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Overland Expo WEST 2017 Featured

Written by  Daniel Markofsky
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Overland Expo West 2017 set up at a new venue just south of downtownFlagstaff - the Fort Tuthill County Park. We found ourselves balancing nostalgia for the rustic Mormon Lake site against the reality that Overland Expo outgrew its former home. Expo has become so much more than enthusiasts gathering to swap stories, tips, and skills.

Overland Expo WEST 2017

When we overland we are in remote places and fully self-sufficient. At Expo, we camp, but we want to spend our time at the event, checking out all the great gear and builds, and visiting with attendees, so the modern conveniences of showers, toilets, and food to order are all welcome and necessary features. When we overland we are in remote places and fully self-sufficient. At Expo, we camp, but we want to spend our time at the event, checking out all the great gear and builds, and visiting with attendees, so the modern conveniences of showers, toilets, and food to order are all welcome and necessary features. 

Expo and its attendees are better served at the new site. The new location accommodates traditional booth displays in rows, along with immersive display and demo areas where vendors could set up sprawling exhibits to showcase products and services as you might find them in use in the backcountry. We expect we’ll see more of these immersive displays in the future.

Camping among the tall ponderosa pines, it was easy to forget you were just minutes away from town, roads, and the airport. That proximity came inhandy when we wanted to run to town for paper towels, and ice cream. The shaded camp area was a welcome change from the open lakebed. The promised hot showers in the camping are worked – barely. It was a propane fired system that we won’t be buying anytime soon. It worked fine when it worked, but day one only two of three were operational, and thenext day, just one. Being woken early by the sound of the honey wagon servicing the porta potties shattered any illusion of a remote camp, but the toilets were kept clean and stocked. A rarity at most events. We’d like to see hand was stations and/or hand sanitizer there next year. Camping among the tall ponderosa pines, it was easy to forget you were just minutes away from town, roads, and the airport. That proximity came inhandy when we wanted to run to town for paper towels, and ice cream. The shaded camp area was a welcome change from the open lakebed. The promised hot showers in the camping are worked – barely. It was a propane fired system that we won’t be buying anytime soon. It worked fine when it worked, but day one only two of three were operational, and thenext day, just one. Being woken early by the sound of the honey wagon servicing the porta potties shattered any illusion of a remote camp, but the toilets were kept clean and stocked. A rarity at most events. We’d like to see hand was stations and/or hand sanitizer there next year. 

The food trucks were a welcome addition too.

New and Notable:

Outer Limit Supply’s bright plastic first aid cases were spotted everywhere this year. The debut of OLS’s external mounting system with quick release makes it easy to mount your kit for accessibility in a medical emergency. Founder Travis Hurley is a firefighter from Aurora, CO, and longtime member of the Rising Sun Four Wheel Drive Club. www.outerlimitsupply.com

Overland Expo WEST 2017

The Tailgater Tire Table was a nifty quick to deploy and stow table. Made us want to stop for cheese and crackers. www.tailgatertiretable.com

Step 22 Gear is the new brand of Jackcovers.com. Jackcovers.com wants us to know: “We make more than just Jackcovers.” Yes they do. We saw everything you would need to get comfortably outfitted for adventure. www.step22gear.com

Overland Expo WEST 2017

ASFIR is a brand well known worldwide and CEO Tzachi Oz (just call him Oz) came all the way from Israel to see what Expo was all about. TCT has seen ASFIR overlanding in Israel where ASFIR dominates the market. ASFIR is expanding its US distribution. ASFIR has been producing products for the Land Cruiser 120 and 150 for years. That should be good news to many GX builders. Also good news is the Turkish Coffee they brew at their booth from the ever present “coffee kit.”www.asfir.com

Overland Expo WEST 2017

Standing in front of his 100 series Land Cruiser, Ty Stavenau with The Activity Group was excited to show us the Cold Fire™“environmentally friendly fire extinguishing agent.” Cold Fire says its name comes from its ability to remove heat from any object in which it comes in contact. www.theactivityusa.com

Overland Expo WEST 2017

Restop. We caught up with Lou Ortega and we are not ashamed to say we checked out Lou’s loo. You can spot Lou’s nicely built white Tacoma in the background. Packing out human waste is no fun, but Restops trail tested products make it bearable. . www.restop.com

Overland Expo WEST 2017

Tribe One’s carabiner clips grabbed our attention as well as they grabbed whatever they were attached to. This unusual looking device was only briefly a mystery as the skilled presenter quickly had us understanding what they did, how they did it and how they solved the all too commonproblem of attaching to tarps and fabric. http://www.tribeoneoutdoors.com

Overland Expo WEST 2017

Willow was wearing a prototype pair of goggles with an integrated camera mount. We like to take adventures with our dogs and look forward to more form www.adventureswithdog.com as she explores in her 2004 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Access Cab.

Overland Expo WEST 2017

The Fold a Flame grilles and firepits caught our attention. They looks solid and able to take the heat. www.foldaflame.comThe Fold a Flame grilles and firepits caught our attention. They looks solid and able to take the heat. www.foldaflame.com

Overland Expo WEST 2017

The Sunday morning tradition at Expo is vendors cooking up some hot breakfast food to fortify the hardy 8AM arrivals. We were happy enough to be fed blueberry pancakes at Trail Kitchens booth, but once we saw their kitchen setups, we wanted on to do our own cooking. Owner Hans Wain invited up to overland with him in the CA/NV desert and we can’t wait to go. www.trailkitchens.com

Overland Expo WEST 2017

Spotted at Overland Expo this year

Maggie McDermut, proud owner of a BJ70 named Beastie which she purchased as her first car from Land Cruisers direct, presenting on the panel on women’s solo travel safety. 

Overland Expo WEST 2017

HEMA maps managing director Rob Boegheim traveled all the way from Australia to read the latest edition of TCT magazine. Perhaps that was not the only reason but we did manage this creates by photo of him sneaking apeek at TCT magazine while lounging at the Overland Journal booth. www.hemamaps.com

Overland Expo WEST 2017

Cruiser Outfitters Kurt Williams, also a part of the Expedition Overland team, always smiling and happy to talk about the latest adventures - like three times racing the Baja 1000 in a 200 series Land Cruiser with Canguro racing - or some bit of arcane Land Cruiser knowledge. www.cruiseroutfitters.comCruiser Outfitters Kurt Williams, also a part of the Expedition Overland team, always smiling and happy to talk about the latest adventures - like three times racing the Baja 1000 in a 200 series Land Cruiser with Canguro racing - or some bit of arcane Land Cruiser knowledge. www.cruiseroutfitters.com

Overland Expo WEST 2017

Matt Carter operates Off-Grid Engineering from Boulder County Colorado, specializing in complete dual battery and electronics solutions. We had a chance to camp with Matt at cruise Moab week before Overland Expo. www.off-grid-engineering.myshopify.com

Overland Expo WEST 2017

Legendary photographer Bruce Dorn with legendary Land Cruiser fabricator Jeremiah Profitt in front of “The Red Menace”, a 1962 FJ40 Stage 3 “Patina Restoration.” Look closely, everything looks old, yet new and restored. www.resurrectionlandcruisers.com

Overland Expo WEST 2017

Would be remiss (and never hear the end of it) if we didn't mention Jeremiah's better half Chandra Profitt. Standing here in front of a rare Toyota mega cruiser imported and fabricated by Jeremiah, and her truetreasures, Lillian and Paden. Would be remiss (and never hear the end of it) if we didn't mention Jeremiah's better half ChandraProfitt. Standing here in front of a rare Toyota mega cruiser imported and fabricated by Jeremiah, and her truetreasures, Lillian and Paden. 

Overland Expo WEST 2017

Brian “Woody” Swearingen with www.IH8MUD.com. Social media pages with their rapidly moving content will never displace the community and resources of the “Mud” forum. 

Overland Expo WEST 2017

Equipt’s Paul May was always interacting with customers but we caught a rare spy photo of him anyway.  www.equipt1.com

Overland Expo WEST 2017

Scene At Expo: Scene At Expo: 

RTT’s with A/C ports – no joke. These folks camp in Florida and central America. 

There is no dress code and the acreage of khaki was down, yet this couple gets my best dressed vote. However, the man on the right in khaki and a headscarf is better equipped for the extreme climate at Expo. 

Sidebar:  A First Timer Attendee Perspective, by Anna Kowalska 

My first overland experience was mere weeks ago with two nights of camping in the Moab, UT back country. Little did I know that weeks later I would find myself at the epicenter of the “Overlanding” world at Overland Expo West in Flagstaff Arizona.

I grew up camping. Throughout my adult life I enjoyed many camping trips, usually accompanying a friend. I dipped my toes into camping gear, packing basic supplies like a sleeping bag and layered clothing. I read articles about people who sell everything, buy a camper and venture out on the road. It was always a tinge of a dream. None of that prepared me for what was about to experience at the Overland Expo. I grew up camping. Throughout my adult life I enjoyed many camping trips, usually accompanying a friend. I dipped my toes into camping gear, packing basic supplies like a sleeping bag and layered clothing. I read articles about people who sell everything, buy a camper and venture out on the road. It was always a tinge of a dream. None of that prepared me for what was about to experience at the Overland Expo. 

Just a few months ago I didn't know the word “overlanding.”. Then I started dating this guy with a truck with funny things all over it. I wonder what they were all about, but he seemed like a pretty cool guy so I kept an open mind.

Like a lot of women I think of four wheeling as tearing up the dirt and throwing beer cans out the window. Not very appealing. Camping involvedstruggling to set up a tent, sleeping in the rain, being bitten by bugs, and eating soggy hot dogs. I had fun memories of camping with my family as akid, but I was a kid and maybe didn't know any better. Like a lot of women I think of four wheeling as tearing up the dirt and throwing beer cans out the window. Not very appealing. Camping involvedstruggling to set up a tent, sleeping in the rain, being bitten by bugs, and eating soggy hot dogs. I had fun memories of camping with my family as akid, but I was a kid and maybe didn't know any better. 

But now here's this fancy equipped truck with a refrigerator in the back?. It's not called camping or four wheeling but "Overlanding." Images of exotic safaris across Africa danced through my head. 

He sweetened the deal with a night in a hotel in Santa Fe on the way, but when the only lunch option in Gallup New Mexico was Denny's. I had mydoubts about this amazing Overland experience.

Soon at Overland Expo I was in awe of the passion and enthusiasm of thepeople who were there. From the campers and bikers, to the vendors and volunteers. Families with children and dogs in tow, eager to learn about the latest and best of what just as enthusiastic vendors developed and improved in their equipment and gear. Soon at Overland Expo I was in awe of the passion and enthusiasm of thepeople who were there. From the campers and bikers, to the vendors and volunteers. Families with children and dogs in tow, eager to learn about the latest and best of what just as enthusiastic vendors developed and improved in their equipment and gear. 

The most surprising was the feeling of camaraderie among the participants. There was a genuine interest in learning how your neighbor in the camp next door is arranging their life on the road, how the last trip went, what new sites they have explored, and how they adjust their life to either living permanently on the road or taking regular extended trips. 

Reflecting on the experience I wish I took more time to ask them about their stories and favor parts of overlanding life. I guess there is Overland Expo 2018 and going as 2nd timer I will be wiser about how I spend my time exploring the latest in overlanding technology and the people who invent what great life means to them, from behind the wheel and on a dirt roads.

 

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