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Discover New Passions: Overland Obsessions

Toyota Land Cruiser rigged for overlanding adventures on dirt roads

I was never overtly interested in the overlanding and off-road community. I learned how to drive in a 2000 Ford Ranger 4x4, but that was about it. I grew up obsessed with Subaru. Rallying, Petter Solberg, Colin McCrae, the STI; you name it, I knew about it. My first car I ever owned was a 2005 Subaru WRX STI, and I still own it to this day. But overlanding, that was a whole new rabbit hole down which I had yet to be absorbed.

I was on Craigslist one night about three years ago, doing my usual nightly scouring for interesting finds. I searched “Subaru outback,” as I had always wanted a late 90’s manual transmission example to schlep me up to the mountains for ski season. The first one that caught my eye was a 1997 Outback Limited “Overland Edition.” It had a rear seat delete, an army cot, and a full drawer system and kitchen, including a sink. The owner talked through how he modified a set of Old Man Emu suspension from an 80 series Toyota Land Cruiser to fit the outback, how he took a 6-week plumbing class to learn how to install the sink and water tank, and the countless adventures this old Japanese station wagon had taken him on.

I had never seen anything like it. I googled “overlanding,” and learned that overlanding is about an experience; it’s not just about camping or off roading, it’s the adventure along the way (how cliché). I decided I wanted in. Next thing I knew, I was back on craigslist, sifting through old Toyota Land Cruisers, Range Rovers, G Wagons, Jeep Wranglers, Unimog trucks, and all else in between. Over the next few months, I met folks on forums who told me the best place to look to buy Land Rover Defenders on the west coast, and to make sure to look for triple-locked 80 Series Toyota Land Cruisers because they were much more valuable than other examples. The learning opportunities were endless, and the platforms for overland builds were infinite. There really was an exciting community and marketplace to explore that I had no clue existed.

2020 Toyota Tacome TRD Off-Road on a dirt road in California

Fast forward to now, and I proudly own a 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road that I daily drive, and a 1995 Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80 that I am slowly building out to be an ultimate go-anywhere rig. What really appeals to be about the overlanding community is the variety of builds I have seen. Everything from fully built out, $100K vans, to humble Ford Ranger’s with a mattress in the truck bed. I’m the kind of person who likes to tackle tasks on my own, and I have begun building out the land cruiser with no prior knowledge of building adventure vehicles. I do know, however, that I can learn everything along the way, whether it be designing a drawer system for the bed, to learning about the best recovery equipment, to learning how to navigate the endless BLM land trails and campsites.

My Toyota Land Cruiser rig with all-terrain tires and roofrack

No matter what your budget, you can create something that suits your needs and fulfill your desire to get out and explore. The overlanding community is expansive and all encompassing, and everyone is willing to help get you on track to build your dream rig.

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1 comentário

Jamie Rush
Jamie Rush
24 de set. de 2021

This is sick man! Gonna have to see that '95 Land Cruiser someday

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