VOT Detailed Info
Vermont Overland Trophy
VOT participants will challenge both themselves and their overlanding rigs to four days of point to point, punishing, vehicle-dependent overlanding designed to challenge the participants’ vehicle capabilities, navigational skills, driving prowess, camping efficiency and physical stamina all with one goal in mind: to win the coveted Vermont Overland Trophy.
Participants will tackle four days of a grueling point to point expedition using maps and navigational aids traversing central Vermont on unmaintained ancient town byways and country roads. The expedition will include ALL that Vermont overlanding has to offer, everything from lovely, forested two-tracks to all out rock crawling. Interspersed on the route will be “Challenge Sectors” where the participants will vie for the coveted Vermont Overland Trophy by traversing said sectors with a minimum of cumulative penalty points. Most importantly, each day’s route will feature amazing localvore stops at great eateries, country stores, craft breweries and, of course, a daily MAPLE CREEMEE stop!
All drivers will need to complete the entirety of each day’s driving route, tackle the Challenge Sectors and arrive at that day’s campsite by 7 pm with vehicles operational in order to finish VOT and remain in the running. Of course, this is only if you want to stay in the running for the Trophy. As always, you can take a DNF and still just enjoy the rest of the expedition.
In a nutshell, VOT is meant to showcase the epitome of the Vermont adventure travel experience: responsible exploration in well prepared vehicles, camping, navigation, driving prowess, the thrill of a true point to point adventure and appreciation of locally owned and operated businesses all in a setting of unparalleled beauty.
- VOT IS ONLY OPEN TO VERMONT OVERLAND CLUB MEMBERS (guest passengers are, of course, welcome) AND OUR GUEST SPONSOR COMPETITORS (we will have 10 Sponsor Competitors competing and there will be select members of the overland press and a video team covering the event).
- BASE CAMP AND MEALS PROVIDED: We’ll be using VO HQ at Elroy Fullam Farm, 419 Bailey’s Mills Road, Reading, VT as base camp. We’ll meet there on Staging Day, Mon July 30, check in, catch up with each other, have an awesome camp dinner and camp there that night. On Tues morning July 31, the expedition begins and VOT will take us point to point to a new camping destination each night and then back to base camp on Friday afternoon Aug 3 for a tie-breaker obstacle course (if needed) and then, of course, awards and celebrations. Any tow rigs and trailers can be left securely at base camp. For meals, we’ll provide camp dinner on Staging Day and a final celebration dinner Day 4 and both will be scrumptious affairs!
- ROUTES: Participants will be notified of the VOT route prior to the event. Only the vehicle’s driver and vehicle must complete all stages of VOT so participants can feel free to have passengers come and go each day to ride along for portions of the trip.
- NAVIGATIONAS: ALL DRIVERS ARE REQUIRED to have the Avenza PDF Maps app downloaded to a phone or tablet OR YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO START. The Avenza app allows participants to view the VOT routes and crucial trip notes right on the town highway maps used for the event. Once participants have downloaded the maps to their devices using the Avenza app, the device’s GPS functionality will overlay onto the town highway map. Then you just watch the blue dot to follow the route. The maps are stored on the device and can be used even if there is no phone coverage. We will send all of the town highway maps to the participants prior to the event so they can be downloaded to their devices ahead of time. We’ll also give a last-minute instructional seminar on Monday evening to get everyone fully set up and ready to go.
- PLEASE NOTE: One of the major concerns we have for this event is the risk of participants getting lost and trespassing onto private property. Even for those familiar with VT Class 4 roads, it can be very difficult to ascertain whether you are on the correct legal road or trail without these simple but effective nav aids. As such, we will check all devices prior to starting to make sure they are functioning properly. If they are not, you will not be allowed to start.
- STAGING DAY REGISTRATION, WELCOME MEETING AND MANDATORY WINCHING SEMINAR. You are welcome to arrive at the Elroy Fullam Farm base camp anytime before 6 pm on Staging Day on Monday. Registration will open at 4 PM and close at 6 PM. We will hold a mandatory welcome meeting followed by a winching seminar at 6 pm at base camp. YOU MUST GET TO BASE CAMP BY 6 PM ON MONDAY OR YOU WILL BE OUT OF THE RUNNING FOR THE TROPHY.
- Once at base camp, you can set up camp, catch up with fellow participants, attend the check-in/registration (after 4 pm), collect your coveted VOT baseball cap, apply their VOT vehicle decals, dial in your navigational aids, attend the mandatory welcome meeting and winching seminar at 6 pm and carry out any final vehicle/equipment preparations.
- Beginning on Tuesday and repeating on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, participants will depart at their leisure beginning at 8 am. The drivers will use their maps and navigational aids to follow the designated routes, take part in the Challenge Sectors, stop at the localvore stops and featured attractions and find that night’s campsite.
- PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT A RACE!!! All VOT entrants will be driving licensed motor vehicles on public roads and highways. As such, all usual traffic and safety laws apply and will be strictly enforced by Vermont law enforcement officers. See the VOT FAQ page for details.
- Local-vore stops: Vermont is the land of incredibly unique locally-owned businesses, including shops, eateries, craft breweries, restaurants, you name it (Vermont Overland is just such a business). Any overlanding outing in Vermont should include support of these wonderful enterprises. And the more local business owners realize that overlanders are supporting them, the more they’ll, in turn, support us. The VOT maps will include the general location, village or area of the various localvore stop options.
- Fuel/provisioning stops: The route maps will contain suggestions for fuel and provisioning stops en route. All participants will be encouraged to provision as you go as Vermont abounds with wonderful farm markets, small general stores, ice cream stops, breweries, wineries, the list goes on and on. We’ll be sure to suggest both petrol and diesel fuel stops each day.
- Terrain and trail difficulty: All of the roads and trails comprising VOT are town and state highways open to licensed motor vehicle travel. While most of the roads will be stock 4×4 friendly, there will be sections of trails that are very challenging and most certainly require the participants to “recover” a vehicle through, especially the trophy challenge sectors. It’s important to remember that VOT is all about one thing: FINISHING. It’s not about being the only guy to surmount the obstacle without winching. If you break and you can’t fix your rig in time to make it to camp by 11 pm, you may still continue the next day, but you will not be counted as a VOT finisher. You’re going to have to think of the most efficient means to get your vehicle over the obstacles to keep it running well and to save time and energy. In this event, you’re going to actually use your recovery gear and most of it. You’re going to be tired, really tired, so it’s important to take your time and carry out your recovery carefully and methodically. If you don’t, mistakes are sure to happen, mistakes that can cost you more than just abandonment.
- Camping: If there’s any “purpose” of VOT, it’s to test your overlanding prowess. At the core of any overlander’s skill set is one’s ability to create comfort in the wild. As such, camping for VOT will be primitive at best. Prepare for hot days and cool nights and mosquitos too and rain is always a factor in Vermont. This is the time to truly put your overlanding camping setup to the test. Believe me, after this trip, you’ll know what works and what can be left behind.
- Mechanical support: If you suffer a vehicular breakdown that requires professional attention, VOT Technical Director, Rodney Brooks and his team at Performance Unlimited will be on hand to lend a helping hand. Rodney will have a complete roster of all participants and their vehicles at his disposal. The event manual will contain Rodney’s phone number and participants can text him their names, a brief description of the vehicle issue and location (you can simply take an iphone screen shot of your PDF Maps screen and text it to Rodney) and Rodney will take it from there. It should be noted that Rodney will be billing at his usual rates to make any repair or recovery trips.
- Vehicle requirements: All vehicles must be road legal, registered, insured and inspected motor vehicles with at least all-terrain tires, reasonable ground clearance, front and rear recovery points, standard recovery gear, full size spare, working radio and, ALL VEHICLES MUST HAVE A WORKING WINCH. Also highly recommended (if not crucial) for VOT are rocker/bumper body protection, mud-terrain tires, traction aids, fire extinguisher, auxiliary lighting, maxtrax and a chainsaw.
- Completion: To successfully complete VOT, participants must: 1) Complete every inch of each day’s route; 2) Complete all Challenge Sectors; and 3) Adhere to all rules of the VOT Competition Rules (see below).
- THE TROPHY: Each day for the four days of the expedition, there will be two Challenge Sectors. There will be a total of 8 regular Challenge Sectors on VOT and a special Final Tie-breaker Challenge Sector at the end of the final day. The competitor with the lowest time (see rules below regarding final Challenge Sector) at the end of VOT will be the WINNER OF VOT and will be awarded an actual Vermont Overland TROPHY!! Check out the official VOT rules below.
- NEW TEAM PRIZE: "JEEP VS. LAND ROVERS!" We’ll take the top 10 Jeeps vs the top 10 Rovers on points after the four days and the group with the least aggregate points wins. If by chance there’s a tie, then we’ll compare the average times of the Jeeps with the average time of the Rovers in the final challenge section time trial and the group with the lower average time wins the team prize. Non-rover/jeeps may choose either team.
- Final night celebration: On Friday night, we’ll celebrate our massive accomplishment by feasting on home-made, locally-produced fare and we’ll wile away the evening telling war stories and sharing our experiences around the campfire. The finishers will receive a coveted locally-crafted VOT award and we’ll have special prizes for camping setups and the highly sought after TSA (Team Spirit Award). Most of all, the VOT winner will receive the coveted VOT Trophy for the year! Regardless of whether you’re a winner or a finisher, all will join in the final night celebration before leaving for home on Saturday morning.
- On Saturday morning, participants can sleep in, pack up and head out at their leisure.