2009 Abenteuer Allrad - Europe's biggest off-road show - www.abenteuer-allrad.de


XXXpedition was invited by the show's organizers to display the newly built XXXpedition rig, and as the US off-road correspondent for the event. We were also asked to give a daily presentation about four-wheeling in the United States.

2009 is the 11th year of this show. Quickly, it became the biggest off-road show in Europe, providing a good mix of expedition vehicles and hard core rigs, especially in the ralley field. This is where the who's who of four-wheeling meets in Europe!

Although the first day was miserable and wet, over 40,000 visitors and 250 exhibitors turned out over the total of four days spanning a holiday weekend. They were treated to an array of build-ups, accessories, camping gear, and lighting equipment.

Land Rover had a short vehicle course set up to present their trucks in different types of terrain, Hummer offered a steep ramp and side angle course to prove their capabilities. Attractions included a high-rope climbing garden, a presentation on emergency recovery and off-road first aid, and even quad and segway courses (as well as the obligatory bouncing castle) for the kids.

Exhibited vehicles ranged from a two-story MAN CAT which pops up the hard cover second floor over a Mercedes G-Wagen with portal axles on 37" tires, to a Kings of the Hammers rig.

Our presentation on four-wheeling in the USA drew a lot of attention as few people are aware of the pronounced differences in the sport between Europe and the US. In Europe, focus lies mostly on capable long-range vehicles built for lengthy expeditions over several weeks or months (in some cases even years). Thus, these rigs tend to be rather spacious, provide a certain amount of comfort if not complete sleeping quarters, extra fuel and water tanks, and lots of storage space. Since their primary target are the open landscapes of Mongolia or Africa, vehicle size is not that much of a concern.

Our listeners were awe-struck by the extrem build-up of the average US off-road rig and showed a lot of interest in the focus and trend of this hobby.

Aside from expedition trucks, displays included some very fine four-wheeling rigs whose owners had to put a lot of time, money and patience into their build-up. Parts are a lot more expensive in Europe, and public awareness of the sport is not always favorable. Many factors influence the popularity of this activity, including high fuel costs, a negative attitude of the environmentally-conscious public against "exhaust-spewing, fuel gorging beasts", and very strict and aggressively enforced road regulations. Even more so we enjoyed the company of like-minded individuals who eagerly treated experiences, hints and information. It was a great forum to gather information on upcoming products, off-roading areas and parks, activities and clubs, and vacation destinations for the future.