As health restrictions and social distancing mandates took hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more folks picked up Overlanding as a hobby. Many reveled in the opportunity to return to nature, and the Overlanding’s popularity skyrocketed as a result. The Overland Expo Foundation has also benefitted from that surge in interest, and the organization’s first-ever Pacific Northwest (PNW) event proved that the community only continues to grow.
Held at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond, Oregon, the inaugural Overland Expo PNW welcomed thousands of enthusiasts throughout the weekend of July 8-11, 2022. Each day, over 330 sponsors, exhibitors, and vendors welcomed travelers from near and far.
“As a native Oregonian, it’s been a delight having it here in my backyard so to speak,” noted Overland Expo communications director Nick Jaynes, “but truly having the community and a whole new audience show up, that’s been the delight.”
The event also offered educational programs and numerous ride-along opportunities for visitors. Specific to two-wheeled overlanders, the event allowed experienced riders to test the latest adventure and dual-sport models. Aspiring motorcyclists weren’t left out either, with the Motorcycle Industry Council’s “Ride With Us” program showing novices the ropes.
“I really hope the people were educated and inspired, and that’s one of the things that really distinguishes Overland Expo from other outdoor shows is our hundreds of session hours of classes and roundtable discussions,” added Jaynes. “You can learn how to drive your four-wheel drive or motorcycle in our homemade courses here that we spend a week digging up and building, or you can do navigation, or cooking or self-defense. If you think of a topic, we probably have a class for it.”
Just days before the event, PNW staff worked tirelessly to construct the Overland Expo courses from 50,000 pounds of dirt. After such a successful festival, the team will wrap up in Oregon before heading to Loveland, Colorado for Overland Expo Mountain West 2022 on August 26-28, 2022. If this year’s Overland Expo West and PNW installments, the Mountain West edition has high expectations to fulfill. Luckily, we don’t see the enthusiasm for Overlanding waning anytime soon.