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Adventure 101: The Best Overland Wheels Under $2,000

Adventure 101: The Best Overland Wheels Under $2,000

Overlanding is all about exploring the outdoors and reaching your destination. In this journey, every single mile you drive past is worth the adventure. And what better way to start one by putting on a great set of overland wheels to put your morale on a high note?

Overlanding is often confused with extreme off-roading. While the two share similarities, the first is focused on journeying to less traveled destinations.

Overland enthusiasts often have these things as their primary reasons for loving what they are doing: adventure, survival, and discovery.

The challenges that you encounter in overlanding are usually not as extreme as in off-roading. But there’s still no escaping them.

After all, it’s part of the thrill!

Be ready for some rock crawling, river crossings, mud slushing, and desert sprinting!

Navigate your way through the article here:

Your Adventure Starts Where the Road Ends
What’s an Ideal Overland Vehicle?
Overland Essentials
Auxiliary Lighting and Power Source
Bumper, Side Armor, and Recovery Gear
Survival Gear
Navigation and Communication Equipment
Suspension Tuning and Upgrades
Off-Road Tires
Rig Rundown
Understanding What Overland Wheels are Made Of
Shopping for Overland Wheel
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Editor's Pick: Vision Off-Road 111 Nemesis

Capturing that Picture-Perfect Overland Moment

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Your Adventure Starts Where the Road Ends

In US alone, there are a lot of wide-open spaces with scenic views that you can explore. These overland destinations are spread all over the states.

You can choose to drive to mountain ranges, deserts, forests leading to a lake, and even shores. National and state parks are popular options.

These journeys are best spent with your family or friends.

Overlanding can foster the bond in your group through shared experiences. You work together in preparing for the trip, pulling the vehicles out of ruts, and setting up camp.

You're going to get close to nature while enjoying these things.

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What’s an Ideal Overland Vehicle?

Typically, an overland vehicle should function as your primary mode of transportation and living.

It also carries all the gears and supplies that you need for the entire journey. But the tough demands of overlanding disqualify RVs and cars that can only haul camper trailers at best.

When picking a suitable overland vehicle, your choice has to be first and foremost a rig capable of driving through varied rugged terrain.

The epitome of overland vehicles used to be the likes of the old Land Rover Defender and Toyota Landcruiser.

These days, you have a lot more options to choose from. The best overland vehicle candidates are usually SUVs, trucks, off-road vans, and sometimes even crossovers.

These vehicles often come with a lot more creature comforts and off-roading capabilities. If you know where to look, you can find affordable rides to start your build with.

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Overland Essentials

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As with any adventure, proper equipment can get you through unfamiliar territory en route your destination. This can ultimately determine if you and your vehicle can take on the wilderness with minimal effort.

Here are some of the things that you need to equip your overland vehicle with before you begin your journey:

Auxiliary Lighting and Power Source

Sunlight isn’t the most reliable thing once you are out in the wilderness. It’s only up from morning until afternoon. Having auxiliary lighting is handy once the sun sets in.

Use it to illuminate your path during nighttime. You can also use on your campsite so you can move around and do your chores before calling it a night.

The auxiliary power source will be useful for powering lights, radios, power tools, winches, and other equipment. It also works as an alternate generator when your engine is switched off.

BACK TO OVERLAND ESSENTIALS

Bumper, Side Armor, and Recovery Gear

It's likely that you'd bump into at least one roadblock during your adventure. It could be anything from muddy ruts, boulders, fallen trees, to animals suddenly crossing.

Steel bumpers and additional armors can protect the body of your vehicle from substantial damage caused by these things.

These parts are sturdy and can often take the beatings you encounter on your adventure. On the downside, they also add extra weight on your vehicle.

Don't forget your recovery gear!

The winch can be used to pull your vehicle out of deep mud, steep inclines, or other instances when your vehicle is stuck. On the other hand, spades can be used to dig out buried wheels or level the trail into a more drivable surface.

BACK TO OVERLAND ESSENTIALS
Survival Gear

The beauty of overlanding is you get to explore nature and wilderness. That being said, you should pack your vehicle with all the essential survival gear you can carry.

Start with tents and awnings. You need them for shelter during your stops. Your makeshift home on the camping grounds will help you rest comfortably and secured from the wilderness at night.

You should also pack kitchen gear, as well as food and water storage. Your adventure usually means traveling for days without immediate access to convenience stores and your favorite deli.

Preparing enough for a long duration ensures that you are fed and hydrated until you get back home.

The outdoors can be rough even for seasoned enthusiasts. Having a first aid kit handy will help you treat cuts and minor injuries as soon as possible.

But if you have something more serious, it’s always best to head to the nearest hospital for proper treatment.

BACK TO OVERLAND ESSENTIALS

Navigation and Communication Equipment

When exploring unchartered terrain, you should have navigation and communication equipment handy. Two-way radios allow you to talk to your companions easily, especially in areas where mobile phone signal is spotty.

BACK TO OVERLAND ESSENTIALS

Suspension Tuning and Upgrades

Rugged terrain can be unforgiving to springs and shocks tuned for road use. It can cause your vehicle to handle unfavorably during difficult situations, or worse, get you stuck when it breaks down.

Some adventure-oriented vehicles are already equipped with a solid suspension. You can drive them right off dealership without worry. They can handle the load from your gear and clear different terrains in your journey.

Regardless, you can still choose to get an aftermarket suspension to improve your vehicle’s capabilities further.

With a heavy-duty suspension, the load rating increases and your ride will be able to carry more equipment without any issues. This also works well when you decide to install steel bumpers and additional protective panels.

Your vehicle can also benefit from a suspension lift. Adding an extra two to three inches to your vehicle’s height can increase your ground clearance and allow you to mount larger tires.

This is useful when you are covering areas with deep ruts and deep river crossings. However, this does not make your vehicle indestructible.

It’s still best to drive with caution always.

BACK TO OVERLAND ESSENTIALS

Off-Road Tires

Overlanding will always have rugged terrain no matter where your destination is. This is what makes the entire journey fun and exciting. But this also requires your vehicle to have off-road tires fit for the job.

Some vehicles already come with all-terrain tires from the lot. This is the typical choice if you drive on the street more frequently than go overlanding.

The tire gives you ample traction on rugged terrains without losing much-needed grip for paved roads. It also tends to be relatively quiet and comfortable, things you would want in long trips.

You can also go for mud-terrain tires should you want something tougher and more aggressive for your build. It is best recommended for vehicles used in overlanding at least 75% of their time.

While mud tires work well on the trail, they don't perform as good as highway and all-terrain tires on the road.

You might also need to deflate the tires when driving on loose terrain. Doing so can improve your traction by increasing the contact surface.

BACK TO OVERLAND ESSENTIALS

Rig Rundown

Once you have everything set-up, make sure to go around your rig for your inspection checklist. This Toyota Tacoma is a good example of how yours might end up looking like too:

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Understanding What Overland Wheels are Made Of

Your vehicle is almost ready for your journey. Before heading out into the wilderness, consider getting a set of aftermarket overland wheels for your vehicle.

There are many to choose from but it is important to understand how these are made first.

Steel wheels are the most common kind used for anything off-roading and overlanding. Their designs are spartan, making them affordable and easy to produce.

Its solid construction is desirable on terrains where you encounter rocks, mud, and other loose material. Dents can be repaired and straightened out relatively easier.

However, the weight that help you maintain control on the trail can tire you down on paved roads. You will feel like driving a tank and might suffer from poor fuel mileage. Steel can also retain heat longer which can wear down the brakes faster.

Forged alloy wheels are built to be sturdy like steel wheels without the excess weight. This is achieved by applying extreme heat and pressure on the alloy. The process makes forged alloy wheels a more expensive option.

These lightweight wheels are easy to steer, comfortable on the road, and good for your fuel mileage. However, some enthusiasts still prefer heavier wheels to have a better “feel” when driving on rugged terrain.

Here's Australian off-roader Ronny Dahl talking about the difference between these materials:


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Shopping for Overland Wheels

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You’re almost ready for your adventure. But before heading out into the wilderness, it would be nice to complete the look with a nice set of wheels.

Different brands offer different construction and designs. They can add to the aggressive vibe you are already built up with all the other upgrades.

Here are 12 overland wheels worth considering in the market today:

Vision Off-Road 412 Rocker

Forged Alloy | Starts at $1,038 per set of 4

The Vision Off-Road 412 Rocker looks rather stylish with its mesh design. But more than its Euro appeal, this wheel can hold itself together on the outdoors.

We recommend you get the Gunmetal or Satin Black finish for that rock star look. 

Popular with: Toyota Tundra, Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F150, Jeep Wrangler

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Vision Off-Road 416 Se7En

Forged Alloy | Starts at $940 per set of 4

The Vision Off-Road 416 Se7En's name stands out on the list the way its design can stand out on your adventure.

Its modern looks is fit for overland buffs that knows how to have a good time outdoors. 

Popular with: Toyota Tundra, Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F150, Jeep Wrangler, Nissan Armada

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Vision Off-Road 354 Manx

Forged Alloy | Starts at $712 per set of 4

The Vision Off-Road 354 Manx comes off as rugged and sporty, perfect for modern overland vehicles.

The clean split spokes are evenly spread then complemented with an aggressive lip.

Popular with: Jeep Wrangler, Ram 1500, Toyota Tacoma, Toyota 4-Runner, Ford F150, Ford Expedition

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Fuel Off-Road Vector D579

Forged Alloy | Starts at $1,084 per set of 4

The Fuel Off-Road Vector D579 takes on the looks of classic steel rims with diamond-shaped holes. Despite this, the wheels won't look out of place on modern overland vehicles.

The Matte Black finish makes them look more serious and tough.

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Fuel Off-Road Anza

Forged Alloy | Starts at $828 per set of 4

The Fuel Off-Road Anza looks rather fitting to modern overland vehicles. Its five-star design looks rather stubby with spaces that bisect each spoke right in the middle.

To complete the overland look, the wheel has a thick lip with evenly distributed studs on it.

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Relation Race Wheels RR5

Forged Alloy | Starts at $960 per set of 4

The Relation Race Wheels RR5 use modern design cues in its construction.

Its stubby multi-spoke design looks refreshingly modern on both classic and contemporary overland vehicles.

It comes in subdued colors that adds an aggressive vibe.

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Vision Off-Road 111 Nemesis

Forged Alloy | Starts at $896 per set of 4

The Vision Off-Road 111 Nemesis is the kind of wheel that goes well with a modern overland build.

Its stubby multi-spoke design comes with an aggressive lip that resembles a bead lock. 

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Fifteen52 Analog HD

Forged Alloy | Starts at $908 per set of 4

At first glance, the Fifteen52 Analog can easily be mistaken as the barebones steel rims that came with the war-time Jeeps. But closer inspection will reveal otherwise.

It's definitely for classic overland fans - WW2 look with modern alloy construction. 

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Pro Comp 51 Series

Steel | Starts at $272 per set of 4

The Pro Comp 51 Series continues the tradition of what solid steel rims are all about. Its utilitarian design goes well with almost any overland vehicle.

Throw in an aggressive-looking all terrain or mud terrain tires, and you're good to go.

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Pro Comp 97 Series

Steel | Starts at $268 per set of 4

The Pro Comp 97 Series is another no-nonsense steel rim built for the rugged outdoors. The evenly-spaced circular pockets is the best pattern to complement the clean face.

It looks tough, just like how your overland build should be.

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American Off-Road Wheels A106

Forged Alloy | Starts at $1,050 per set of 4

The American Off-Road Wheels A106 might come off as rather stylish for adventures because of its handsome spokes and outer lip.

While it looks like a flashy street wheel, this wheel can endure the rugged terrain and has been used by enthusiasts on their adventures.  

 

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Vors Wheels VE37

Forged Alloy | Starts at $792 per set of 4

The VE37 is inspired by a popular Japanese track wheel from the '90s. It's not surprising that the design also works well with modern overland rigs.

Sporty and straightforward sums up the vibe it gives off. 

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Editor's Pick: Vision Off-Road 111 Nemesis

The Vision Off-Road 111 Nemesis is the kind of wheel that embodies a great overland adventure.

The aggressive multi-spoke design gives your vehicle a fresh look, forging sporty and rugged together. Its studded lip resembles the bead lock for that extra tough dog vibe.

Its size ranges from 17 to 20 inches, and comes in a wide selection of bolt patterns. This makes fitment easy for mid to full-size SUVs and pick-up trucks.

Out of all the wheel selection here, we think the 111 Nemesis will give you the best bang for the buck. Give it a try and see how it fits your build!

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Capturing that Picture-Perfect Overland Moment

Nothing amounts to the kind of adventure you will have on an overland trip.

But it doesn’t make the fun behind building and tuning your vehicle any less important.

Let's have a recap of the things you need:

  • Auxiliary Lighting and Power Source
  • Bumper, Side Armor, and Recovery Gear
  • Survival Gear
  • Navigation and Communication Equipment
  • Suspension Tuning and Upgrades
  • Off-Road Tires
  • Overland Wheels

These aspects all work together in creating a one of kind journey that peaks in a picture-perfect overland moment.

Don’t let fancy and expensive upgrades scare you away from the hobby.

The community is filled with enthusiasts from all walks of life craving the sheer thrill from this driving experience.

Purposeful planning on your build can be more than beneficial in the long run. Having this mindset will save you money, limit mistakes, and improve overall performance and satisfaction.

So, take time in choosing the wheels that you would want to go on your overland vehicle. Rank the attributes according the what is essential to your build, and filter your choices from there. 

So, what are you waiting for?

Hop on to your next adventure!

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Next article The Ultimate Guide to the Best Off-Road Wheels