Travel Feature

Campers sharing stories about their experiences at the end of a presentation-filled day at a past B.C. Overland Rally.

New friends. New memories.

That’s what the B.C. Overland Rally at Whistler Olympic Park is about, Christopher Walker.

He’s an Overlanding B.C.-certified training instructor, a role in which he teaches people about the hobby, which combines camping and off-roading.

“We go because it’s simply a ton of fun, with people who are like-minded wanting to have a good time,” says Walker. “Learn some cool stuff. Meet new, cool people.”

The third BCOR, part of the international Overland Rally Series, shifts to Whistler from June 27-30 after outgrowing Sasquatch Mountain Resort in Agassiz.

The first year attracted 550 people, then the second year jumped to 850. Ray Hyland, owner and organizer of the BCOR, is hoping to attract up to 1,200 people this year.

“Whistler is a destination on its own. We’re very excited about not only the infrastructure of the Olympic Park, but also all the exciting things to do around Whistler for people who are interested in outdoor activities,” says Hyland.

Industry influencer Sunny Eaton says along with off-roading, overlanding is about traveling and seeing the world, camping and living differently.

To help people live the overlanding lifestyle, which is about travelling and seeing the world independently, the BCOR will feature several seminars and classes.

Among them are working remotely, vehicle recovery (a popular recovery class include winching, understanding straps and shackles) vehicle trail repair, how to choose a quality repair kit, and others. There is even an optional morning yoga session to start each day right.

“There is so much variety of training . . . seminars to discussions, to the really cool talks in the evenings,” says Walker. “Sample a little bit of everything. Get around and talk to the awesome vendors promoting the interesting stuff they have.”

There are also nightly campfires and prizes. Each evening a free raffle gives away a huge selection of fun prizes around the campfire, everything from winches, driving lights to roof-top tents, luggage, camping gear and recovery kits.

Overlanding is an inclusive community, including singles, couples and families.

Sunny Eaton and her wife, Karin Balsley, are some of the best known. Having travelled from the U.S. to Panama and back, Eaton says they like to participate in the talks and the campfire gatherings.

“The B.C. Overland Rally is really oriented to that community,” says Eaton, a Tennessee lawyer, who is an unofficial ambassador for the overland community.

“These events are about spreading the message of overlanding, connecting with people who have similar interests, and educating people who wouldn’t think about doing something as nuts as what we did.

“When you are travelling on the road long-term like we did, other overlanders are all you have,” she continued.

“That’s your lifeline. They become your friends and your family. One of the benefits of events like these is we get to reconnect with those people.”

For more information or to register, visit bcoverlandrally.com.

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