Expedition Overland 2013 Premier Episode

Expedition Overland 2013 Premier Episode

Expedition OverlandWouldn’t you like to take your love for the outdoors full-time as a career? I certainly would.

There are literally hundreds of enthusiasts who’ve worked very hard to turn their passion into their job, and Clay Croft and the crew from Expedition Overland is one of the most inspiring examples I’ve seen. There has been fodder around the net about how XO is nothing more than some guys (and gals) trying to get people to pay for their adventures. While part of that statement is true, that’s certainly not the entire story. Expedition Overland is about inspiration, passion, learning, and most of all: the experiences that shape who we are as humans.

What we know about this season of Expedition Overland going in is that it’s set to cover the teams 6 week expedition to Alaska and the Yukon Territory. We know it will consist of 12 episodes, and we know it launches today. The episode opens +5 weeks into their adventure, with Clays soon-to-be legendary voiceover describing what adventure means to different people.

Watch Expedition Overland Episode 1This glimpse of what’s to come quickly fades back to the beginning of XO. After a very ‘Discovery-esque’ intro to the episode introducing the crew, the first installment of this series begins retracing the steps that led to AK/YK. In 2011, the guys ventured to Moab to test the waters of both their spirit for adventure and their ability to create inspiring content.

Inspiration for taking your passion to the limits of your comfort zone abounds throughout the industry. You can look to Chuck Wells from FunTreks guidebooks, who took his love for exploring backroads in his Jeep to the ultimate: FunTreks is now the number 1 name in Backroad Guidebooks. Look at Nena Barlow from Barlow Jeep Rentals, Jeep School, and Barlow Adventures: Nena spends more time on the trail than pretty much anyone I know. Finally, no discussion of passion turned to career can be had without mentioning Scott Brady. While he certainly didn’t invent the overland/expedition industry, one could argue that Overland Journal and Expedition Portal are the main reasons it’s becoming more mainstream. Scott, Nena, Chuck, and Clay are just a few examples of the modern American Dream: turning your passion into a career.

Beyond just ‘wheeling videos’, it was clear from the very first episodes of Expedition Overland that their goal would not just be about how vehicles are used to find adventure, but about the stories behind the characters. Not in a cheesy reality-show kind of way, but in a real-world, real-people, just-like-the-rest-of-us kind of way. By taking us through all the events that lead the team to begin the AK/YK Expedition, Clay and Scott reinforce what we all feel when we watch Expedition Overland: Inspired.

If you’re not inspired by each trailer, blog post, and episode of XO, then you’re not reading this post. The mini-adventures of the first XO episodes inspired all of us to turn off the TV, pack a bag, and explore. It’s not always easy (especially with a growing family), and it doesn’t always go perfectly. But isn’t that the point?

The lessons the XO team learned in the beginning allowed them to make smarter choices for the AK/YK adventure. This included a new 2013 Toyota Tacoma that would be setup as an ultimate overland vehicle, along with new gear, and new philosophies for adventure. In this episode you’re taken through these tests while enjoying the awe-inspiring cinematography XO is becoming famous for.

For those of us that watched previous episodes (more times than we’ll admit), this is a good refresher on what’s come before. For those new to Expedition Overland, it provides much needed backstory. Although nearly half of this episode is retrospective, it’s sets the stage for what’s to come in a very interesting and well thought out way.

We get a glimpse of the planning that went into AK/YK, including intended route, needed gear, and the introduction of three new members to the team. While Clay Croft, Scott Cahill, and Jeff Downer would return for the entire trip, Toby Johnston, Rhonda Cahill, and Rachelle Croft were introduced, and we’re told Ryan Erickson and Ty Heaps would be joining for the last part of the trip.

Clay spends a little time going through the new equipment & technical aspects that enabled the AK/YK trip. The Tacoma was extensively retrofitted for the rigors of the trip including suspension, gears, armor, snorkel, electronics, a BajaRack, and new tent from Equipt. The 100 Series Land Cruiser was upgraded with a rear locker, gears, a dual battery system, and additional armor.

XOTrailerAn update on the trailer, new General tires for the trucks, lead us to seeing a little more of Jeff than we may like, and the dry-run for the crew & trucks just days prior to departure. A rainy Montana day has the team venturing into the woods on their shake-down run. A little drama with miscommunication, equipment issues, and a test of production capability result in a small glimpse of what is sure to be an amazing season of Expedition Overland.

During a trip to MT a few months ago, I had the opportunity to sample some of the footage we’ll be seeing in future episodes. Needless to say it will be epic, and whether the great Alaskan trip is in your plans or not, this season of Expedition Overland will inspire you to seek not only adventure, but the amazing experiences with friends and family that goes along with it.