What is overlanding? What gear does it require?

7 min read
Eager to escape claustrophobic pandemic life and take advantage of newly remote jobs, increasing numbers of Americans are taking to remote places in rugged vehicles that are also homes.
Last holiday season, Tom Standish put nearly all of his belongings in long-term storage, leased out his Oregon house and, with his wife, toddler and newborn, traded in suburban life for one on the road.

The family's new digs for the next four years or so: a luxury overland adventure vehicle called an EarthCruiser FX that combines premium accommodations — albeit in 88 square feet — with hardcore off-roading capabilities. Starting price for the boxy behemoth: $439,000.

So far the Standishes have driven 10,000 miles, visiting large swaths of the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest before crossing the Canadian border, where they're exploring British Columbia. Their snapshots from the journey — the EarthCruiser perched on a rocky ledge at Vermilion Cliffs in Arizona, or blending in against the brilliant white expanse of the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah — look like something out of a Patagonia catalog. They plan to take the EarthCruiser down the Baja California Peninsula in December and then ship the 6-ton rig by boat to Belgium so they can use it to traverse Northern Europe next year.

The Standish family — Tom, Meghan, baby Tom and 2 1/2-year-old Ivy — in Sedona, Ariz., with their EarthCruiser FX. (Meghan Standish)


"At this point, we're in the vehicle full time. We're going all in," said the 36-year-old Standish, who retired after founding and selling a Los Angeles clothing manufacturing company; he is now a commercial real estate investor. The $6,000 transatlantic shipping fee is "a big barrier to entry," he acknowledged, but the family is earning income from their rental property and saving on hotel bills. "The kids are young and they're not in school yet, and we have this limited amount of time where we can do this and not be grounded."

Not quite #vanlife (which is more bohemian) or glamping (rooted in opulence; no car needed) or touring in an RV (cushier and confined to paved roads), overlanding is loosely defined as a self-reliant way to…
Andrea Chang
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