Transportation and Ekspedisi

Overland Expo offers variety of vendors, seminars to learn how to get off the grid

The first Mountain West Overland Expo kicked off Friday at The Ranch Events Center, drawing hundreds of overland enthusiasts to the event.

With well over 300 vendors offers information on products, courses and advice, the event was a perfect place for newbies interested in learning about overlanding to experts wanting to keep up on the latest gadgets and gear.

The term “overlanding” refers to self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the primary goal, according to Motortrend.com. It’s basically a new way to explore the outdoors through vehicle-based transportation such as trucks, motorcycles, jeeps and even bikes.

While out on these adventures, overlanders will often camp for extended periods of time — from several months to a year.

The Mountain West Overland Expo made its first appearance in Colorado this weekend, featuring vendors and experts in the overlanding industry. (Photo credit Randy Owens/RandyOwens.Smugmug.com)

Travel is not just limited to the U.S., as overlanding is a popular activity for global exploration.

EarthRoamer out of Dacono brought out their two expedition vehicles — the LTi and HD— for attendees to check out.

“It’s for people who like to be outside and like to go where other people can’t and do it in style,” said Nathan Matcheson, inspection specialist for EarthRoamer. “As a tent is to glamping, this is to RV camping.”

Unlike some of the more simple overland vehicles or setups, EarthRoamer offers people luxury features such as radiant floor heat, dry bath, a washer and dryer, lithium batteries and satellites — from a base price of $620,000 up to $1,900,000, not including options.

An all-terrain vehicle sits on display at the Mountain West Overland Expo at The Ranch Events Center. (Photo credit Randy Owens/RandyOwens.Smugmug.com)

“Everything on the interior you get to choose— the countertops, backsplash, things like that— are chosen by the customer,” Matcheson said.

If an EarthRoamer is out of your price range, there are plenty of other options to explore at the expo.

Patriot Campers out of Oklahoma offers sturdy campers designed to withstand harsh elements. The company sells Australian manufactured campers that begin at around $39,000.

“They claim them as unstoppable, that’s their slogan — unstoppable,” Ray Plunkett with Patriot Campers said. “And they have the awards to back it.”

From campers to all-terrain vehicles, the Mountain West Overland Expo offered a variety of options for people interested in getting into the hobby of overland camping. (Photo credit Randy Owens/RandyOwens.Smugmug.com)

In addition to campers and customized RVs, the expo features a variety of camping gear, clothing, vehicle parts, GPS units, two-wheeled options for overlanding and a variety of educational and informational seminars for all skill levels and ages of overlanders.

Sarah and Kevin McCuiston began overlanding as a fun, relatively inexpensive family activity and have adopted the trend as a lifestyle.

“We both grew up camping so we decided to give it a go,” Sarah McCuiston said. “We have been traveling with our daughter who is eight now, but she was 15-months old when we first started.

“She’s pretty trained in the car,” she said, laughing.

The couple hosts “Lifestyle Overland” on YouTube, detailing how to get started in overlanding, different gear, the do’s and don’ts as well as highlighting their own overlanding adventures.

A piece of advice they would give to people looking to get into the hobby is to “start small, keep it simple, keep it local and grow your kit slowly.”

“Don’t get overwhelmed with all the gear and think you have to have everything out of the gate,” Kevin McCoustin explained. “You can start with a dome tent and go to state parks. Learn what your preferences are before you start investing in the gear.”

More than 300 vendors and experts were onsite at the Mountain West Overland Expo at The Ranch Events Center. (Photo credit Randy Owens/RandyOwens.Smugmug.com)

As the pandemic affected a variety of businesses across the U.S. and around the world, the overlanding industry found an uptick in interest and sales.

“Last year where small businesses had a risk of going out of business, for us, it was just the opposite,” Plunkett said. “We flourished and if you ask anybody here, it was the same deal. Good positive things came out of an unfortunate situation.”

The Mountain West Overland Expo runs through 3 p.m. Sunday. Information and tickets can be found by going to www.overlandexpo.com.