Adventure Overland Show 2017
As mentioned in Choosing an Overland Vehicle, this post is about the Overland Adventure Show 2017. Last September I was looking online, as I do nearly every day, something related to overland. I came across the Overland Adventure Show 2017 at Stratford-upon-Avon. I did not find much information, however there were quite good comments on the reviews. So finally I decided to just book a ticket, rent out a small caravan and go for it. I did not know what I would find. My expectation varied from a small meet up between a group of overland enthusiasts, putting me way out of place. However it by far exceeded my expectations, and opened my eyes to a whole world of overland. I wanted to spend some time to share this experience with everyone.
Planning the trip
As soon as I decided to go forward on building up my own rig I started the ongoing process to research. Ultimately, going through forums I wanted a place to check some of these items in real life. Ideally with like minded people who use these products every time they go overland. An expo was the best shot I had, however I soon realised that such expos, are not heavily advertised. Even when looking specifically for them, it is very difficult to know about it until the last second. I remember the weekend I was looking, I had found one, in Germany, the same weekend that was ending.
After a few weeks with no luck at all, I came across the Overland Adventure Show 2017. This was just a couple of weeks off from the day I discovered it. I could not find any sustainable information on it, just a few positive comments. I decided to book the tickets for the whole event. Right after that I booked the flights, and made the daring decision to rent an Easi Campervan small caravan from VroomVroomVroom since the ticket covered camping on site of the event.
Actually getting there
The couple of weeks went by quickly, and tension grew. Luckily a friend of mine joined in for this crazy adventure. We caught a flight to Birmingham which went on smoothly. We quickly met up with the guys from Easi Campervan. They took us to a nearby parking area to introduce us to the caravan we rented. They were very professional and efficient on dealing with us. We quickly sorted everything and were on our way from Birmingham to the beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon. This took us more or less an hour.
We soon arrived late in the afternoon at Stratford-upon-Avon, and headed right to the location, Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse. Immediately it looked promising, a truly large field full of caravans, campers and overland vehicles. In all shapes and sizes, I could not believe my eyes, and already looked forward to start going around the grounds to check out all the vehicle set ups.
First we drove up to the middle of the field, where the organisers were set up. They were very kind and explained to us what was going to happen, that there would be some stalls for the event and even some talks and workshops. Everything came to a surprise for us, since we literally did not know anything about the event. They showed us how the grounds are organised, how to drive around the field to avoid traffic and chaos, and quickly escorted us to our assigned area to pitch up our caravan as per the picture showed earlier.
We quickly set up camp, especially with the ease and how well the Easi Campervan is built. Popped up the roof for more space, turned on the heater, cooked dinner and quickly set up our beds a bit early, so we can wake up refreshed and ready for whatever was organised. The first day of the event, we woke up really early, and immediately I felt excited for the event. From 0700 hours onwards, a parade of vehicles instantly showed up. Vehicles that were all part of the show. One after the other they came in and slotted themselves in the area assigned to them, and it was truly a pretty sight.
Organisation and setup of the show
The organisation was truly stunning, everything was well thought of, plots assigned by kind of vehicle, the event stalls were fenced off in the middle, outdoor workshops had their own place on the outer part of the racecourse, and talks were all organised in meeting rooms. Soon enough the ground got really packed. We started off by meeting most of the very friendly people that were camping with us. Right after that we immediately went around and started planning on how we were going to spend our limited time. We had hundreds of vehicles to see, many stalls to go through, talks and workshops to attend.
We decided to start off with the workshops and talks.
First we met with Overlanding Family, a truly inspiring family that gracefully talked about their adventures of going around the world as a family with two daughters. They walked us through tips and tricks of doing such a trip, such as long term planning, home schooling, doing research beforehand and crossing borders. It really shown through how great such an adventure is, and how much you can learn. And then there is their almighty vehicle shown here under.
Right after that we immediately went through Camper Conversions by Steve Wrigglesworth from Trip Truck, he had the outdoor stand with his amazing truck shown in the book cover above, a book he published with Haynes. He was kind enough to give us a tour of his truck, talking us through the work he put into it. He also answered the many questions we had. We ended up buying the book too. Although the truck is much bigger than my rig, everything can be scaled down or adapted to work for my own.
We then went to Bush Mechanics with David Gunning. He offers training courses on the very important topic of Bush Mechanics, what tools to carry with you and how to go about fixing the vehicle when you are out and about. He did a quick overview and talked us through the tool kit he carries with him. For the limited time he had, it was packed with very important information and eye opening on how important the subject really is.
There were other workshops which sadly we did not attend, however we had to choose due to our limited time. There were workshops regarding Medical, Personal Security, Winching and Sharing your adventure online.
We then went to a few of the many talks. We went to Overland Planning and Choosing the right vehicle and equipment. They were very interesting open discussions on any planning that has to be done to go overland. There was a panel of speaker full of very experienced speakers, with various backgrounds. Two of them were the parents from Overlanding Family. There were many more talks, such as BF Goodrich presentation, and talk specifying going overland in each continent separately. Sadly we missed most of these, since we got lost in going around the many stands.
The stands consisted of many businesses, everyone showing off products relating to overland. I can only say that it is literally my idea of heaven. There were all kinds of products, for all types of vehicles, from parts and upgrades, to complete modifications, tents, trailers, fully modified rigs and even trucks ready to be sold. I can safely say that we spent two full days 0900hrs to 1800hrs just going around the stands. Everyone was really nice, taking their time to explain their product and viable options. A few stands had clients with their personal vehicles as part of the setup to show off the modifications they did. They were kind enough to give us a thorough walk through of their rigs. Below are a few pictures of the stands. One of the stalls is Tuff Trek, who by sheer luck I had placed an order with him on some great quality products and later discovered that Dara, the owner of the company was going to be there. We met with him and he welcomed us. He showed us around thoroughly his stand and some other stands he knew. Going over and above to show us everything we asked about.
It was truly an amazing experience. Organisation was great, people friendly, environment in which you can learn a lot and stands to make you go crazy. If anyone is passionate about overlanding, and wants to be able to learn from experienced people, I highly recommend going to such events. Speaking for myself, I certainly do intend to go again, to this event and if I find similar events in Europe.
I hope you like this post. Next one will be about Types of Tents for Overland.
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