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A close up shows sleeping bags loaded on the roof rack of a 2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro.

7 of the Best Vehicles for Overlanding

Some people never want to leave the city and are happiest when surrounded by buildings, neighbors, and paved roads. For others, some weekend camping and going off-road is the perfect way to step out into nature, enjoy the raw energy of the wilderness, and then go back to everyday life when Sunday evening rolls around. But for those people that truly have no desire to bask in the soft comforts of modern civilization, there’s another option altogether: Overlanding.

Overlanding is much more than camping on the weekend or taking your truck to play in the mud once a month. It’s a lifestyle built around getting away from it all and staying there for an extended period of time––we’re talking weeks, months, even years. For fans of Overlanding, the journey is ultimately more important than any one destination. It’s about experiencing the moments when there’s nothing but you and the vast, untamed landscape of trees, shrubs, rivers, and seemingly endless wilderness around you.

Such a demanding sort of adventure requires the right tools and equipment. You need warm clothes, emergency blankets and supplies, nonperishable food, and plenty of water. But you also need the right vehicle, something that can take you on your journey and keep you safe wherever you go. So today, I’m going to run through some of your best options for an Overlanding vehicle. I specifically looked for great options right from the dealership, with no or only minimal aftermarket work needed to make them perfect for Overlanding.

Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

The first of three great options from Toyota, the 4Runner is a very popular full-size SUV that really seems to have been created with adventures like Overlanding in mind. Its large size gives you plenty of room inside, so this is a great choice for couples or even small families. If you’re flying solo, then all that room gives you a lot of cargo space for equipment, tools, and supplies.

Most people agree that the TRD Pro trim is the one to look for since it’s designed for going off-road and has terrific features. It can be a bit pricey, however, so the other TRD models can be a great choice for Overlanding if you’re on more of a budget.

Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

If you like the idea of Overlanding in a truck rather than an SUV, then the Tacoma is another great option from Toyota. This is a midsize model, which means it can get you through a lot of tight spots where a full-size pickup might let you down. The Tacoma has been around for a while and is well known as a reliable truck that performs well and keeps working for a long time.

Once again, the TRD Pro is the trim to choose, if your budget allows for it, as this model has the nicest overall selection of features and off-road performance. Just like with the 4Runner, however, there are other TRD trims available, both of which can work quite well. I’d still suggest looking for either the TRD Off-Road or Pro for the best Overlanding experience.

Toyota Land Cruiser

Here we have my last suggestion from Toyota: the Land Cruiser. This has long been heralded as a fine competitor to the Jeep Wrangler and is a terrific option if you want an SUV to take Overlanding, but the 4Runner isn’t quite right for you. Some critics have argued that the most recent Land Cruiser models have focused too much on luxury features, but it’s still a great choice for leaving civilization behind.

Due to its impressive reliability and long-term performance, the Toyota Land Cruiser is a great choice if you’re looking at used models to take Overlanding. Just be sure that it’s in good condition and have it thoroughly looked over by a professional mechanic before you hit the wide-open spaces.

A black 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is shown driving through a river while overlanding.

Jeep Wrangler

Although some people balk at the stereotype of taking a Jeep to go off-road or Overlanding, there’s no denying that these vehicles are designed for it. The Jeep Wrangler is seen by many as the quintessential off-road vehicle, and it’s been a great choice for decades. That means the Wrangler is a terrific option if you’re looking at used models since you can pick one from a decade ago and still find excellent features for hitting the trail.

There are a lot of different trims for the Wrangler, so you have plenty of options to choose from. The new Rubicon 392 trim, with its HEMI V8 engine, is going to be a popular option for anyone looking for more power than ever before.

Jeep Gladiator

A fine alternative to the Toyota Tacoma, the Jeep Gladiator is a pickup with the spirit and performance of a Jeep. For a long time, Jeep fans have been hoping and waiting for a truck to call their own, and with the Gladiator, their dreams have been answered. The only real drawback here is that it’s a pretty new model, so you’re not going to find used options going back a decade, and some would consider it a bit untested in real-world conditions and in terms of longevity.

Ford F-150 Raptor

If you’re interested in a full-size truck to take off-road, then the Ford F-150 Raptor has been one of the most popular choices for a long time, which makes it a solid consideration for Overlanding too. Depending on the journey ahead of you, a full-size model can be problematic, but the incredible power and functionality of the Raptor has been undeniable. There’s an all-new model coming this year, too, building on the latest generation of the standard F-150 to provide truly incredible performance and great features.

The latest F-150 Raptor features a high-output 3.5L V6 engine, Trail Control (it’s like cruise control for going off-road so you can focus on the terrain), and off-road FOX Live Valve Racing Shox. Plus, the available Pro Power Onboard system is ideal for when you need to plug in a heater, power tool, or another accessory.

A tan 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is shown from the rear parked on sand with dust in the air.

Chevy Colorado ZR2

One of the most popular options for going off-road in a midsize truck, the Chevy Colorado is also a terrific choice for Overlanding. Although any Colorado model is a good truck, the ZR2 trim is really what you want to look at for hitting the trail or leaving civilized life behind. This is an impressive pickup that’s built for going off-road, with a high clearance thanks to a factory-installed lift, numerous skid plates, and Multimatic shocks to handle anything the wilderness throws at you.

This is also a good choice because it’s been around for a while now, so you have lots of options available if you’re looking for a used model. Just like with any other vehicle to take Overlanding, however, make sure it’s in great shape before you embrace the wilds.

Final Considerations

You might have noticed that almost half of these recommended models are Toyotas; that’s because Toyota is well known for reliability and for being pretty easy to work on. If you’re Overlanding for months or years, you’ll probably need to do some work on your vehicle. That’s why it’s so important to have something you can rely on and do work yourself or get work done easily, which makes Toyota hard to beat. Just be sure you’re fully prepared and stocked up on tools and supplies before you decide to spend a few weeks or months in your vehicle.

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