I’ve never much enjoyed car camping in well known and established campsites.  Mostly I refer to State Parks, KOAs, and any campsite that gets booked solid during the summer months.  Such campsites tend to be clustered together with people making noise even during the ‘quiet hours’, and they just lack even the smallest amount of solitude.

I like solitude and the peace and quiet that comes with it.  That’s why I’ve always enjoyed wilderness canoe tripping, especially solo trips.  But times are a changing!  Interests change!  People get older!  I’m getting older!  You’re getting older!

Back in October the wife and I were down in Texas visiting a very close buddy I have known since 1984.  He introduced me to a thing called ‘Overlanding‘.  I had heard of overlanding before and just considered it a fancy name for car camping.  Boy was I wrong.

After my trip to Texas I found a few YouTube channels that focused on overlanding.  Some of the video publishers would just do weekend trips, others actually lived in their rigs and would travel all over North America.  I found it fascinating and rather adventurous.

Before I knew it I was hooked.

Overlanding – It’s All About The Journey

Always in the past when I would go on a trip someplace I would typically plan on getting to my destination as quickly as possible.  The destination was always the most important thing.  However, as I learned more about overlanding I discovered something I never realized before; the journey is just as important as the destination.

In fact sometimes the destination isn’t important at all, it’s just the journey that matters.

Overlanding: Is self-reliant overland travel through and to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal.

My Current Vehicle For Overlanding

I don’t have a fancy rig for overlanding.  My current vehicle is a leased 2018 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk.  The Trailhawk trim is what Jeep considers the most off-road capable factory trim package.

My Jeep Renegade parked off to the side of the Echo Trail in Northern Minnesota
My Jeep Renegade parked off to the side of the Echo Trail in Northern Minnesota

Here is what the Renegade Trailhawk trim level provides: 17-inch wheels with special tires, advanced all-wheel drive system with a terrain traction management system and slow speed descent, a lifted off-road suspension offering a slightly higher ground clearance, a full range of tow hooks (two front, one back), skid plates, and other minor off-road hardware.  The transmission in the Renegade Trailhawk also has a special low-range crawl mode.  The rest of its standard and optional equipment is equivalent to what you would find in the Jeep Laredo trim package.

Getting ready to head into the BWCA on a solo wilderness canoe trip
Getting ready to head into the BWCA on a solo wilderness canoe trip

While it is a capable little off-road beast in its own right, the Renegade Trailhawk cannot compete with its bigger Jeep brothers and other manufacturers mid-sized pickups.  I certainly know my vehicle’s limitations, and have no desire to take risks in it.  If I owned it instead of having leased it, I would certainly add a small 1.5 to 2 inch lift and wheel spacers with a little bit wider tires.  I still may upgrade the tires to A/T BFGs KO2s in the near future.

My little Jeep has seen its fair share of forest roads, two tracks, fire lanes, trails that require the use of a 4 wheel drive vehicle, and because I live in Wisconsin it has proven itself well in the snowy winter months like a champ.  I really have no complaints for what I have put it through so far.  Again, I know its limitations.

Now with all that said… I am already looking to the future when my lease is up and eyeballing a new Ford Ranger FX4… Vroom!

UPDATE:  I went with a new Jeep Gladiator, Sport S model, pictured below:

A dirty Jeep Gladiator is a happy Jeep Gladiator
A dirty Jeep Gladiator is a happy Jeep Gladiator

TD Bauer And Overlanding

This website is going to be all about my overlanding adventures – big or small, I plan to share it all here.

Some adventures will be local day trips.  Others will be weekend trips.  Then others will be extended weekend excursions.  Beyond those shorter length adventures there will be a few week long 5-7 days journeys into the unknown.  I wish I could do longer trips, but darn-it-all, I have a day job.  I have to admit it would be nice to be able to just take off for a couple years and overland explore North America.  Maybe someday.

Back-road driving, camping at various locations, some hiking, camp cooking, area history… soul searching.  Most trips will likely be solo, but some will include a rider or other vehicles in convoy.

Click here for information on the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail.

Click here for information the Seven Mile Plane Crash Trail.