strength engines. Off road RVs are equipped with solar power along with conventional hookups, and are fully containable, efficient, and environmentally responsible.

global expedition rvs
Off Road RV

Rugged Design and Construction

These are not your typical camper and trailer builds. Off-road RVs have unique, industrial designs that set the standard for a new type of RV lifestyle. From the simple converted Toyota to the most upscale luxury land cruiser, off-road RVs feature things like raised axels, off-road tires, four-wheel drive capabilities, and reinforced bodies. All of these features protect your rig on rocky roads and paths filled with obstacles.

Weather Proof

While RVs typically offer more protection from the elements than tents, they aren’t always exactly weather-proof. Off-road RVs can be weatherized for the most extreme conditions. Whether you’re camping in rain, snow, or high temperatures, these rigs can be outfitted to make sure you stay safe and comfortable.

Outside Magazine took their viewers for a tour of a tricked-out off-road RV. Of course, yours doesn’t have to be this extreme, but it’s cool to get some inspiration.

Try Off-Road RVing for Yourself

Off-road RVs often come with a hefty price tag thanks to all the extras that go into them. Before you make the investment, try it out for yourself by renting one on Outdoorsy. If you want to skip the parks and carve your own path, give overlanding and off-road RVing a go!

Team Outdoorsy, auteur Outdoorsy

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