Paul May, as he put it, “was overlanding before we called it overlanding.” Paul grew up in Utah exploring the beautiful and remote vastness of the state with his parents, developing a love of vehicle-based adventure that has lasted a lifetime.
Learn his story and the story behind his thriving business, Equipt Outfitters, as Paul and X Overland podcast host, Jimmy Lewis, sit down for a conversation on location in Paul’s office in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Paul dives into the history of overlanding, its rise in popularity, and his own definition of “overlanding.”
This conversation is brimming with Paul May’s philosophy, insight, and wisdom that comes from reflecting on over 50 years of adventure travel here in the U.S. and abroad.
Detailed Episode Summary
Part 1 (1:30-7:30) Intro and Background to Paul May of Equipt Outfitters: Paul discusses his upbringing in Utah and his love for Utah and the American West as a place for adventure and exploration. Paul explains how his parents shared their love of traveling with him by going on a road trip tour around the U.S. when he was 9-years-old.
Part 2 (7:30-9:40) How did Paul May get started overlanding and what were his first overlanding experiences? Paul shares his philosophy around exploration, his educational background, and his transformative first trips to Baja.
Part 3 (9:40-14:00) What is the origin story of Equipt Outfitters? How and why did Paul start Equipt Outfitters and what is the story of his business? Paul speaks to beginning Equipt in 2005, his foundational relationship with then Eezi-Awn owner, Jack Stueller, and the importance of passion for what you do in business.
Part 4 (14:00-15:45) The Philosophy of Paul May of Equipt Outfitters: Paul explains how he views “success” and how that perspective shapes his business and his life.
Part 5 (15:45-18:30) Paul’s Relationship with X Overland: Paul tells the story of how he first met Clay Croft, how his relationship with X Overland began, and how it has evolved.
Part 6 (18:30-30:30) How do we define “overlanding” today? Paul provides his view of how we define “overlanding” in the U.S., his own definition of overlanding, and the importance of not getting caught up in semantics but instead staying true to the spirit of adventure and growing in your experience. Paul and Jimmy further explore definitions of “adventure” vs. “trips,” and some thoughts on navigation along with Paul’s relationship with XO team member and navigation expert, Kurt Williams.
Part 7 (30:30-35:50) What are Paul May’s favorite places to travel and why? Paul explains his deep passion for exploring his home state of Utah and his appreciation for the Baja Peninsula. Beyond North America, Paul explains his role with Expeditions 7 in Africa exploring dunes and enjoying the rugged remote country with the country of South Africa. Finally, Paul gets into his solo journey to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, what he learned, and what places are still on his travel wish list.
Part 8 (35:50-39:30) What is Paul May’s Philosophy of Travel? What is Paul May’s approach to traveling? What does he value and appreciate about the experience? Paul explores his values and beliefs related to travel and his love of the people he meets along the way, as well as ideas he has about what we can learn from other cultures as Americans.
Part 9 (39:30-End) Some thoughts from Paul May about Overlanding Security and Safety: Paul explains how to avoid the dangerous spots as you travel, the need to be self-aware, and the value of connecting with friendly locals to help you stay safe. (To learn more about this subject, check out our recent podcast episode with mobility security expert, Mike Glover of Field Craft Survival.)