Overlanding appreciates wide open spaces to roam and explore. So, it’s not surprising that overlanding in the United States first gained popularity on the vast expanses of the West and Southwest. However, it is clear that the rest of the country wants to be included as well. This year’s Overland Expo East, held October 7-9 at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina hosted an enthusiastic audience who came from as far north as Canada, all along the eastern seaboard down to Mexico.
Attendees brought everything from Tiger trucks and customized Unimogs to pickups with Four Wheel Campers as well as Land Rovers, Toyotas, Jeeps, Mitsubishis, Subarus, Volkswagen vans, motorcycles, and more. Adding to the mix were trailers and campers equipped for remote travel. The campground was a sea of both roof-top and ground tents, and there were racks full of toys including kayaks, mountain bikes, stand up paddleboards, fly rods, and solar panels. It was clear that these overlanders were out to explore and have as much fun as possible along the way.
The 9,000 acre Biltmore Estate may be the perfect venue for the Overland Expo. The Estate’s staff was attentive to every detail and responsive to every need. There was a large catered food tent offering three meals every day along with a wine bar and beers on tap from local breweries. Each night there was a happy hour and dinner complimented by a charity auction on Saturday night. Along with entry, Overland Expo attendees also received access to the Biltmore House for an educational tour and relaxing stroll of the estate grounds which offers ponds, waterfalls, meadows, and an equestrian center.
Despite news reports of Hurricane Matthew raining on the parade, the weather held off and offered a nice mix of cloud cover and intermittent light rain showers complimented by a full day of blue skies. Best of all, it was smiles all around. Over three days I never once heard anyone complain about the weather, or anything for that matter.
Attendees were excited to be there and have the chance to talk with vendors. Roof top tents, fridge freezers, rack systems, recovery gear, medical equipment, solar, storage and overland specific trailers from around the world, the vendors were offering something for everyone. Between buying new gear, attending classes and presentations or driving on the dirt challenge courses hosted by Land Rover and BF Goodrich tires, the event inspired action packed days. Land Rover had a fleet of vehicles to test drive in the dirt and KTM offered a variety of motorcycles to try on a dirt course and group rides through the twisty roads.
We all have a lot of options for events and deciding to attend a three day event can often be a tough decision. Travel, expense and time away are all considered. However, don’t hesitate to attend the Overland Expos. It is, no doubt, worth your time and effort. If you live in the West, go to the event in Arizona. If you live in the East, be sure to get yourself to the Overland Expo in North Carolina. We’re already looking forward to 2017’s Overland Expos.
Dub-Box-USA has created a charming and impressively functional fiberglas trailer that draws a smile from everyone!
Cummins is now offering their 2.8L Turbo Diesel as a drop in crate motor. So no more complaining about “we never get diesels in the US”. Buy one of these and do it yourself.
You may know that Free Spirit Recreation makes roof top tents but they also make a solid trailer too.
It wouldn’t be an Overland Expo without Land Rover and the famous test course.
BF Goodrich is even getting in on the fun!
I was impressed to see these expedition quality basecamp tents from Camel. Featuring welded seams, a stove pipe hole and a removable insulating inner layer these tents were originally made for the military and are focused on performance.
A 12 volt ice maker from SnoMaster, perfect for anywhere-margaritas!
This quick release bar system from Rhino-Rack allows for crossbars to be removed with the push of a button.
The Imagine trailer is a new to the US stout and rugged offering from South Africa. Overbuilt tough with many features uncommon in the US but rooted in long unsupported overland travel.
Tentipi provided tipis for the entire Overland Expo staff to sleep in during the event. They also had a sample of each of their models on display, they are surprisingly spacious inside.
Dometic has a long history of supplying systems to travelers and they drew a crowd during the entire event.
How many people can you fit into a Four Wheel Camper on top of the Mainline Overland Unimog? We lost count at twelve!
Flyer trailers brought their concept of multi-use trailers. Large interiors can be lived in while traveling overland, loaded with a big adventure motorcycle or support a home improvement project with enough space for 4×8’ sheets of plywood to be hauled home from the lumber yard.
Hiker Trailers, they’re not a teardrop and their not a box but they are built for the trail. Their shape provides a deceptively spacious interior, small on the outside and big on the inside.
Raingler drove across the country to showcase their line of cargo management nets and straps.
Never let a good idea go to waste. This new wheel well table from the makers of Bar Mits utilizes the empty space that has been right under our noses this whole time.
OutbackSwag is servicing the US making with their one and two person swags.
The Activity Group’s display featured a wide aray of essential medical gear including tourniquets and clotting gauze. The type of medical response supplies that you know you need to have but never want to use.
Griffin had three sizes of their pocket tool in steel and titanium. They even had a special Overland Expo edition.
Blue Ridge Expedition Trailers are well appointed inside using bright colors and nicely finished craftsmanship, yet their fully equipped for the rugged trails.
The LT Wright Overland Machete in an easy access mount.
LT Wright Knives on display with their hand made knives of exceptional quality.
Strolling the grounds of the Biltmore Estate
One of the many elaborate rooms within the Biltmore House.