If you’re looking to drop off the grid—somewhere you can fully disconnect from your phone, social media, and the daily grind—you’re going to need a rugged overland vehicle. If you’re venturing into a U.S. National Park or some semi-remote dispersed campsite, a Toyota 4Runner or the new Ford Bronco is probably all you need. But what if you want to get far, far off-grid? That’s when you need an extreme overlanding rig.
Forget 4×4. We’re talking 6×6 or even 8×8, massive tires, commercial-grade winches, and fuel tank capacities in the hundreds of gallons. But it’s not just about getting out there; it’s about getting out there in style. The best go-anywhere rides help you get to your favorite off-grid remote destination while letting you enjoy the journey in luxurious comfort (think: lounge areas, flat-screen TVs, top-of-the-line kitchen appliances, and designer interiors). These are the most over-the-top vehicles for extreme overlanding in 2023.
Price: $22 million (approx.)
Dropping off the grid doesn’t always happen under the best of circumstances. If it’s more of a bug-out vehicle you’re looking for, KiraVan Expedition System may be just the trick. This 51,000-pound, expedition-ready monster was designed by mad scientist Bran Ferren to go anywhere he needed it. The two-piece configuration is pulled by a highly modified Mercedes-Benz Unimog U500NA tractor with an M-B six-cylinder powertrain capable of 260 horsepower and 700 foot-pounds of torque.
The 170-gallon diesel capacity also promises an average range of almost 2,000 miles — enough to take you halfway across the U.S. The interior feels every bit the mobile command center that it is: lightweight, high-tech composite materials give it all a spaceship-chic vibe. It’ll keep a crew of three fed and going for up to three weeks with solar power, wireless satellite broadband, full climate control, security and fire protection systems, and (most importantly) a coffee maker. If everything really goes south, there’s even a stowaway three-cylinder KiraBike motorbike that averages 100 miles per gallon.
If $22 million is a little steep for your budget, Global X Vehicles offers more wallet-friendly overlanders. The Missouri-based company crafts extreme off-road trucks where every model is custom-designed with a specific purpose in mind. Whether you need a safari-friendly ride, a polar-ready expedition vehicle to drive to the South Pole, or a compact truck that expands, Transformer-like to twice its size so you and your family can spread out in the wilds of Alaska, they have you covered.
We love the Patagonia model, in particular, with its distinct blend of 4×4 capability and RV-like interior with most of the comforts of home. It’s built on a medium-duty truck chassis with heavy-duty aluminum bumpers all around and 18,000-pound winches at the front and rear. Inside, it’s surprisingly cozy, with distinct sleeping, eating, dining, and washing areas. It starts at a cool $700,000 but the best part? Financing is available! So, there’s that.
EarthCruiser’s flagship EXP Overlander was designed and honed in Australia, so you know it’s field-tested. The extreme overlander drove 16,000 miles across the Asian continent to cement its reputation. It looks like a pared-down military vehicle on the outside. But, make no mistake, this beast is based on a Mitsubishi Fuso FG4x4 outfitted with a 3.0-liter diesel pushing 161 horsepower and 295 foot-pounds of torque. Given its relatively small footprint, that’s more than enough juice to take you almost anywhere you need to be.
Inside, the EXP is equipped with all the essentials, including a kitchenette, water purification system, solar setup, and high-quality marine-grade plastics all-around. Plus, the roof expands at the push of a button to provide additional headroom and flood the interior with light. Rugged, but comfy.
Price: $1 million (approx.)
The off-the-rack Mercedes-Benz Zetros 2733 is one of the most robust vehicles on the planet, and that’s before you start getting into serious customizations. The 6×6 overlander is arguably the pinnacle of German off-road engineering. This highly custom unit was constructed by two uber-rich Mongolian wolf hunters (seriously) looking for a truck that could not only take them literally anywhere they needed to go but do so with all the trappings of home in tow. Under the hood is a 7.2-liter diesel with 326 horsepower and 960 foot-pounds of torque.
But, the real treats are on the inside: a bathroom with heated marble flooring, a gourmet kitchen (with a grill, twin gas burners, and a microwave), beautiful wood paneling throughout, twin 46-inch flat-screen TVs, Bose surround sound system, and, of course, a gun safe. An integrated ATV garage also means you can take your other favorite gas-powered toys along for the ride.
Price: Over $1 million (approx.)
Unicat’s legendary overlanders rival anything Mercedes-Benz puts out. When a 6×6 configuration isn’t disco enough for you, there’s the Unicat Terracross. This custom-built, 8×8 beast is designed to tackle the world’s harshest environments. Indeed, many are used as mobile command centers in the Middle East. The powertrain mates a 12-speed Tip-Matic gearbox with a 480-horsepower engine.
A centrally controlled tire inflation system means you can seamlessly move from sand to cement to fording remote rivers without ever leaving the comfort of the cab. For those with more leisurely intentions, the interior offers all the comforts of a luxury RV, enough to accommodate a large family. Among the very long list of features, there’s a fully equipped kitchen and bathrooms, touchscreen workstations, multimedia ports, and power-operated slideouts, so there’s plenty of room for everyone to spread out.
Every Hunter RMV Predator EXP starts its life as an LMTV — a purpose-built Light Medium Tactical Vehicle designed to transport military cargo and soldiers to remote corners of the globe. It’s an ideal base on which to build any proper overlander. But Hunter ups the ante by customizing every Predator with consumer-friendly creature comforts to create one of the world’s most versatile expedition rides.
The 7.2-liter Caterpillar turbodiesel boasts full-time four-wheel-drive and an 800-mile range, meaning you can be a quarter of the way across the country before having to refuel. Inside, the truck sleeps three comfortably and provides everyone with full bathroom and kitchen setups. Standard bells and whistles include dual outside speakers, cable TV hookups, Bluetooth audio, skylights, a power awning with LED lighting, and full climate control. Buyers can even upgrade to leather seating and a washer/dryer combo. Relative to the other million-dollar custom builds on this list, the $335,000 starting price seems downright affordable. Almost.
If you’re looking for something a bit more compact and, dare we say, “sporty,” Alu-Cab Africa’s Land Rover Defender Icarus has everything you need and nothing you don’t. The custom build starts with a traditional 4WD Land Rover Defender — already one of the world’s most capable off-road vehicles. Alu-Cab then adds a rooftop conversion to provide a simple, streamlined sleeping solution for two. With the addition of camp kitchen and bathroom kits, this is a full-featured yet ultra-portable solution. The fact that it’s also street-legal means you can even take it to the theater without drawing too much attention.
Price: 180,556 Euro (approx $200,000+)
When practicality isn’t an issue, when the need to look badass outweighs the need for creature comforts, and when you need to go literally anywhere, look no further than the Avtoros Shaman. Forget about frilly RV luxuries like kitchenettes, marble bathrooms, and flat-screen TVs. This Russian-built 8×8 amphibious demon is built with one thing in mind: the ability to drive up, over, or through anything. The eight-wheel construction means it’s perfectly capable of tackling sand, snow, mud, quicksand, the surface of Mars, and probably even lava.
This extreme capability is entirely due to the fact that all eight low-pressure tires operate independently with their own independent suspension. In case things get really dicey (read very wet), high-performance pumps can bail out 53 gallons of water per minute, and an optional screw propeller will drive the Shaman at a top water speed of 4.3 miles per hour. The fact that it looks like a sick riot-control vehicle from the original Blade Runner doesn’t hurt, either.
Price: Not for sale
Like the iconic Land Rover Defender, Toyota’s Hilux is revered as one of the world’s most capable pickup trucks. This custom Toyota Hilux Expedition “Ulfur” is one of the most compact and extreme overlanders we’ve ever seen. Owner and landscape photographer Stefan Forster relies on this beast to trek all over Europe, including the most remote parts of Iceland. The 3.0L diesel puts out 225 horsepower with full-time four-wheel drive and a snorkel kit for when things get very wet. The interior is tight but outfitted with all the essentials. A cleverly designed convertible bed/dinette combo maximizes space, and there’s still enough room for a kitchenette.
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