Company Spotlight with Travis Hess - OC Overland
Here is our interview with Travis Hess.
Head over to his website to check out the spotlight on us. www.hessreviews.com
"Whats going on everyone, today I am introducing the first community spotlight. When I was looking into doing these spotlights, I wanted to not only bring in the companies making innovative products, I wanted to bring influencers in the community who were finding innovative ways of giving back to their communities. Which led me to the group known as, OC Overland. Many of you who are reading this probably have heard or already know the great group of individuals who lead OC Overland or have been on one of their many group led runs. In the past few months this group has grown exponentially and all for good reason. Having raised thousands of dollars for charities surrounding Hurricane Harvey and donations for the OC Fire relief, they honestly do it all whilst still having fun. So it was a pleasure to have a sit down with them to share with y’all what they’re about. Enjoy."
Who is OC Overland?
Oc overland is the community. When I say that I really mean that, we consist of regular people who just enjoy the outdoors and each others company. This is always why I stress, EVERYONE is a “member” of OC overland. I’ve made countless posts about it, what is a “member” anyways? I just see it as one big happy family. It was around April of this year when I really wanted to start meeting more like minded people around this area (orange County). I wont bore you with details but shortly after my idea I met Kunaal (@tailsonthetrail) & James (@bountyrunr). I bounced my ideas off of them as they threw in their input and shot ideas back. The forum was a great place to meet and connect but I felt like it wasn’t as personable, you don’t really get to know the person like that, so I thought of creating an IG page that would help people connect with each other. Social media is gold these days and I know you have a strong presecnee on there as well, it’s crazy that you can just comment/DM someone and you guys are connected. I mean you and I have been great friends I would say and we still haven’t met in person. Slowly but surely my vision and plan started coming into fruition. Kunaal with his expertise in terrain/mapping, James with his background in video/media all came together with me and OCO came about. I’m more noticeable due to my loudness and personality so people know my face but there’s no I in team and these two guys definitely have had my back and been along for the ride through ups & downs every step of the way. 11k+ in 6 months, that’s all we have to say.
What is the meaning behind the name ? or What is your message?
The name, hm, I would say there is definitely nothing special behind the name besides the fact that we are based out of Orange county, BASED, not an overland group for Orange County, we are just based here with guys that rep us all over!
Our message is simple, all for one and one for all. This community is beautiful and we are not here to change anything, why fix something that is not broken? We are here to help elevate it, to give advice where we can, to help where we can. We aren’t here to take advantage of anyone, we are here to bring everyone together and I would say our track record speaks for itself. GRASS ROOTS.
When was it that you learned of the Overland community and what drew you to it?
For Kunaal, he’s been a backpacker for a long time, which is why he is so good with navigation, I’ve had 2 4runners in my life but I’ve never “Overlanded.” I just camped a lot, I guess you can say what initially drew us into the Overland Community was the vibes, how cool everyone was and we just wanted to meet more and more people with similar interests.
If you were to describe your group in three words what would they be?
HUMBLE. SELFLESS. GIVING.
I must say, I have been following you since the beginning and it truly is amazing to see the growth and positive contributions you and your group are doing in the community? How did you go about getting to this point and did you expect the response to be as great as it has?
I can honestly say 100% I knew the response was going to be this way, I told J and Kunaal since day one if we stick to my vision and my plan this thing is going to blow the roof off. Now, I can’t tell you the secrets or I’d have to kill you, but you definitely have been there since day 1, we both pretty much grew up together you can say lol. All jokes aside, it is a lot of hard work and time that all 3 of us spend making this all work. Coordinating trips, answering hundreds of DMs, throwing events, etc… But you know the saying, if you love what you’re doing it’s not work. As we grew, we realized we had a platform to call on the amazing people of this community to give back and lend a hand. So that’s what we did, we don’t want all the credit, we can throw all these clean ups, and stuff all day, but if no one shows up then its pointless.
What is it that makes OC Overland so unique compared to what seems to be a million other "Overland" pages out there?
First of all, I would have to say, we actually care. Secondly, we don’t charge anybody for anything. Our decals are free, our camping trips are free and we cook YOU dinner, our patches are free. All you need to do is attend our events to receive one! We are working on a way to generate funds to take care of some of our projects so initially we are thinking of having a few things on our site for sale and 50% of the proceeds will be going to a charity monthly. As I stated before, we don’t have “members” or memberships. Everyone is a part of this crew, so a kid doesn’t have money to afford a membership, he can’t be a part of your group? We didn’t think that was right and that’s not what this community is about either so our doors are open to anyone, our following and the community can attest to that. I also, don’t see MANY groups doing what we do, trail clean ups, canned food drives, cooking for people on camping trips, installing mods for people, feeding the needy/homeless, raising money for certain disasters. It’s just different.
As I'm sure you are noticing, the outdoor/overland community is growing at a rapid rate with people from all walks of life, what is it that OC Overland is doing to make the road less traveled an enjoyable experience for both new adventure seekers and the veteran overlanders/offroaders?
Well, you’ve probably seen our pack it in, pack it out posts so we try to live up to what we say. We are always picking up after ourselves and others to make sure our trails are kept in pristine condition. Beautiful locations we try not to blow them up and post the cords on social media, that way these spots stay in great shape. Most of all we tread lightly, we don’t destroy mother nature, we stay on trails and I make sure everyone that tags along with us has great trail etiquette.
What is OC Overland's goal as we get closer to the new year?
We want to close out the year strong, we are at 11k followers and we want to end the year with 15k. We want to continue to give back but most of all, we want to meet a lot more people!
Speaking of goals, I have to tip my hat to you and your team, cause what yall were able to put together and the experience you were able to create for the Harvey Relief event was truly remarkable? Tell me about it.
You know, again, we have to credit the community for showing up. All we did was give a time and a place, our network is pretty amazing, the community has backed us since day 1, and that’s why the turnout was so great - it was close to 400 rigs. About 20 or so rigs left because there was literally no parking. People were circling around the parking lot trying to find spots, the entire brewery was filled front to back when we paused the raffle for lunch. The managers of the place had to call in every person they had to deal with the rush it was incredible. Rigs from Las Vegas came down, San Diego, Ontario – people making 4 hr drives to spend time with us should say it all.
Any other events you are planning or planned events that you are attending where people can stop by and meet the team?
We have three camping trips left to close out the year, a canned food drive coming up on the 11th of Nov with @VTXWHEELS and @socaltacomas, and a toy drive in December. We are working on something big for next year around maybe Spring for the Socal Community so stay tuned!
I think I heard you say that there is an Expo type event for the Overland community in SoCal in the works? Any other info you can put in?
Definitely, we wanted to do something local for the community in this area, we feel like this is the “HUB” as you would say for off road enthusiast’s. We are working with some very talented people to bring this all together; before I give up to much info I’m just going to end it there :).
Any people throughout this venture that you/ OC Overland would like to thank?
Aw man, this is tough, I know we are going to miss some people.. but definitely wanted to thank:
AL, Sean, Rich, AJ, Aaron, Kunaal, Soso, Jo, Chris and James. These dudes were there since we first started and I don’t know if we would be where we are without them. There are a ton of others that have came on board as of late that are amazing, but these guys have held us down for a long time..
For those interested in collaborating with you and your team on future events or swag, what is the best way for them to reach yall?
Best way would probably be at our info email firstname.lastname@example.org or a DM on Instagram!