Godzilla goes overlanding

It’s a big, wide world out there, with lots to see and do, but not all of it can be reached via paved highways. The urge to explore has motivated humans for centuries and, even in our highly developed world, there are remote places left undisturbed. But how can you get there for some R&R, and then back to the rat race, inside of your little sliver of time off? The answer lies with “overlanding.

”Though the term isn’t new, in its current use, overlanding describes the growing trend of off-road exploration with motor vehicles where roads, trails, camping grounds, and any other developed facilities are not anticipated. Enthusiasts of this pursuit will tell you it’s all about self-reliance. When you head out into the boonies for an overland excursion, the expectation is that there will be no amenities to rely on where you’re headed. No place to plug in, no drinking water, no place to stock up on supplies—all necessities and provisions must come along for the ride

Our overlanding truck project began with an idea and one of Ford’s Godzilla 7.3-liter V-8 crate engines, but soon snared a subject: A 1997 Ford F-250 four-door 4×4 pickup. KTL Restorations in Danville, Virginia, is handling the build. Photo by Magnified Productions.

An overlanding vehicle needs to be able to traverse highways both legally and in relative comfort, yet it must also be ready to divert to untamed country at a moment’s notice. The suspension and powertrain must be capable of getting through rough terrain, and the vehicle must also provide suitable shelter, with accommodations for sleeping, preparing meals, and whatever else might be needed for extended stays off the grid. Part of what separates overlanding from other forms of camping is that there is no camper—no trailer or RV—just the vehicle you drove in. While many off-roaders set up a camp, overlanders typically use their rigs as the campsite—tents are often mounted to the vehicle, as is much of the needed gear. Setting up and breaking down a camp isn’t conducive to covering a lot of ground—overlanders tend to keep moving during their treks, rather than staying in one spot for several days. Overall, an overlanding vehicle is a versatile, nimble rig that is ready to roll on short notice.

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