June 14, 2022
Darren and Morgan Carden began off-roading three years ago and shortly after decided to host an event to connect other adventure enthusiasts.
“We went on a camping trip about two years ago and a bunch of guys were like, ‘Let’s all get together sometime.’ We decided to expand that to others in the southeast so we could have people to ride with," Darren Carden said.
They planned the first event in 2021 within seven weeks of coming up with the idea.
“We wanted to create a network that when we’re in other states, we can reach out to people to have them show us the area. We didn’t just want that for ourselves, but also for others," he said.
2021 had 52 campers and also featured educational courses.
“We got a lot of positive feedback on the education aspect and training classes."
Because the feedback on educational courses, Carden knew he wanted to make them a focus at the 2022 event.
Safety courses at the 2022 event included the following topics:
Carden felt these classes were crucial as safety plays an important role in overlanding.
"Just like me, if I have family or friends that do this, I would want them to go out and do it safely.”
It was important for Carden to include wenching because of the level of difficulty it brings.
“Wenching is one of the most dangerous things we do whenever we go out there. A line can snap at anytime and that’s a bad day when that happens.”
Midland Radio donated several two-way radios to the Southeast Overland Camping Event.
Dean Shirley with East Coast Overland Adventures, a Midland Radio partner, led the radio communications course at the event.
“Radio communication is important in what we do because it’s a safety issue. It’s nice to be in communication with the person leading the trail as well as the person trail gunning to make sure everyone is in the same line," Carden said.
Keeping people connected on the trail is imperative to ensuring a successful trail ride.
“It can be dangerous if someone gets off the trail so it’s important to have a good two-way radio system like Midland’s in your vehicle or a handheld for spotting.”
Carden reached out to Midland Radio for two-way radios because he knew the brand was trusted and reliable.
“We knew Midland was a reputable company that makes great two-way radio communication products.”
Carden said the 2021 and 2022 events are just just the beginning.
“I’d like to see it definitely grow. We had 14 vendors on site and we’d like to increase that, grow in attendance, number of training courses, and number of trail rides. The end goal is to grow the event bigger and better each year.”
The goal is to help others learn how to be safe on the trails, but also continue to connect others with like-minded interests.
“We love bringing people together who like off-roading and camping. It’s great to then help them meet people in various different areas that they can go on adventures with throughout the year," he said.
For Carden, speaking with attendees at the event is incredibly rewarding.
“My favorite part of the event is talking to each campsite individually and people telling me they can’t wait to come back next year. That puts a smile on my face.”