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.