Get Overland Training from the Experts

Mark Farage is no stranger to Overland Expo. He’s been teaching and training at expos for over ten years. And even before that, going back to 1995, he’d been exploring everywhere from Asia to South America, as his work frequently takes him around the globe. We couldn’t be happier to have him as part of the Overland Expo Training team. 

During this chat with Mark, we learned more about his training philosophy and overlanding background. You tap into Mark’s expert know-how at Overland Expo PNW later this year.  

Photo by Overland Expo

Overland Expo: What kind of prior training have you received? (Any times that training came in handy would be great additional information)

Mark Farage: I have had a lot of training – some through defense-related work and others through courses that I have sought out. I try to stay well-rounded in training – from medical to mechanical and everything in between. The core of overlanding and adventure travel, at least to me, is seeing the world and doing so in a self-sufficient way. Being part of training teams like 7P, Cameron Advanced Mobility, and now the Overland Expo Training Team for the last decade has really allowed me to continue learning from others. Never stop learning.

Overland Expo: Why do you think it’s important for people to receive proper training before heading out on overland adventures? 

Mark Farage: I think one only needs to flip to YouTube to see how very simple recoveries, without proper training, can go horribly wrong and, in many cases, lead to lifelong injuries or even death. Further, we can see numerous examples of people overestimating the capabilities of their vehicles or themselves, as drivers, and getting themselves in serious trouble. Everything from trail makeup to water flow rates needs to be understood to safely travel offroad while minimizing the impact on the environment, the vehicle, the driver, and the passengers.

Photo by John Allen

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

Mark Farage: I think it is without a doubt the biggest bang for your buck that you can currently get in the entire technical training arena. There is no other place where you can absorb hours and hours of training from experts for such a nominal fee. It is simply a fantastic deal and further you get to, in many cases, get one-on-one experience and training with your vehicle.

Overland Expo: What do you think attendees need to do in order to prepare for Overland Expo Training?

Mark Farage: I think they need to stop watching Youtube and flipping through Instagram. Rather than spending time seeing what other people have done to their vehicles (often with very little explanation or reason) and where they take their vehicles – they should get out and start driving. Even if it is around the local state or national forest – just getting wheel time and starting to learn how their vehicle responds to different terrain is a step in the right direction. Then, when they come to OEX, they can come without preconceived notions about what they “need” to overland and learn about what they really need vs. what social media says you “need.”

Photo by Overland Expo

Overland Expo: What can Overland Expo Training attendees expect to learn on the driving course?

Mark Farage: I think almost everyone walks away with an appreciation for what their own, often un-modified, vehicle can actually do. Getting seat time and going through obstacles that are often encountered offroad really does two things – one, it builds confidence in both the driver and the vehicle, and, two, it provides a safe training opportunity to learn the hows and whys in a controlled environment vs. out in the wild.

Overland Expo: What can they expect to learn in the static classroom sessions?

Mark Farage: That is a broad question – there is so much to learn – from mechanical functionality of vehicles to vehicle dynamics and everything in between. Learning everything from safe and proper recovery methods (with proper gear) to vehicle setup – all of that is “static” but, so important to developing confidence and a stable of offroad skills.

Photo by John Allen

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

Mark Farage: There is nothing like gaining confidence in your own vehicle – the vehicle you will undoubtedly spend the most time in. It allows you to understand how your vehicle actually responds to terrain and, more importantly, allows you to begin to understand what is and what is not needed to go explore the world.

Overland Expo: Once an attendee gets trained, where do you recommend they should take their skills? (Think of this as a chance to tell people about your favorite adventure spot!)

Mark Farage: I think they should start small and work up to bigger things. Take the family out for a trip in the local state or national forest – explore that fire road and find that scenic view that others may not. Just get off of the pavement and spend a little time in nature. The destination isn’t as important as spending time disconnected from the always-on world we live in. Just get some quality time with friends and family.

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