A new year brings new possibilities for travel and adventures in your Jeep or 4×4. Whether you’re new to the offroading lifestyle or a veteran, looking for new places to explore in your vehicle can help you plan for the year. One of the great parts of the offroading lifestyle is the community that comes with it – people who want to get others involved, offer advice, and even take trips together. Let’s look at the difference between offroading and overlanding, talk through gear, and inspire some potential adventures for 2023.
Overlanding vs. Offroading
Offroading and overlanding are two terms you might hear from Jeep and 4×4 owners, but do you know the difference? Offroading is about taking your vehicle over challenging terrain and building up driving techniques to accomplish this. Overlanding focuses more on the journey of going somewhere in your vehicle. Although some people will go off-road during an overlanding trip, most stick to more accessible roads and trails for overlanding excursions. Overlanding may be an excellent start for someone new to the Jeep or 4×4 lifestyle –offroading may take longer to learn but can quickly become a thrilling hobby.
Equipment and Gear
The gear and equipment needed for overlanding versus offroading are also different. For overlanding, many folks like to get a rooftop tent for their vehicle to camp in throughout their trip. For people going offroading, a rooftop tent would add extra weight to the vehicle that could interfere with the offroading abilities, so they may not want that on their vehicle. Offroading gear, equipment, and vehicle modifications cover many items depending on your vehicle and goals for offroading.
Forested areas can make for great offroading experiences. Some forests even have designated trails or courses for offroading: the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri has miles of trails available for offroaders. Some other forested areas in Missouri that might interest offroaders are Saint Joe State Park, Finger Lakes State Park, and Blue Springs Ranch. Many national forests do not allow offroading or overlanding, so it is essential to research ahead of time. Sometimes, areas outside the national forests may have the same ecosystem and allow offroading.
Beaches and Dunes
If forests aren’t your thing and you prefer sandy areas, you’re in luck for offroading and overlanding. Dunes are sought-out destinations for offroaders and adventure seekers alike – the Silver Lake Sand Dunes in Mears, Michigan, and the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Mosca, Colorado, are two popular choices. For both of these areas, it is critical to check the requirements for your vehicle and if a permit is needed. Beaches can be excellent for overlanding excursions with scenic views and waves rolling in.
Mountainous areas are worth checking out if you’re up for more challenging offroading courses. Driving in these terrains take grit and preparation, but the breathtaking views and wildlife make it worth it. The Alpine Loop Trail in Colorado traverses the San Juan Mountains and offers 63 miles of challenging fun. If you’re looking to leave the contiguous 48 states, the Dalton Highway in Alaska offers incredible mountainous views and offroading and overlanding opportunities.
Areas with lakes can be great destinations for families, small groups, or anyone wanting to take a dip in the water after the drive. Although the terrain around some lakes can offer great offroading experiences, if you plan on camping by a lake, overlanding may be a wiser choice. The Great Lakes region in the northern U.S. and southern Canada has many places to camp around any of the five lakes. Lake Tahoe is another tried-and-true destination for overlanders.
Deserts and dry areas can make for excellent offroading and overlanding areas, too – don’t forget to pack plenty of water and supplies! Although not all parts of this area are a desert, Moab, Utah, is one of the most popular places to go offroading and offers stunning views of red rock formations. Death Valley in California also is known in the offroading community for its Echo Pass Trail of medium difficulty. Joshua Tree National Park is also great to check out and fall in love with.
Check Axleboy Out
Here at Axleboy Offroad, our team loves what we do. When we’re not modifying our customer’s vehicles or selling equipment, we get involved in offroading community events or out on the trails ourselves. Whatever offroading or overlanding trips you’re planning for 2023, get in touch with us so we can connect and help you prepare for your adventures.