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Overland Expo: Exploring the Nature of Off-roading

What is overlanding?

The term “overlanding” is a combination of remote travel, off-roading and camping, relying heavily on self-sufficiency and can be traced as far back to the Australian Outback, when farmers moved their cattle across long distances as the seasons changed. In more recent years, however, overland travel has evolved with modern technology and has grown in popularity in the United States with people wanting to take a break from the constant goings of our everyday lives, to challenge themselves away from the noise and most importantly, to venture out and explore. With this in mind, Co-founders Roseann and Jonathan Hanson struck up a wonderful idea to bring both new and experienced overlanders together in one place. Thus was born the Overland Expo.

What is Overland Expo?

Overland Expo is North America’s largest professional trade show for overlanders and travel enthusiasts. The expo introduces innovative equipment for the camping life and vehicles and offers classes taught by experienced travelers from around the world. Co-founded in Prescott, Arizona in 2009 by ecologist and writer Roseann Hanson, her husband and journalist, Jonathan Hanson, among a few others, with the purpose of inspiring people to explore and giving them expert instructions in driving and riding. As the popularity in overland travel has increased over the last decade, the attendee list has grown exponentially. Sold to Lodestone in 2018; a professional event production company, Roseann and Jonathan are still heavily involved with the event and are still inspiring others every day to go out and explore the beauty of the earth.

The Purpose

To Inspire people to explore, to give expert instructions in driving and riding and to bring all overlanders from around the world to one place to learn skills, gain knowledge of off-roading and overlanding, travel advice, as well as being a place to purchase equipment, all while discovering new ways and ideas to enhance your overlanding experience. With many classes available at the Overland Expo, you can expect to learn a few things by taking a few minutes to stop and listen. The classes, demonstrations, roundtable discussions and conversations to be had, can be very helpful not only for your safety, but offer extensive know-hows and to-do’s that will be beneficial going forward and ensures your knowledge of safety and survival on your journey.


Thousands of visitors from all around the world visit each of the three locations held by Overland Expo each year. Originally starting off in Arizona, the event has now expanded to Colorado and as far east as Arrington, Virginia, covering the span of the United States. The event sees an influx of overlanders, from novice to expert level, during the run time of the expo. Travel advice, skill training, instruction, entertainment and much more are all offered at the expo. With a combined total 57,000 attendees between all three shows, you can understand how popular this lifestyle has become and without a doubt, will continue to grow.


Hundreds of vendors set up shop at each location. Companies selling wheels, tires, rooftop tents, compact generators, clothing, lights, accessories, swing-out racks, roof racks, winches, food storage solutions, gadgets and a ton more, are ready to outfit your journey with their products. It’s likely that if you come here with a problem or an idea, that  you’ll leave with knowledge and a solution. Adventure and expertise lies within any of the booths you’re walking past during your visit.

Builds and Rigs

The diversity of builds at the show varies from person to person. Some people sell their houses, hit the road, invest in expensive rigs and travel the land for years, while others may be satisfied camping in the back of their vehicles for a weekend. From one million dollar rigs to simple tents and blankets, we’ve learned that there is no wrong way to be a part of the overlanding movement. The journey becomes what you experience in your travels, whether you have a destination in mind or not. The overlanding expo is a great place to meet and make new friends, plan future adventures, discover incredible ideas and to learn from one another.


Another captivating attraction about the Overland Expo, is the ability to set up camp alongside hundreds of fellow overlanders for the entire span of the event. A great opportunity to make and meet new friends from around the globe, you’re able to enjoy and create new experiences with one another. From a price range of $160-$190 a person, you can reserve your space with a vehicle or trailer from Thursday through Sunday and enjoy all the general activities the event has to offer (demos, evening films, slideshows, roundtables).


Entertainment at the Expo comes in many forms. Ride alongs, training courses, skill based learning, contests, giveaways, evening film festival shows and much more are offered for anyone willing to sign up. If you ever find yourself in need of relaxation time, you can enjoy some live music, have a few drinks and grab something to eat at the Oasis bar and lounge.

Event Statistics

The event statistics show an increase in not only attendees over the years, but also in vendors, presenters and media outlets. The event had attendees present from Brazil, Japan, Chile and Portugal this year. Overland Expo West, being the original, sees the most people, in all aspects of the shows. With 28,000+ attendees this year, it beats out MTN West at 17,000+ attendees and doubles the attendance of East who had about 14,000+ attendees. The media outlets, exhibitor list, presenters and number of classes follow suit as far as attendance goes. Each show is set up with a great layout and you wouldn’t be missing out if you chose to attend any of the 1 of the 3 in the line-up.

Our Journey

The REIKA team was able to join the many vendors who participated in each of the three Expo shows this year. We met new friends and caught up with old ones, all while learning much more about the overlanding experience. Our goal is to provide safe, lightweight and durable wheels and lift kits that will enhance your vehicle for any of your adventures for years to come. We are committed to providing both product and knowledge to the overlanding community and look forward to growing our relationship. We thank you all for stopping by our booth and being a part of our experience. Hope to see you all at next year’s Overland Expo!

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 Overland Expo: Why We Roam

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