Built on an F-550 pickup, the Turtle Expedition overland travel vehicle is just the right
Hundreds of trucks and sport/utilities came to the Amado Territory Ranch in southern Arizona, just 30 minutes from Tucson, for the second annual Overland Expo. The trucks and events covered 17 acres of ranch property, framed by the Santa Rita Mountains. Every make and model you can think of was there: Land Rovers, Toyotas, Hummers, Fords, Chevys, GMCs, Rams, Jeeps. Even an odd ex-military 6x6 M35-A3 and a Freightliner M-2 106 4x4 were on hand.
The owners of these trucks dream of adventure and overland travel. Some plan on staying relatively close to home, and others crave travel to distant lands. Despite the fact that virtually every vehicle, except for the motorcycles, had four-wheel drive, these people were not four-wheelers or rock crawlers, or even off-road racers. Quite a different crowd has emerged in North America in the last 10 years (it's been going on for decades in Europe): Some dream of driving around the world in a $500,000 Unicat built on a Mercedes Unimog platform or an Alu-Star Magirus Deutz (as seen in the July/August issue of Truck Trend). Others are perfectly happy to spend a year or two in Mexico or South America in a Land Rover Discovery or in a Toyota pickup with a rooftop tent and a slideout kitchen. Your shower might be a bag of solar-heated water hung from a tree. Since the perfect campground could be on a dirt track 50 miles from the nearest RV park, bathrooms are most often a shovel and a bush. If that sounds like roughing it, it is, but with the right equipment and knowledge, the trip can be very comfortable.
This Land Rover Defender has his and her entries for its rooftop tent.
It's precisely that knowledge and specialized equipment that the Overland Expo is all about. This year, there were 100 exhibitors showing off the latest in campers, tents, cooking gear, recovery equipment, and accessories useful to the backcountry explorer.
The tent trailers were a mere step up in comfort from a ground or rooftop tent. Towed behind a 4x4 or even a motorcycle, tent trailers often include full kitchen setups, sleeping for two to four, and even a Porta Potti. Water, propane, extra fuel, and a small generator allow you to take along some of the conveniences of home.