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Are you an overlander who loves exploring the wild and scenic places of America? Or maybe you’d like to learn more about overlanding. Regardless of your background, experience, or skill, the Overland Expo is the place to connect with other like-minded adventurers.
From classes to demonstrations to new products, you’ll discover plenty to do still having time to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Let’s dive in and look at the Overland Expo events and what you can expect!
What Is Overland Expo?
Overland Expo is an event series for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts. Each year, Overland Expo hosts events packed with classes, inspirational programs, speakers, the Overland Film Festival, roundtable discussions, demonstrations, and food.
There’s a huge trade expo held in four different locations with several hundred vendors selling travel equipment, camping gear, bikes, services, and more. Overland Expo is geared towards motorcyclists, ATVers, hikers, bikers, campers, and overlanders.
Who Founded Overland Expo?
In 2009, Jonathan and Roseann Hanson founded Overland Expo to equip people who want to dive deeper into the outdoors. Jonathan is a world traveler and the author of several books about natural history, sea kayaking, outdoor photography, and wildlife tracking. He has also written numerous articles for magazines like “Outside” and “National Geographic Adventure.”
Roseann is an avid conservationist and overlander. She also founded ConserVentures Charitable Organization, a U.S.-based non-profit that promotes exploration and conservation. The first event happened in Prescott, Arizona, and has grown exponentially since then. In 2018, the Hansons sold Overland Expo to Lodestone Events.
Who Owns Overland Expo?
In 2023, Emerald Holdings acquired Overland Expo. The company also owns Surf Expo. In May 2023, the Overland Expo West event in Flagstaff saw a record attendance of more than 30,000. This event’s reputation and the growing interest in overlanding over the last few years have led to increased attendance. So, it’s safe to say the acquisition was a good move by Emerald Holdings.
What to Expect At an Event
For motorcyclists and ATVers, Overland Expo provides session hours of specialized classes. Class selection starts approximately two weeks before the show. All attendees can participate in roundtable discussions, inspirational programs, and demonstrations.
Hundreds of exhibitors have products ranging from off-road accessories to camping gear to off-grid trailers. In addition, the expo showcases original films from the overlanding community at the Overland Film Festival, where attendees will discover inspirational travel stories.
The event is also a time to gather with like-minded adventurers. Besides the scheduled events and programs, attendees meet for campfires, enjoy live entertainment, and share overlanding stories.
The Overland Expo events are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who want to connect with other adventurers and learn more about overlanding. You can even test new off-road vehicles and check out the latest gear.
Where Are These Events Held?
The four main Overland Expo events happen in four different regions of the United States. Each expo is a three-day event. Because more people participate in overlanding in the West, three events happen annually on that side of the country.
In 2023, there were more than 300 session hours of programs, which included over 150 classes, demonstrations, and activities presented by more than 100 instructors from around the world. The expo ran from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Overland Expo West
The Overland Expo West is held in Flagstaff, Arizona. In 2023, it was held in May at the Ft. Tuthill County Park. The campground has space for 1,000 units, but only Premium Weekend Pass With Camping attendees can camp at Fort Tuthill County Campground.
However, the adjacent Coconino National Forest has unlimited dry camping opportunities. The county park also has an adventure ropes course, disc golf course, and miles of mountain bike trails. Flagstaff is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and overlanders.
Learn More: Click to learn what exactly an overland camper is and if it’s right for you!
Overland Expo Pacific Northwest
The Overland Expo Pacific Northwest is held in Redmond, Oregon. In 2023, it was held in July at the Deschutes County Expo Center just north of Bend. Primitive camping on-site is available in an open field on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s free with any Overland Experience package for smaller overland vehicles and motorcycles only.
Day pass attendees can’t camp overnight on-site. However, more dry camping opportunities exist in the nearby Deschutes National Forest. With its never-ending outdoor recreation and stunning views of the Cascades, this high desert region is an adventurer’s paradise.
Overland Expo Mountain West
The Overland Expo Mountain West is held in Loveland, Colorado. In August 2023, it was held at The Ranch, northern Colorado’s largest events complex. The Ranch sits about 40 miles north of Denver and 30 miles east of Estes Park.
The camping options are similar to the Oregon location, with attendees accessing a large open field for dry camping. Day pass attendees can’t camp here.
Additional camping options exist in the nearby Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and private campgrounds in Loveland. With Rocky Mountain National Park only a quick drive away, there are endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, scenic driving, and off-road adventuring in this part of Colorado.
Overland Expo East
The Overland Expo East is held in Arrington, Virginia. In 2023, it will be held in October at Oak Ridge Estate. This is a beautiful time of year to witness the fall foilage and enjoy the outdoor recreation of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Oak Ridge Estate sits near George Washington, Jefferson National Forests, and Shenandoah National Park.
Richmond is only a two-hour drive. Like those held in Oregon and Colorado, the Overland Expo East also has camping on-site in an open field for attendees with smaller tents, campers, and overland vehicles.
Pro Tip: Should you purchase a used or new RV? There are pros and cons to both. Check out these Tips to Help You Decide Which One to Buy
How Much Does an Event Cost?
Each of the four events follows a basic schedule. There may be tweaks based on which presenters and exhibitors are attending. But overall, the program is the same, with motorcycle demonstrations, roundtable discussions, and educating programming happening all day. In the evenings, the expos host a happy hour, a rally session, and the film festival.
Attendees can purchase several different kinds of tickets. Everyone 15 years and older must have a ticket. There are Premium Weekend Passes with Camping, General Admission Weekend Passes with Camping, Moto Camping Packages, and General Admission Day Passes. Active or retired service members receive a 20% military discount.
The ticket prices range from $25 for a Friday Day Pass to over $300 for a Vehicle Overland Experience Pass. The pricing varies from location to location, and the tickets are per person. For example, if you purchase a General Admission Weekend Pass with Camping to the Overland Expo East event for $195, you’ll also need to pay for additional tickets of $140 per passenger.
The same General Admission Weekend Pass with Camping to the Overland Expo Mountain West event is $155 with a $100 per passenger fee.
Is the Overland Expo Worth It?
The Overland Expo events are the premier events in the United States for adventurers. If you’re an overlander or outdoor enthusiast, you want to make plans to attend one of these events. They do cost a lot, but they have tons of programming, events, and exhibitors.
You can connect with like-minded people and learn more about the sport of overlanding. You also have the chance to see up-close innovative technologies and new vehicles.
Which expo will you attend in 2024?