The Overland Expo Experience
We felt like two kids visiting Disneyland for the first time....
If you’ve been following along with our blog or have found us through our YouTube Channel, then you’re probably already aware that many of our adventures are driven by our love of overlanding. You may also know we are currently building two incredibly fun rigs, which are capable of taking us to places far beyond where the pavement ends. One thing we have learned through this process is once you start building a rig, you are never really “finished” building a rig and we still have a long list of things we want to do our rigs. If only our funds were unlimited…..
Much like the entire world, very few good things came out of 2020 for us. However, 2020 did force us to find a new type of vacation and to look for a new way for us to unwind from the day to day grind. Prior to 2020, we had completed a few “overlanding type” trips, but we didn’t consider ourselves to be “overlanders”. That all changed in 2020. Since we were unable to take a planned vacation, we decided to plan a camping trip up to June Lake, California and we have been hooked on it ever since. Even now that we “can” return to a more typical vacation, we continue to pursue our new passion. In fact, we are currently making plans to take several extended overlanding trips and we hope to become full time overlanders in the near future.
With new plans and goals in place we were excited to attend Overland Expo West 2021 in Flagstaff Arizona. After all, with over 400 exhibitors in attendance, displaying all of the latest gadgets and gizmos, what better place is there to finalize our current builds and dream about a future one(s)? In addition to all the exhibitors, the Expo features on-site camping where we had the opportunity to network with thousands of overlanders from all over the world, as well as more than 150 educational classes, activities, and programs led by over 150 of the world’s top vehicle instructors and overlanding experts. With all this to see, we were grateful if was spread out over the three days.
Although the Expo began on Friday, the gates for campers opened at 11am on Thursday. Being first time attendees and not sure exactly what to expect, we wanted to arrive as close to then as possible. The camping is all first come, first serve and is “festival style”, so space to spread out was very limited. We traveled from Southern California with our friends, @ChateauTacoma and we arrived at the Expo grounds just after 1pm. Although we had to wait in line to enter the campgrounds for more than an hour, time flew by as we checked out all the cool rigs waiting in line with us. Once we gained entry, we were surprised to see how many campers had already set up camp. We were relatively lucky in that our campsite was only about 1/4 mile from the Expo gates. Many of our fellow campers brought mountain bikes, e-bikes, and scooters to ease the commute to and from the Expo.
We were issued wristbands during our check-in, which would be needed for the rest of the weekend. The wristbands allowed us immediate access and entry into the Expo at anytime the gates were open. Upon entering the Expo we were quickly overwhelmed by the entire scale of the event. We knew we were going to explore at least two full days of the festivities so we decided to tackle it in sections. It took us about 15 minutes before we made our first purchase! Nothing too significant, just a few velcro patches to add to our headliner collections. About 5 minutes later we made our second purchase, a new BruTrek Coffee French Press. Thankfully, we got our spending under control. We only made two additional purchases. We purchased a molle panel that connects to our Seat Jackers for the Tacoma. Be on the lookout for a video featuring the Seat Jackers and the impact it has made on our trips. Our last purchase was a set of GoTreads. You can check out our gear video from Expo here.
In addition to visiting the vendors we took advantage of some of the educational seminars. We both attended the “Making a Living While on the Road” where we learned some tips from some full time nomads who are making a living on the road. Milin attended a women only event put on by Rachelle Croft from X-Overland. It was cool to see and meet the X-Overland crew and many other popular YouTubers who were in attendance. A few of our readers and viewers even recognized us and took the time to say hello. That was definitely a fun highlight of our trip!
When it comes to new, innovative products there were two that really caught our eye. One was the Skinny Guy Campers (SGC). We were fortunate enough to get a full tour of this amazing design from one of the creators and owner, Donovan aka the “Skinny Guy”. The unique feature of the SCG is that it has minimal impact on your vehicle’s fuel mileage, yet it has most of the comforts of a traditional slide in camper. The height of the camper does not effect your ability to park your vehicle in a residential or parking garage, and its compact design makes traveling on trail a breeze.
The other camper we were really impressed with was the Loki Basecamp. Significantly different in all aspects from the SGC, the Loki Basecamp seemed to be extremely well built, designed, and priced in comparison to similar campers. The LOKI Basecamp Falcon Series is hand built, from the aluminum frame to the interior finishes. According to the Loki reps each LOKI Basecamp is unique and tailored to the end users specific needs. While it is not small in design, the Loki Basecamp has just about everything you’ll ever need in a camper. It comes equipped with onboard heating and AC, four season insulation, a mudroom, indoor and outdoor shower, a queen size North to South Bed, highly insulated windows, up to 360 watts of solar power, ample storage, and the ability to remove the unit to replace your truck, set up camp, or access your truck’s bed.
If you find yourself in the market for a camper take the time to checkout these two incredible options.
With thunderstorms predicted for Sunday, we decided to forgo our last night of camping and headed out of town. We made our way to the Prescott National Forrest and found a beautiful dispersed campsite to cap off our a perfect weekend! Overland Expo is an awesome event and should you ever have the opportunity to attend, you will not regret it. It is an event filled with amazing vendors, classes for education, and awesome builds to drool over! As we write this, the Overland Expo will be coming to Virginia next, if you are in the area, check it out!
Who we are:
We are OpenRoad4Two, a husband-and-wife adventure team, dedicated to hitting the OPN RD. and exploring this beautiful land we live in. We encourage you to follow along with us on our journeys, YouTube, and Instagram. We are dedicated to supporting and assisting our fellow adventurers along the way.
We love hearing from you, so please connect with us! Send us a question, a suggestion, a tip, or just a simple hello! Until then, we’ll see you on the OPEN ROAD!!