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The Ultimate Guide to Overland Events in North America

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While its roots can be traced back to Prescott, Ariz., and the first Overland Expo in 2009, the North American overland events landscape has drastically changed, especially in the last half-decade.

Besides the Overland Expo in Arizona, the early years also saw a handful of Overland Rally events, most backed by Overland International, sprout up across the country. These regional events helped introduce thousands to overland travel and were more community-driven than industry-focused.

While the same ethos exists between the smaller local events and massive Overland Expos today, there is a lot more of all of the above.

Overland Expos

Overland Expo has expanded to four events each year and become even more gear- and industry-focused. The largest event is still the original in Arizona, now called Overland Expo West. In 2024, it saw upward of 29,500 attendees and 415 vendors.

The Overland Expo event series is now on its third owner, currently Emerald Expositions (a trade-show event company). It continues to veer away from education and community and focus more and more on gear.

While hands-on demonstrations and moving vehicle training have been greatly reduced, vendor spots and advertising opportunities have been maximized.

Happy hours and parties have also greatly gone down, leaving just those who can pay the high fees for ID checks/security, licensed bartenders, and alcohol from approved vendors.

The Overland Expo events are still the place to get a first look at the latest and greatest gear on offer from the industry, as well as the latest vehicle builds. These events are also where you will most likely meet international travelers — even though it seems like fewer attend each year.

Overland Rallies & Rendezvous

Many of the early Overland Rally events disappeared, but a few still remain, specifically NW Overland Rally and Mid Atlantic Overland Festival. However, a plethora of small overland rally events sprouted up all over the continent in recent years.

While most of these events fundamentally have the same structure/pieces as the Expos — vendors, seminars, hands-on instruction, communal food and drink, on-site camping — they tend to draw a more localized crowd, and focus less on the gear and more on community building.

There are also a handful of rendezvous-type events, which focus more on communal camping and trail driving. These events are usually put on by local clubs/groups rather than businesses trying to make a profit.

The overland rally and rendezvous events tend to attract a few hundred to a few thousand people. Even the largest of them remains orders of magnitude smaller than any of the four Overland Expo events held each year, which can draw 30,000+ attendees.

Defining an Overland Event

There are so many overland events now that keeping track of them all is very hard. And many events have large overland industry components, but aren’t necessarily focused on overlanding. Also, some argue that car camping festivals and RV meetups are just as “overland” as other similar-style events listed here.

That is to say, this list presents a solid starting point but is in no way comprehensive of every overland event you could attend in North America. I purposefully excluded RV-focused events from this list.

2024/2025 Overland Events Calendar

Event Date  Location
Northwest Overland Rally (NWOR) June 20 – 23, 2024 Plain, WA
Adventure Van Expo June 22-23, 2024 Hood River, OR
Touratech Rally West June 27-30, 2024 Plain, WA
Adventure Van Expo June 29-30, 2024 Boise, ID
Overland Expo PNW  June 28-30, 2024 Redmond, OR
British Columbia Overland Rally (BCOR) July 11-14, 2024 Kelowna, BC
North West Truck Camper Rally July 17-21, 2024 Cashmere, WA
Holy Toledo July 25-29, 2024 Toledo, OR
Adventure Van Expo July 27-28, 2024 Evergreen, CO
Adventure Van Expo August 3-4, 2024 Topsfield, MA
Mid Atlantic Overland Festival August 10-13, 2024 Central, PA
Overland Expo Mountain West August 23-25, 2024 Loveland, CO
Descend on Bend August 30-September 2, 2024 Yamhill River, OR
Toyo Tires Trailpass September 6-8, 2024 Big Bear, CA
CA Overland Adventure & Power Sports Show September 14-15, 2024 Sonoma, CA
Adventure Van Expo September 14-15, 2024 N. Lake Tahoe, CA
Teton Overland Show September 13-15, 2024 Idaho Falls, ID
Overland of America September 13-15, 2024 Jay, OK
Vanquinox September 19-20, 2024 Grandjean, ID
Big Iron Overland Rally September 27-28, 2024 West Mineral, KS
Adventure Van Expo September 28-29, 2024 Bend, OR
The Pilgrimage October 3-6, 2024 South Royalton, VT
Overland Expo East October 4-6, 2024 Arrington, VA
Rendezvous in the Ozark October 10-12, 2024 Ozark, AR
Copperstate Overland October 12-16, 2024 AZ
Overlander Project Adventure Summit October 25-27, 2024 Uwharrie, NC
Adventure Van Expo October 26-27, 2024 Ventura, CA
Truck Camper Adventure Rally February 12-16, 2025 Quartzite, AZ
American Adventurist Desert Rendezvous February 2025 Quartzite, AZ
Southeast Adventure Vehicle Expo February 28-March 2, 2025 Starke, FL
CA Overland Adventure & Power Sports Show March 15-16, 2025 Pomona, CA
Midwest Overland Offroad Expo  (MOORE) April 25-26, 2025 Springfield, MO
Overland Expo West May 2025 Flagstaff, AZ

Overland Events

All of these events have their place in the industry, but the overland event space has become saturated. In the past 12 years in this industry, I have personally been to over 10 different overland-specific events and north of 34 total events. Event fatigue is real!

For me, overlanding is about self-reliant, vehicle-based adventure travel. While one can define that in various ways and mean very different things to different people, it all comes down to traveling by vehicle — where the travel itself is the goal, not the destination.

Overland events are great places to build community, get travel tips, learn how to use essential gear, find deals on gear, and generally have a great time with like-minded people.

However, in my opinion, attending overland events is not overlanding. Admittedly, my opinion might fall in the minority in today’s North American overland community. The number of people who ask overland companies for free products to support their “expedition” to overland events is laughable. Don’t be that person.

Go Travel!

While I truly cherish many memories I have from these events, along with friendships made and skills learned, the experiences I like to share around a campfire or pint at the pub are those that I made traveling to new places and experiencing local cultures.

Attend some overland events, but remember that it’s likely more valuable to use your limited travel time and budget to actually get out and explore.

One final thing to note: I lived on the road, mostly in North America, for nearly 8 years and never ran out of cool places to see and interesting people to meet. You don’t have to travel all that far to enjoy the spirit of overland travel.

With that said, most of my most vivid memories are those created in far-off lands, with people who spoke a different language, and when I was uncomfortable in one way or another. Hopefully, I’ll see you at an overland event soon. Or, better yet, I’ll bump into you on the road less traveled.

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