Tuesday, October 3, 2017

2017 Off Road Expo

 One of my favorite parts of attending the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah is the vendor show held the second weekend of the event. This show is where the who's who of the off road world converge to showcase their latest and greatest products. Each year the show tends to get bigger with more product available and little elbow room to browse. Until recently I didn't think I would see anything that would compare to it. Well, when I walked through the entrance to the 2017 Off-Road Expo in Pamona, California I learned that there was a next level and this is it.
 The expo is held at the L.A. County Fairgrounds and utilizes indoor and outdoor spaces. Like three warehouses and a couple of football fields. It was awesome. Everything you could ever want and even more that you didn't know that you needed were on display for you to handle. Vendors were there to answer all of your questions and to give you ideas that you may not have thought about doing with your ride on your own.
  The Off-Road Expo incorporates all aspects of the off road community. Here there were pre-runner trucks, UTV's and Jeeps. SCORE off-road racing had a very large indoor display as well as an outdoor area where the drivers got to show off their skills. 
  Jeep and Toyota both had displays that showcased their current model year vehicles and Winnebago showed off their all new Revel 4x4 RV. The Revel is a compact RV built on a Sprinter van platform from Mercedes. It's made to get you farther into the back country and take all the comforts of home with you.
 What has become very apparent to me is that the Polaris RZR is taking over the off-road industry. They were the first vehicles I saw when I walked through the gate and you couldn't throw a rock and not hit one. As far as the aftermarket for RZR goes, I would say they are very similar to Jeep. Everyone has something cool to bolt onto one and improvements are limitless. At this show, however, the RZR builds are built more for the all around off-roading experience. If you want to see the ones built for sand then you need to go the Sand and Sport Expo. Wheel's, tires and CB radios were around every corner and for some reason full LED whips are extremely popular. I don't see the RZR popularity dying off anytime soon.
  Another segment of the community that is starting to take off here in the U.S. is the overlanding side. There were plenty of roof top tents, pull behind trailers and traction devices to peak your interests.
  Of course there was no lack of things to purchase but I think 4 Wheel Parts reigned king. I think they had three tents outside and a very large indoor display that sucked me in. They had enough inventory there that I'm both happy and sad that I may have missed something I needed.
  A unique display that grabbed a lot of attention was the Rubicon Experience. If you were interested in what it would be like to travel the famous Rubicon Trail the expo gave you the opportunity to live it. Sort of. Piles of boulders and off camber dirt hills attempted to recreate what it is like on the trail. However, if you've been to the Rubicon you would immediately see that there just aren't enough boulders to create the Rubicon. The display did peak a lot of people's interests, though, and in my opinion that's a win.
  Here's a tip for anyone that is going to attend a vendor show. If you have something that you are planning on buying do your research before you go. I went to the expo looking for deals on a few different items. I had already figured out the costs at all of the online dealers including Amazon. This gave me the freedom to browse the booths and know exactly what I should be paying. The good news is that I found some of the things I was looking for. But the bad news is I only found a good deal on one of them. I did pick it up, though, and I'm happy to have gotten it. The kids were just happy to have a greasy snack while I shopped. 
 I will always look forward to going to the vendor show in Moab during the Jeep Safari. Knowing that a show of this magnitude exists and has so much to offer will always make me think about visiting SoCal each fall. You will never see another show like it. If you do see one, please let me know. I'm always looking for more parts because when it comes to your off-road vehicle project, there is no such thing as being complete.

Brandan
  

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