Overland Expo 2011

Overland Expo 2011 marked the third annual gathering of the overlanding faithful in Amado, Arizona. The event has continued to grow, getting better year after year.

The Overland Expo always seems to be populated with good, friendly people. The breadth and diversity of people is simply staggering: tire kickers thinking about their first trip talk on equal footing with people like Chris Scott, who literally wrote the book on overlanding; locals travel just down the road to the event, while others travel from the far corners of the globe; solo motorcyclers walk alongside owners of expedition trucks that could each qualify for their own zip code.
It is hard to imagine a better event to gain a lot of knowledge about the many nuances of overland travel. From adventure motorcycle classes to winching classes from vehicle repair to campsite cooking, the Overland Experience classes span the breadth of overland knowledge.

Lots of familiar companies were in attendance, showing their latest and greatest gadgets. There were also number of new companies that chose the Expo as their introduction this rapidly growing industry. Some of the highlights included:

Adventure Trailers JK Habitat – Although the FlipPac concept has been around for a while, Adventure Trailers introduced a new application in the JK Habitat. With their Nemo Tents-built canopy, this Jeep Wrangler Unlimited based application has turned the JK from a capable to a highly comfortable overlanding vehicle.

When built in tandem with offerings like the V8 Hemi or CRD conversions from companies like AEV, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited JK is becoming an impressive platform.

Equipt – Equipt continues to find cool new gear from overseas. Their storage ideas, water systems, and roof racks represent some of the finest expedition equipment from around the world.

Bundu Gear – The brainchild of former African safari guide Roualeyn (Rou) de Haas, Bundu Gear is chooses gear based on Rou’s 20 years of guiding experience in the African savannah. Jurgens trailers, Howling Moon tents, Cadac cooking gear and Bundu boxes all withstand the toughest overlanding conditions.

Kanz Outdoors – Kanz Kitchen is built around the concept of “if you want it done right, do it yourself.” Their Kanz Outdoors Field Kitchen, while neither cheap ($800 with a Cook Partner Stove) nor compact, is built to last and is the winner of Overland Journal’s Editor’s Choice award.

Muskoka Foundation – Founded by Jay Shapiro and Alice Gugelev, the Muskoka Foundation is built around the edict of “Do good as you go.” With the help of the Camel Trophy Owners Club and Pangaea Expeditions, the Muskoka Foundation raised about $2,000 to support Casa Hogar, a boys orphanage in Cabo San Lucas, Baja, Mexico.

If you needed a little push to get out and explore the world, Overland Expo continues to deliver in spades. From travel presentations to the Overland Film Festival, from current overland expeditions stopping in to say “hi” to North America’s largest gathering of Camel Trophy veterans, the inspiration and excitement about traveling was almost tangible. Its doubtful anyone left the event not dreaming about their next great adventure.


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