Blog Vehicles

Overlanding with Rivian R1T Electric Truck – The EV Overlanding Revolution

The electric vehicle truck niche is posed to explode with interest over the next 12 to 24 months as electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian launching their Rivian R1T electric truck later this year and Elon Musk’s unveiling of the post-acopcalyptic looking Tesla Cybertruck earlier in the year.

Overlanding with Rivian R1T truck

Rivian has been positioning its R1T as a adventure and off-roading electric vehicle since its early prototype days. The Rivian R1T has had a presence at Overland West and other autoshows since its public debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Rivian has been teasing an overlanding version, or as its marketing department has defined the R1t, the “Electric Adventure Vehicle.” Rivian has been outfitting prototypes of the electric truck with a slide-out camping kitchen that fits in the Rivian expansive gear-storage compartment directly behind the truck cab as well as a demoing a truck bed Tepui tent.

Overlanding with Rivian R1T camping kitchen
Rivian R1T with tent and slide out camping kitchen (Photo from

The biggest concern that most overlanders have is the limited range and distance of electric trucks. If your batteries run down deep in the Sierra Nevadas or off the grid in Baja, its a little difficult to run an extension cord long enough back to civilization.

However, the Rivian R1T is boasting a 400 mile range on a fully charged battery as well as a quick-charge time of just thirty minutes. If both specs hold true, the Rivian R1T could become an overlanding favorite for those looking to transition to an electric overlanding vehicle.

Rivian sent out a teaser email this morning, featuring a trailer for the September 18th 2020 release on Apple TV+ of “Long Way Up.” The movie documents the travels of two Rivian R1Ts from the southern most tip of South American thru South and Central America to Los Angeles, covering 13,000 miles. The documentary features Ewan McGregor and close friend Charley Boorman as they do an all-electric overlanding trek.

See the trailer for “Long Way Up” on the Rivian website.


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How to Start Overlanding. The Ultimate Overlanding Guide for Beginners

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My Favorite Beginner Overlanding YouTube Channels (2020 version)

I have finally have gotten around to posting some of my favorite beginner overlanding YouTube channels here for your enjoyment and education. I’ve built up and subscribed to a long list of overlanding YouTube channels that I have followed over the years. While some of the channels focus on high-end modifications and builds, there are also quite a few overlanding YouTube channels that focus on the basics for beginners to the overlanding lifestyle.

If you want to quickly get up to speed on the basics of overlanding, learn more advanced overlanding skills or just geek out on overlanding gear review or overlanding trip reports, then YouTube is the best place to be.

One thing I love about overlanding is the overlanding community and how helpful people have been about accepting the newbies into the fold. We all started out clueless and confused at one point and its great to see such a strong group of overlanding enthusiasts trying to help pay it forward by helping the beginner overlander.

Let me know if there are other overlanding YouTube channels that you found helpful as well!

Beginner Overlanding YouTube Channels

Lifestyle Overland

The Lifestyle Overland channel is about the overlanding experiences of a family of three that sent out several years ago to live a full-time overlanding lifestyle in the U.S. in their Toyota 4Runner. If you’re curious about how to overland with a young child, the Lifestyle Overland videos are a great beginner overlanding YouTube channel.

Overland Bound YouTube Channel

The Overland Bound YouTube channel is the video extension of the website which has been a great resource for beginner and experienced overlanders. The website dives deep into overlanding with lots of gear reviews, how-tos and a community forum with lots of overlanding tips on a wide range of overlanding topics from overlanding kitchens to photography to geocaching guides.

Ben Stinnett YouTube Channel

I’ve watched a lot of Ben’s YouTube videos and the one thing (among many) is that he simplifies the entire overlanding experience. It’s not about having the most expensive modified 4-WD vehicle or the latest rooftop tent or custom overlanding kitchen set up.

Ben has a great common sense approach to how to get started in overlanding on a budget. It doesn’t take corporate sponsors or a trust fund to get started in overlanding.

The best way to get started with overlanding for beginners is just to start with the vehicle you currently have and to be realistic about your vehicle’s capabilities.

Ronny Dahl’s YouTube Channel

Ronny Dahl and his 79 series Toyota Land Cruiser hails from the land Down Under (Australia) where overlanding is a big part of exploring the Australian Outback. You can find him on YouTube where he goes over the essentials of overlanding vehicles and equipment as well as his (and his dad’s) website at

Ronny Dahl on YouTube

Wanderlost Overland YouTube Channel

The Wanderlost Overland channel (not to be confused with the shop in Oregon) features Mark and Merri and their overlanding adventures in their Toyota FJ Cruiser.

Down2Mob Overland YouTube Channel

Down2Mob (Phil) is a “recovering” financial planner who quit his high-paying financial advisor job at age 29 and started exploring the country in his overlanding truck. I like how Phil talks discusses and lives the true meaning behind overloading.

You can also check out his Down2Mob website and his Down2Mob podcast.

Down2Mob YouTube Channel

Revere Overland Youtube Channel

The Revere Overland YouTube Channel is about Rob and his overlanding adventures mostly thru his home state of Kentucky. Rob does a good job of breaking down the basics of overlanding and going over the equipment he uses on his Toyota 4Runner and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles.

Got another overlanding YouTube channel that you follow and think we should add here?

Drop us a comment below and we will see if we can add it to out list of beginner overlanding YouTube channels.

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Overlanding vs Off-Roading. What’s the difference? [Explained]

If you’re new to overlanding, then one of the first questions asked is how is to compare overlanding vs off-roading? I think that’s a fair question to ask and it really helps to understand the different “philosophies” between the two types of driving.

Overlanding vs Off-Roading

Lets start with a few basic definitions of overlanding and off-roading and then we can get into the differences and similarities between the two?

What is Overlanding?

I wrote about “What is Overlanding” in a previous post, but to summarize, “overlanding” is considered a longer journey by either motorcycle, car, truck or SUV over sometimes unimproved roads. Overlanding is more of a journey and true overlanding is the experiences formed during that travel and not so much focused on the destination or the technical aspects of the trail or road.

I consider overlanding to be more of the “zen” approach to travel. Its the process of being about to deal with whatever comes your way and a self-reliance of unfettered and sometimes unplanned travel.

Overlanding is typically considers a longer trip that can last several days, weeks or if you’re traversing the Pan American route from Alaska to Argentina, you can measure time in months or years.

Overlanding has a history of traveling long distances and being self-supported. From the outback of Australia to the continent-crossing travels from Egypt to South Africa or trekking 19,000 miles down the Pan-American Highway, overlanding is the long-term adventure and exploration of our world in a different way

What is Off-Roading?

off-roading jeep

I have always looked as “off-roading” as a more general term for getting off pavement with a vehicle. While off-roading trips can also turn into days or weeks, most off-roading tends to be shorter day trips focused on technical terrain and can usually require a heavily modified off-road vehicle if you want to tackle some of the more challenging off-road terrain like the Rubicon Trail in Northern California or the slick rocks of Moab, Utah.

from YouTube

Off-roading usually focuses on the driving skill and technique and isn’t so much focused on the other aspects of the journey. I’m not saying that’s anything wrong with off-roading, I total enjoy taking on some technical 4×4 trails. But I find at least for me, off-roading doesn’t really allow me to completely unplug from the modern world. At least for me, its a little too “objective” driven. Worrying about crawling over that last rock, planning the correct descent down a steep hill, and on-and-on.

Off-roading often times is about pushing the limits not only of the driver, but of the vehicle as well. That’s why you’ll often see expensive custom Jeeps or other off-road vehicles featured prominently in off-roading magazines.

Overlanding doesn’t have to require an expensive customization of your vehicle. In some cases, even just an all-wheel drive vehicle with decent clearance is enough to get started with overlanding.

Land Rover LR3 overlanding in the Eastern Sierras

For me, when I bought my 2008 Land Rover LR3, I knew that overlanding was something I wanted to discover and explore. There is something about following in the tire tracks of fellow Land Rover owners that traveled the African continent that holds a certain amount of historical and romantic appeal.

Sometimes I just want to disconnect, unplug and enjoy the outdoors and have some solitude and freedom and that’s where I believe overlanding offers a unique opportunity to experience that freedom.

Final thoughts on overlanding vs off-roading

So comparing overlanding vs off-roading, while the two are not mutually exclusive, I think that overlanding offers a much deeper appreciation for the world around me.

And it’s that appreciation that made me start this website on overlanding, to be able to share my journey and hopefully connect with like-minded overlanding enthusiasts.

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What is Overlanding?

What is overlanding?

Overlanding or overland travel has become more popular in the United States over the last two decades. However there still some confusion on what overlanding is and how overlanding compares to off-roading.

Overlanding is any type of long-distance, self-reliant travel in a vehicle, mostly on unimproved or unpaved roads. Overlanding can be by motorcycle, car, truck, SUV or a custom off-road vehicle. Most overlanding is through remote areas, but usually with a destination in mind.

Overlanding in a vehicle is the historical progression of the long trade routes followed by merchants and explores along the Silk Route or Road from China through the Middle East to Europe, early travel through the Outback in Australia. Overlanding follows the original adventurers that were traversing in a Land Rover across the African safaris and deserts from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa or driving the Pan-American route from Prudhoe Bay Alaska across and through North, Central and South America to its southern end in Ushuaia, Argentina.

Overlanding is about the spirit of exploration and self-reliance, of slowing down and taking time to enjoy the journey. Overlanding is tapping into your underlying sense of adventure and discovering the road less travelled.

Combine traveling down fire roads or old forgotten dirt roads with outdoor camping in the vast open spaces of the backcountry and you have the essence of overlanding. Its tapping into your ability to rely on yourself and your resilience in handling whatever unforeseen issues come your way.

Overlanding is about unplugging from the typical non-stop distractions of 21st-century life and slowing down to enjoy nature and get back in touch with your inner self, the part of you passed down generation to generation by the rugged lovers of the Australian Outback and African Serengeti.

Somewhere in the Eastern Sierras with the Land Rover LR3

Overlanding doesn’t have to be a months or year long journey across several continents as you deal with vehicle breakdowns, unpredictable weather and road conditions. Overlanding can start with just a day-long or weekend-long escape into the local backcountry.

Overlanding doesn’t require an extensive and expensive upgrades to your vehicle to start. Many of the shorter land roving routes in the United States are dirt fire roads that a stock SUV or pickup truck should be able to handle.

Overlanding and off-roading sometimes get used interchangeably, but the big difference between off-roading vs overlanding is more to due with the experience and not so much the technical aspects of off-roading.

Throw your tent, sleeping bag as well as extra water and a camping stove and you can get started with overlanding on a minimal budget.

As you get more experience with overlanding and roving the outdoor road system, you can add upgrades to your vehicle with better tires, upgrading the suspension and adding a roof top tent and roof racks.

If you’re new to overloading and want to find out more, check out our list of beginner overlanding YouTube channels.

Blog Travel and Destinations

Ghost Town Loop Bodie Hills, CA

The Ghost Town Loop Bodie traverse through the rolling hills east of Bridgeport, California was a great way to spend Labor Day. The entire trip took about 4 hours as we took our time touring the backcountry high-desert hills and drove the back way into the ghost town of Bodie.

I used the route listed in Tony Huegel’s “Sierra Nevada Byways” book (Tour 33 – Ghost Town Loop) which I think may be out of print currently since Amazon has it listed for $140!

It’s probably easier and cheaper to use Alltrails or Avenza maps, but I’d look to see if Wilderness Press releases another printing of Tony Huegel’s book. I’ve used it a bunch and it was a great last-minute pick-up at Tom’s Place General Store.

Tom’s Place General Store

The Ghost Town Loop to Bodie is pretty much dirt road with a little gravel so any 4WD with decent clearance should be able to handle it. Its a good route to if you are new to overlanding and want to get the feel for easy off-road driving on maintained dirt roads without much need for 4-WD driving skills.

Ghost Town Loop Bodie

Rating: Easy

Maps: Alltrails Bodie Ghost Town OHV Trail

Books: Tony Huegel’s “Sierra Nevada Byways” 4th printing 2016 by Wilderness Press.

Time/Distance: Roughly under 3 hours without stops. About 34 miles on my odometer with side trip up Masonic Mountain and down to Middle and Lower Town.

How to get there: From Bridgeport, CA and U.S. 395, head north on SR 182 for approximately 3.8 miles to the junction with Masonic Road (046) and turn right onto Masonic Road. You’ll head uphill on a wide well-maintained dirt road for about 5 miles until you reach the abandoned Chemung Mine. This is a good place to stop and check out the ruins and enjoy a panoramic view of the Eastern Sierra’s high desert.

Chemung mine Bridgeport, CA
Stopping at the abandoned Chemung mine.

From the old Chemung mine, continue east on 046 around Masonic Mountain. There’s a single lane dirt road to the right that will take you up and around mountain to the cell phone tower. There are some blind turns and a steep drop off to the left hand side as you’re heading up, so drive slow if its a weekend because you might have vehicles heading down as well.

on the Ghost Town Loop to Bodie, CA
On the Ghost Town Loop to Bodie, CA

After the right-hand spur to Masonic Mountain, you’ll continue on 046 down into the remains of the old gold rush town of Masonic and its different sections of Upper, Middle and Lower Town.

If you continue left at the fork for Road 169 just after Upper Town, you can continue down into the ruins of Middle and Lower Town. As you head down the slight hill, you can also see the remnants of some abandoned mines on the hillside.

Abandoned mines on the Ghost Town Loop

After you drive down into Middle and Lower Town, reverse direction back up the hill where Road 169 forks off from 046.

If you are coming down from Masonic Mountain and Chemung mine, and don’t take the spur into Middle and Lower Town, you’ll turn right onto 169 at the fork.

If you’re coming back up 046 from Middle and Lower Town, then its a left turn onto Road 169 where it will wind through about 14 miles of pastureland with grazing cattle until you reach the ridge above the ghost town of Bodie, California.

Follow the dirt road down into the parking lot for Bodie and spend some time learning about one of the best preserved ghost towns in the Eastern Sierras.

exterior Bodie Ghost Town
The ghost town of Bodie, California as the clouds loom overhead

Once you finish checking out Bodie (and there are restrooms there), you can either take the main improved road 270 (Bodie Road) west out of Bodie back to Highway 395 or reverse your route and head back up 169.