How To Start Overlanding On a Budget - A Beginner's Guide to Overland Adventure!Jun 02, 2021
Hello everyone, how are you doing? My name is Ben. Welcome to the channel today. We are here on the California coast. This is beautiful, Big Sur. The weather is amazing. about landing and that's what I wanted to talk to you about today because I think it's so easy to look at social media Instagram YouTube things like that and look at these platforms that people have invested time and money in and if you're just
starting out think to yourself same like wow i can never have a rig like them i can never do the
adventures they do hit the trails they find and i just don't think that's true so i thought let's talk about how to do it and get
started and go on
adventures on your own , so let's jump right in, so if you're like me, you've probably heard of landing now, you've seen people. doing it on social media I nstagram YouTube places like that and maybe you're thinking this is something you really want to try but your next thought is how the hell do I get into this, how do I get started, what does it take to really land for me. a friend put me on the Expedition Overland YouTube channel and I watched the whole Pan American Highway series and thought wow this is something I would really like to do it's something I'm excited about getting out there and trying a vehicle based exploration things like that and my next thought was exactly it was but these guys on the youtube expedition overlay and other people doing this either have a ton of money invested in extremely built rigs or do they just have a list of sponsors that is a mile long and it doesn't seem like something I can achieve on my own and that can be a hindrance, it can be a hindrance to getting started and I think the real key is the all you have to do to start landing again is actually start as simple as it sounds So to talk about starting to land I think there are really four key things we need to touch on: your vehicle, your recovery kit, your camping gear, and the trails you're going to get out and explore, so on the subject of landing vehicles, my personal opinion will always be that the best landing vehicle is the one you already have and as long as you're realistic about it. the capabilities of your vehicle, it could be a two wheel drive sedan, it could be an all wheel drive crossover, it could be a standard 4x4 with no mods or anything and you can still go out and do some pretty amazing stuff that can take that sedan. two wheel drive to some well maintained forest service roads and still get away from the crowds and see some really exciting stuff you can take that standard 4x4 and do some
beginnerto moderate trails with it just be realistic about the capabilities of the vehicles you have and get out and start exploring spend a few nights in the great outdoors make sure this is something for you before you invest in modifying the vehicle you have to make it more capable or maybe you know you know a whole new vehicle with that being said let's talk of some of the things you can do to enhance the capabilities of the vehicle you already have, although it is one of the best first in my opinion There are modifications you can make to your equipment to really increase its capabilities.
If you still have street tires on your vehicle or ones that have gone off the lot, you can really get big performance improvements on trails and off-road by putting on slightly more aggressive tires such as off-road, even muddy terrain. Like hybrid terrain tires, they are truly a personal choice, they will all produce massive improvements off-road. I went with a kind of hybrid approach because this is my daily driver and when I'm over landing I spend a lot of time on pavement getting to trails so I wanted something that would combine the capabilities. I ended up with the ridge grapplers at 285 70 17 to fit the ones on my 4runner.
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how to start overlanding on a budget a beginner s guide to overland adventure...
I had to do a fair amount of undercutting so keep that in mind if you're downsizing if you're going with a bigger tire it's going to require deeper mods but even something like a ko2 or ridge grappler on your stock the size off the tires will yield massive improvements so another great category of mods for your vehicle is the idea of armor this could be underbody skid plates things like rock sliders things like steel front and rear bumpers and I think the real thing to keep in mind. is that if you're just starting out and are realistic about the capabilities of your vehicle and the trails you're going to be riding, you can get away for a good amount of time without having any armor at all.
The first thing I did was pull the trigger. although it was these Rock sli Ders I had seen some real horror stories of putting the wheel on a rock and coming down and smashing this panel and not being able to open the door anymore so the rock sliders for me gave me a lot of peace of mind and they helped. start tackling more and more advanced trails but you definitely shouldn't feel like it's something you need early on so I think another important thing on your vehicle to think about when you're first starting out is suspension you hear a lot of talk about things like kings or icon suspension setups old EMU Bilstein, whoever the manufacturer is, you're probably hearing about the suspension and the upgrades that people have done to their rigs, you can upgrade the suspension for a number of reasons, right?
It gives you potentially more ground clearance, more travel, better ride quality, things like that, but what I would say is that you definitely don't need to spend a lot of money on a suspension upgrade from the ground up, it's one of the things that I think after you have learned the capabilities of your vehicle after you have an idea of the type of things you want to do in the future where you want to take your vehicle then you can really start to think about what type of suspension setup you need. I'll need it so the next thing we're going to talk about and what I think might be the most important thing to talk about is recovery gear especially as a
beginnerwhen you're just starting to land or do vehicle based scouting it's important prepare yourself and be able to get out of any situation you can get yourself into.
I think one of the best things about this community about the landing and the offroad community in general is that everyone is so willing to help you if you come. In a problem on a heavily traveled trail, there's a high chance someone else will come along and be able to lend a hand, but that's not always the case, which is why it's by far the most common problem you'll encounter on a trail. it's going to have to do with the tires at one point or another you're going to get a flat it's bound to happen and being prepared at that point is the most important thing so you can get off the road safely and it may not be your own equipment Or it could be that you run into someone else who has a flat tire.
This has happened to me many times on a trail, often from people pushing the limits of their equipment or not really understanding the capabilities they maybe have. street tires on and it's an incredibly rocky trail that they didn't knock down and a flat tire happened. I even ran into a brand new jeep once it had gone off trail a bit they found themselves in a small ditch and I have sidewall flats on the passenger side tires. Most people only carry a spare, so what are you going to do in a situation like that? That's why it's incredibly important to be prepared.
What does it mean to be prepared? I think the first thing you can do what you do is have a full size spare most SUV's will come with a full size spare if you have put new tires on as one of your first mods I would highly suggest getting a set of five especially if you want a larger size you're not falling off a corner going out of the way to hobble home or something so besides your full size spare there are a couple other things you'll want to have when it's about dealing with tire problems on a trail obviously a jack you can lift your car with which means if you put a lift if you've gone bigger on your tires if you're in an awkward spot the bottle jack or the scissor jack that your kit comes with might not be enough.
This is where people start thinking about things like lifting jacks or other hydraulic jacks. ARB makes that one. I think it is very important to have it in your recovery kit, is that correct? This is an ARB tire repair kit and I've found it useful so many times that it's on Amazon very cheap, lots of people do it. Basically what you have is a couple of different tools that allow you to fix punctures and the tires of course will depend on where the puncture is and how big it is and things like that, but this is definitely a great piece of kit that allows you to have a better chance of getting off a road safely.
We actually used this when I came across the Jeep I was talking about that had two sidewall punctures on both passenger side tires you're not supposed to use it to patch the sidewalls or it shouldn't work but we were able to basically shove enough of these rubber repair patches into the hole and have it hold enough pressure that they can roll out of the way pretty safely so I highly recommend this is a super cheap peace of mind to have on your rig and along With that, I think it's worth thinking about something else. its a portable air compressor not the cheap ones from walmart that plug into your cigarette lighter because that will frustrate you so much that it will take forever to get on amazon or some other website and spend a little more money on one that is a a little more quality so this one has the alligator clips to connect directly to your car battery and then on the other end you just have the normal valve to connect here to your tire these are useful and they are great for reasons number one, if you are airing out on a trail to get more traction or to improve ride quality or hopefully to avoid sharp rock punctures, you can use this at the end of the trail to get the air back into his tires before you hit the pavement i ran into people who had a spare but hadn't checked his tire pressure in a while so we were able to use the compressor to blow some air into his spare tire or and get them back up and running I Just think for the small amount of space and the small amount of money this costs it's super cool to have a link to this specific one in the description below this is from a company called V air is the model 88 P they have a bunch of different models I think this is it I think it's like 60 bucks and worth every penny though air compressors run the gamut like the cigarette lighter versions that are ten bucks on autozone or walmart until there's a dual $900 ARB compressor pros and cons for them all.
I don't think I should spend hundreds of dollars on an air compressor right away, especially when this one has treated me so well for so long. I highly recommend the V air so like I said I think. Tire issues are the number one concern you'll face on a trail the number two concern you're most likely to encounter on a trail I think you'll get stuck, whether it's in mud, sand or snow, you're eventually going to push the limits of your vehicles capabilities and also learning to drive in these tougher conditions and you're going to get stuck and that's where a couple of different things can come in handy so a piece of kit that will really come in handy in one of these situations where your getting stuck is going to be a simple tow strap this is from rhino straps from amazon what i really like is that it has soft loops at the end so you can thread it through a d ring you can wrap it around just about anything thing there are other versions of these that let you know metal hooks and things already attached are fine too they will do the job but a tow strap is great especially if you find yourself with someone getting stuck and just needs a little help getting over an obstacle having one of these is definitely a lifesaver so another great piece of gear to have in your recovery kit will be a set of traction boards, call them max tracks call them recovery boards whatever you want these little things to be great basically what happens is you can use them and get under your tires if you get stuck in the mud or sand or snow just to give you much more traction.
This is a cheap set of chinos. the amazon ones are not brand name to me, they have done well so far. I know there are some people who feel that maybe you only get one or two uses out of the cheap ones, so it's worth spending the money on the Max Tracks or the name brand ones. I leave it to you. I think if you're just starting out and looking to save some money, the cheap ones on Amazon are great and I'll link to these. and they're in the description below so in a situation where you're stuck and you need to get out the final piece of the recovery kit that I'm going to talk about is a shovel I think it's veryIt's important to take a shovel with you for a number of reasons, if you find yourself stuck or stuck you can use this to get yourself out maybe you're too focused and just need to clear some sand or something out from under you so you can get those wheels back on the Soil maybe you've been spinning those wheels to try to get out and you'll be much happier having a shovel for the ride than using your hands to dig yourself out of that situation, shovels are obviously a great piece of overall camping kit as well , you need to treat your fires right so put them out, shake them, suffocate them, making sure they're really out, also great if you need to know, use the bathroom in the woods something So, the shovel is a great multi-purpose tool to have back.
This is yes, a cheap Home Depot. It could look like this. It could look like a compact folding electronics tool from an army surplus store. A camping supplies store. it is very important to have a shovel with you and obviously this list of recovery gear could go on and on there are a lot of awesome pieces of gear to have as the situations you find yourself in become more and more complex we could keep talking. about winches kinetic rope self recovery devices things like that but for now I think as a beginner if you are just starting out as long as you again take into account the capabilities of your vehicle your driving skills and knowledge of the area you are going to explore in.
You should be able to get by with the tire repair kit, air compressor covers, and a shovel. Well, we've already talked about the vehicle. We've talked about the recovery team. Now it's time to talk about camping equipment when. it's about carrying your camping gear, you can have as much or as little gear as you want, but it's really about covering the three main needs: your shelter, your food, and your water shelter are several different things that aren't just surviving the night but also feeling comfortable if you followed me for a while you've seen my setup progress over time I'm at a point now where I have the roof top tent the caravan I have a review video on but I'm going to link here I have a Dometic in the back for my food, stuff like that, but you don't need all that equipment to get started, what I would really recommend if you don't have equipment to start with at the moment is to find somewhere like REI or another sports car. stuff store where you can rent things like a tent, a sleeping bag and all the camping gear you will need to go out and take a weekend trip or stay overnight or something like that when we talk about your shelter or system for sleeping is not just your tent that protects you from the elements but something like a sleeping bag on a sleeping pad that helps you survive the night if you're in cold temperatures things like that so again sleeping bags sleep are things you can rent and try you can get them very cheap at a place like Bass Pro Shop or Sportsman's Warehouse.
I really like their zero grade sleeping bags or you can spend a lot of money on an ultra light one from a place like REI or Sierra Designs anywhere so t The second thing to talk about when it comes to camping gear is their food So the food you take with you in the way you prepare it on a trail could go in many different directions, it could be as simple as some dehydrated backpacking meals. or a couple noodles something like that you just have to rehydrate it could be a ton of store fresh ingredients you need to prep and cook and it ends up with a totally gourmet meal it could be anywhere in between i think its a great start the point is something as well as a two burner stove which again you can try you can rent these things from a place like REI could also be seen as a Jetboil style backpacking stove if you're just heating water things like that for me I like having the two burner stove and I think The only thing I would say when it comes to two burner stoves is that a lot of them are sold based on the total BTUs or the heat that they output, which is not the correct way to think of a two burner s what you really want to think about.
It's kind of like the simmer control, you don't just want a maximum heat full flame all the time, you actually want to be able to ultimately adjust how much flame you're on. simmering on one of these two burner propane stoves so you can do things like quickly boil water, make sure you turn the flame to high, sauté the garlic or something, you might want to turn the heat down a bit, simmer a sauce, same thing you don't need full flame or else you'll just burn whatever you try to cook so that's really what I would look for when looking for a two burner stove how much adjustability of the flame control does it have when it comes to food storage?
I see a lot of people with things like Dometic coolers which I love I swear I would recommend it to anyone but it's a lot of extra cost it has a way of holding it securely on its platform which maybe means a platform kit or straps and tether things like that you need a way to power it it could be something like the Dometic PLB 40 power bank or a Goal Zero power bank which is what I did initially and then eventually jumped into a dual battery setup to give it sort of of constant power which has made life so much less stressful and again something I would highly recommend in the future but when starting anything you will do something like a soft sided cooler if you just want to keep your beers somewhat cold. like that hard sided cooler if you're going on these longer trips rotomolded yeti style but it doesn't have to be a Yeti it can be one of the cheapest it will be great for keeping ice frozen for a number of days keeping your food at a safe temperature if you bring steaks or burgers or whatever to cook with you, so again this will come down to personal preference, don't feel like you have to partake in something like a Dometic when you're just to start, i would recommend again using what you have if it's a cooler you usually take to the beach just throw it in the back of your car and go out and explore somewhere and then i think the ultimate in camping gear is water water is important obviously for a number of different reasons bulk water is something you should definitely have with you if you're having a campfire so you can put it out make sure you put it out before you leave it's obviously important to have your enough drinking water for your vehicle you know in case you start to run low on coolant and need to top up with water that's a big deal so this could look like a lot of different things it could look like buying a couple gallons of water from the store before leaving on a trip might appear to have large refillable water jugs, which is what I have.
I use the Aqua bricks, they are a bit more expensive, but I think they are super strong, very well made. the plastic is ick and they sort of nest together and stack nicely and with the Aqua bricks I really like the size they are right at three and a half gallons each so I think it's really helpful to just have a couple of those there are manageable by anyone who can come with me okay so the last thing we have to talk about in terms of how to start landing is just planning your trips and personally for me this was actually the biggest hurdle I had to overcome when I decided
was something I wanted to pursue I was ready to grab my sleeping bag jump in my car and head off somewhere but I couldn't figure out where to go I didn't know what to google how to find out if a trail was accessible or what it would be The difficulty.
was something I wanted to pursue I was ready to grab my sleeping bag jump in my car and head off somewhere but I couldn't figure out where to go I didn't know what to google how to find out if a trail was accessible or what it would be The difficulty.
You didn't have a good network of people to rely on for trip reports, guidance, or information, so I want to give you some tips for planning your first few landings. travel so I think one of my best tips for planning Your trip will get better with time but connecting with local people in your area who also go out and explore social media is great for this you can find a Facebook group for you can find subreddits and youtubers in your local area that you can contact to ask about trails or where they like to go or even if there is a group trip coming up that you can join to get out and hike trails it will allow you to meet people and meet more people than they commonly hike trails in your local area, so I recommend you know to say hello and say hello to them by asking if they know of any other interesting places to explore, ask if they have any interesting trips coming up that you can tag along with them.
All of those things will help you become more familiar with your local area and your local trail network, so when I was just starting out the best resource I found was actually this book, this is the California 4x4 Backroads and Trails Guide. for a g Their names are Charles Wells and Matt Peterson and they have a couple of these different
guides on Amazon. I will link them below. I know there's one for Utah, there's one for Colorado, and also for other places in the US, one for Arizona as well, but this book is absolutely amazing, basically what they've done is they've divided the state into all these different regions and you can go through and you can choose the region you're going to explore you can look at the trails and there's a lot of great information as well so they've done I'm not sure if you'll be able to see this they've developed a whole rating system for the trails they talk about here the easy ones are labeled green, the moderate ones are labeled blue and the hard ones are ranked red and the good thing is that they actually define what these ratings mean a lot of times you'll jump on forums or social media and you'll see that people says oh that was such a hard road i would never do it and then f found out they were on a unicycle or something that just doesn't match the expectations of what you were thinking so that I think having trail definitions for difficulty is very helpful and then they've done one of the best jobs I've ever seen. in terms of laying out an actual trail so this is a good one it's a flat poker it's classed as a moderate trail it's blue and they give you this big map here of the area but they also have this mileage log so you can get there to the zero euro domitor trailhead in your vehicle and then you can really follow it and on some of these more complex trails to navigate you can really make sure that you stay on course and that you're not going to get lost so again I'll link these books in the description.
I would HIGHLY recommend something like this and finally I think the other thing to talk about in terms of planning a trip is the apps that are available to us so one of my favorites to have on hand when planning a trip and when i'm traveling it's Gaia GPS so you won't be able to see that Gaya GPS is a map app you can access on Android iOS and only through a web browser where you can plan your trips you can log in your trips record share your routes with people and I think a lot of people in general in the community use Gaia or a similar app that can export the same type of routes which is a great way to share where you ride the trails that you are on the that you have been so you can create this log book of places to explore besides Gaia gps another great app is iover lander it is multi source content for campsites places of interest before to explore good trails stuff like that then I think once you have those resources, trip planning is easier than ever.
guides and apps like gaia gps and i Overlander have made it easier than ever to find and share truly amazing places, and I think that comes with a lot of extra responsibilities. It's good for all of us to practice treadmills and follow the Leave No principles. Trace if you're not sure what Leave No Trace entails I suggest looking it up before you head out on your first ride simple things like avoiding a snag or mud pit contribute to widening trails and trail degradation you actually lead to our worst fears which is trails closing campgrounds closing so if you pack it pack it leave no trace and just do your part to make campsites and trails better than you found them and with that I hope you're ready to go out and explore somewhere, see you next time
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