Would You Bolt Tank Treads to Your Overlanding Van?

Earlier this year, Man Truck, a division of Volkswagen Group, revealed the TGE 3.180 4×4 combi. It’s a full-size van with what the brand calls “caterpillar drive.”

It got me thinking that this go-virtually-anywhere drivetrain tech is precisely what overlanding vans need.

Man created the TGE 3.180 4×4 combi with the help of TrackSystems, the manufacturer of the conversion kit, to demonstrate the go-anywhere prowess of the van. Specifically, Man envisions the TGE 3.180 4×4 combi climbing snow-covered mountains and across muddy alpine fields, which is cute.


Photo: Man Truck

Photo: Man Truck

I just imagine it trudging along anywhere I damn well point it.
See, I love this thing because it solves what I perceive as the biggest downfall of overlanding vans, which is limited tire sizes, ground clearance, and wheelbase length.

READ MORE: WHAT TO BRING OVERLANDING

The tracks get the van way up in the air and bless it with a far bigger contact patch than any van would ever enjoy — even on 35-inch tires.


Photo: Man Truck

Photo: Man Truck

Sure, the treads can only be driven up to 31 miles per hour and they make the van 7.8-feet wider, 661 pounds heavier, and way taller. But whatever. These are niggling issues in the long run, I wager. The treads bolt on like wheels, so you could just pull over and swap them out, if they really pose an imposition.

I guess my exuberance for the TGE 3.180 4×4 combi is for naught because such treads aren’t exactly street legal.

Just imagine the adventures you could have in a luxury overlanding van with treads, though. It’d be pretty incredible.


Header photo: Man Truck

Photo by Brett Willhelm

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