Who’s Behind Overland Expo Training?

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him, we wanted to introduce everyone to Chris Walker, the Director of Training for Overland Expo. Chris is no stranger to the adventurous lifestyle, growing up in the mountains of Scotland and Wales. His younger years were full of mountaineering, kayaking, climbing, and plenty more adventurous activities. During college, he studied Sports Science, which led to a career as a professional instructor in mountain and ocean activities. Now, he’s the head of his own training company, Overland Training Canada, and thankfully, he’s a member of our team. We wanted to take a moment with Chris to chat about the new format of Overland Expo Training that attendees can expect at Overland Expo PNW this year. 

Chris Walker Director of Training for Overland Expo.

Overland Expo: Thanks for chatting with us, Chris. First off, why do you think it’s important for people to receive proper training before heading out on overland adventures? 

Chris Walker: Training is a key piece in overland travel, one that we miss quite a lot here in North America. We are so focused on the consumerism of “stuff,” the items we add to our vehicles, and the pieces of equipment that training is often forgotten or neglected. I think if we can encourage more people to take good training from proper trainers, people can often make better purchase choices, save more money by causing less damage to their vehicles, be more mindful of the environment, and ultimately be safer and more efficient in their travels.

Chris Walker Director of Training for Overland Expo.
Photo by Chris Walker

Overland Expo: And from your perspective, what is the value of the Overland Expo Training? 

Chris Walker: Overland Expo is a huge show these days, and there is a lot to do and see at each of the four events. The training team in the General Education Area and the Overland Expo Training Area have a deep passion and experience to help the attendees learn new skills, have a better understanding of what to buy, things to think about in terms of vehicle modifications, safety, navigation, camp skills, photography, driving skills, recovery skills, vehicle maintenance and much more. I think it is such a valuable asset at these shows and one participants should enjoy and take advantage of. There is so much to learn in such a diverse field of topics, and it’s exciting and rewarding.

READ MORE: What is the Overland Expo Foundation Working On?

Overland Expo: I 100% agree. What can Overland Expo Training attendees expect to learn on the driving course?

Chris Walker: Each attendee has the ability to be guided by a professional career instructor on the off-road driving course. The instructors will ensure you have a solid understanding of your vehicle, its features, and how to operate it in austere environments. The core ethos being technique, tread lightly, and mechanical sympathy. We want you to drive away feeling comfortable, knowing your vehicle a little better, and having some core driving techniques and how to operate it in a way that is centered around Tread Lightly.

Photo by John Allen

Overland Expo: Likewise, what can they expect to learn in the static classroom sessions? 

Chris Walker: There are a wide variety of classes available with topics that include vehicle maintenance and mechanics, trail fixes, equipment selection, how to determine how you are stuck, the forces involved, how to extract yourself from those sticky situations and much more. All the classes are designed so that they appeal and service all levels of participant experience and knowledge.

Overland Expo: Why do you think it’s important to use your personal vehicle during Overland Expo Training?

Chris Walker: Knowing your own vehicle is key. It is your home on the road, your pride and joy, a financial asset. We want you to feel comfortable with it, to get to know it, to treat it and value it as one of your travel team mates. It is important to know it’s features, functions, capabilities so that you can look after it, and use it in the right way on your adventures.

Chris Walker Director of Training for Overland Expo.
Chris doesn’t limit his adventures to four wheels. | Photo by Steve Rogers

Overland Expo: What is your favorite component of Overland Expo Training, and why?

Chris Walker: Overland Expo Training is not just about the knowledge we present, it is about meeting new people, sharing stories, and seeing different vehicles – it is the common interest networking that I think is the best part of it.

Overland Expo: Very well said. Thanks for chatting, and we’re looking forward to working to see you out on the training course!

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