Physically Challenged Adventurers Need an Overlander: It's the Ultimate Powered Wheelchair

Overlanders 15 photos
Photo: Terrain Hopper
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I'll admit, I've had a few accidents over the course of my life and even broken the same bones more than once, so naturally, as I age, I worry: maybe someday I'll have trouble getting around and feeding my wild side. Well, Terrain Hopper is here to make sure that aging and challenged bodies are still exposed to the same wonderful world as before.
Folks, the first time I saw what Terrain Hopper (TH) has in store, I couldn't believe the times we're living in. Why? Well, TH is one of those crews that designs and manufactures vehicles for assisted living, and while that's not something new, what is worthy of our attention is that the machines TH spits out are capable of doing things your ordinary wheelchair probably dreams of at night.

They're rightfully called Overlander, and as we can see in the image gallery, these things are on a whole different level of mobility, mainly in that they can go where few to no other powered wheelchairs can go. I'm talking full-on off-road exploration in what I can only consider a mini rock crawler.

Now, TH is a crew from the UK that initially saw its beginnings in 2010. Best of all, it's a family-operated business, so if you do end up ever needing something like this, please note that they can craft a completely bespoke machine for you.

But, to make things a bit easier to understand, I'll direct my attention to the most expensive version the manufacturer's website shows, the 4ZX. Simply put, we're looking at a powered wheelchair that starts at £16,500 ($20,500 at current exchange rates), and there are countless reasons why such a hefty price.

Photo: Terrain Hopper
Starting with the ground up, the 4ZX is crafted with nothing more than a fully independent suspension system, which is the basis for this thing's rock-crawling abilities, not to mention being stable as hell! Effect number two is one heck of a plush ride, especially once coupled with that seat (carbon fiber option). Your choice of knobby or slick tires is also part of the package.

Moving up the 4ZX, we arrive at that frame, and from the start, we can see that it's built to take some rather big hits. Aside from the roll bar that surrounds its occupant, the 4ZX even brandishes a friggin winch at the front! That is an optional feature, so do take the time to figure out if it's something you need.

As you might have imagined, this bugger is an EV, and as such, it comes equipped with a battery pack; it's just not clear how much juice is found inside. What we do know is that this battery will be feeding power to all four wheels.

Photo: Terrain Hopper
Now, as standard, the motors are designed with a protective casing over them to ensure they don't get damaged while you're out and about, but as an option, TH will take things one step further and waterproof those puppies for you, making sure you really can ride through and over just about anything.

Overall, three speed settings are available, each designed for a particular task at hand. For instance, if you're just rolling around the neighborhood, moving from point A to point B, you could go for the highest setting of 8 mph (13 kph), and that's that.

But, if you're off-road and crawling through some rather technical terrain, try the lowest of speed settings at 4 mph (6.5 kph). There's an in-between speed, too, of 6 mph (9.5 kph). It won't be the fastest thing in your garage, but then again, it's not meant to be; this one's about slow and steady. Front disc brakes are there to ensure things don't get out of hand, and manual steering is also standard, but options like joysticks are also available from TH.

Overlander 4ZX
Photo: Terrain Hopper
All that is bound to create one heavy vehicle, and according to TH, the 4ZX does weigh as much as 180 kg (397 lbs), even more if you start throwing on things like the overhead roll bar, joystick steering, waterproof motors, and countless others. Yet it can also support 190 kg (419 lbs) of load, leaving room for a wide range of individuals and needs. Maybe someone needs an oxygen tank to be brought along for the ride; that's possible with this one. You'll just have to figure out where to put it and how to secure it.

Last but not least, I mentioned that TH is one of those crews that also crafts bespoke Overlanders, so do take the time to explore that route, too. But if you're looking for something a tad lighter on the pocket, the Mini is available, but it is only suitable for smaller adults and children. The other option would be the 4ZS, a slightly more urbanized version of the Overlanders but still no less capable on off-road journeys. I'm telling you, we live in grand old times.

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Editor's note: Images in the gallery showcase an array of Overlander powered wheelchairs.

About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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