I rarely get a chance to visit this forum, but today I happened to be reading a few threads about expedition vehicles here and thought I would start a solid thread.
Much of what I have read here on JF about expedition vehicles has been really out in left field. Some people like to call their Jeeps “Expedition Vehicles” just because they have a GPS in them or because they have a safari rack. This as we know is not what it’s all about. I have also seen a lot of Jeeps labeled as expedition vehicles and they have 3-4in BL’s, 35’s or more with stock gears, towing a makeshift box, etc.
So, since there is not a bunch of accurate information, lets get some rolling for the readers and newbies who trust JF for some solid no flaming information.
Here is my 2 cents….
Knowledge from Expeditionportal.com and pirate4x4.com
Something you may want to consider here are highway manners and highway fuel efficiency. A lot of people on the internet seem to So you want to build a big fancy expedition rig, while the people I see “actually out in the real world exploring” are, more often than not, in pretty basic vehicles with minor optimizations for their style of travel.
While everyone's definition of expedition differs, our road systems (and what's legal to drive in the US) are fairly consistent. Skinny tires, 33-34" diameter and with a less aggressive tread pattern will typically get you farther, more safely, more comfortably, and on less fuel than a full blown competition rock crawling tire. Leave the TSL’s for hardcore mud or fancy mall crawler. Lighter weight axles will provide more comfort and longer fuel range - remember that expedition is not a speed sport or a show-off sport, you don't need 600 ft-lbs of torque or axles that will tolerate it, because under 99.9999% of conditions you're going to be trying to avoid wheelspin or heavy throttle in the first place.
I could go on but simply put, more real people in the real world have done more "expedition" in 2wd stock pickup trucks than all the web wheelers put together, so if you think you need a V8 and 1 tons and 37's to explore the countryside, you're doing it wrong & grampa with his pickup truck just clowned you.
This is only to illustrate how exploring and overland travel differ from other things people do with 4-wheel-drive vehicles like "muddin" and "rompin" and "rock crawlin" and such. It would be an act of nonsense to trailer an expedition rig, for example (which I have seen 17 rigs on this forum labeled as “expedition vehicles” and were pictured being towed to places such as UT, CA, NM, SD, etc )... Highway manners and general efficiency are more important than beefy axles, big mall crawler tires, V8 power, etc.
“Expedition Rigs” – Long trips (not just a quick camping trip. Rig will need to be able to stand up to many miles of travel, many terrains, and the possibility of being out of touch from civilization for many days…etc Expedition Rigs more often than not have 5 day supply of food, water, fuel, etc…also survival gear, camping gear, and all tools to make on the spot repairs.)
“I Look forward to reading other peoples input…hope this information guides those interested in the right direction (expeditionportal.com is a great source).