by | Published on May 18th, 2017

I’m talking to a couple of the driving instructors from Land Rover about the driving course for this year’s Overland Expo West, and I’m starting to get the impression that this year’s event is going to be different – in a good way.  You can hear it in their voices, and the way they talk about the classes that they’ll be teaching for the next few days.  It’s like someone just handed them the keys to a McLaren P1 and said “have fun.”  They’ve built driving and skills courses that are, thanks to the new venue, “the best yet.”  Consider me excited.

The sun seemed to be excited as well, considering that it decided to bless us with plenty of sunburn inducing radiation over the three days of Overland Expo West.  There’s so much that happens at this event that there is no way you can attend all of the classes, from world renown instructors, on topics ranging from bushcraft to battery-powered stick welding.  Likewise, you would be hard pressed to even make an appearance at all of the social events where you’ll find tons of free adult beverages, and in the case of a certain End of the World Party, tons of free gear.  All of these events are attended by some great folks, and the small talk in the beer line typically turns into a great conversation with good people.

Walk the vendor areas and you’ll find awesome products from some very big brands just down the aisle from a brand that’s launching on Kickstarter, working to get their first product to market.  A quick walk through the woods leads you to the moto village, where all kinds of gear and demo bikes from KTM, BMW, and Ural await.  Big budget is parked right next to big dreams, and everyone just seems stoked to be outside in sunny (and windy) Flagstaff.

Overland Expo has grown to be an event that’s hard to capture in a single article—there’s just that much going on.  If I had to try and wrap it up in a few dozen carefully crafted chosen words and images, I would say this:  It’s an outstanding event where you can meet real people who all share a common love of the outdoors and adventure travel.  It’s an event where you can learn so much, be it driving skills or what the options are for expanding the capabilities of your rig.  And it’s the place where the person in front of you in line could have just ridden around the world and have some awesome stories to share.

I know that what you’re really here for is the photos, so feel free to just work that scroll wheel.  If you’ve read this far, you’ve earned it.  What was your favorite part of Overland Expo West?  What did you think of the new venue?  Let us know in the comments!

A serious THANK YOU goes out to Expedition Overland and Equipt Expedition Outfitters for letting American Adventurist join in on the End of the World Party.  We also want to thanks all of the great brands that contributed gear to our raffle!

Though unobtanium for most of us, we couldn’t help but stop and drool over the flush rivets, branded leather, and all the little details on AeroContinental’s aluminum prototype. Follow @aerocontinental on Instagram for more gratuitous fabrication porn.

Treeline Outdoors made their US debut with their impressive Gen3 Roof Top Tent line. At a glance it may look like the same tried-and-true format with bold colors and a unique window awning added, but look deeper and you’ll find an innovative aluminum honeycomb deck, solar-friendly features, and a long list of little details that set these units apart from the sea of newcomers flooding the RTT market. Look for a detailed review in coming months.

Even more aluminum roof top tents entering the market, including these wedge-style tents from Alu-Cab

Adventure Tool Company sold completely out of their durable lineup of tool organization products (they even sold the 4-year-old demo model). If you missed out, track them down at http://adventuretoolcompany.com/

Warn Industries had a ton of cool new things to share at Expo.  Stay tuned for some content on new Warn goodies in the future.

Available in two sizes, the Fold-A-Flame firepit grills are clearly draw inspiration from the old Foldin’ Cooker your grandpa might have used. It’s great to see more practical and packable options on the market for wood-fired cooking.

The Kariba Ranger 4×4 is a compact hot shower system that doubles as a dual-burner cook top. New to the US market, they’ll be available soon from Equipt. 

Nissan was on site with their Cummins-powered (yep, a Diesel Nissan on US shores) Project Basecamp, what looks to be a solid entry into the severely option-lacking US overland market. We’ll report back in greater detail after we do  a more hands-on evaluation.

Off The Grid brought their good looking (and feeling) prototype adventure pants. They’re still working on a few details so we can’t share much just yet, but we’ll report back with a full review as soon as we get our hands on the production model.

It was great catching up with the folks at Jackcovers—I mean Step 22—and checking out their newly expanded line of durable, fairly priced bags and accessories. 

Oftentimes simple is best. The Tail Gater attaches to your vehicle’s tire, providing sturdy table or counter space while in camp. It straps to the spare tire for transport, though I suspect it might slip into or behind the ubiquitous Trash-a-roo as well. 

Thanks to the crew at  Tembo Tusk for hosting us during the Sunday breakfast.  We cooked a pig worth of bacon, more than 20-dozen eggs and a bunch of awesome South African food!

Spotted Tembo Tusk’s moto-friendly Adventure Skottle prototype, designed to run off the compact MSR multi-fuel stove. Rumor has it we’re going to see an even lighter production model very soon…

Tepui’s new Baja Series answers a problem that’s been around since the invention of the tent: dealing with multiple climates. With interchangeable canopies, you can go from screened summer tent to an aluminized harsh-weather tent by simply zipping-in the appropriate canopy. 

Two new models were on display from Turtleback: a large flatbed hybrid design, and a small crossover-friendly model. Both units are impressive, but we’re most excited about the low profile yet high ground clearance smaller unit.

Have some awesome photos from Overland Expo West 2017?  Post them in the comments!

About the Author

Chad de AlvaSenior Editor

Chad de Alva is a FAA approved drone pilot, filmmaker and photographer based out of Flagstaff, Arizona. Born and Raised in Telluride, Colorado, Chad has grown up exploring and adventuring all over the Southwest. Before GoPro cameras were a thing, Chad was the guy duct-taping and jerry-rigging cameras to himself and his friends to document their adventures. Cameras may or may not have been lost or killed in action along the way, but cameras can be replaced—experiences cannot.

Today, Chad’s work has taken him from the Alaska Range to the bottom of the Grand Canyon working with companies like the BBC and Nat. Geo. to help tell stories that move people. Chad combines his engineering background with his outdoor experience to develop innovative solutions for documenting adventures in never before seen ways. His love of the outdoors, adventure, and learning new things is limitless.

Chad de Alva | Website | Instagram | More articles »

8 Comments

  1. Grumps says:

    Hands down best report on Overland Expo I have seen. Now if you guys could just come out for the Overland Expo East…

    -Andy

    1. Dave Bennett says:

      Funny you should mention Expo East… 😉

  2. Maxcustody says:

    I agree it was a great event, the weather was perfect this year! In addition, new location is awesome……

  3. Dave Bennett says:

    Great coverage guys – Well Done!

  4. TemboTusk says:

    Thanks for including us in the coverage! Had a great time with great people! Thanks American Adventurist for cooking at the Sunday morning breakfast walk about! We had people 30 deep waiting to sample the AA Crew’s cooking!!! Thanks guys!

  5. Dave says:
    TemboTusk

    Thanks for including us in the coverage! Had a great time with great people! Thanks American Adventurist for cooking at the Sunday morning breakfast walk about! We had people 30 deep waiting to sample the AA Crew's cooking!!! Thanks guys!

    That's awesome and thank YOU Jerry for your continued friendship and support of our group here!

    :bowdown

  6. Richard Soohoo says:

    Great article and coverage Chad! I know there’s so much to cover but you guys did great.

  7. Yuman Desert Rat says:

    Awesome atricle. made me fee llike I was there…

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