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Vik Pathania, better known as Raven Overlanding & Adventures, has been hooked on off-roading ever since he was a child. Now onto his third 4WD vehicle, a black Jeep Wrangler JK, he's exploring New Zealand's stunning scenery and tapping into a growing community of Kiwi off-road enthusiasts. We caught up with Vik for a short Q&A on how he got into 4WDing and how the scene in New Zealand is changing.
My name is Vikrant (friends call me Vik), I'm originally from India and Auckland is my second home.
Since I was a kid my dad has taken me through the back roads and river crossings and all. So I kind of had a thing for it from the start and always loved taking side roads. Then I moved to New Zealand and wanted to explore so many of the beautiful places we have around here. So yeah, now I love doing this.
I started with Pajero a few years ago which was pretty solid and then switched to Range Rover for daily driving and beach trips around Red Rocks and around Wellington. Finally, I wanted something capable of performing on more serious off-road adventures and something that is not used much in New Zealand for 4WD, so I got a Jeep Wrangler last year.
So it's a 2011 Jeep Wrangler JK with Metalcloak two-inch lift. It has aluminium fenders to cover those 35-inch tyres and also Body Armour cladding that protects the jeep’s rocker panels from nicks and dents.
I had few 4x4 in the past, but I wanted to do off-roading with Jeep as its' not been used much in New Zealand for what they are good at. So that was my dream to own one and take it off-roading and that's exactly what I’m doing now.
The best part hands down is the awesome scenery that I get to explore and second to that is connecting with so many good people who share similar interests.
I've explored heaps of places with my trucks over the years, but I liked Cape Palliser the best so far. The off-roading there is easy but fun and the scenery is just so good around the coastline. But I know places down in the South Island are out of this world and I have plans to check them out in the near future.
Fixing things, haha! I wish I could fix things on my own. I still can't but it comes in so handy on trails. Otherwise, make sure you're with someone who can give you a hand.
I have been into adventures for so long but I have no saved memories in terms of videos, which kind of sucks sometimes. So last year I decided to start filming even though I have no past experience with cameras or editing, but at least i have memories saved there which I can look back on down the line. And also I want to travel to different countries and explore different trails and share it with my followers through my channel.
When I was deciding which rooftop tent to get, I had to consider a few things. Set-up time, design, and construction, as we are doing a good amount of four wheel driving we have to move places and I wasn't keen on wasting time setting up or packing the tent. The Bushbuck Armourdillo tent takes a few minutes to set up and pack up which is awesome for what we do. Second important thing for me was durability. Though all rooftop tents are sturdy, Bushbuck offered an aluminium hard-shell designed for extreme climates and can take a beating in the tracks, which I can confirm. So yeah, I've had this tent for around a year and have camped by rivers, on ridge lines, in heavy rain and it just never disappoints.
I have noticed over the years that more people are off-roading nowadays which is a good and bad thing. Don't get me wrong, most people are respectful of the tracks and wildlife, but some people are ruining it for all. It's good that a new generation is getting into it, but it will be good to teach them how to respect the tracks and people along the way. I will be promoting beach/track cleanups in my upcoming videos, which I hope people will learn from and start doing themselves as well.
Do it! It's worth it and don't think you need a flash truck for it to impress others. Just work out your budget or save up till you have just enough money to get something to start with.
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