Outdoor adventure consumer event Outdoor Adventure X offered an interesting mix of outdoor brands, including overlanding equipment companies, camping trailers, and e-bike brands.
The two-day event included camping, product demos, gear vendors, and education.
OAX consumer and industry attendees came from 19 different states to attend more than 85 education sessions over the weekend including guided hikes, trad climbing classes, trail running workshops, outdoor sustainability roundtable discussions, and wilderness first aid classes.
The event was in partnership with Outdoor Retailer. Attendees at the OR Summer show in Salt Lake City, Utah, on June 19-21 received a free pass for Sunday’s OAX event.
OAX partnered with Weber State University to provide experts to run skills clinics and demonstrations all weekend on the mountain and on the water. The education series focused on outdoor ethics and responsible outdoor adventuring.
(See photos of the exhibitors at OAX in our slide show below.)
The exhibitors at the event emphasized the beautiful ski-resort location as a highlight of OAX. Many said they were making meaningful connections with the visitors to their booths and that they thought the event showed promised as a first-time undertaking even though consumer attendance was on the lighter side.
Sean Kepler, president of truck topper company Tune Outdoor, said he had seen a mix of outdoor enthusiasts stop by his booth, especially people who are interested in overlanding.
“We tend to get people who are design-centric,” he said. “They see the unique industrial design and they’re taken with it.”
For Drew Nordquist, director of operations at gear manufacturer and distributor Equipt Expedition Outfitters, the value in the show was talking to new people not familiar with the outdoor industry.
Visitors to his booth were seeing the advantages of using his company’s equipment to go a little farther, whether that be getting deeper into the woods or away from people.
“This is a nice venue to be at,” Nordquist added. “A gorgeous area.”
While the traffic might have been “a little slow” for Tyler King, marketing director for Thule, he was having useful interactions with visitors to his booth.
“The customers have a little bit more time to check out the products and have a better conversation, learn more in-depth about the brand instead of just one specific product,” he said.
King added that OAX has a lot of room to grow. “The location is awesome,” he said. “A lot of great brands here. I think in the years to come it could definitely develop.”
His company has worked with the Overland Expo in the past, which Emerald also produces, and said he’s had a good experience there, so expects a similar outcome with OAX in the future.
“They have it dialed it in with that,” King said. “And this one is run very similarly.”
Lisa Holland, chief financial officer for camp shower product Geyser Systems, echoed many of King’s comments. She also praised the location and her ability to have meaningful conversations with visitors to her booth.
“We can sit here and have a 45-minute chat with someone,” she said. “Typically I’m not going do that, so that’s been a luxury.”
Holland also pointed out that the first-time show was well-organized, with the vendors properly laid out.
“We’re really hoping the show takes off,” Holland said.
Sticking with the theme of high-value interactions, Aidan Bradney, co-owner of Wasatch Overland, also said the foot traffic was quality over quantity.
“It’s nice because it means that we can spend more time talking through all the details rather than being torn between 10 different people wanting Maxtrax,” he said. “We’re not that kind of vendor. We’re a boutique builder. We can really talk through all the different options that we incorporate into our builds.”
Ryan Connelly, operations manager of video company Expedition Overland, said the majority of people that stopped by his booth were new entrants to the overlanding trend, not necessarily overlanding fans with built-out rigs.
“That was our goal at Expedition Overland, to help encourage people to go and try this,” he said. “That’s fun, to help encourage them to say ‘yeah, this is possible.'”
Bart Schaneman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.