CAR-CAMP­ING CON­VEN­TION

The work­shops and wares of Over­land Expo West 2018

Four Wheeler - - Contents - By Jered Korfhage jered.korfhage@fourwheeler.com

The work­shops and wares of Over­land Expo West 2018

THE 2018 OVER­LAND EXPO WEST WAS WHEEL­ING, camp­ing, ex­plor­ing, and self-suf­fi­ciency, all rolled into a rooftop tent and parked in the wilder­ness. A record-break­ing 14,000 peo­ple ven­tured from all cor­ners of the globe and gath­ered out­side of Flagstaff, Ari­zona, for the 14th Over­land Expo West.

As the sun rose over the hori­zon, cast­ing a glow on Fort Tuthill County Park, the French presses and camp­ing stove-top espresso ma­chines came to life, draw­ing the over­lan­ders from their abodes. Some crawled from tents in the dirt, oth­ers pitched forth lad­ders from the door­ways of their ve­hi­cle-top fab­ric palaces, while the rest peered out from the win­dows of their hard-sided glamp-yachts.

How­ever they chose to spend the night­time

hours, the over­lan­ders had con­gre­gated in the open camp­ing ar­eas on-site at Over­land Expo West. Be­fore long, sun­block was ap­plied by the gal­lon, wide-brimmed hats were donned, and queues of show­go­ers shuf­fled to­ward the day’s ac­tiv­i­ties. For those com­ing to the show want­ing for all the gad­getry the overlanding mar­ket had to of­fer, there stood the ven­dor show—dis­play tents lined up like bar­racks show­cas­ing a va­ri­ety of wilder­ness wares. Com­pa­nies were quick on the trig­ger to ex­plain how, with a few stealthy mod­i­fi­ca­tions, the pas­sen­ger quar­ters of most ve­hi­cles could be out­fit­ted with slid­ing draw­ers, tanks of potable wa­ter, steamy show­ers, and enough cooking gear to sat­isfy a sun­burnt sous chef.

Need help un-stuck­ing your ride? Ven­dors were on hand with un-stuck­ing gear. Want power for your gad­gets while mak­ing camp? There were so­lar-pow­ered so­lu­tions aplenty. Also, if one took the time to lend an ear, the only thing more abun­dant than rooftop tents at the show were the sto­ries from the ad­ven­tur­ers of ter­rain crossed, gear used, and ex­pe­ri­ences gath­ered.

Over­land Expo West was not just a gear grab; many were on-site ped­dling skills as well as wares. Poke your head into a can­vas tent and you might have found your­self in a class learn­ing the in­tri­ca­cies of wilder­ness medicine, or per­haps meal prepa­ra­tion or weld­ing from ve­hi­cle bat­ter­ies. Other ven­dors pro­vided in­struc­tion on ve­hi­cle re­cov­ery, driv­ing skills, and ob­sta­cle nav­i­ga­tion. We’ll take you on a trip through the show vis­it­ing every­thing from skills clin­ics to the ven­dor booths, so you can plan your jour­ney to Over­land Expo West (or East in North Carolina!). More in­for­ma­tion can be found at over­lan­d­expo.com.

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Whether camp­ing in a retro ’72 Ford Econo­line Sportsmo­bile con­ver­sion, cruis­ing through for a day trip, or mak­ing a stop on a transcon­ti­nen­tal jour­ney, Over­land Expo West was the place to be.

Pho­tos: Jered Korfhage

|> Earthroamer built what we af­fec­tion­ately call a “camper man­sion” on a Ford F-750 chas­sis. This 35-foot-long be­he­moth holds 115 gal­lons of diesel fuel, 250 gal­lons of fresh wa­ter, has a 2,100-watt so­lar sys­tem, and car­ries a price tag of $1.5 mil­lion. Read more about this rig (XV-HD) and other cre­ations by Earthroamer at earthroamer.com.

|> When your rig is out­fit­ted with a winch, trails can seem less scary. What hap­pens when you’re stuck in the sand with­out a tree in sight? In­stead of bury­ing your spare tire (you have one, right?), the folks at Dead­man Off-road have a so­lu­tion. The Dead­man is de­signed to ei­ther be buried be­neath the ground to act as an an­chor point for your winch­ing, or to cre­ate a safe wrap­ping an­chor point around a boul­der. Check them out at dead­manof­froad.com. <- Those fa­mil­iar with the Camel Tro­phy might think of it as the “Olympics of Off-road­ing” and rec­og­nize it for the abun­dance of Land Rover De­fend­ers, among other ve­hi­cles. Though there wasn’t quite enough space to host a full com­pe­ti­tion at the venue, the Camel Tro­phy Ex­pe­di­tion Skills Area of­fered a place for par­tic­i­pants to learn off-road­ing skills on a closed course with help from trained pro­fes­sion­als. Whether the chal­lenge was choos­ing a safe line through a rock gar­den, learn­ing when to en­gage lock­ing dif­fer­en­tials, or even com­mu­ni­cat­ing with a spot­ter, this was the place to learn.

|>-> As one of the iconic ve­hi­cles in the world of over­land travel, Land Rover had an im­pres­sive pres­ence at Over­land Expo West. Driv­ers were in­vited to sign up for a ride (or three) around the skills course in a Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, LR4, Dis­cov­ery Sport, and other ve­hi­cles. Trained in­struc­tors were ready with tips and tricks for nav­i­gat­ing through the ob­sta­cles. Whether you were a sea­soned wheeler or ex­pe­ri­enc­ing your first one-wheel-sky­ward Land Rover wave, the course of­fered plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for fun.

<- Dometic showed us how this 47-can, 32L elec­tric cooler could keep us fed and wa­tered for an en­tire week­end. Small enough to fit the cargo area of most ve­hi­cles and quiet enough to sleep next to, this ul­tra-low­power-draw cooler runs off ei­ther your ve­hi­cle’s bat­tery or your choice of af­ter­mar­ket so­lar power to keep goods cool. See the lineup of cool­ers at dometic.com.

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