To experience the best of what Appalachia has to offer, one must get off the beaten path. Jason Specht of Mountain State Overland helps people do just that. “We’re an outdoor influencer. We promote people getting outside in West Virginia, and around the world, and using their vehicles to get them there,” Jason says.
If you are a YouTube user, you’re probably already familiar with Jason. He and the team at Mountain State Overland produce an “adventure travel video series,” and offer a limited number of guided tours each year. “We take people out so they can go hiking or biking or climbing,” Jason told us. “Or even just camping in a campground overnight. We started doing that and sharing our message about nine-years ago. We picked up a camera and started telling our adventures. We’re dedicated to telling the story of living a responsible lifestyle, while still being adventurous. We try to make the journey between destinations as ‘back roads’ as we can so we can enjoy exploring off the paved roads.”
“We’re an outdoor influencer. We promote people getting outside in West Virginia, and around the world, and using their vehicles to get them there,” – Jason Specht
The team began building vehicles and producing videos in 2013. Since then, they have moved north through the Appalachian Region into New England – and recently as far as New Brunswick, Canada. “The Appalachian Mountains have been kind of our base since we started,” Jason said. “Now we’re moving further west.”
The guided tours offered by Mountain State Overland developed organically, Jason told us. The overwhelmingly positive response to the team’s videos eventually led to numerous requests from viewers to join them on their adventures. In a typical year, Mountain State Overland schedules six trips. The schedule for the following year is released on Black Friday, and the trips are consistently sold out within just a matter of weeks.
When asked what the most popular tour offered by Jason and his team is, he said, “The Spruce Knob, Seneca Rocks area is definitely a popular destination for its beauty and diverse terrain. The West Virginia Highlands is pretty fantastic. We also like to stop our team at a local pub or gas station along the way to positively influence the economy. That’s another big piece of this.”
And positively influencing the local economy is exactly what Mountain State Overland is doing, as the majority of their trips are booked by out-of-state tourists. Jason also explained that as outdoor activities increase in popularity, it becomes more difficult to find less-explored areas. Because of this, Mountain State Overland has numerous agreements in place with private landowners. This allows the team to provide their customers with safe experiences in more secluded areas.
Although all remaining trips this year are sold out, registration is still open for the third annual Adventure X Fest. This is a three-day “adventure base camp festival,” scheduled for September 9 – 11 in Covington, Virginia. For more information regarding Mountain State Overland, or to register for the Adventure X Fest, visit mountainstateoverland.com.