Infinity Downs, just outside of Arrington, Virginia, ended up having the perfect descriptive name as it played host for this year's recent Overland East Expo.
That's because no matter which way you turned during the event, all you saw were tents, trailers, displays and tons of different vehicles extending out to, well, what seemed like infinity.
Of course, all the major vehicle names showed up like Highlander, Ram, 4Runner, Land Cruiser and Excursion. But mixed in with all those larger trucks were plenty of Wranglers and Gladiators—once again showing off the Jeep brand's surging popularity in the overlanding market.
Overland East Expo, one of the biggest overlanding gatherings in the country, filled up Infinity Downs October 11-13; bringing together around 150 of the largest vendors in that segment with thousands of attendees. Numerous expert instructors and teachers also helped provide more than 350 hours of total classroom time on a vast array of subjects. Many consider this gathering, along with its sister event Overland Expo West, as can't miss weekends. Overland Expo West in normally held in Arizona in late May.
"We packed up and drove 15 hours from Wisconsin to make it here this weekend," said Sarah Bishop, who attended the event along with her husband, Sam, and 12-year-old son Michael. "There really isn't anything like it closer to us. (The expo) is a great place to learn more about what we love doing from people who have actually done serious overlanding."
"We love nature, and taking camping trips. I doubt we will ever go on an epic adventure like some of these people, but taking two weeks off in the summer and heading out to a state park is definitely doable."
Everyone who attended the show had access to the vendor area which included pretty much anything you could think of for overland use. Stuff like tents (pop-up, rooftop or trailer), cooking gear, tools, tires, recovery gear, trailers of all shapes and sizes, clothing, racks, coolers, storage compartments and campers—to name a few. Most vendors also had vehicles dressed up and showing off their wares, with many rolling out built up Gladiators featuring an assortment of tents, racks and storage systems.
Additionally, show goers could head to a special educational area and attend a host of instructional classes that ran pretty much all day in 50-minute-long blocks. These could be specialized topics like adventure photography, journal writing, GPS basics, radio communications, map reading, tire pressure, personal safety, backcountry first aid, cooking and food selection. Or more overview sessions like top overlanding products, choosing the right rooftop tent, overlanding as a couple and constructing on board tool kits.
Many experts also held court each day with round table discussions such as traveling in various regions around the world, what to do following an accident, how to solo overland, dealing with checkpoints and bribes, and creating an overland budget.
For those a bit more adventurous, or looking for some vehicle training, the event included a driving course and skills area to help people better understand things like winch recovery scenarios, what to do when a hill climb fails, proper locker use, safe tire changing, picking a line, properly packing and loading a vehicle, and emergency towing.
While the dates are not available yet for the 2020 Overlanding East Expo, the Overlanding West event is scheduled for May 15-17 at Fort Tuthill County Park in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Quadratec Channel Editor