Dude or Douchebag: Overland Expo west edition

overland expo
3 min read

I’ve always wanted to go to the Overland Expo West. Not because I’m a camping enthusiast but mainly because I knew it would be a fantastic freak show. Well, I trust me people, my first trip did not disappoint.

overland expo

Let’s start with the basics. Overlanding is the term people use for exploring by self-contained means– usually using a 4×4 vehicle. This event (now in its 10th year) is held in Flagstaff, Arizona and is meant to introduce consumers to innovative equipment for camping and off-roading. Along with its sister event, Overland Expo East, it hosts hundreds of exhibitors, thousands of visitors and plenty of dogs (see my The Dogs of Overland Expo post here).  But we both know what drew me to this event, so let’s get started.

So many dudes. Seriously.  There the requisite gorgeous Sprinter vans, Land Cruisers, Land Rovers and Jeeps. Duh.  Ok, fine, here are some pretty pictures for you to drool over:

overlandexpo west
overland expo
overland expo

Are you happy now?  But after you’ve seen your 47th Sprinter build, things can get kinda dry. So the exhibitors tend to amp it up a little bit, choosing vehicles that may not occur to the average overlander.  Like this RAV4:

Overland Expo West

That’s right, ladies. You too can convert your carpool-karter into a 4×4 vehicle, complete with pop tent. There’s just one problem, fellas. I think I speak for all moms when I say that I sure as shit don’t want to spend the weekend camping in the vehicle that has hosted over 100 poopy diapers.  I think we’ll take your truck so that you can learn to love the stench of milky Goldfish puree between your seats, too. Onward, dbags!

Um..speaking of poopy diapers. This guy was also at the expo:

overland expo west

That was weird. But I guess leaves will only get you so far.

Guess what else is douchy? Bringing your Porsche to this place:

Overland Expo West

Sorry pal, you may be able to afford it and that’s cool. But know your audience, Jack. These kids prefer solar power to horsepower and lifts to launch control, so don’t come crying to me if you find your car keyed by the time the day is through.  Oh and if someone slashes your tires, maybe the idiot in the SmartCar will have your back.

Guess who does know his audience? This guy:

Overland Expo West

Because there’s really nothing cooler than taking the outdoor enthusiast’s most coveted new vehicles and parking it humbly in the field next door. He’s all, ‘whatever, I know you want me.’ And I like it. Dude.

You know what else I like? Driving through frozen rivers. Really? No. That literally sounds like hell on wheels. 

Overland Expo West SHERP

But if you want to watch somebody do exactly that in one those vehicles above, which is called a SHERP, click here. There were two of these insane Ukranian ATVs at Overland Expo and you bet your sweet bootie Mama took a selfie.

overland expo

Sure, these are incredibly douchy. But they’re hilarious, so I’m in. Looking for something a bit more practical? How about a mini van…

overland expo

An Overland Astro van? Fantastic. That’s pretty rad. I’d pick up my kid’s carpool and drive home straight through the bushes. Try that in a Prius, bitches!   And for that, you’re a Dude. 

overland expo

Oh and while the rest of you are emptying your wallets buying all kinds of fancy contraptions that will survive the apocalypse, this Dude is saluting the milk crate. Because guess what? It works.

Guess what else works? A matte black Bronco with red wheels.

overland expo bronco

Oh I love it. But I’m pretty sure he’s getting wedgies in the Rhino booth right now. Sorry, Dude but they probably think you’re douchy as hell.

So there you have it. The scene was not exactly what I expected and that was great. I can’t wait for next year!

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