5 Best Vehicles for Overlanding
The Overland Journal describes overlanding as “self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal.” We love vehicles built to go overlanding because they are capable of so many different things. It’s great to have a vehicle that is as at home picking up groceries as it is trail running. It can do all the in-between stuff, too, like urban off-roading (there’s nothing quite as satisfying as avoiding traffic by hopping a curb without damage). Beyond general vehicle capability, there’s a certain level of practicality that’s necessary.
In our opinion, the best overland vehicles must be able to do a handful of things well; off-road, on-road, common vehicle (so parts are easy to find if something breaks) which goes hand-in-hand with affordable-to-repair. It needs to be reliable; so, no high-horsepower engines running at the ragged edge—it only needs to have enough power to get out of trouble (or help another vehicle get out of trouble) and maintain a measure of decent miles-per-gallon. In line with the mild-is-more theme of an overland style vehicle is that it needs to be able to run for long periods of time for days on end without failure or breakdown.
1. Jeep Wrangler JL
This one fares better as an overlander in the four-door Unlimited version because of the extra gear holding capacity and additional ingress/egress options. But there’s no doubt as to how reliable the stock motor is, and no one is questioning its ability to off-road. The more modern versions are probably better suited for long-distance excursions because of their better fuel economy.
2. Toyota Tacoma
Specialists in overlanding, Jimahajer often chooses the venerable Tacoma for the base of their builds and knowing a bit about the Tacoma, we understand why. It’s a platform that’s been on the roads for a number of years, so there’s no surprises when it comes to repairs. It’s a Toyota truck, and we’ve all seen the videos online of people attempting to kill one…as it turns out, it’s really hard. That hard-to-kill reputation is what makes it such a great candidate for one of the top overland vehicles.
3. Jeep Gladiator
Where the Wrangler is great for off-roading, it has less storage capacity than the new Gladiator. It’s got all the great overland qualities of the Jeep Wrangler JL Unlimited, but with a good-sized bed, it may be better suited for overland duties than its Wrangler sibling. Here, you can see how EVO Industries imagined the ultimate overlanding machine based on the Gladiator. That’s a tough act to follow.
4. Lexus GX
This one is definitely on the luxury side of the overland spectrum, but it’s got a lot going for it. The stock V8 can get you anywhere you want to go and it will tow anything you’d need for overlanding purposes. Additionally, it’s got high and low options four-wheel drive to conquer many types of trails, a locking center differential, common parts (because it’s pretty similar to a 4Runner) and great clearance straight from the factory. On top of all that, it is heavily supported by the aftermarket, it’s ultra-reliable and has spacious storage capacity. Plus, it’s super comfortable on long road trips out to those dirt roads.
5. Ford E350 Alpha Van
Aren’t vans already kind of overland machines without any major modifications? You can already sleep in the back without adding anything, and there’s all kinds of people into #vanlife where they actually live in their vans. Which begs the question, is it still overlanding if you live in your vehicle full-time?