What is overlanding exactly? Overlanding is long distance vehicle based exploration, where the journey and the experience are the main goal, rather than conquering obstacles like a typical off-road rig.
There are many things to consider when buying a vehicle for this type of adventure. Is it reliable? Will it be the right set-up for me and my family? Are parts and after-market support readily available?
These are all questions to keep in mind and ask yourself while purchasing your dream adventure rig. There will be pros and cons to any vehicle, but finding one that fits your needs, budget, and lifestyle is the ultimate goal for anyone looking to get into the adventure based vehicle life.
There are a lot of good choices out there in the world, but we will be sticking to vehicles that you can readily buy domestically in the United States.
Here are seven of our top picks of trucks and suv’s that just may be perfect adventure for you.
1. Toyota 4Runner.
By far the 4Runner is currently one of the most popular choices for overlanding. It’s proven track record of reliability, capability off road and endless supply of aftermarket accessories make it a great choice. More specifically the 3rd, 4th, and 5th generation of this iconic SUV have been a popular choice for beginner and seasoned overland explorers everywhere. The 4Runner has circled the globe and has taken numerous people on the adventure of a lifetime.
2. Jeep Wrangler (4-door)
Jeeps have a proven track record spanning back to the battlefields of WWII. Rugged, capable and easy to maintain is the name of the game for Jeep Wranglers. We specifically chose the four door version because on long exploration journeys the extra space is ideal for hauling gear, friends and family, pets, etc.
Parts and aftermarket accessories are often easier to come by and are cheaper than other vehicles on this list, making the Jeep a clear choice for outfitting and accessorizing your overland adventure setup.
3. Toyota Tacoma
Blessed with the same reliability as its brother the 4Runner, the Toyota Tacoma is perfect for overlanding if you like the option of having an open truck bed instead of the confining walls from an SUV.
Though not as spacious on the interior as an SUV, the Tacoma boasts an endless array of customizable options for the truck bed, which may be exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to tailoring an adventure vehicle to your specific needs.
4. Toyota Land Cruiser (80 series)
When you think rugged off-road vehicle, the Toyota Land Cruiser is one that should definitely come to mind.
Originally built with rough terrain and exploration in mind, the Land Cruiser has been a popular choice from militaries across the globe to African safaris. The Land Cruiser is a clear fantastic choice for an overland rig. Toyota reliability helps the Land Cruiser withstand even the harshest of obstacles.
While a great choice overall, these vehicles are becoming harder to come by, which means parts are becoming more scarce. The Land Cruisers value has been gradually increasing as well. So if you’re looking for the perfect adventure vehicle that is also an investment and will hold its value, this is it.
5. Land Rover Discovery 2
When most people think Land Rover, they think luxury. In reality these vehicles are extremely capable off-road. Though not quite as reliable as the Toyotas on this list, the Land Rover is easily maintainable with some know how and elbow grease.
The trade-off here is some of the fantastic Land Rover features that come from the factory. Adjustable air ride suspension, optional locking differentials, and even a diesel engine option make it a great off road machine. There is also endless aftermarket options to outfit this rig to your specific lifestyle needs.
6. Nissan Xterra
Often overlooked, the Nissan Xterra makes a fantastic overland rig for multiple reasons. It is a decently reliable vehicle with regular maintenance. It’s very capable off-road and boasts a very torquey 4-wheel drive system.
Aftermarket accessories aren’t as readily available as a Jeep or a Toyota, but everything you could want or need to outfit this rig is still out there. One of the best upsides to the Nissan Xterra is that it is so overlooked. Meaning this rig can be had for an extremely affordable price point, and it will take you everywhere you could dream of exploring.
7. Ford E-350 4×4
Though, not quite falling under the truck and SUV categories, we had to mention the E-350. Yes, this is the painters van sitting outside of your next-door neighbors house. The Ford
E-350 came in a 4X4 configuration which makes them very capable vehicles. They are often sold as blank slates, which means the amount of customization options are limitless.
With people noticing its validity in the overland community, the amount of aftermarket options are growing rapidly. This is by far the most spacious vehicle on this list as well, which means you can actually transform it into a full camper if you wanted.
Notably, an E-350 that has been outfitted for overlanding is for sure going to turn heads and get the attention of onlookers everywhere.
Though there is arguably a seemingly endless list of great options out there, we wanted to bring you a list of our seven top picks and the reasons why we liked them.
What do you think would make a perfect overland vehicle and why?