A highway will get you to where you need to go in a quick, efficient manner — But we know that’s not why you travel. We know you travel to places without off-ramps and fluorescently lit rest stops. Information centers with brochures directing you to the nearest tourist traps and fast food menus that make you cringe.
Traveling well and having unforgettable experiences around the world require planning, effort, and investment you won't find in vacation packages. When you’re the kind of person to pick your own route, cut your own trail, and gets a thrill from the risks and the rewards, taking the world in an overland vehicle is the only way to go.
Here are five essential routes to stoke your lust for travel and get your creative juices flowing.
One of the more developed trails on our list, but that doesn’t mean it is by any means an easy road to travel. With a starting point in Livengood, Alaska, this 414-mile dirt and gravel road was initially established to service the Trans Alaskan pipeline and gained notoriety in the TV show Ice Road Truckers. From Coldfoot to Deadhorse is the true definition of remote wilderness - no gas stations, no plumbing, no facilities or restaurants, no cell service or radio receptions.
It is lonely out there. At the end of the road? Prudhoe Bay, followed by the Beaufort Sea, then the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole. The very definition of “the end of the road.”
The challenge - assuming your traveling partner can keep the isolation of the road at bay, the cold temperatures might prove to be your biggest challenge. A cold weather package with a Webasto Thermo-90 Hydronic Heater with variable BTU heats not only air and water but also pre-heats engine to ensure cold-weather starts.
Serving 18 countries, 110 degrees latitude, and over 19,000 miles the Pan-American Highway is the long, beastly road that has challenged travelers for decades. Starting at the most extreme north in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and traveling southwards, across Canada, the United States, through Mexico, Central America, into Chile and ending in the far south of the Patagonia region, this highway tests the endurance of desert highways, the patience of border crossings, and the ever-shifting Spanish dialects.
The challenge: seasonal versatility. No matter what end you start on, passing through the equator will bring opposite seasons on the other side. Roads may turn from loose gravel into thick mud, and then likely into ice before vanishing completely! We suggest going out on a Cummings or Unimog chassis, like what we build our Pangea vehicles on, to keep any surprises on the road from slowing you down.
Alaska to Yucatan Peninsula via the Copper Canyon
The eastern shores of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula are famous for the beach towns and resort life of Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen - which is fine for a common vacationer, but never enough for the overland traveler. Instead, try driving from Alaska to the Yucatan Peninsula by way of Mexico’s Copper Canyon.
The 5700-mile route is one of the shortest multi-country trips on our list, but the trial comes in traversing the large, limestone deserts of Mexico - most of which are completely devoid of surface water. The only thing that is all-inclusive here is the amount of self-reliance and ruggedness required to traverse the trails of Copper Canyon and the Sierra Madre ranges.
You will need water, power, and a place to rest. The available options for the Adventure Truck series have got all that covered - which you will love after a long day of hiking ranges while diving into cenotes.
The Silk Road is arguably the birthplace of overlanding adventures. One of the worlds most historic trails is also one of it’s most inhospitable. Like many overland routes, this trail isn’t officially defined and threads together several route tributaries to span from the Mediterranian Sea to the Pacific Ocean.
This isn’t just traveling; it’s a journey. Spanning an average of 4,300 miles across the deserts and mountains of the Middle East, The Himalayas, and China’s Gobi Desert, the Silk Road winds through remote villages with historic temples, rough dirt roads, and unpredictable weather.
As with any overland adventure, the roads will be wildly unpredictable. You’ll want a cross between a lightweight rig with a drivetrain that can deliver power and traction. The Cummings chassis is ideal this type of overland travel and our models provide plenty of cabin customizations that will keep you safe, comfortable and on the road longer.
Trans Eurasia Roadway
According to Google Maps, there isn’t a driving route from London to Beijing - and we like it that way. When it comes to the burliest routes with the biggest payoffs, there isn’t much that compares to a Trans Eurasian route that spans across 5000 miles (as the crow flies!) of remote countryside. This is the ultimate course when it comes to choosing your own adventure.
Starting in Europe, pick any of the high-mountain roads to take in the vistas of the Alps. Once you cross the Urals and swap to a new atlas, any route you pick is sure to take you somewhere you’ve never imagined. South through Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia? Explore the remote Russian countryside? What’s the best way to get there? You’ll have to let us know when you find out for yourself.
With so many variables at play, you’ll want your Survival Basics covered. Designed to adapt to a variety of chassis and models, you will have an entirely self-contained system designed to get you there and back again no matter where your route takes you.