Things got heated at Overland Expo Pacific Northwest 2023. Here’s what was hot, really hot, and scorching hot inside the expo and the surrounding camping fields. Get ready for overland overload.
Overland Expo Pacific Northwest (PNW) was not on our itinerary. We were scheduled to tour Torklift’s new Royal City factory that week and then continue north into British Columbia for a couple of clamshell fiberglass encounters. Then we got a call from Cube Series, a new camper company soon to pop-up in these fine electrons, and arranged for a change in schedule with the Fastgun and SuperHitch team.
Hey, we’re truck campers. Change of plans? No problem! Invitation to visit a new camper company? You’re on! And guess where Cube Series is located? It’s in exactly the same town as Overland Expo Pacific Northwest, the day after our planned visit. Can we resist a gathering of hundreds of fellow truck campers, not to mention their amazing ‘go anywhere, camp anywhere’ rigs all in one location? What do you think?
Think stinkin’ hot. That’s what it was, for three days. I mean 90-plus degrees hot with a searing sun that would practically burn your silhouette into the grass if you stood still for too long. Thankfully, the humidity was in the single digits requiring only copious amounts of water, layers of suntan lotion, and sunglasses to keep you from frying. A hat would have been a good idea if every cap, bucket and fedora I’ve ever attempted didn’t make me look like Gilligan.
Entering the expo, I half expected the majority of the campers on display to be the same that we had witnessed weeks earlier at Overland Expo West. And I was half right and laughably wrong. The funny thing was how there were not only different truck camper brands at PNW versus West, but also the brands that were the same brought different (and often more) campers. Put succinctly, PNW was different enough to be fresh. There is a traveling circus aspect to Overland Expo, but PNW was its own animal. I actually liked it better.
Why? First, there’s grass. Not the Cheech and Chong variety, but rather a lush lawn under your feet. Believe it or not, I saw numerous people hanging out in booths in bare feet. Contrast this with the mostly red rock and dirt of Expo West and there’s a comfy ‘summer party in the backyard with friends’ vibe at PNW that I really dug. That may sound fanciful, but the grass really changed the whole feel of the Northwest event.
Even though PNW had nearly as many exhibitors and vendors as West, the Deschutes Expo Center in Redmond, Oregon has a more friendly layout. Within an hour we could wrap our heads around where things were versus the sprawling maze of West. I’m still not sure if I made it to every corner of Expo West, but we circumnavigated the concentric circles of PNW several times with relative ease. Even walking the camping area was intuitive.
Show Me The Campers Already!
What follows are the truck camper rigs that caught our attention at Overland Expo Pacific Northwest 2023, and then several dozen truck camper rigs from the attendance field. Good times.