Overlanding walks the border between a hobby and a lifestyle for the people who love it. One of the key components is having a good vehicle to take overlanding, since it needs to stand up to long distances, rough terrain, and isolation.
Are Full-Size Trucks Good for Overlanding?
Full-size trucks are good for overlanding because of their storage space, comfort, and towing ability. However, full-size trucks may not fit on some of the trails and have poor gas mileage. The trail, the span of the trip, and available fuel are all factors in whether a full-size truck will work.
There are many pros and cons to consider when deciding whether or not to use a full-size truck while overlanding. Keep reading below for more help making that decision!
Can You Overland With a Full-Size Truck?
You can overland successfully with a full-size truck, and many overlanders are big fans of using American full-size trucks on overlanding expeditions!
These large trucks have plenty of space for supplies needed on extended expeditions, you can easily carry a camper on the back, and they can handle heavy loads. Full-size trucks are made to take a beating. Honestly, even their low gas mileage isn’t too far out of the normal range for overlanding vehicles.
However, not all trails are suited for a truck. Not all trucks are easy to repair, either. You need to consider all the pros and cons before committing to a full-size truck for your next overlanding expedition.
What Makes a Full-Size Truck Good for Overlanding?
You might be shocked to find out that gas mileage can be a perk of using a full-size truck, not a downside.
While the gas mileage is nothing special compared to a Toyota Camry on the freeway, that 20mpg Chevy Truck looks pretty good compared to a fully-loaded Land Rover that’s only getting 14mpg at best. Make sure to get a newer truck if this is a serious concern for you, and you’ll be happily surprised.
The next great benefit of using a full-size truck for overlanding is the carrying capacity. When your truck is made for carrying a heavy load, you won’t worry about actually carrying a heavy load! While this seems obvious, many overlanders in smaller vehicles will spend a lot of money and effort trying to reduce their weight or build up their rig enough to carry what they need.
When you can just put a camper in the bed of your truck and fill it up with whatever you need, you don’t need to stress about modifications.
Another upside to using a full-size truck is the stability it offers. Trucks aren’t as likely to flip as a lot of other vehicles used for overlanding, since their size and length balance out their height, and full-size truck drivers will take on hills and trails that would scare Jeep drivers.
Make sure to drive responsibly, since a central part of overlanding is the isolation, and you’ll probably be far from help, but knowing you’re a little safer is comforting.
Last on this list, but far from least, is the durability that is assumed when you buy a full-size truck. Since these vehicles are built with the intention of putting them through rough use, they can handle more than many smaller vehicles, and they’re built to last.
The engine, tires, and body can handle a beating, and you can even coat the whole thing with bedliner if you’re really determined not to get a scratch.
What Are the Downsides of Using a Full-Size Truck for Overlanding?
One downside often reported is gas mileage, but that seems to be the case for older full-size trucks, not newer trucks that were designed with better fuel economy in mind. You should still be aware of what you’re buying while you’re shopping for a new vehicle, and be sure you’re buying a truck that has your goal gas mileage in mind.
A more realistic downside is the difficulty of getting repairs in some areas of the world. Full-size trucks are very North American. If you love overlanding through South or Central America, you might find yourself struggling to find someone who is able to do repairs on your rig, and that’s only if they’re able to get the part at all.
Another concern is the size of some trails. If you have a wide, solid truck, you can run into problems on small trails that wouldn’t bother a smaller vehicle. Realistically, though, trucks can fit in spaces that many Jeeps can.
Size is a bigger concern when parking. Carparks, cities, and small villages can be tight when you’re trying to park a truck.
Which Vehicle is Best for Overlanding?
It would be irresponsible and unrealistic to try to list a single best vehicle for overlanding, especially when the needs of the driver are so diverse, but there are a few favorite options.
Things you need to take into account when deciding on your best vehicle for overlanding include:
- Space for storing what you need
- Reliability and ease of repair
- Freeway driveability, as well as overlanding
- Comfort for all passengers
- Gas mileage/Gas tank capacity
- For beginners, something less than 15 years old
Overall, full-size trucks are one of the most popular options and hit most of the points on that list. Vehicles like the 2021 Ford Ranger, 2022 Toyota Tundra, and the beloved Toyota 4runner are all great options.
Is an F150 Good for Overlanding?
An F150 is a great choice for overlanding! The size, reliability, driveability, and durability make it a great car for experienced overlanders and beginners alike, and the highway driveability makes it a functional option for people who can only afford one vehicle.
If you want to learn more about using an F150 for overlanding, give it a quick online search! Many overlanders run blogs about their experience and vehicles, and there are several for F150s.
Do You Need a 4×4 to Go Overlanding?
4×4 is not necessary for overlanding, but you should always have safety and recovery gear available. Not using 4×4 will also limit the trails you can drive on since you should avoid mud and some other rough terrain. There are still plenty of adventures available that don’t require 4×4.