Jeep Xperience Guest Article by Sheila J Long-Dolbow –
When I headed out to the Jeep Xperience this year, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I wondered if it would really be an “experience” or just another typical off-road event.
The Jeep Xperience is a Smaller Spinoff of the JK Experience
So, a little background first. The Jeep Xperience event is the brain child of Mel Wade with Off Road Evolution; and it’s a much smaller spinoff of the true JK–Experience.
Now in its second year the Jeep Xperience, with title sponsor Nitto Tire, was held on May 12-14.
This year some of the heavy hitters in the Jeep aftermarket world also decided to sponsor the Jeep Xperience! In only its second year the event was further sponsored by Warn, Evo, Revolution Gear and Axle, and Discount Tire.
If that weren’t enough, the Jeep Xperience upped their game this year with the exclusive use of Wolf Caves, LLC. and Katemcy Rocks (K2) providing over 1200 acres of true rock crawling!
Registrations were limited to 75 rigs providing smaller groups and less wait time at obstacles.
The limiting of the numbers of participants, amazing sponsors, and the exclusive use of two parks truly made the Jeep Xperience stand out from other Jeep events.
Jeep Xperience – First Impressions
Three options were available: light, moderate/difficult, extreme. These were both new parks to me so I opted for moderate.
I must say, I love my jeep. I feel I have a great build in the making and my jeep and I have tackled some challenging obstacles thus far. With that being said, as I rolled in to base camp at K2 Friday, even with my Jeep build being as strong as it is I felt a bit inept and inadequate.
Every rig in sight was rocking at least a set of 40s. There were coil overs, 4+ inch lifts with an array of really cool modifications that I had never dreamed of. I initially felt like maybe my “experience” was not going to live up to my expectation.
But, check-in on Friday was easy at K2. I got my wristbands, raffle ticket, and campsite and started to settle in.
I headed over to pick up my swag bag and for once, it did not disappoint. Mel was under the pavilion with his crew and not only did he take the time to greet me, but he took the time to converse about what trails I had signed up for and what I might be able to expect. I really appreciated that feeling of one-on-one attention that you really can’t get at massive Jeep events.
I got all my gear ready for an early start time on Saturday and then headed back to my campsite to meet some of those camping around me.
Jeep Xperience – Time to Hit the Trails
Our driver’s meeting on Saturday morning at 8 AM provided more information about options for the day. I opted to begin my experience by making the short trip to Wolf Caves. We had a short safety briefing before meeting up with our assigned guide and headed out.
I must say this was by far one of the most fun wheeling experiences that I have had.
The obstacles were challenging but the guides were spot on with getting everyone through each one. The granite rock provides what I would say is the true “rock crawling” experience in that your tires can grab and help pull you through some of the most challenging obstacles.
With exclusive use of Wolf Caves and only two other groups out at the same time it felt like we were the only ones there. After a full day on the trail we headed back to K2 for evening activities.
Jeep Xperience – The Nighttime Fun
We arrived back at K2 to a sponsored meal and evening fun. The crew at K2 did a fantastic job on the brisket with all trimmings. It was a great time to sit down and socialize with others who took different routes and levels of difficulty and share photos and stories of the day.
After dinner, it was time to pull out the raffle ticket. Each participant only gets one raffle ticket! Prizes ranged from PSC steering components, ARB frig/freezer, a pair of Mastercraft seats, and the ultimate full set of the all new Nitto Ridge Grappler tires.
There were no bad prizes or things you would not want to have. All items were donated by sponsors and since each registrant only had one ticket the odds were pretty good at taking something home.
I managed to scoop up a set of gears from Revolution Gear and Axle! This Jeep girl was happy to mark that off her list of things to purchase.
With the conclusion of the raffle it was time for socialization and live music. There were some that were packing up to head out, but many stayed for more off-road fun Sunday morning.
Jeep Xperience – The Final Day
Sunday, we were able to switch parks and I stayed at K2. Again, I cannot say enough about the guides, both those who live and work the park and those who came in specifically for this event.
The terrain is the same and the obstacles were just as challenging. We did not get to go too crazy as the goal was to have everyone packed up and headed out by lunchtime.
Even though the morning was brief, the off-road challenge once again lived up to my expectations.
Jeep Xperience – Closing Thoughts
So, back to the original question. Was the Nitto Jeep Xperience an experience?
It certainly met all my expectations and then some.
Exclusive use of two parks was certainly a huge factor. There were no waiting lines for trails and with limited registration the groups were manageable.
Enough cannot be said about the guides; both the guides who live and work the parks and those that came in specifically for this event. These guys know their stuff and are spot on when taking you through an obstacle. They do not rush you, they are patient, and they go out of their way to make sure you enjoy your time on the trail.
I have been to a lot of big corporate sponsored events and the event organizers usually separate themselves out from everyone else but not here. They are out wheeling with the rest of us, getting to know people, making you feel welcome whether you are driving a lightly modified rig on 35s or fully outfitted rig with every option available.
Being one of the very few Jeep girls there driving their own rig, I certainly appreciated the complete inclusion. For the record, I certainly held my own. No bypass taken here!
The sponsored evening activities and overall general atmosphere made this feel like one big family get-together. Did I mention I took home a new set of gears?
Props to Mel Wade at Off Road Evolution, Nitto Tires, and all the sponsors for putting together a fantastic off road experience for all that participated!
Add the Jeep Xperience to Your Bucket List Now
If you haven’t participated in the Nitto Jeep Xperience, you must add this to your bucket list!
As to where it will be for their third year, that remains to be seen.
I would not mind making a return trip to Wolf Caves and K2. Because of Jeep Xperience, I am now adding the JK Experience to my bucket list.
As fun as the Texas weekend event is I can only imagine how amazing the week-long adventure would be. Check out their Alaska Experience from last year and you will see why it is certainly bucket list worthy.
This is too cool! I would have loved to be a part of that. Went to Wolf Caves last weekend and was an absolute blast.
Hey Cooter! So sorry for the late reply, I’ve literally been Jeeping off the grid for months, but I’m back! Thanks for checking in on the blog. ~ Eric