Must Attend Overland Rallies in 2019

Must Attend Overland Rallies in 2019

Story by Stefanie Galeano-Zalutko, photos courtesy of Jason Sakurai and Spencer Whitney

Overlanding may be more about the journey and less about the destination, but one thing is for sure—members of this adventure-minded community should mark their travel calendars for these upcoming rallies. Even the staunchest of survivalists, who prefer to indulge that explorer’s spirit with a solitary less-is-more mentality, will find great value in attending.

Camp under the stars and swap war stories from the trail; expand your tribal knowledge by participating in formal educational seminars and rubbing elbows with both experts and enthusiasts; and, of course, familiarize yourself with emerging brands and products from some of the industry’s leading innovators.


Overland Expo West – Ft. Tuthill County Park, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA – May 17-19, 2019

Overland Expo has become a highly-sought-after annual destination. Sara Liberte, a traveling photographer and videographer who has been busy converting a 2017 GMC Savana to a custom home-on-wheels, says the event has a proposed solution for every situation. Anything and everything one could possibly need while venturing past pavement is on display for attendees, including tents, wheels, lift kits, roof racks, solar panels, winch kits, stoves, camp chairs, knives, backpacks, clothing, etc. “This place is your one-stop overloading outfitter,” says Liberte. “If you can’t find exactly what you need to make your stay in the great outdoors all the more comfortable, then I’m afraid there is no pleasing you,” she adds.

What’s more, education is top of mind. “No other event offers the scope of classes taught by the world’s leading experts, alongside a professional-level trade show that brings together in one place all the camping and vehicle and motorcycle equipment and services you need to get outfitted and get going,” says the organization. There is no shortage of knowledge to obtain—basic land navigation and off-roading techniques, tips for cooking on the road or answering the call of nature on extended trips in the wild, hacks for making the most of that fixed blade, and the list goes on.

An Overland Experience package and daily or weekend passes are available. There are bare-bones camping accommodations offered onsite, with wide open grounds surrounded by a pine forest serving as home base for overlanders during the event; a perfect backdrop to mingle with others immersed in or considering the lifestyle, don’t you think?

A limited number of reservable campsites (120) are available in the Fort Tuthill Campground, adjacent to the Exhibitor Area. These areas are equipped with water spigots, grills, and fire rings, in addition to primitive bathrooms, and camp showers. “Groups are welcome to stake out their own areas, or if you have 15 or more, you may contact us to arrange a group camp area (with pre-approval only, well in advance, subject to space availability),” says the organization.

Those interested in attending are encouraged to review the Overland Expo website for full event details, with Expedition Portal, ADV Rider, and American Adventurist being listed as helpful resources too. See to buy tickets. All tickets must be purchased in advance!


North West Overland Rally (NWOR) – Leavenworth, Washington – June 20 – 23, 2019

 Its influence as the industry’s premier overlanding event is undisputed, but the Overland Expo is a large-scale experience that can be quite overwhelming for a caravan of true overlanding enthusiasts who feel most alive in remote landscapes—discovering the undiscovered. If you’re in search of a more intimate setting, North West Overland Rally (NWOR), held a short distance outside Seattle in the beautiful Cascade mountains, is a comfortable grassroots atmosphere.

“A much more family-friendly event, the NWOR is not surprisingly organized by Ray Hyland, an affable Canadian who has achieved a unique balance between the commercial aspects of such a gathering, and the camaraderie of an oversized overland expedition,” says Jason Sakurai in an article titled NW Overland Rally: Wherever I May Roam.

Adding to the flavour of the event, “The diversity in the makes and models of vehicles used in adventure travel are as varied as the owners themselves. In general, the overland group is better educated and more affluent than the norm, but they range in age from seasoned veteran overlanders in their 60s, to Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and even Gen Z’ers in their early 20s,” explains Sakurai.

As with any tell-tale adventure, the warm and inviting glow of a campfire serves as the perfect welcome. Some of the many event activities include hands-on learning, exploration of back-country trails tucked within the Cascade mountain range, one-on-one conversation with vendors, enticing giveaways, and good company among fellow overlanders.

NWOR continues to grow in appeal, with this past year drawing a crowd of 2,000+ attendees. To learn more about the event, visit the website at or Facebook page at


British Columbia Overland Rally (BCOR) – Whistler, British Columbia – June 27 – June 30

 A young but promising event, in its second year, the British Columbia Overland Rally (BCOR) proved its worth by attracting more than 700 off-road enthusiasts across Canada and parts of the U.S. Perhaps you heard of its sister event, the North West Overland Rally, which conveniently takes place the weekend before in nearby Washington state.

If you’re beleaguered by why, the strategy behind having two rallies back-to-back is simple: allow people from surrounding areas to ideally enjoy both events—exploring new trails, experiencing different terrain, and rolling one weekend of outdoor fun right into the next.

“At the B.C. Overland Rally, we bring together some of the overland world’s top travelers, instructors, vendors, and a huge variety of individuals, couples, families, and friends who want to learn new skills, make contacts, meet friends, be inspired, win prizes, and have a great few days camping and chatting in the beautiful B.C. mountains close to Vancouver,” says the organization. “The event not only showcases tricked-out vehicles (from both attendees and vendors), but also hosts several seminars, hands-on training, and trail rides each day. From winch training, action photography, and drone demos to trail welding, morning yoga, wine tasting, and education classes, there’s hours of informative sessions and certainly something for everyone – kids included.”

For a startup event, BCOR has an impressive list of vendors in attendance. Tepui Tents, Overland Outfitters, Off-Grid Trailers, All-Terrain Overland Gear, Smittybilt, WARN, Rhino Rack, ARB, and Rancho are just a few of many. The 2019 event is set to kick off at Whistler Olympic Park in British Columbia, and is sure to appeal to your inner overlander.

Any skill level is welcome at these rallies—whether you’re being baptized into the lifestyle, feeling comfortable in your burgeoning overland capabilities (but looking to upgrade your knowledge and equipment), or coming in as a trail hardened, adventure-grizzled badass surviving on beef jerky and willpower.

Categories: Features, Off-Road Plus