With the appearance of the 2021 Ford Bronco overland build at Super Celebration East last week, we got a look at just how equipped the Bronco is for the Wild. We have been reaching out to our friends in the overlanding community to get their thoughts on this build to share with you! We discussed the Overland Bronco with Michael and Corrie, founders of Overland Bound, to ask them some questions and get their impressions of this special Bronco build.
1. As seasoned Overlanders, what does it mean to have this much interest being shown in a vehicle that is so squarely targeted at your community?
It warms the heart. Years ago, when Overland Bound was founded, adventure as a necessary part of living wasn’t embraced like it is now. Not only are folks getting back to nature with family and friends, but now more than ever they have the equipment and resources to do so safely.
2. The Bronco Overland Concept’s purpose seems to be to show the potential of the platform for vehicle dependent adventure travel. In what features and options will additional effort be required from Ford for that potential to be fully realized?
The key thing is they hit the basics in terms of core stats. You can’t hide lacking fundamentals from the community, and Bronco delivered. They hit approach angle, departure angle, break over angle, tire size, and torque. Overlanding ranges from the asphalt of a State Park to the Boulders of the Rubicon. Outfitting for your style of overlanding is essential. We need to see the extensive aftermarket community, and what type of capabilities we can add. I’d like to see sliders that will take the full weight of the vehicle on one side. I want to see options to go beyond the 150 lbs. dynamic load limit on the rack. You can’t overland without a snorkel (hahaha), is there an option available? Building an overland vehicle from the ground up is key. Sliders are first on my list, then winch bumper options, and skid plates. I also want to know which (if any) options and aftermarket parts would void my factory warranty? The list is quite long, but those are the basics.
3. What features and accessories of the Bronco Overland Concept are the most important for wilderness adventure travel?
It might surprise you that I’m not going to say the winch, limb risers, or a roof rack. I’m also not going to talk about the lights (sliders before light bars). You need storage. I could take a factory standard Bronco and overland all day long. I have to stay within the vehicle capabilities, but there are very few places I’d turn away from in the Bronco. Once you get too aggressive, it becomes a sport, not an overland trip (nothing wrong with that). With overlanding, you want to exercise mechanical sympathy, and you want your vehicle to get you there and back again. The factory standard bronco will do that in most places I want to go. With that said, my favorite feature is the storage and the consideration for flat spaces. A fold down table in the tailgate, slider for the fridge, and a shelf to tie down gear. That is extremely important, and for a long-term trip, one of the most important things. I could conceivably have an over-nighter without pulling anything out of my rig. The configuration looks like a 5-10-minute setup. If you are setting up and taking down 20 days a month, you have to keep setup time down.
4. It seems that an overlanding vehicle benefits from a delicate balance of power, off-road capability, size and storage capacity, and fuel efficiency. Given what we know about the Bronco Overland Concept, how would you grade it in those categories?
Yes, everything is a balance. That’s why we advocate for folks to first decide what types of adventure/overland travel they will do, then build a rig for a couple notches above that. There are so many options with the Bronco, you can configure for your style of travel. They’ve done a really good job. I currently drive a solid axle vehicle with lockers front, rear, center, which gets 11MPG. It’s a very capable vehicle, but you can clearly see the Broncos got me beat on Mileage and Comfort with the Eco-Boost and IFS. Some may argue that my solid axle is tougher and more capable, but if we are talking about overall reliability, is my 1996 really more reliable than a 2021 Bronco? One area that comes up a lot among overland travelers is storage. Is the Bronco a weekender, or truly capable of long-term travel? I’d like to put some miles behind the wheel. Simple answer, I’d grade an A across the board, and I don’t hand out As’ lightly. Let’s face it, this is the most interesting new contender in the overland market for years.
5. You are on record for personally preferring ground tents to RTTs (Roof Top Tents). What is your reaction to the factory roof rail system and its potential for roof top storage?
Yes, we prefer a ground tent for our use, which is Sierra travel in Northern California and most of the Southwestern States and Baja. Sleeping arrangements are very personal, and some much prefer RTTs. I’ve also done some light overlanding in Australia. If I were traveling through the Northern parts there, or in Africa, I would NOT prefer a ground tent since everything on the ground would like to cause your end. For our use, tents are faster and more convenient, plain and simple. That being said, roof top storage is essential, especially for long trips. With sleeping arrangements there is no right or wrong. The capability of a roof top tent provides more options for overlanders. In our book, that is only a good thing. The potential for roof storage even with removable panels shows that the Bronco team seriously considered the needs of adventure travelers.
6. Are there any pleasant surprises that Ford thought to include on this build that a lot of others might have overlooked?
Floor drains, trail sights (also limb-riser attachments), trail driving modes, and the Sasquatch package. The Sasquatch package is the kind of thing you see on the concept showroom, that never comes to market. The Bronco team actually delivered on that as a factory option. I have to add, they also struck a good balance of overall capabilities. you can build a beast Fordyce rock crawler, but from an overland perspective that’s only 5% of your travel. They did a good job with balance, and the vehicle will likely be able to go beyond most people’s requirements.
7. Any additional thoughts on the build?
What we have seen so far will accommodate 95% of the overland market. For the other 5% who need more winch, more armor, more storage, more X, we will have to see what the after-market vendors can provide safely. I think we have a very good vehicle on our hands.
What are your thoughts on this build? What questions do you have for Michael and Corrie? Let us know in the forum!