You know that feeling you get when you’re forced to drive on an unpaved surface? Maybe a lane is blocked by construction or the cabin you rented is on a dirt road. You gently, gleefully pilot off the asphalt and onto what feels like uncharted territory — suddenly a rebel, a pirate, an adventurer. Maybe you go one step further and goose it around a two-track to force your all-wheel-drive to kick in; maybe you revel in rooster-tailing mud on your parents’ back forty.
Now amplify that feeling ten thousand-fold, and you’ll know what it’s like to hang out with hundreds of hardcore overland enthusiasts for a three-day weekend. These people are many things: fun, experienced, completely kitted-out and dedicated — but mostly they want nothing but to explore the earth on their terms. Go off the grid for two weeks in the wilderness? No sweat. Literally circumnavigate the globe in a Jeep? Again, a piece of cake. Their vehicles are equipped with the latest and sturdiest of hardware, from winches to tires to suspension mods to tens to kitchen and generators. They are ready to swap stories, scale obstacles and share their passion.
As title media sponsor of the festival, Gear Patrol rolled up in our Mobile Gear Lab: an Airstream trailer decked out with the latest and greatest in gear, from tech to watches to apparel to vehicles. We welcomed scores of folks inside and around our campsite as they experienced in-person and hands-on the whole selection: kayaks, jerky, thermoses, drones, chainsaws and beyond.
If you’re at all interested in the off-road adventure lifestyle and if you love premium gear, this is the intersection. Hopefully, we’ll see you there next year.