A TRUE OVERLAND RALLY
The 2019 BC Overland Rally in Whistler Olympic Park attracted nearly 1,000 adventurers for three days of seminars, trail riding and camaraderie.
Do you ever find yourself talking to people that look at your roof top tent (RTT) and ask why you don’t just use a regular tent? Then, there are others who look at your built-up overland rig and ask why you don’t just get a travel trailer?
These are just some of the reasons why the annual BC Overland Rally is such a great event for overland enthusiasts. It provides the chance to be around like-minded people who share a passion for overlanding. The rally features camping, vendors, seminars, and trail rides. As its slogan states, “Have Fun! Make Friends! Learn Stuff!”
Due to its rapid growth since its inception in 2017, the BC Overland Rally’s event organizers, Ray and Marianne Hyland, had to find a new venue for 2019. They settled on Whistler Olympic Park, located in the Callaghan Valley, just west of Whistler,
BC. It turned out to be a wise choice as the attendance for the 2019 event – June 2730 – increased once again with nearly 1,000 attendees and 58 vendors.
Whistler Olympic Park offers a range of on-site facilities. There’s a comfortable day lodge with full restrooms and hot showers, plus multiple green spaces, several trails with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains – not to mention an ongoing presence of the roaming black bears. There were two separate camping areas. A designated “quiet camping area” and a “less-than quiet camping area.”
From a 1980’s Chevy pick-up with a camper to a modern Mercedes 6 x 6-foot luxury home on wheels, the event attracts people from all over with a variety of tastes and budgets. I personally love seeing a well-built DIY budget rig that’s just as
(or even more) capable than a $150,000plus manufactured expedition vehicle.
Walking around the camping areas to get ideas and feedback from other enthusiasts and visiting with the vendors is a great part of the experience.
The vendors are in a space separate from the camping areas and feature more than just exhibits. Two tents are used for seminars and activities, plus there’s a large fire pit area where multiple presentations are hosted, along with a nightly fire and raffle.
Some of the many vendors included large manufacturers like Four Wheel Campers and ARB to smaller independents, including Overland Kitchen and Total Composites. In my opinion, some of the notable products for me included Off Grid Trailers, Treeline Outdoors, and Doghouse Trailers.
Off Grid Trailers (OTG) of Edmonton, AB is a manufacturer of tough, very well designed trailers geared towards the overland market. OTG designs their trailers with 3D AutoCAD and manufactures them with a steel frame and cabin structure, comprised of four-inch laser cut C-channel walls with R10 rigid foam sheeted on both sides with aluminum. The entire trailer is made from mold- and mildew-resistant materials and features an onboard water system. It also comes with a five-year warranty. If you want the most amenities for your next adventure check out its Pando and Expedition trailers.
Treeline Outdoors from Calgary, AB, offers the finest RTTs I’ve seen. I was expecting the same kind of models I have seen time and time again. Instead, I was blown away by their attention to detail and innovative ideas.
From the design to the choice of quality materials, you can see they've done their research and assembled a fantastic, all-around package that will stand up to the challenges of overlanding while keeping you dry and comfortable.
Doghouse Trailers of Chilliwack, BC, designs and builds another great overland trailer. These trailers are designed for heavier offroading and are compact, lightweight and can be towed by almost anything, including a two-door Jeep. They also have heavy-duty suspensions, sturdy construction, ample storage and are available with a series of options to customize it to specific needs.
As in previous years, the event showcased a number of activities including various trail rides organized by The Four Wheel Drive Association of BC and a variety of training sessions and seminars for all age groups. From navigation, recovery and solar power to cooking and minimalist overlanding, there was a topic pretty much for everyone. There were also a number of specialty seminars for kids including knot tying, ukulele classes, and hands-on photography.
This year proved to be another great success (despite the poor weather conditions). Ray has assured me they have ordered sunshine for next year and I look forward to returning to the 2020 BC Overland Rally in Whistler Olympic Park.
The rally provides the chance to be around people who share a passion for overlanding.
Various rigs were also on display for all to admire.
Even consistent damp weather attracted many to the several seminars.
The event attracted an impressive 58 vendors.