Overlanding can be cheap and budget friendly, especially if you can avoid comparing your rig and adventures to others’. The best overland vehicle is often the one you already have – the one you can head out on an adventure with today!

But if you’re looking for an affordable or even cheap overland vehicle to get your adventures started, you’ve found the right place.

We’ve compiled the below list of 15 of the best budget overland vehicles on the market to help get you on the trail as inexpensively as possible – like we did! Many of these used overland vehicles can be found for well under $10,000.

And if you want to dive a little deeper into the specifics of new vs. used overland vehicles and some things to keep in mind as you’re looking for your future overlanding rig, check out our Definitive Guide to Overland Vehicles.

The Best Budget Overland Vehicles

The Toyota Pickup (1984-1994)

Obviously we’re a little partial to the classic Toyota Pickups, but for good reason! They are one of the most widely distributed, reliable, and capable vehicles made in semi-recent history and Toyota used the same 22r 4-cylinder powered drivetrain for nearly 10 years making parts extremely easy to find.

And with a little digging, you can typically pick one up very inexpensively – though collectible low-mileage variants can go for significantly more.




Cost: Averages $3,000 – $10,000+


  • Stock parts are widely available, even internationally

  • The 22r/22re engine, when combined with a 5-speed manual transmission, is an extremely reliable combination for a budget overland build

  • Decent fuel economy

  • Part-time 4-Wheel drive with Manual Locking Hubs provides plenty of off-road capability, while maximizing fuel economy

  • The ‘84 & ‘85 model years had solid front axles, which are generally thought to be stronger and more reliable than independent front suspension systems while off-road driving.

  • Wide selection of aftermarket support and overland vehicle equipment available


  • These babies are SLOW! Especially once they’ve been laden with overlanding gear & equipment, a camper, and larger-than-stock tires

  • Collectability is on the rise with most older Toyota 4WD vehicles, and as a result it’s become harder and harder to find a good deal – but plenty of deals can still be found with a little leg work

Our Budget Overland Build: We picked up our 1984 Toyota Pickup back in 2014 for only $4200 [Pictured Above]

The Jeep Cherokee XJ (1983-2001)

The Jeep Cherokee XJ is one of the best budget overland vehicles around. With a nearly 20 year production run and nearly 3 million produced, they’re easy to pick up cheaply and have TONS of aftermarket support, parts, and overlanding equipment still available.




Cost: Averages between $1,000 – $8,000


  • Cheap and easy to find

  • Parts are easily available

  • 1987+ offered the extremely reliably 4.0 liter straight-6 engine (this is the one you’ll want for hauling all your overland gear around)

  • Coilover suspension and solid axles

  • Ample interior storage for gear and recovery equipment

  • Sufficient towing ability for a small overland trailer (with the 4.0 liter engine)


  • Weak hollow tie-rod design and finicky transfer case linkage

  • Door hinges tend to sag if not properly maintained

  • Less-than-desirable international parts availability

Our Favorite Budget Overland Build: Adam Schalow of @overland_history’s 1994 Jeep Cherokee XJ Build [Pictured Above]

The Toyota 4Runner (1984-2009)

Toyota 4Runners are world-renowned for their reliability, and are the quintessential budget overland vehicle. This is helped by the fact that they’re relatively fuel efficient, and very capable off-road.

Though as with most 4WD Toyotas, they typically hold their value for a LONG time and the 1st generation 1984-1988 models and 2nd gen 1989-1994 models with the venerable 22re drivetrain are becoming increasingly collectible. Despite this, you can still find a great deal on a used but well maintained 4runner that’ll make for a fairly cheap overland vehicle build with still better reliability than most.




Cost: Averages $4,000 – $10,000+


  • Reliability, reliability, reliability!

  • Solid international parts availability

  • Huge amount of aftermarket support

  • Decent fuel economy and ease of maintenance


  • Earlier models generally felt a bit underpowered, with the exception of the 4th Gen Model (2003-2009) with the optional V8

  • Due to their popularity and longevity, low-mileage 4runners are more challenging to come by, and finding a deal, though not at all impossible, will take a good amount of leg work

Our Favorite Budget Overland Build: Marten Barnett of @barnett_built’s 1st Gen 4Runner [Pictured Above]

The Subaru Outback (1994-Present)

If you’re looking for a cheap and capable budget overland vehicle that can also handle the daily commute, it’s hard to find a better option than the Subaru Outback.

It’s higher than average ground clearance and symmetrical all wheel drive, when paired with a set of lightweight all-terrain tires like the Falken A/T Trail, can handle the great majority of two-track forest service roads and milder off-road conditions you’ll encounter while overlanding. Plus the Outback’s ample interior space provides plenty of room for gear.




Cost: Averages $3,000 – $8,000+


  • Over 7” of ground clearance stock!

  • Fuel efficient

  • Built-in roof rack

  • Interior space


  • International parts availability is limited

  • No true low-range 4WD

  • Older models lack the new X-Mode which drastically improves off-road performance and includes hill-descent assistance

  • Limited approach & departure angles

Our Favorite Budget Overland Build: Dennis Freebairn of @subaru_adventuru’s Subaru Outback [Pictured Above]

The 1st Gen Toyota Tundra (1999-2006)

If we ever build another budget overland vehicle the first generation Toyota Tundra is the one we’d pick.

The early Tundra offered a V8 in the same form factor as a modern Tacoma, and even the access cab models managed to include a full rear bench seat. Plus reliability is nearly unparalleled, with multiple reports of Tundras exceeding ONE MILLION MILES!




Cost: Averages $4,000-10,000+


  • V8

  • Interior space

  • Loads of aftermarket support

  • The Toyota Racing Development (or “TRD”) package offered an electronic locking rear differential for improved traction in loose terrain

  • Might last you a million freaking miles!


  • Fuel economy is lack luster

  • Known to go through lower ball joints (so carry spares)

  • Manual trans was only offered with V6 engine

Our Favorite Budget Overland Build: Jason Paterson of mobileandmonitoring’s 2005 Toyota Tundra [Pictured Above]

80 Series Toyota Land Cruiser (1990-1997)

The 80s series Land Cruisers are an incredible platform for a budget overlanding vehicle build. Optioned with factory front, rear, and center locking diffs, solid axles, and 4-wheel disc brakes, the FZJ80 offers exceptionally capable off-road performance with loads of interior space for gear.

While they’re increasing in collectability, and as a result in price, you can still find reasonably cheap models with higher mileage.




Cost: Averages $3,000 – $10,000+


  • Optional factory electric locking differentials front & rear

  • 1993+ models had full-float solid rear axles

  • Reliability

  • Plenty of aftermarket support

  • International parts availability is very good


  • Heavy

  • Poor fuel economy

Our Favorite Budget Overland Build: The Eighty Journal’s 1994 80 Series Land Cruiser [Pictured Above]

The Mitsubishi Montero / Pajero 4WD (1991-2006)

An often-overlooked budget overland vehicle, the Mitsubishi Montero (known as the Pajero and Shogun in other markets) is a venerable off-road driving machine.

In fact, Mitsubishi used it to crush the Dakar Rally in the 90s and early 2000s with 12 total first place wins and 150 stage wins, and the Pajero even competed in the renowned Camel Trophy competitions alongside the more well known Land Rovers!

While Monteros are somewhat hard to find nowadays, you can still pick one up for cheap with some digging!




Cost: Averages $3,000 – $8,000


  • Off-road racing pedigree

  • 3rd Gen Models offered part-time 4wd, fully independent suspension, and a beefier unibody construction

  • International parts availability is decent


  • Moderate reliability (stay on top of service intervals, watch for oil leaks)

  • Parts availability can be challenging

  • Hard to find with low mileage

Our Favorite Budget Overland Build: Gondirtin’s 1999 Mitsubishi Montero [Pictured Above]

The Toyota Sequoia 4WD (2001-2007)

The Sequoia is one of Toyota’s most underrated SUVs and as a result makes a great budget overlanding vehicle.

It’s based on the same platform as the Tundra, and even shares it’s bulletproof V8 powered drivetrain. The 2005-2007 models featured a 5-speed automatic transmission and Torsen center differential for better traction and off-road performance




Cost: Averages $4,500-10,000+


  • Same reliable V8 as the Tundra

  • Massive interior space (Even in the 3rd row seating)

  • Loads of aftermarket support

  • Might last you a million freaking miles!


  • Fuel economy is lack luster

  • There was no TRD package offered on the first gen Sequoia, so if you want a locking differential you’d need to install an aftermarket one.

  • No manual transmission option

Our Favorite Budget Overland Build: Jim Smola’s 2003 Toyota Sequoia [Pictured Above]

The Ford Excursion 7.3L Diesel (2000-2003)

The Ford Excursion is an unconventional choice for a budget overland build. It’s MASSIVE, borrowing much of it’s design from Ford’s F-250 Super Duty – these rigs are built like tanks.

But when paired with the reliable 7.3L Powerstroke V8 Diesel engine, the Excursion achieves surprisingly decent fuel economy. Plus the 9200lb gross vehicle weight rating and massive amount of interior space, means you can fit a TON (almost literally) of gear into these cheap overlanding vehicles.


Example of a Ford Excusion 7.3L Diesel budget overland vehicle build by Chris Cordes


Cost: Averages $8,000 – $10,000+


  • Massive interior with tons of room for sleeping and overland gear

  • Reliable diesel engine

  • Solid axles

  • Good fuel economy (17-21 MPG!)

  • Solid towing capacity


  • It’s large size makes it unsuitable for tight trails

  • Takes a good bit of leg work to find a deal, and used prices seem to vary widely.

  • Gasoline powered Excursions lacked the fuel efficiency and reliability of the 7.3L Diesel

  • International parts availability is nearly non-existent, as it was almost exclusively sold in North America

Our Favorite Budget Overland Build: Chris Cordes of 4x4_touring’s 7.3L Diesel Powered Excursion [Pictured Above]

The Ford Ranger XLT (1998-2011)

While it’s not the most ideal budget overland vehicle, the Ford Ranger XLT might be the cheapest overland vehicle out there and offers an incredible bang-for-your-buck. Plus the Ranger XLT saw wide distribution throughout North and South America making parts easy to find while traveling.

If you can find a Ranger with the FX4 Off-road Package – with it’s 4.0 liter V6, Torsen limited slip rear differential, and factory equipped skid plates – you’ll have a very capable rig to start your overland adventures with.




Cost: Average $1,000-$8,000


  • Cheap & easy to find

  • Solid axles

  • Part-time 4WD

  • Supercab models offer increased interior space and even (limited-size) rear seating

  • Plenty of aftermarket support

  • Though harder to find, the FX4 off-road package equipped Rangers offered a 4.0 Liter V6, Torsen limited slip rear diff, and factory skid plate protection


  • Pre-2005 models had some purported timing chain issues and the 5R55 automatic transmissions were a bit quirky

  • 4×4 Rangers had mediocre fuel economy, especially with the 4.0 Liter V6

Our Favorite Budget Overland Build: Travis Schanafelt of @maoriexpeditions‘ 2001 Ford Ranger XLT (2WD) [Pictured Above]. In 2007 he took it on an epic 22,000 mile overland trip around North America.

The Toyota Tacoma (1995-2004)

The Tacoma followed Toyota’s renowned Hilux & Pickup line in 1995, and has become one of the most popular overland vehicles on the market. They’re known for their reliability and solid off-road performance.

Despite the fact that they retain their value for a LONG time and are becoming somewhat collectible, the 1st generation Tacomas that were produced before 2004 can still be found for reasonably cheap and make for awesome budget overlanding vehicles.




Cost: Averages $5,000 – $10,000+


  • Generally high degree of reliability

  • Huge amount of aftermarket parts and equipment

  • 1998 and later V6 models offered the TRD off-road package with electronic locking rear differential improving off-road driving capability

  • 4-door crew cab models were available starting in 2001


  • Limited payload capacity

  • Like it’s predecessor, the 1st generation Tacoma is pretty underpowered – especially if equipped with the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine

  • Fuel Economy in the 4×4 is less-than-stellar

  • Massive factory recall on the frames due to improper rust-proofing (so check that it was taken care of if the one you’re considering was affected)

  • The 4×4 Crew Cab Tacoma was only optioned with an automatic transmission

Our Favorite Budget Overland Build: Jason Turner of @kodastacoma’s First Gen Tacoma with GFC Camper [Pictured Above]

The Land Rover LR3 (2005-2008)

Land Rovers hold a special place in overlanding history, and this budget overland vehicle list wouldn’t be complete without one – thankfully the Land Rover LR3 (also known as the Land Rover Discovery Series 3 outside of North America) makes an incredible overlanding vehicle at an affordable price!

The LR3’s powerful 4.4L V8 and 6-speed transmission, as well as the optional auto-locking rear differential makes the LR3 an extremely capable off-road adventure rig, and though it has it’s loveable quirks (as all Land Rovers do), it’s a pretty reliable rig for overland travel.




Cost: Averages $7,000 – $10,000+


  • 4.4L V8 with 6-speed trans offers plenty of power and suffers less of the customary engine oil weeps that has historically been a part of Land Rover ownership.

  • International parts availability

  • Center locking differential

  • If you’re lucky, you can find one with the optional electric auto-locking rear-differential, which greatly improves traction off-road while overlanding

  • Hill descent control, 4-wheel electronic traction control, and terrain response all aid in making off-road driving easier


  • Fuel economy is marginal, a sacrifice of the V8’s power

  • The LR3’s Air Suspension System is a weak point, and prone to issues – but much of this can be remedied with a coil conversion

  • While there are other known mechanical issues, most can be easily dealt with or circumvented through routine maintenance

Our Favorite Budget Overland Build: Cody Foster of @xpeditionamerica’s Land Rover LR3 [Pictured Above]

The Isuzu Trooper (1981-2002)

The Isuzu Trooper is probably the most vanilla budget overland vehicle on this list.

In fact, the Trooper’s most stand-out feature is its copious interior space, despite it’s small form-factor. But this is nothing to take lightly – the trooper can store everything you need including a plethora of camping and recovery gear, an entire mountain bike without removing the front wheel, and even a full-size mattress to sleep on!




Cost: Averages $1,000 – $6,000+


  • Cheap

  • Spacious interior

  • Part-time 4WD

  • Good ground clearance

  • 2nd Gen Troopers (‘91-’02) had an optional limited slip rear differential for improved traction off-road, as well as a wider wheel base and better aftermarket support

  • The 2nd Gen 3.5 liter V6 with manual transmission was purported to be a pretty reliable drivetrain overall


  • Due to the Trooper’s brick-like body design, fuel economy is not great

  • While inexpensive to obtain, most will need a fair bit of mechanical life-blood pumped back into them in the form of repairs and routine maintenance items

Our Favorite Budget Overland Build: @331dustin’s 1990 Isuzu Trooper [Pictured Above]

The Lexus GX470 (2003-2008)

With Toyota’s reliability and the luxury that’s standard to a Lexus, the Lexus GX470 just might be the poshest budget overland vehicle out there.

Equipped with a 4.7 liter V8 engine, Toyota’s A-trac electronic traction control, downhill assist, full-time 4-wheel drive with selectable low-range, and center locking differential, it’s not only pretty, it’s also a very capable off-road vehicle.

And though most affordable options will be found at the upper end of our $10,000 budget overland vehicle threshold, you can find deals out there for less with some leg work.




Cost: Averages $7,000 – $10,000+


  • That 4.7liter V8

  • A-trac, downhill assist, & center locking diff

  • Full-time 4WD with selectable low


  • Not fuel efficient

  • Rear air suspension, and brake rotors were a weak point

  • Paint recall due to premature degradation – but who cares, you’re going to pinstripe it on the trail anyways, right?

  • 2004 onward switched to sealed transmission

Our Favorite Budget Overland Build: Mike of @goingfarther’s lives, travels, and works full-time out of his Lexus GX470! [Pictured Above]

The 4WD Nissan Xterra (2005-2015)

Last, but not least, the Nissan Xterra is an incredibly underrated adventure vehicle and the 2nd Gen (2005-2015) might make for one of the best budget overland vehicles out there – especially if you can find one with the Pro4X package offered on 2011-2015 models.

The Pro4x package included factory off-road lighting, optional 6-speed manual transmission or automatic with electronic hill descent control, electronic selectable locking rear differential, tire pressure monitoring, and skid plate protection, so you’d be ready to hit the trail the moment you turn the key!


Nissan Xterra budget overland vehicle build example


Cost: Averages $6,000 – $10,000+


  • Part-time 4WD

  • Body-on-frame chassis

  • 6-Speed manual trans option

  • Selectable locking rear differential for better off-road traction (on Pro4x models)

  • Hill descent control & hill start assist (on Auto Trans models)

  • Built-in front roof rack

  • Stadium seating for passengers due to the split-level roof design

  • Plenty of interior space

  • It was made in the U.S.A – though Nissan’s heritage originates in Japan, the Xterra was the first of Nissan’s vehicles completely conceived, developed, and manufactured in the United States


  • The 4WD with 4.0 Liter V6 delivered mediocre fuel economy

  • Aftermarket support is pretty weak

  • Distributor replacement, and fixing a faulty fuel level sensor are fairly common quirks

Our Favorite Budget Overland Build: @thebeastxoffroad’s Nissan Xterra Pro4x [Pictured Above]

There you have it – 15 of the best budget overland vehicles for getting your overlanding adventures started on the cheap.

Remember that you don’t need a kitted out overland rig for overland travel! There are literally thousands of people finding adventure and traveling the world with everything from bicycles to Rolls Royce. So just grab whatever you can afford, and start your adventure!

And if you’d be interested in more helpful overlanding, truck camping, and family travel guides and info be sure to SUBSCRIBE for future blog updates.

As always, thanks for reading!

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