If you are into adventure travel, vehicle based camping or exploring the farthest reaches of this little blue planet, then Overland Expo is a must attend event. Each May, tens of thousands of people converge on the humble community of Flagstaff, Arizona for the sole purpose of checking out the latest and greatest overland gear, vehicles and theories on how to successfully explore by vehicle or motorcycle. This event was founded in 2009 and has already outgrown one venue, and by the looks of things is set to outgrow its current venue if the trend continues. With the current state of worldwide communications, many people can live their whole life without ever going outside; this has sparked a whole new group of people who wish to explore the outdoors in style and comfort. Overland Expo is the place to be if you want to learn how to do just that.
During the course of the event, you can sit in on many classes and learn basic off-road skills or insanely detailed recovery techniques from the likes of Camel Trophy competitors (If you don’t know what the Camel Trophy is, do yourself a favor and burn some hours on google and YouTube, it will change the way you think about off-roading).
Advanced rigging to move moto across river or wash out
The education portion of this event is worth the cost of admission; you will be getting first-hand information geared toward your specific direction from some of the most experienced travelers on the planet.
When you arrive at the event, you will probably have to wait in line, so plan to arrive early, really early. The best way to do this event on the cheap is to volunteer. To be a volunteer you will have a 4 hour shift for 2 of the 3 days and it gets priority “close to the venue” camping. This is the direction some of those in our party decided to go. We were just along for the ride, and a cool ride it was…
Here were our accomodations for the weekend. A 1991 M923A2 converted to a go anywhere RV
We could go on and on about all of the awesome things to do and see at this event, but we feel it best to break it into a few categories and drop some photos on you. We will start out with the camping systems. There are 3 basic ways to camp when on the fly, the traditional; ground tent (sometimes attached to the vehicle, sometimes not), the roof top tents (gaining massive amounts of popularity these days), and the baller status route, the full on camper or Expedition RV (basically a motorhome you can drive anywhere).
We will start with the ground camping systems, we snagged some shots of the coolest set-ups we could find, enjoy…
The quickest set-up tent on the market from Front runner, just unzip it, and literally throw it in the air, it lands like this…
These crazy “moon pods”, not sure who makes them, but there sure were a ton of them at this event
The traditional safari type tent.
The attached-to-the-vehicle tent.
We then went on the hunt for the coolest roof top camping solutions and came up with some awesome vehicles/trailers to share with you.
On the Falken JK with traditional RTT
The hard shell RTT
The RTT with the annex changing room below
There were so many awesome tent trailer solutions on display as well
The next group we had a look at was the campers, some of these are available off the shelf at a local camper dealer, others were custom grafted on the back of good 4×4 platforms…
Finally we have the ultimate way to travel, the expedition RV. These vehicles are basically luxury motorhomes built into custom habitat boxes, then mounted to the back of some exotic 4×4 or 6×6 vehicles….
This is an LMTV (M1078) with a small travel trailer grafted on the rear of it
Sprinter Vans, definitely the theme of this years event, this was the coolest build out here
This rig is from Acela Truck company,(A refurbished M1083 MTV) basically buy this rig and outfit the box to your liking
Here is a military radio box truck (M1079) retrofitted for travel it belongs to “Adventure Driven”, check them out on all social channels
And then one of the gems of the show, an LMTV (M1078) with a Bliss mobil habitat, can you say over 500K!?!?!
Just google Global Expedition Vehicles…
Just a few interior shots for ya…
We were stoked to see many of Axial’s partners on site showing the Overland community the best of what they have to offer.
Method Race Wheels
s-POD wiring soultions brought their new JL
Icon Vehicle Dynamics
The 2 wheel (sometimes 3) crowd is very well represented here, check out some of the cool bikes we saw
How about a very rare 2wd Rokon?
Or this super cool 2wd electric UBCO bike?
And then there are the really cool and rare Ural sidecar motorcycles
I’ll take the camo version please…
Finally, last but certainly not least, some of the coolest adventure vehicle builds we could find. It will be awesome when the scale community starts building some replicas of these awesome vehicles..
Super rare forward control Land Rover
Extended body Jeep JK with pop top roof tent
Just pure yes please!!!
Ok, 1 more Yes Please!!! Where have you been all our lives?
Because we are on the Toyota tip at the moment, check out this perfectly restored FJ..
This Couch Offroad Mog was beautiful
So much want right here, this Jeep is set up for some hardcore wheeling too!
Super clean Land Rover 110′s
Who doesn’t want a Steyr Puch Haflinger?
And finally we get to the “Shut Up and Take My Money” Rig……
This Ram was so on point…. Axial needs a new shop truck
This show is one of those that needs to be on everyone’s list of must attend events. There is so much history, knowledge and inspiration to be found here, it is very worth the effort to get there. You will leave exhausted, depleted of drool, broke as a joke but inspired to get out there an live. Safe travels my Axial friends!
For more information on this event, please visit the Overland Expo website.