“How to Pick the Right Ride?”
You can ask any overlanders out there which is the perfect overland vehicle and most likely will point his out. You wonder why? Because since we are talking about traveling in a vehicle, everything will start and finish with which is the right one for your type of travel. This is something absolutely personal. In our case, we used two different ones.The first one was a small 2 door SUV Honda HRV and in present we use a Toyota Land Cruiser 120. Besides the fact that they were the vehicles we had back for our home use, both of our vehicles were excellent for the type of travel we did in that time as both provided us with three main things: safety, comfort and reliability. People’s choice is based on their need and everybody has different ones. Before you decide on what to buy, do an extensive research on what is available. Check online forums with that specific model as a topic(usually you will find out the weaknesses of each model) . Keep in mind that models might look the same from country to country but they are not. Also, as all overlanders are proud of their vehicles, ask them. They will be more than happy to give you information. Make sure though you ask specific questions if you want to get the right answers. Remember, almost any type of motorized or even non motorized vehicle has been used to do same or similar overland trips like yours. Through our overland experience, we have witnessed all sorts of vehicles and we were amazed by seeing what travellers have picked to travel around. The more time you invest on your vehicle the better you know it’s weakness and strong points and therefore the more practical and ergonomic it gets for the long term travels you need it for. If you wanna play safe invest on some proven model that is tested through the years but keep in mind that a tested vehicles do not necessarily mean that it will never break down. If you want my personal experience, there is no such thing as a 100% reliable vehicle; sooner or later you will have some kind of breakdown. Unfortunately for us overlanders, you cannot find the same car with exactly the same standards in all five continents. We wish we could. With our first vehicle, we had a clutch failure in China. Although the local Honda dealer were able to change it, the part had to be flown in from Greece as the specific model did not even exist in China. With our second car and while in Argentina, we wanted to do a regular service in an official Toyota dealer but the same model like ours that was available in the country had a completely different size of diesel filter than ours. We were lucky to find it one further up in Ecuador. What I am trying to say here is that, no matter how carefully you choose your vehicle, your chances to fully succeed in picking the right model for the area you will be overlanding are few and that is absolute normal. So focus more on having someone back home that can ship you the needed parts rather than trying to figure out what the local dealer of your desired brand is using. From our experience, almost everywhere, no matter how isolated the area is, you will manage to find some kind of mechanic who will give you a temporary fix so you can reach the next big city. A friend of ours that we were traveling together in Brazil had a serious transmission failure and while in a small city, a temporary fix with a simple hammer from a roadside mechanic was enough to able him to drive his car all the way back to Buenos Aires in Argentina, where his mechanic from home had shipped the right part. We, also, had a roadside mechanic fabricating a metal part to hold our front light in Morocco and although we did two more trips, we sold the vehicle with that temporary fix still in use.
Summarising all the above and taken out of the book “Traveling a romantic practical guide”of the good friend and fellow overlander Nikos Dimitriou from the Pin Project: “-In an attempt to great a general rule of thumb, when it comes to picking a vehicle you should consider:
– any used vehicle that has been around and has been used in previous overlanding exhibitions
– any vehicle with a proven sales record and the smallest breakdown history
– any vehicle that has fairly available parts worldwide — – any vehicle that fits your expectations in safety, comfort and reliability
P.S. The Inspiration as well as some of the information for the above came from the book “Traveling a romantic practical guide”of the good friend and fellow overlander Niko from the Pin Project .