The Land Rover Defender has always been known as the “go-anywhere vehicle.” Originally built to carry military gear and as a vehicle that needed to be able to manage challenging terrain all around the world, the Defender became the ultimate 4×4 vehicle of its time. With its history as both a military and utility vehicle, the original Defender’s ability to do just about anything is still going strong today. While the need to work a sheep farm or tote military gear isn’t as prevalent in today’s America, the go-anywhere vehicle still serves a range of overland capabilities for today’s 4X4 Defender enthusiasts.
One of the biggest adventures Land Rover owners has designed their custom Defender for often involves the great outdoors. Camping, hiking, driving through forests and shallow lakes or streams are fun adventures that the Defender seeks out. Over the past few years, brands like ECD have custom-built quite a few overland Defenders, with special capabilities built for such outdoor adventures.
The company’s Project Invictus, a Nara Bronze Defender 110, was its first build to feature a Cascadia Vehicle Tents (CVT) Mt. Shasta Summit roof-top tent with Awning, the ideal camping gear. The build’s Front Runner roof-rack also holds the two-person tent, two five-gallon water reservoirs, a 42-inch off-road jack, and a pair of traction mats, all perfect for the ultimate outdoor camping experience. Inside, Invictus also has a radio and a few other “old school” touches, in case things get hairy out in the wilderness where modern technology can’t reach.
Project Peacemaker and Project Rowdy are two custom Defenders with boxes built to hold the owner’s specialty items. Rowdy, a British Racing Green build that made headlines in 2020, has a custom Thewlis Gregson box built into the rear to hold picnic items, wine, wine glasses and also has a special box built for the owner’s shotgun. Rowdy is a build that plans to live up to its namesake on the weekends as it also features a custom ski rack on the back for winter excursions and a pull-down shelf for gutting and preparing fish. Peacemaker has not only a hidden lockbox but custom-built mesh rear window boxes meant to hold canteens, outdoor gear, and several axes, you know, just in case.
Today’s modern touches allow the go-anywhere original Defender to maintain and conquer the outdoors with a range of custom overland capabilities. Other standard options to up the overland capabilities of the Defender include performance lifts for getting through rugged terrains, sand tracks, and a winch to help get out of sticky situations, a front brush guard, roof rack for storage and some fully capable off-roading tires that can handle anything. With hindsight, several of these features would have been notable additions to the Defender of the 80s and 90s.
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