I'm sitting in a shop outside Bozeman, MT with a long-time friend and a source of inspiration within the overland industry. We chat about the first time we met and how so much has changed, and things that haven't
We've covered Clay Croft and Expedition Overland in previous issues. If you're not familiar with the XO web series, go have a watch, then come on back.
Clay and I met at SEMA Show 2011, after midnight, at the Overland Journal party. I had, quite literally, just watched the first episode of Expedition Overland which launched just a few weeks before.
I recognized Clay immediately and introduced myself as ͟The FJ Cruiser Magazine guy, who really loves your series!
The original series of Expedition Overland featured Clays personal vehicles which were initially modified for exploring Montana backroads. At the time the Clay was in a budding career as a film maker, but was between gigs. That is when XO was born, but I digress.
Back to the shop....
This 'little' shop on the Croft property outside Bozeman is called the X-Hangar. It's a custom designed shop, logistics hub, creative space, and production studio. Also, it's awesome!
Last month I had the opportunity to visit the X-Hangar for the first time since it's completion and Clay was nice enough to give me a personal tour.
Custom bi-fold airplane hangar door is over 14͛ tall and houses 3000 sq. ft. of shop space. All the tools you can imagine, and already plenty of stories. The shop is where rigs are built, modified, repaired, and prepared for expeditions. They're also home to XO's new Series' Oh "Hey There!" and "In The Shop".
Plenty of room for planning, promoting, and various staff to hang their hats. On the day I visited the XO team was busy planning & editing their upcoming South America series. In the outer office, comfy couches + a linear fireplace with a very large display panel are perfect for reviewing daily edits and previewing upcoming releases.
The Logistics Area Clay tells me that when they originally drew out their South America route it was -30 outside the door, so apparently the X-Hangar has great insulation. A large custom table provides room for the entire crew to discuss where the next adventure will take them. I'm also told that dozens of XO hats, shirts, and other swag are packed & sent out from the Logistics Area each week.
The Edit Suite
The suite is my favorite room in the X-Hangar. XO designed it to be as comfortable as possible which helps ensure editing continues uninterrupted for as long as is necessary. The edit room features custom lighting, its sound proof, has professional audio capture, an extra-wide curved screen connected to a top of the line Mac Pro. The goal of this room is to produce the most inspirational and amazing content possible. Apparently it works: I caught a glimpse of epic aerial footage from South America during my tour, alas Clay wouldn͛t reveal any details.
It's been almost six years since I met Clay Croft and became aware of Expedition Overland. I knew from the beginning this team would produce world-class content. I knew they would inspire tens of thousands of enthusiasts to get out and explore. The X-Hangar now allows them to do so with a dedicated facility which results in a world-class production. I have no doubt the future seasons of XO will continue to inspire all of us to get out & explore!
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Summer 2017 Issue: