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Columbia Charts New Course With Overland Apparel

Car campers and overlanders can appreciate apparel built to keep them dry, comfortable, and protected from the time they start their engines 'til snuffing out the campfire's last ember.

(Photo/Luke House)
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Columbia Sportswear brings its experience and tech to a new assortment of overlanding apparel and footwear made to perform on the journey and at the destination. The Columbia Landroamer collection is named for its intended use of exploring nature behind the wheel and on foot.

Knowing what to wear for overlanding depends on the climate, terrain, and duration of your trip.

In general, overlanding involves traveling long distances in a vehicle, often across remote areas and over rugged terrain. It can require drivers to frequently survey their path from outside their vehicle.

That’s why it’s important to prioritize comfort, versatility, and protection.

Designers took inspiration and intel from a variety of overlanding enthusiasts. Those included the experts at Veteran Overland, a nonprofit helping veterans enjoy a more recreational type of deployment, as well as personal friends driven to build up their trucks and seek out remote locations as a way to avoid crowds. These overlanders all value reliability in their overlanding products, both in terms of performance and durability, and the designers took note.

Even if you’re not getting in and out of your vehicle on the way to your destination, Columbia Landroamer layers are made for a range of temperatures and conditions, and you can wear them from sunup to sundown in cooler environments.

Explore Columbia’s Landroamer Apparel
Our Motors editor opens the Columbia Landroamer Down Parka to reveal the gold dots of its Omni-Heat Infinity lining, which reflects body heat back toward the body; (photo/Luke House)

What to Wear Overlanding?

The Basics

There’s a lot of gear to keep on your person for long trips into the wild behind the wheel. This includes little things like bug spray and lip balm as well as things you likely already own like sunglasses. Other items are more camping-related, like a headlamp, but those come in handy around the rig too.

We stand behind always keeping gloves and knee pads in your vehicle. Another staple is a wide-brim hat. It provides shade and keeps your neck from heating up, to say nothing of its protection from UV rays.

However, we’re focused on apparel to wear throughout the day during a trip. You can save the swimsuit for fun diversions or lazing on a day off.

Versatile Layers: Inside & Out

Each trip will be different — that’s kind of the point. Check the weather forecast to get an informed guess of what conditions you’ll face. And then pack for a little bit more.

In hot climates, we recommend shirts and pants that provide coverage from the sun while wicking sweat away from the body. Save the shorts and T-shirt vibe for downtime.

In cool to cold conditions, you’ll want a car-friendly midlayer that’s comfortable to wear inside and out. Things become more traditional once you’re outside the truck, so look for an insulation layer and a hardshell jacket that protects against wind and weather.

Lastly, you want reliable footwear that allows for deft transitions from brake to gas and back (or even a clutch!), and can provide support, traction, and weather protection on rough terrain. Columbia makes three Landroamer shoes that fit specific needs on your journey. These include details like rounded heels for driving comfort and grippy arches for added traction when climbing a mounted ladder and hiking around your site.

Columbia designers noted the need for greater range of motion in the Landroamer pants and shirts; (photo/Luke House)

What Columbia Brings to the Driver’s Seat

Talking with Columbia designers, it’s clear the brand isn’t trying to re-invent basic concepts like layering for overlanding. Instead, it’s working with the assumption that these clothes will be worn inside and around a vehicle, including hikes to explore your surroundings and relaxing in your favorite camp chair.

That changes the need for the apparel, for it to flex and move freely in the driver’s seat and still hold up to scraping against rock and wicking moisture away from the body. Columbia’s collection for overland travel is for long journeys getting to a spot, and holding its own on trails and around camp.

Columbia enters the fold with 85 years of experience making outdoor gear and a bevy of patented technologies to get more out of its apparel and footwear.

Overlanders pride themselves on getting way out in the wild and having reliable gear to get there. They often emphasize durability, but there’s room for comfort too. After all, crawling over landscapes means plenty of hours behind the wheel.

Columbia Landroamer Shacket
The Columbia Landroamer Down Parka (left) and Columbia Landroamer Quilted Shirt (right) in the wild; (photo/Luke House)

Columbia’s Landroamer Products for Vehicle-Based Adventure

These three layers exemplify the different levels of performance and comfort Columbia designers have in mind for vehicle-based exploration. This inaugural collection is just the start, with future additions planned for a variety of overlanding scenarios. For now, the clothes are only available in men’s sizes.

Landroamer Quilted Shirt Jacket

This is a Goldilocks layer for when it’s too warm for a jacket and too chilly for a shirt. It’s all cotton on the outside, with polyester microtemp insulation inside.

It snaps up for a quick open-or-close temperature adjustment when you’re stepping out of the car. And while you’re outside, the hand pockets can keep your hands warm or hold your gloves.

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Landroamer Down Parka

Consider this a showcase of Columbia’s performance technology. This parka is packed with 650-fill power of responsibly sourced down insulation and uses the brand’s best thermal-reflective lining, Omni-Heat Infinity, which reflects your body heat back for added warmth. The Omni-Tech waterproof-breathable shell fabric is seam-sealed to keep you dry.

Warm and dry go a long way toward keeping you comfortable when the weather is spitting wind and water. As your barrier to the elements, the parka’s hem extends over your seat while upright and should cover your back while crouched.

The more functional aspects of the parka include the removable, adjustable hood, drop-in hand and chest pockets, as well as handwarming pockets. It also has adjustable cuffs and reflective details to make it easier to keep eyes on you.

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Landroamer Utility Pants

The utility pants are designed for all-day comfort and protection from the elements. To help achieve that, Columbia designers gave the pants articulated knees for greater freedom of movement as well as knee-protection panels. Knee pads are worth including in any overlanding kit, either for days spent working under your rig or on a project. Even without knee pads inserted, the extra panel of fabric gives the pants another touch of durability.

Then there’s the tech. Columbia included Omni-Shield to give the pants water- and stain-repellent properties — because leaning over a dirty truck and being splashed by puddles are common off-road occurrences. The brand also incorporated Omni-Shade, its UPF 50 sun protection that blocks UVA and UVB rays that can lead to sunburn and long-term skin damage.

For fit and function, the pants have a drawcord waist, leg hem cinches, a zippered security pocket, a multifunction utility belt loop, a D-ring, and a reinforced pocket for your knife clip.

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Moving Forward

As noted above, this is just the beginning of Columbia’s Landroamer products. It’s not a strictly defined collection of apparel because it aims to please the overlapping communities of overlanders, car campers, van lifers, and weekend adventurers.

In Columbia’s collection, you’ll find more Landroamer apparel that may better suit your needs on vehicle-based adventures than what’s currently in your closet.

Alongside the apparel, Columbia designed its Landroamer footwear with details friendly toward driving and roaming trails. The three styles include a waterproof hiking boot, a pull-on Chelsea boot for on trail and in town, and a slip-on for around camp. We’ve covered those separately.

Explore Columbia’s Landroamer Apparel
GearJunkie Motors Editor Bryon Dorr wearing Columbia Landroamer products behind the wheel; (photo/Luke House)

This article is sponsored by Columbia. Check out all the Columbia Landroamer apparel and footwear products online.

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