Overland Expo West 2022 - What's New

Overland Expo West 2022 - What's New

by Stephan Edwards

Overland Expo West 2022 wrapped up early this week, and Overlander was there to bring you the news, sights, and sounds from America’s biggest overlanding event. With dozens of classes, hundreds of vendors, and thousands of rigs on hand for the annual event, it can be hard to sort through the noise. 

But it's worth it. Overland Expo, and in particular, Expo West in Flagstaff, Arizona, is the place to find like-minded adventurers, all the best gear and vehicles the industry has to offer, and - most importantly - education to get you out of your chair and behind the wheel.

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Averaging over 30,000 attendees in recent years, Expo West draws the biggest contingent of long-term and weekend warrior travelers on the continent. It's a great way to connect with the community. 

The defining characteristic of the Overland Expo venue in Flagstaff is that it is gigantic. From my campground for instructors and staff on the southeastern end of Ft. Tuthill County Park, to the attendees’ campground on the far northeast was a 30 minute walk. Let’s just say I put a lot of miles on my boots over three days, which wasn’t all bad. There were wide open spaces for trying out 4x4 driving skills, ride-alongs in the new Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport, and rigs as far as the eye could see. 

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The weather Thursday through Sunday was mild and just right for spending lots of time outside. There were a large variety of food trucks to sample, a cheerful al fresco bar selling local Flagstaff beer and spirits, of course, a dizzying array of vehicles of all shapes and sizes, and more overlanding kit than you could shake a MAXTRAX at. 

Despite our quest for solitude in the remote places of the world, overlanding is also all about community. We learn from, inspire, and help one another. Whether that's through online platforms and social media, or in the actual physical form we all take in the real world, it's important. It's also encouraging to see how our overlanding community has grown not only in numbers but diversity in recent years. The more different kinds of folks we can welcome into the fold the better. When we increase awareness for land access and encourage education in Tread Lightly! principles across the board, we all win.

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Speaking of education, I presented a class on self-drive safaris in southern Africa, and I was a moderator for roundtables on traveling safely in Africa and how to negotiate border crossings. I had plenty of time to wander through the parking lots and vendor areas, meet some of the world travelers who populated the “Special Vehicles” area, and just generally chill with lots of neat folks. That included Clay and Rachelle from Expedition Overland, who are more than generous with their time and knowledge at these events. I also connected with Tim and Marisa Notier who have been traveling the world on their KTM adventure bikes. The two-wheeled crowd for some reason always seems to be having the most fun.

Clay and Rachelle Croft 

For sure the newest trend in overland travel is the full-sized pickup truck. For the first time that I can remember RAMs, F250s and F350s, and Tundras were dominating the vehicle displays, rather than the old standbys of Tacomas and Jeeps. It's an interesting trend, and I think probably a positive one. We tend to overload our vehicles for adventure travel in the first place, so you may as well start with a platform that, out of the box has the payload capacity and power to handle all that gear.

Oh, and EVs? They're creeping up on us for sure  (very quietly...) - both GMC with their Hummer EV and Rivian had significant presence at Expo West this year. Couldn't make it to Flagstaff this time around? There are three more Expos slated for this year in Oregon, Colorado, and Virginia. Check it out!

XOverland vehicle close upWhat's that I spy? An overlander.com decal? 

RAM camper

Full sized trucks ruled the show stands and exhibitor displays this year at Overland Expo West. The RAM was especially popular, and it looks great in AEV spec

Carbon roof tent
Red Tail Overland's carbon fiber roof top tent (yes, you read that right) was the talk of the Expo. It's a bit pricey for a tent, but you expect to pay for a work of art.

GMC Hummer
EVs are on their way - GMC's Hummer is a very big boy, clocking in at over 9000 lbs. But, it's also capable of 0-60mph inthree seconds.

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Ford Bronco ride-alongs were a popular activity in the off-road driving skills area.

Global expedition vehicle
Huge global expedition vehicles are a pretty rare sight on North American roads, but you're guaranteed to see quite a few at Overland Expo. 

Porsche Cayenne
This Porsche Cayenne Turbo build, complete in famous LeMans "Pink Pig" livery was a huge hit with showgoers. It's aftermarket exhaust system sounded wicked.

Overland army vehicle.
You can expect to see rigs of all shapes and sizes at Expo!

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