Harding Expedition Company Profile

Harding Expedition Company (HEXCO) is a jack of all trades company in the overland space. Their business is a bunch of puzzle pieces that come together to form a single unique entity.

HEXCO is run by two adventure-seeking people who wanted to build a network of like-minded people across the country. The intent with HEXCO was to combine loves of travel, engineering, and aviation into a viable business.

Elijah Aikens, one of the founders, states, “We didn’t want to be just another overland brand. From the beginning, I’ve tried to make our business structure different so we can focus on building a community and better relationships with our customers and affiliates.”

The difference between HEXCO and other businesses is what they offer in their affiliate program. For a flat rate for the year (or a monthly fee), affiliates can take advantage of several options HEXCO offers in the form of a discount for online items, media services, and more things on the horizon.

The products they offer are familiar to anyone into overlanding and adventure travel. Products from recognizable companies like Baja Designs Lights, Tembo Tusk, Black Rhino, GOAT Truck Armor, and many more can be purchased from their online store.

New for 2020 is its media services package. For an additional $30, you can take advantage of the artists they have on staff. Services include photo editing, logo and branding design, Lightroom presets, and photography contracts (local to them and abroad). 

Another arm of HEXCO is Wander Wear You Are (WanderWYA) apparel, which houses soft goods with designs for and by the community. It might be the smaller piece of the larger puzzle but no less critical. 

WanderWYA is where paying for media services can pay off. HEXCO offers branding and logo services with the media package, which can turn into people getting designs for their own needs and apparel.

The last piece is probably the most exciting. We’ve talked with plenty of people who feel the cost of adventure can be too high. Hope Quests is a non-profit that helps adventurers fund what they love doing while also providing money to charity. 

The thing that makes it unique is it is merely not a funding tool. Applicant teams apply to HopeQuests with a charity in mind and compete against each other to raise funds. Fifty percent of the raised funds go to the charity, 40 percent goes to the winning team, and 10 percent goes into a victors pool. The team that wins the funding competition receives the victor’s pool as a bonus. 

Hope Quests is an exciting take on helping people fund their travels outside of the usual routes like GoFundMe. All-in-all, we here at Michigan Overland 100% support HEXCO and like the direction they are going in. They are a small business worth investing in, and at such a low cost to join, it’s almost a sin not to. Check them out at the link below and make sure to jump on board their affiliate program to take advantage of what they have to offer.

Follow HEXCO on Instagram @hardingexco, @harding.media, and @hopequests.

Link: https://hardingexco.com/products/hexco-affiliate-program2020

One Time Discount Code: iliketoread10

KOAR Thank You

Gratitude is a KOAR principle

“To travel, to experience and learn: that is to live.” — Nepalese mountaineer Tenzing Norgay

I swear it was September yesterday. It can’t be Thanksgiving already, can it? I mean, I am still sifting through photos and memories. Thinking back to this past September and the amazingly awesome weekend I spent with some equally awesome people in the middle of nowhere in an area of Michigan with a name that no one can quite remember how to spell or pronounce. 

If you are not familiar with the Keweenaw Overland Adventure Retreat, let me give you a brief synopsis, a bunch of car camping enthusiasts from all over the Midwest converge on a base camp for a weekend of fun. We have vendors, swag giveaways, clinics, campfire gatherings, and probably too much food and beer.  We spend a large part of the days wandering around the Keweenaw peninsula, exploring backroads, beaches, waterfalls, forests, abandoned mines, ghost towns, and sleepy villages. We hike, fish, swim, bike, rock hound, and stargaze. This event was born out of the desire to bring like-minded skottle nerds together and to introduce them to the stunning beauty and recreational activities available in the Keweenaw peninsula. 

Looking back to the first event we did in 2018; I am especially grateful to host facility Northwinds Adventures owners Carl and Michelle and recreation director, Rob. Without their support and trust, this event never would have happened (I had to convince the owners that our crowd was more the fry donuts for breakfast than spin donuts in the mud kind.) This location was the right place at the right time, and many great memories have been made there.

Our vendors deserve a special thanks for their support and patience as KOAR got off the ground and into its second year. Thank you, TC Teardrops, Xventure Trailers, Venture Overland Company, Auto-Pros Glass & Tire, Brickside Brewery, ChiTown 4×4, and Artemis Overland Hardware for your commitment to a Midwest overland event. We love that you guys all joined in on the fun and appreciated the time, effort, and generous swag donations. Also on the list to thank are our media sponsors, Overland Pioneers, and Voss Adventures. Jeremiah, Brian, thanks for so beautifully sharing your experiences at KOAR, I never tire of watching the videos you make (this is where you pause reading and follow them.)

I don’t feel like I have thanked the KOAR team nearly enough. Jack, Chris, Mandy, Taylor, Jake, Carly, Cody, Peter and Megan, YOU ROCK. From leading trail rides to stuffing swag bags and everything in between, I am so thankful for every one of you. The improvements over last year were a direct result of you all stepping forward and making the event better in every way with your talents, enthusiasm, and love of this community. I heart you all.

Finally, thank you to all the KOAR attendees. Nothing is quite exciting as seeing you roll up the dirt lane in small rigs, big rigs, BIG rigs, filthy or clean, full of dogs, kids, smiling faces, it is a humbling validation that this community, this family, needed a place to gather. Thank you for trusting us and our vision, thank you for sharing it and adding your touches to the story. It is so rewarding to see this event turn into a friend’s reunion and to be able to make new friends that we can’t wait to see next September again. 

Is it here yet? I can’t wait.

Cindy


UPDATE- the dates for the Keweenaw Overland Adventure Retreat will be announced soon, along with other exciting news. Sign up for email notifications on our site, so you don’t miss a thing! https://keweenawoverlandadventureretreat.com/

The Only Gift Guide You Need For The Overlander In Your Life

There are plenty of other sites who have already created Christmas wish lists for. Check them out here, here, here, and here. They’re all good and it means we don’t have to do anything because it’s already covered. And realistically, you could get any piece of outdoor equipment and they’d probably be stoked about it.

However. There is a new product that absolutely no overlander should go with out. This item is going to be revolutionary in the overlanding scene and you will absolutely need to get one for the overlander in your life. It will revolutionize the way they overland.

Honestly, we’re surprised nobody else is doing this. After people start showing this off though, everyone is going to be doing it. So you better get the original. Don’t settle for the knock-offs that are sure to come.

So what are we talking about? Watch the video below and prepare to be blown away.

That’s right. The only item on our Christmas wish list is a drone helipad for a roof rack. Does it matter that we don’t have a roof rack? Nope. Does it matter that we don’t have a drone? Nope. Do we have the hottest thing in overlanding since the skottle? Yup. Well, not yet. We haven’t ordered ours yet. But we’re going to! We promise!

Get yours right here before they’re sold out. So you can show all of your Instagram followers that you mean business when it comes to taking shots with your drone.

DISCLAIMER: This article is completely tongue in check. Just so we’re clear. This is a joke. The helipad isn’t. You can really get that. That parts not a joke, it’s a real thing. But our Christmas wish list is a joke. Mostly because we were too lazy to put something together.

Who We Follow: Chris Burkard

There is no under abundance of great photographers to follow on social media. You can do a quick search for a photographer and find hundreds upon hundreds, all with a stellar body of work to look through.

In our opinion, none of them hold a candle to the epicness that Chris Burkard brings to the table. He is a self-taught photographer, author, and filmmaker from California who has won numerous awards for the work he’s done.

His client list may be long with recognizable big-name brands, but it’s the scope and beauty of the pictures captured on his adventures that captivates us. With stills from every imaginable corner of the world, he brings to life places some of us only imagine being able to go to.

Whether adventure, landscape, commercial stills, or any one of the videos Mr. Burkard has on his website, he takes you on an epic journey.

 

Editors Letter: Failure Does Not Mean Failure

In early May, I put together a trip in the hopes of generating an easy to navigate a route that could be used for new overlanders. I did what I always do before a trip. Pulled up Google Maps with the satellite view enabled and started tracing what looked like roads. A few hours later, I had a pretty good figure eight rough outlined that we would be able to track.

Fast forward to the weekend, and we had a total of 12 rigs and about 16 people. Our meeting spot went smoothly, camp the first night went smoothly, and then Saturday morning the frustrations started. Out of the roughly 200-250 miles we were supposed to do I think we managed 50 going forward. And as much or more going backward.

Both tracks we selected to run ended in dead-ends. To me, this is immensely frustrating as the lead for the group. We have to go back and explain down the line we had to turn around. And both turn arounds were less than ideal. To me, the weekend route was a complete failure.

But failure does not mean failure as the title implies. I’ve made it clear that meeting people is more fun for me than actually doing any trail rides. Our gathered group had great times at camp, and we did manage some trails without a dead-end on Sunday. So the weekend wasn’t a complete failure.

The whole point of exploring and adventuring is to have failures. We, as human beings, learn from our mistakes and failures. It shouldn’t be something to get frustrated over but rather to embrace it as part of the experience overall. Failure makes us better at what we do. The easy route is to go with what we know, and we feel it is safe. But that’s no fun. Sure it was frustrating to hit dead-ends, but I still had a blast with everyone that was there.

I’ll take the lessons learned from this last trip and apply them going forward. Failure will mean we found something new to explore. Failure will mean we turn around and find another way. Failure won’t mean failure any more in the traditional sense.

Nick @ Michigan Overland

Plantnet: The App Every Forager Should Have

If your family is like mine, then you enjoy going for a hike. One of my favorite things while out is looking for wild edibles. I can identify some plants, but I’m no expert. This makes my wife nervous since she doesn’t always believe me when I say, “I know what I’m putting in my mouth.” That’s where Plantnet comes in.

 

How Does It Work?

Plantnet uses the camera on your smartphone to take a picture of the plant you want to identify. Then it searches its database to find the closes match. Once the plant has been identified, you will have access to different pictures, a direct link to the Wikipedia page and a list of other familiar names.

I know what you’re thinking. What if I’m deep in the UP driving up the backside of Mount Arvon and I need to know if the leaf I used as toilet paper was poison ivy or something else. Well even if you don’t have signal, Plantnet will save the picture for you to look up later when it is available.

The app is split up into eight categories. Five of which are continents with sub-sections.

  • Europe and West Europe
  • America with, Canada, USA, Central America, Caribs, Amazonia, Tropical Andes, Martinique
  • Africa includes North Africa, Tropical Africa, Reunion, Mauritius Island, Comoro Islands
  • Asia and Eastern Mediterranean
  • The islands of Oceania-Pacific, New Caledonia, Hawaii, and French Polynesia

That means no matter where your adventure might take you, Plantnet will be with you.

 

Plantnet is available for both IOS and Android users.