Words & Photos: Mercedes Lilienthal
The West Coast is known as a relaxed place to visit. It’s a mecca for outdoor and overlanding enthusiasts, too. So, it wasn’t a surprise when Lodestone Events expanded further by hosting yet another Overlanding Expo Show: the first-ever Overland Expo Pacific Northwest in Redmond, Oregon.
Nestled in central Oregon’s high-desert region, Overland Expo Pacific Northwest showcased approximately 345 registered exhibitors, 340 classes, demos, and slideshows, as well as a wide array of overlanding-centric rides. Sun and clouds met 16,000 show-goers for a weekend of gear, education, and great conversations.
The inaugural Overland Expo Pacific Northwest was held at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center. It’s a state-of-the-art facility showcasing over 200,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibition space on 340 acres. The grounds are surrounded by several volcanic mountaintops and a plethora of outdoor opportunities to boot. Redmond is an invertible paradise of mountains, rivers, high desert, and outdoor fun.
One of the biggest show attractions were oodles of customized vehicles. Mainstream runabouts incorporated popular off-roaders like built-up Jeeps, Toyota Tacoma overlanders, and Ford Bronco set-ups. Eccentric adventurers included Mitsubishi Delica and Toyota Hiace vans, Fuso-based home-builds, and old-school Land Rover workhorses. Vendor rows included tightly packed booths chocked full of show vehicles and products, as well as everything in between. Electric bicycles and Onewheel boards whizzed past attendees while others strolled the grounds with umbrella-covered wagons carrying kids and dogs.
Companies from near and far showcased their wares. Portland, Oregon-based Led Lenser USA featured German-engineered LED headlamps, lanterns, and work lights—perfect products for on-the-go overlanders. Oregon Adventure Trucks, an overland vehicle outfitter and shop sells a multitude of brands including Goose Gear, EXPED sleep systems, and modular in-vehicle EGOE Nestbox setups. Their booth displayed the new AT Overland Equipment Aterra XL flatbed camper. The Aterra XL features a lightweight design, premium materials, tons of storage, and four-season livability. And, of the 345 exhibitors, multiple tire companies were on hand to answer product-specific questions. These included big names like BFGoodrich, Nitto, Milestar, and Maxxis.
Cawood Anchor USA, a new company, sold simple yet highly effective tent and awning guy line anchors produced by a South African family spanning three generations and nearly 60 years. Cawood Anchor USA was born after an American duo traveled throughout Africa with an awning-equipped customized Jeep JK and Conqueror trailer and used the product out of necessity. They begged the question why a product that costs less than 20 bucks but withstands wind and constant use better than competitive stakes wasn’t sold in the United States. Once they landed stateside again, they imported them for overlanders and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
No matter where you look, overland rallies are popping up everywhere. Each event is different but they’re a great place to check out the latest products, drool over customized off-roaders, get educated about overland travel, and meet great people. They’re a good one-stop shop for all things overlanding.