Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival 2016
The Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival (Event Website) is the relative new kid on the block, in terms of US overland events, but is led by experienced overland industry professionals who have taken a proven event model and made it unique to the area and resources at hand. It is held on a large farm in the countryside outside of State College, PA each summer, which provides an amazing lush property to explore, as well as TONS of quality scenic on and off-road routes nearby. Last year I was only able to catch the first night of the Festival (MAOF 2015), as I had family commitments that weekend, but this year I got the full experience. The Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival is an amazing value, and a great time with good people in a stunningly beautiful setting.I’ve given some other overland events fun names lately (Bloverland Expo, Snowverland Expo), as extreme weather has become the norm for many of these overland gatherings. My theory is that if I give them an over the top fun name, that the weather gods might be more kind to the event the following year, hence why I’ve dubbed the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival the “Sweatstival.” It was a VERY hot and humid affair all weekend, which provided some impressive heat lighting and intense thunderstorms. The high heat index for sure slowed down many participants, including myself. While summers in Pennsylvania are hot and humid, this weekend took that to a whole new level. Fingers crossed for a few less degrees on the thermometer, and slightly lower humidity, for the 2017 installment of the event.
I’ll let the photos and captions below give you a little insight into this fun overland event, and hopefully whet your appetite enough that I’ll see you at the Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival next summer.The 220 acre Henwood Farm is the host of the Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival. The property’s rolling hills are great for camping, off-road adventures and spectacular star gazing each night.The lush Pennsylvania mountains surrounding the event site offer world-class on and off-road routes, with stunning vistas.If you want to learn about maps of all types, get detailed recreational maps of the local region and get amazing insight into the best 2 and 4 wheel routes in the area be sure to stop by the Purple Lizard booth and/or catch one of Mike’s classes.The Mid-Atlantic Overland festival truly has a class for everyone. Here Mario, of AT Overland Equipment, shows the ins and outs of off-road trailer maintenance.The experts at Main Line Overland and ARB USA did a great suspension clinic that broke down the various suspension options on the market. The shade offered by the MLO Unimog camper build offered a little relief from the heat.The most spectacular event during this year’s event was the Overland Experts extreme winching and rigging demonstration. They essentially winched an FJ Cruiser up a vertical hillside. Impressive rigging and safety measures throughout the demo.
The nightly “Trophy Challenge” competitions were nothing but big smiles.Boba Fett used some serious right foot to bring his Jeep JK across the finish line in first place, in the keep the water in the solo cup challenge. The final Trophy Challenge was a timed figure 8 course with a ball that needed to be picked up off the cone and then deposited in the bucket. I managed to bring home the win in a Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel, while enjoying the air conditioned seats 🙂One of the final events of the weekend was Scott Brady’s, of Overland International, presentation, “The Anti-Presentation Presentation.” He offered up some pretty spectacular, well told, stories from his diverse world overland travels.Friday night’s “Fireside Chat with the Experts” was a crowd pleaser, and covered a wide range of overland topics.Food vendors on site were quite popular, especially the cold fresh smoothies.Lots of people were introduced to the joys of fat bike riding, which were perfect for the rough, and many times muddy, fields on the farm.Happy hours each evening were a great time to catch up with friends, meet new ones and talk about the adventures of the day.Shade was the preferred gathering place all weekend. The storms made for some pretty spectacular sunsets on the farm!I’ve had the moto itch bad for some time now, and been eyeing up the new Africa Twin. HUGE thanks to Leon at Northeast Expeditions for letting me test ride his new machine. I can confirm that the bike is as awesome as advertised, and needs better tires than stock for real adventures off-road.What other event not only lets you drive a Unimog, but also teaches you how to do it well?!?! I was thoroughly impressed with the relative ease this Mog was to drive, how plush the suspension was and how easily it tackled anything in its way.There were so many awesome overland adventuremobile in attendance, from all over the east coast. Toyota did seem to be the preferred manufacturer amongst this crowd. What’s not to like about a beautiful Unimog overland camper build, besides the poor highway performance, lack of modern safety and comfort features and the purchase and maintenance bills 😉 Seriously though, the MLO Unimog camper build is one of the nicest Mogs I’ve ever seen, and a truly formidable package. The Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival also plays host to the annual east coast 4 Wheel Campers gathering, and there was a wide variety of truck camper builds in attendance this year. This shot was taken in the middle of the night with a long exposure. The entire horizon was filled with thick clouds full of heat lighting. One of the most impressive shows I’ve ever seen.
The Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival 2016 exceeded all my expectations. I got to explore a truly beautiful area, catch up with industry friends, meet new overlanders, learn some great tips from the classes/demonstrations/clinics/fireside chats, share my overland knowledge and drive some truly remarkable vehicles (Range Rover Sport Diesel, Defender 110 Diesel, Unimog, Africa Twin, etc…). Hopefully your summer has been full of overland adventures near and far, and I’ll see you at next summer’s Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival, where we can share tales from our adventures around the camp fire.