Where Do I Begin?

January 1, 2018

So you have a bit of an interest in the Rugged Overlanding Adventure Movement. Maybe a bit of a desire to blaze along the road into the unknown. The spirit of adventure has maybe ignited itself inside you but, you’re a bit confused about these new found feels and arent sure what to do with them… Then welcome to your first step.

Number One: Something To Drive

You will need a vehicle. Initially you dont need the wildest overlanding BEAST! You need something that can get you where you want to go, and as you begin to travel, you will learn about new amazing places, and then you will slowly reach your vehicles limitations.

Your grannies ’89 Toyota Corolla, equipped with normal road tyres will take you to 80% of the places you might want to go.

An SUV type vehicle which will have high ground clearance than your average sedan or hatchback, equipped with an All-Terrain Tyre, will probably get you to 90% of places you would want to go.
An SUV type vehicle with an all wheel drive system, for example; a Toyota Rav, Nissan Xtrail, VW Tiguan or Landrover Freelander. Equipped with All-Terrain Tyres, will get you to 95% of the places you want to go.

A Bakkie/SUV with a full 4 wheel drive system and a low range gear box, equipped with All-Terrain Tyres will get you to 97% of the places you want to go.

A Heavily modified Bakkie/SUV with Full 4 Wheel Drive systems and a low range gear box, and diff locker. Equipped with All-Terrain or Mud-Terrain vehicles will get you 99% of places you might want to go.

As you can see there are diminishing returns to this process. The main step is having something, then traveling where that something will allow you. As you progress and manage to acquire a better vehicle and modify it, you will be able to go to new and more exciting places. The caveat to that, is that you will be going much slower. Its typical to spend 4 hours on driving 20km when you hit the real offroad stuff, and sometimes you can go maybe 10km in a day if you’re lucky. Then again, its about Enjoying the journey, so what ever it takes, it takes. 

The reason an All-Terrain tyre is important, is to help prevent punctures. A traditional road tyre, will have much less protection inside the actual tyres. Now there are manufacturers out there that have amazing products and wont cost you an arm and a leg, the likes of Goodyear & General Grabber, as well as manufacturers who would cost a small fortune for a set of tyres, such as BF Goodrich and Cooper Tyres. They have their pro’s and con’s but that is for another post. Essentially, you dont have to start with BF Goodrich, you can still get 90% of the tyre for 50% of the price. The difference comes down to the type of journey. When you’re doing a certain trips, the confidence of having that extra 10% is worth more than twice the price. I drive some strange German Delivery truck, what will you be driving? Comment below!

Number Two: Somewhere To Sleep

A pillow to rest your head on in the backseat? we wont judge. The only thing you need to keep you warm in those freezing cold drakensberg winters, is your passion for overlanding… and a really good sleeping bag! The days of missioning to put up a tent, and putting the right pole in the right hole, are over. You no longer need that stress. You get handy pop up tents that work much like that weird windscreen reflector your Dad used to have behind the seat. Its amazing, you literally throw it out and boom! You have a tent. You also get full sized tents, that you literally fold out the legs and lift it up from the center of the tent and it assembles in minutes. So, there is no excuse when it comes to accommodation anymore. You can also get a badass rooftop tent, if you have all the other expensive bits. Thats a conversation for another day.

Number Three: Somewhere To Go

Start with somewhere simple, and beautiful that you know you want to explore. Ill compile a list of cool places to go when you’re wanting to begin your first overland adventures. You need to get comfortable with your vehicle before you start going off to weird and wonderful places, especially when you’re traveling on your own, and dont have backup. Staying near some sort of civilisation is also a good start, until you know exactly how far you can go with a tank of fuel, and how many days a 5L water will last you. If you have gotten to the end of this, then you probably realise that you could get in your car tomorrow and go on an adventure. There really isnt anything like waking up at 4AM and leaving the city behind before breakfast.