What exactly is overlanding? Is it car camping? Off-roading? Ask a handful of people what it means and you're not likely to hear the same answer twice.

Yet one thing is for certain: Overlanding, however you define it, is growing faster than just about any other segment in the outdoor market. To help unravel the mystery of overland-ese, we've broken it down to its essential components:

Re-cov-ery [n.]: The act of pulling a vehicle out of trouble

Overlanders intentionally choose primitive roads, the more remote and untraveled the better. As a result, they often need to extricate their woefully stuck vehicles from sandy river beds and mud pits. This timely process is called “recovery.” Unlike off-roaders who enjoy conquering obstacles with horsepower, torque, and over-sized tires, overlanders prefer using an elaborate and highly ritualized system of winches, ropes, and shackles, which they call “recovery gear.” Overlanders love recovery gear so much that they often strap it to the outside of their vehicle, presumably to more easily marvel at its splendor.

recovery gear

Roof-Rack [n.]: An accessory attached to the roof of a vehicle 

When overlanding, nothing is more sacred than a roof rack. As with ancient tribes who used decorative headdresses to showcase their prowess, experience, and place in the tribal hierarchy, overlanders use roof racks to demonstrate their packing virtuosity and their ready-for-anything spirit. 

roof rack

R-T-T [n]: Abbreviation for "Roof Top Tent"

Overlanders have long found these compact, elevated sleeping compartments particularly advantageous when traveling in places where nocturnal carnivores and creepy crawlers lurk at ground level.  Since roof-loving overlanders care little about aero-dynamics and even less about cost, the pricey and high-profile roof top tent has for decades been the signature accessory of overlanding.

roof top tent

Jerr-y Can [n.]: A flat-sided metal container for transporting fuel

Nothing speaks to international spirit and the always-go-prepared ethic of overlanding like a supplementary fuel can designed by a German named Vinzenz Grünvogel. U.S. troops in WWII nick-named it the "jerry can" because "jerry" was the war-time slang for German.

jerry can

Sko-ttle [n.]: A wok-like cooking device

Originating in South Africa, the skottle is a large wok-like disc traditionally used straight over a fire for cooking. TemboTusk, a popular overland gear company, sells a modernized skottle that adds the convenience of gas canister. The skottle is one of many signature accessories that subtly separate overlanders from traditional Coleman-loving campers. And, like everything else overlanders use, it can be disassembled and packed away (most likely in a box on the roof).





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