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Overlanding: the journey and the rewards

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This brand of off road travel is all about getting  into the wild.

photos by Terrance Siemon

by Brandon Mathis

“Overland is going to be travel based around a vehicle, whether it be a car, truck, van, bicycle, motorcycle,” said Gavin Malm, overland enthusiast and Albuquerque based professional photographer . “The idea is that you’re traveling, and your vehicle is your hub.”

Malm is part of a sophisticated and respectful niche in the off road genre, one that appreciates their surroundings, and reaps the rewards from them.

“Overlanding is all about the journey,” he said. “Four wheeling is all based around the obstacle. I like going outside. I like adventure.”

Malm said it’s a tremendous escape from the norm. Traveling though immense landscapes. Expansive deserts, lost worlds.

“Being able to break away form my normal life- I’m like everyone else,” he said. “I have a job. I have obligations. But when I go out and I’m in the middle of nowhere, it gets me away from it all. It gives me a break.”

And, as with other overlanders on those breaks, he likes to be ready for anything.

“You want to be prepared without over doing it,” he said. “We’ve got a truck that has high clearance, we’ve got good all terrain tires on it. We don’t have a huge rooftop tent and spare tires on the roof and loads of gear on the roof.”

What Malm does have up top is a burly roof rack by Frontrunner that carries essentials for overlanding, like spare fuel containers by Rotopax  that can be fastened securely in place. It’s also where he carries vehicle recovery plates, skids he can nudge underneath his tires in tricky situations for added traction, by Maxtrax.

“Were running four Maxtrax split equally across the center of the truck , a rotopak with four gallons of extra fuel running down the absolute middle of the truck” he said. To Malm, its all about weight and distribution.

“And we weighted everything that was heavy towards the middle,” he said. “Weight distribution is key.”

Malm’s Toyota 4Runner is customized with other hardware- and software- to enhance the ride, namely, his aftermarket adjustable shocks from Icon Vehicle Dynamics. 

“It allows you to dial your truck in based on your terrain.”

Traveling huge areas of rugged land from the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park, Monument Valley Arizona, to New Mexico back country over barren swaths of country across the Southwest, Malm and other overlanders, find what they’re looking for.

“You’re not there to dominate the landscape, your there to enjoy the landscape and experience it along the journey.”

 

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