We made it home from our two week adventure in Colorado for Adventure Van Expo and Overland Expo! Show season is off to a great start and after our experience, we want to share our experience to inspire you all to take an adventure of your own.
A Cross Country Road Trip
From Jacksonville, Florida to our first stop in Dillon, Colorado was 1828 miles. The long hours didn’t worry us though, it just gave us an excuse to actually use the shop vans we like to show off! It’s safe to say we were hard to miss going down the road. Two vans, one trailer, one exocet, and our shop truck making their way across the country felt more like a very long overlanding parade. We put some miles on both the Sprinter and Transit and got to stay in some pretty cool spots along the way. From the Titan’s stadium in Nashville, Tennessee to a quaint RV park in the middle of Kansas, we lived the van life.
Thanks to the Garmin Overlander we were able to utilize the iOverlander feature which allows people to save and share camping/ overnight parking spots with others, which came in handy when trying to find spots in areas we were new to. After 28 hours, three overnight stops, and a trek through the mountains we rolled into our first Expo of the season.
Adventure Van Expo, Dillon
Adventure Van Expo was our first stop in Dillon, Colorado. Tucked away in the Rockies and set on lake Dillon, the event had a beautiful backdrop that showcased everyone’s rigs perfectly! How much more “van life” can you get?! The van community showed up for this expo. Both vendors and attendees filled the space all weekend.
Personally, we rolled up not only as FreedomVanGo, but as our retail store, Van Parts Warehouse! We came flush with stock from Lightforce, Victron Energy, Owl Vans, Garmin, and more of our favorite van upgrades. The goal was to bring the variety of the van life community to the people for easy access to top rated gear. Throughout the show people were excited to take advantage of our show specials and find some of the products they’ve been in search of!
Meeting new people and getting to share our story and learn about their van life was one of the best parts of the weekend. Since this show was van specific, between vendors and attendees we were surrounded by like minded people all weekend and talk shop about upgrades, electrical systems, and our collective adventures. There were some friendly faces out there as well! We got to meet some of our online customers for the first time in person which was great to put faces to names! We also got to say hi to some of our old friends and clients who made it out to the show.
Others in the Industry
We were also able to see and get to know other vendors in the community! A lot of local builders showed up for the event with their best rigs. Although there are tons of builders of all sizes throughout the country (52 in Colorado alone) there is very little competitive nature between all of us. Everyone’s style of build is so different and we all specialize in different aspects of van life. This makes it easy to admire other peoples’ work and learn more from each other at events like this.
We got to know AVC Rigs based in Colorado who specialize in custom interior conversion on Ford transits and Paradigm Vans who are custom upfitters that we have had a social media friendship with for a while, so it was great to meet them in person!
We also made some new friends at Tourig and Storyteller which was awesome considering we’ve had rigs from both companies roll through our shop for extra additions. Creating relationships with small and large shops around the country is something you can only do at shows and we’re thankful events are back on track so we have the opportunity to make these new connections.
Overland Expo Mountains
Our next stop was Loveland Colorado for Overland Expo Mountains! This is the biggest Overland event series the community has to offer, and Mountains was the kick off to their season run. Unlike Adventure Van which is van life specific, Overland expo showcases it all. Vans, pop top campers, trailers, motorcycles, offroading vehicles and more were on display and being utilized by vendors and customers alike.
We were honored to have our Sprinter, Riptide, be featured in Mercedes Benz of Loveland’s space which was boasting some of the best builds in the country. It was great to see our van highlighted next to Van Smith and Tourig.
At our own booth we were rocking the Transit for people to check out along with our full stock of van upgrades and products. At such a large event dedicated to all sorts of overlanding, we were eager to please the van lifers in the crowd! We also partnered with Victron Energy for the event and got to help people out specifically with their electric needs whether they were trying to power their vans, campers, or trailers.
Onsite camping is one of the highlights for vendors and attendees alike. It provides a chance for everyone to get to know each other after hours and make new connections with others in the industry. Attendees get to set up their sites, host other campers, get to know like minded people from across the country just to overland for the weekend, and of course show off their rigs! Overland expo is the best place for the community to grow, especially now after 2020 where there was an overflow of first time overlanders.
On the Road Again
After a year of no shows, this fall has been a long time coming! Getting on the road and out to other states for these events is one of the best parts of the business. It’s clear that the amount of overlanders and van lifers are growing like crazy with people excited to get outdoors and learn more, and we’re happy to be a part of the expansion of the community. Our crazy two weeks in Colorado has us ready to take on Adventure Van Chattanooga and Overland East in Virginia in the coming months! The more events the merrier right? As a reminder, these events are for everyone! You don’t need to be an experienced camper to gain something from Expo, they are meant for everyone to learn and have fun, rig or no rig.