Overlanding Expos are something that have always eluded me. Every year, Overland Expo East and Overland Expo West make my calendar, but every year something gets in the way. I’m not going to pretend that the distance from my home in Chicagoland isn’t a factor, but I like a road trip, and a little driving has never been the solely prohibitive factor.
Obviously, in 2020 the Expos got COVIDed...just like the vast majority of my other plans (just like the vast majority of everyone’s plans). Not only were we all clamoring for an overland showcase, but vendors and equipment distributors have also been eager to show off their new gear or latest builds to consumers. Enter the Midwest Overlanding and Off-Road Expo (MOORE). The entire industry descended on Springfield, MO, for a weekend to kick off the 2021 camping season. Yes, it was zero degrees outside. Yes, it snowed. But, this is the midwest, and it’s February...we weren’t discouraged.
My son, Quinn, and I embarked on the 8-hour drive on Friday morning. Q had scouted a BBQ joint in St. Louis that he wanted to hit up for lunch. Pappy’s Smokehouse lived up to the hype and turned out to be an excellent stop.
We arrived in Springfield just before 6:00 PM. We took the evening to get the lay of the land, scout out meals for the weekend, and any other notable sites we wanted to check out.
On Saturday morning, we arrived at the Expo bright and early. Since Nomatic Supply had just officially launched a month before the Expo, AJ and I decided not to be a formal exhibitor at the event. I wanted to take the opportunity to walk the floor, talk to the vendors, and see everything there was to see.
I have to say, being my first Overlanding expo experience, I was like a kid in a candy store. I was able to see many of the sweet van builders I’ve been following, such as Storyteller and Ozark Mountain Adventure Vans, as well as trailers from Turtleback, Patriot, and TentTrax...and that was just the cool stuff I was expecting to see. I was impressed with Tailgate N Go’s “Chuckbox,” New Holland Overlands Fire Reflector, USA Made Action Trax. Ultimately I invested in a sweet single-burner Cook Partner stove and Quiver boxes from Artemis Overland. I also picked up a couple Strap Flaps while I was at it. They seem like an excellent concept, and I’ll post a review of them in the future once I’m able to give them a proper field test.
We spotted a Sasquatch in the wild. It was a thrilling experience;)
We also got a chance to chat with Brad from TrailRecon. He brought his new Power Wagon and even newer Red Patriot Camper. The first red one to hit the states!
Perhaps my most significant and most pleasant surprise was just how open and receptive everyone was. I’ve been to many trade shows in various industries over my career before Nomatic, and I understand that vendors need to be personable. Everyone I encountered at MOORE, though, was more than that. They were passionate. They were eager to talk about their products but also excited to speak to me about launching Nomatic. I left feeling like I’d made real connections - and not necessarily just for sales, but as professional resources.
Inspired by the products that I saw and the people I spoke to, the drive home went by quickly. Moreso, I was thrilled to have had the weekend one-on-one with Quinn. It’s been hitting me more recently, particularly now that he’s a sophomore in high school, that our time to do things like this is fleeting. We can’t get out and camp too much in the midwest in February. The MOORE Expo was an excellent opportunity to get that same intentional time...without the frostbite...well we did have Andy's Frozen custard at 11 degrees.
Until Next Time!