How nice it was to get out off the office and head to Stratford-Upon-Avon to the Adventure Overland Show earlier this month. After staying inside trying to keep warm and dry all through winter, it was finally time to get out and about. Sadly, we set off on our journey in the cold and rain…

However, the inclement British weather did not dampen our spirits. We would obviously have preferred better weather, but this was a great opportunity to put our expedition products to the test and see just how good they are.

The day before the show opened, a couple of our team members went to set up part of the Direct4x4 pitch. Harvey travelled down in our ever-popular Land Rover Defender 110 with the auto pop-up ‘Pathseeker’ roof top tent, a pull-out side awning and shower privacy curtain pulling the off-road caravan. Gary plumped to make the journey in our Toyota Hilux with the, what turned out to be incredibly useful, 2-berth camping pod load bed conversion.

Arriving in the mud

Unfortunately, the rain came in heavy on Friday so when the rest of the team arrived the ground was rather wet and soggy. Other traders had even got stuck in the mud! Did this stop the ever-hardy Direct4x4 team? No of course not! Before long we had set up camp and a heart-warming fire was on the go. Plus, fish and chips from a local vendor and a nice beer to relax – rain? What rain!

Most of the team set off to the entertainment tent on Friday night and had little boogie to the disco which soon warmed us up. Then we said goodnight and went to our respective quarters feeling excited about the following day.

The disco

Talking of disco; the newest vehicle in our fleet, the Land Rover Discovery 2 was on display. This had our ‘RoofTrekk’ 4-person hard shell roof tent with awning addon on top. Inside the vehicle, it also included a slide-out cooking station along with an expedition tool storage box full of goodies for the crew and a 45-litre dual zone fridge freezer packed with BBQ and breakfast food.

Finally, the last 2 vehicles on our pitch included our iconic bright orange Land Rover Defender 90 which has been affectionally named Nora by team member Heather. This popular truck had the expedition foldout 3-person roof tent and a massive 270-degree round vehicle awning attached. And then the Ford Ranger Widtrak. This has had a few changes to it recently and it now has our brand-new aluminium slide window load bed canopy - more details on this in future social media posts and blogs. It also has a handy shower privacy curtain AND a hard-shell pop-up 2-person roof tent on top of the canopy as well as some very useful expedition drawer storage systems fitted inside the load bed/canopy.

With all of this on display and being used, all the lovely visitors got to see the products up close and experience them first hand, play with them and discuss various fitting options with our happy friendly onsite team. Nothing beats seeing things in the flesh, even better when they see them actually being used in a real-life scenario.

A quick tour

The rain had eased by Saturday afternoon, but it was still super muddy in those country fields. It was so encouraging to see that this did not deter ones from coming and checking out all our overland camping gear that we are so proud of. The day went quickly by and soon we were sat around a glowing BBQ fire having a feast and chatting about the day.

Sunday was very much the same. Its so nice to see so many people who share our interests, passionate travellers who love to tell you about their adventures. It gives us ideas on what people want and need from us in the future. It’s nice to see familiar faces and hear from ones how they have used our products in the great outdoors. It is also nice when they buy more products because this gives us confidence in our products!

It was nice to meet up with our friends from the Ford Ranger Club as well as see new ones like Off Grid Camp, the place to go if you like your camping on the wilder side! We met the guys behind Mobu the compact utility cube that goes into your van making life easier when you have an adventure. A special mention to Sweetmans Coffee. This artisan coffee was a real treat and is served from a Piaggio Ape and converted horse box. We made a couple of trips!

Very soon it was time to pack up and go. We won’t lie we were very muddy and very tired and the next few days back at our HQ in Derby we were washing off that Stratford-upon-Avon mud that showed up in the most unlikely places!

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