A Newcomer’s Guide to Overland Expo – PNW Edition 2024

Photo By: Overland Expo
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Since its inception in 2009, Overland Expo has grown exponentially, having expanded to four events, each featuring hundreds of vendors, over 100 presenters, trainers, and VIPs, and more than 500 session hours of education. With so much to choose from, this can be both exhilarating and a bit overwhelming for the first-time attendee to an Overland Expo. With that in mind, here’s a brief introduction to what we have going on, along with some tips to get you going.

Photo by John Allen

Things to Do Before You Arrive

First things first. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, head over here and do that. With your tickets in hand, be sure to download the Overland Expo app from your phone’s app store. The official app gives you access to the event map, event schedule, and an easy way to find the vendors or classes you are looking for. Once you have the app, be sure to select “Overland Expo PNW 2024” as the event and let it download the event-specific data. You can refresh the event data at any time by clicking the circular arrow symbol in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

Once you arrive, the overland world is your oyster. Here are the highlights to get you on your way:

Educational Opportunities

A huge part of our event revolves around education. Classes are open to everyone* and run all day long in our education pavilion, the DIY area, and in some cases, in the vendor area itself. There are a ton of classes ranging from cooking classes in our Backcountry Skills and Culinary Skills Area to electrical and solar systems, first aid on the road, border crossings, overland marketing, and nearly two hundred other classes.

For people newer to the overlanding world or people looking to refresh their skills, be sure to check out the classes in the Overland Essentials Area Sponsored by Midland Radio, where you can get a thorough education on foundational skills like trip planning, map reading, and navigation, communications, and what to do if something goes wrong, among many other topics.

If you are looking for a bit of travel inspiration, head over to the new Storytelling Pavilion, where we have trip presentations going all weekend long. From planning and executing an expedition to overlanding through Alaska and Canada to traveling to your local national park, you’ll find plenty of inspiration from the accessible trip to the aspirational adventure – we have you covered.

Photos by John Allen

If you want to get a little more hands-on, you can add an Overland Expo Training Pass to your camping or day pass ticket during the ticketing process. The OET add-on will get you access to the training provided by the Overland Expo Training sponsored by BFGoodrich Tires and COMEUP Winch USA, focusing on driving skills on our custom off-road course, vehicle preparedness, maintenance, and recovery courses. Training classes will be offered throughout the weekend. You can read more here, but don’t delay! Overland Expo Training Passes are limited!

For those wanting to go deeper into a topic, the Round Table Pavilion hosts roundtable panels and Q&A sessions with our experts. Topics range from travel medicine and wellness to borders, checkpoints, and bribes. Here’s your chance to interact with the people who have done what you want to do.

If you have kids with you, be sure to check out the Kids Adventure Area, where we have kid-centric adventure classes running all weekend long. If your kids want to learn about fire building, first aid, knot tying, or a laundry list of other topics, be sure to stop by. One important note – parents need to stay with their kids at these classes. While the education is oriented toward kids, there is still a lot of great content for parents looking to bone up on their backcountry skills alongside the next generation of overlanders.

*There are some classes that are for Overland Training ticket holders only. However, the vast majority of classes are open to everyone.

Vendors

No doubt, the vendor area is one of the most popular parts of Overland Expo. This year, our PNW event has over 350 vendors, and the number is increasing every day. Just about anything overland-related you can imagine can be found for sale, but the most enjoyable thing may be just wandering around and discovering new and interesting kit. You’ll find some in-booth classes, giveaways, and demonstrations going on in the vendor area – a further reward for wandering about a bit. The complete list of vendors can be found here.

You’ll find exclusive deals aplenty throughout the area, with some vendors offering their best prices of the year. If there is something particular you are looking for, check out our evolving show specials list to see some of the best deals to be had.

BFGoodrich “Find Yourself Offroad” Ride and Drive

Photo by BFGoodrich

If walking around the vendor area gets you Jonesing to get behind the wheel, look no further than the BFGoodrich Tires “Find Yourself Off-Road” Ride and Drive. There, you’ll get the chance to test drive vehicles outfitted with BFGoodrich’s KO3, KM3, and HD-Terrain tires on an on-site test track specially designed to give you a sense of what these tires can do off the beaten track. Pro-tip – the lines can get long for the Ride and Drive, especially during midday. If this is high on your priority list, you’ll find the best opportunities in the morning. Find out more about BFGoodrich’s “Find Yourself Off-Road” Ride and Drive, as well as some info about their other offerings (including a discount being offered on a set of new tires) here.

READ MORE: Overland Expo Unveils 2024 Ultimate Vehicle Build Featuring GMC Canyon AT4X

Relax at the Bivvys

Photo by Overland Expo

When you’re ready to take a seat, recharge your phone, and plan your next move, but sure to stop by one of the Bivvys placed throughout the event. One of these pit stops is sponsored by Hankook Tires, power banks are provided by Yoshino Power, and comfortable seats are available via the camp furniture experts at GCI Outdoors.

Happy Hour

After a fun-filled day of classes, food trucks, vendor visits, and socializing with like-minded overlanders, it’s time for a change of pace. Evening activities kick off with happy hour at the Toyo Tires Oasis Bar and Food Court, which runs from 5-7 p.m. each evening of the event. Thursday’s Welcome Happy Hour is sponsored by Bushwhakka Adventure Gear, Friday is sponsored by MAXXIS Tires, and Saturday’s Happy Hour is sponsored by REDARC. Each night, you’ll find a bevy of food options, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink choices, live music, and a great place to sit, relax, and talk with your newfound Overland Expo friends.

Photo by John Allen

Evening Parties

XGRID CAMPER OASIS Overland Expo Mountain West
Photo by John Allen

After Happy Hour wraps up Friday night, be sure to swing by the Toyota party in Booth FG19, which kicks off at 7 PM. Also, at 7 PM, the Women Who Wander gathering starts in the Education Area. This new event is a great opportunity to hear inspirational stories from amazing women in the off-road and overland communities.

On Saturday night, don’t miss the Overland Expo Foundation Raffle at 7 PM at the Toyo Tires Oasis Bar and Food Court. This is your chance to score tons of prizes while also supporting the Overland Expo Foundation. It’s an Overland Expo tradition and a big hit year after year, so don’t miss out! You can purchase raffle tickets when you get your tickets for Overland Expo online or on-site at the Overland Expo Foundation Booth. Wrapping up your Saturday, be sure to stop by the Honda Booth Party from 7-9 PM in Booth FG7. It’s always a hit with attendees.

Film Festival

Photo by John Allen

If Friday night finds you all partied out or you are more of a film buff, head over to the film festival at the Toyo Tires Bar Oasis and Food Court, where you’ll be treated to a curated selection of adventure films sure to have you dreaming of your next big trip. Are you curious about what we’ll be showing? Head over to our film festival page for a sneak preview.

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