I think Overlanding is really cool, even though the phenomenon has by now gone completely and totally over my pay grade. And although I can appreciate all the cool exploration-themed builds that pack insane conveniences and jaw-dropping amenities into incredibly efficient packages, I fear I’d never make a good overlander. While “Extreme Overlanding” appeals to me in principle, in practice I’m more “Extreme Mulletlanding”. Yeah, it’s a thing … a thing I just made up. So what would “Extreme Mulletlanding” look like? I think it would look a lot like how I’ve been camping for the last 20 years as a hardcore off-roader.
Food: Some guys spend hours on gourmet camp meals. I eat well at home, so when I’m wheeling, I just need something in my stomach to keep me from getting crabby. If I can’t find military MREs that aren’t older than Desert Storm, I buy freeze-dried meals-in-a-bag. A small propane burner, a pan to boil water in, and some freeze-dried coffee and I’m set for up to a week.
Shelter: I lay my sleeping bag straight on the deck of my trailer or hood of my fullsize rig, roll up my jacket for a pillow, and snooze ’til morning. The only time that bit me in the arse was when a storm blew in and I got soaked pretty good before waking up. I crawled into the cab of my ’89 F-250 tow rig and fired up the heater periodically until the sun came up. If the forecast is bad, I’ll bring along the least expensive disposable tent I can find just to keep the snow or rain off me.
Amenities: I’ve had the same cheap-ass folding chair for 15 years. I paid a whopping $5 for it at Walmart. The netted cupholder built into the arm rest disintegrated, and I’ve half-melted the nylon by getting too close to the campfire on cold nights, but it still works so it still gets chucked into the Jeep.
Totes: Rubbermaid, baby. I have one green 10-gallon Roughneck tote that fits two propane bottles, my camp fork/spoon/knife, lighter, propane burner, freeze-dried meals, ziplock bags, trash bags, and toilet wipes. Oh, and my fancy-schmancy Ozark Mountain stainless coffee mug no doubt made by some shoeless Chinese kid in a province I can’t pronounce.
Shovel and Axe: I have a Gerber folding shovel for digging a latrine and a Home Depot axe for gathering firewood where permissible.
Cooler: I do have what I consider a fancy cooler—a soft-sided JP Cooler. I love it to death, but it’s really more of a day cooler. My plastic Coleman is more than 20 years old, but the hinges finally snapped. I’ll put some metal gate hinges or something on it for the next 20. My one real splurge is a top-quality ARB fridge that is stone-cold awesome (pun intended). It goes with me if I’m camping for more than four days.
Luxuries: At one point I owned a Ram Megacab with a nice Snug Top shell. When a windstorm hit in Glamis, I could retreat out of the sand to cook (properly ventilated, of course) or just hang out. I could lay down the rear seat so my kids could sleep in quiet solitude, and I didn’t have to worry about bears if I was in an area they frequent. It was also big enough for me to bring along a sleeping cot, although it quickly proved too much of a hassle to drag along and fold out. A 4x4 van with a soft bed is the smart alternative, but nobody ever accused me of that.
Anyway, that’s Mulletlanding by my definition. Although, I suppose a true Mulletlander would pooh-pooh me for not shooting and killing my own food or for bringing a fancy propane fire like some sissified city slicker. But that’s more what I consider “Hillbillylanding,” and that’s a whole other level of camping.