Expedition Portal http://expeditionportal.com Thu, 25 Aug 2016 07:43:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk Edition Tackles the Rubicon http://expeditionportal.com/jeep-grand-cherokee-trailhawk-edition-tackles-the-rubicon/ http://expeditionportal.com/jeep-grand-cherokee-trailhawk-edition-tackles-the-rubicon/#comments Thu, 25 Aug 2016 07:43:06 +0000 http://expeditionportal.com/?p=42630 If anyone were to say we have the best jobs in the world, they’d be right. This week I found myself in Northern California on the Rubicon Trail with two Grand Cherokee Trailhawks and 13 miles of trail in front of me. I joined Pearse Umlauf and his crew from Jeep Jamboree USA, who were hosting the Trailhawks and a few folks from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. It is well known that the Rubicon has long been the proving grounds for Jeep vehicles. In fact the entire Georgetown divide, home to the Jeep Jamboree and Jeepers Jamboree, is Jeep central for the West Coast. Although the Grand Cherokee has been appointed with opulent features like a 500-watt sound system, heated and air conditioned seats, and plush leather interior, the boys in Auburn Hills haven’t forgotten why it bears the Jeep name…and a seven slot grille.

I have to give credit to the Jeep executives that ponied up two Trailhawks for what I thought might be a Rubicon bashing. But it is evident that they know what the vehicle is capable of and have the guts to put its reputation on the line. Not only is the Trailhawk available with a 5.7-liter V8 that generates 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque, it has a legitimate 2-speed transfer case, 2.72:1 low range, electronic limited slip, and an adjustable height suspension.

Navigating the 9 miles of the trail to Rubicon Springs turned into a long day. The JJUSA crew tossed a few rocks and were careful not to strafe too much sheet metal (very little in fact), but at the end of the weekend the sleek Trailhawk earned its wings, and rightfully went home wearing the Trail Rated badge with pride.

2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk - Rubicon - 038 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk - Rubicon - 037 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk - Rubicon - 034 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk - Rubicon - 030 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk - Rubicon - 025 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk - Rubicon - 015 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk - Rubicon - 022

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News: Thompson/Center Ram Compass Project http://expeditionportal.com/news-thompsoncenter-ram-compass-project/ http://expeditionportal.com/news-thompsoncenter-ram-compass-project/#comments Thu, 25 Aug 2016 00:47:55 +0000 http://expeditionportal.com/?p=42754 Thompson/Center and Smith & Wesson have assembled a Ram truck project, the vehicle to be awarded to a new Compass bolt-action rifle customer (you can also enter to win without purchase HERE). There are a few things that make this newsworthy, particularly the growing trend within the firearms industry to showcase 4WD and overland project vehicles, but also the general acknowledgement by the industry that aftermarket accessories and quality camping gear can better support the hunter and sportsman in the field. This is all good for the overland market, bringing in more consumers to drive innovation and lower costs. If a new bolt action rifle is in your future, you might also win a well-outfitted Ram truck to haul it around with. www.tcarms.com/dreamtruckgiveaway

2016 RAM 2500 CREW CAB 4X4
FEATURES —
6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel
35” BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tires
Fabtech 2.5” Suspension Upgrade
ADD Custom Front and Rear Bumper with Rigid LED Light Kit
Superwinch TigerShark 11,500 lb Winch
2-Drawer TruckVault included

 

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Conqueror Off Road Campers Now Available in North America http://expeditionportal.com/conqueror-off-road-campers-now-available-in-north-america/ http://expeditionportal.com/conqueror-off-road-campers-now-available-in-north-america/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 07:40:38 +0000 http://expeditionportal.com/?p=42622 In the last few years the North American trailer market has exploded. A dozen new manufacturers have entered the fray and existing brands are expanding their offerings with each successive season. Just when it appeared things had reached a saturation point, another trailer option entered the mix––but with a twist.

The latest entry in the North American trailer market is no upstart or hobby business housed in someone’s garage. For over 25 years, Conqueror Off Road Campers has provided overlanders with rugged, capable, and well-appointed trailers built for the demands of extended backcountry travel. Used extensively in the Outback and across the harsh expanses of Africa and beyond, they are certainly well proven. They have also been as rare as hen’s teeth here in the states––until now.

Based in Ohio, Conqueror North America is bringing these pinnacle trailers Stateside with turn-key campers. Buyers can even select from a list of available options just as they could if they were buying direct from the factory in South Africa. The initial offering includes four models ranging from compact and comfortable to positively opulent. All of them come with Conqueror’s legendary off-road capability.

 

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The engineers at Conqueror understand well how to build a trailer for the unique demands of the overlander. They know the enemy of a trailer can be many seemingly innocuous things. Constant vibrations, dust and water intrusion, and repeated hard impacts all conspire to destroy trailers, so they have created designs and manufacturing processes that address those challenges. Complexity is kept to a minimum without limiting designs. CNC machining methods are paired to rivets and high modulus polyurethane bonding agents to join components much the way it is done in the aerospace industry. Even the frame is hot-dip galvanized to reduce the risk of corrosion over time. The end result is a product with maximum strength, minimal weight, and excellent long-term durability. Their robust suspension systems ensure years of hard use and possess the off-road capability required to access the remote camping locations overlanders favor.

 

With a deposit to delivery time of 8-14 weeks, and no importation hurdles to navigate, the North American overlander can now drive away with Australia’s finest with no hassles or headaches.

 

 

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For more information, click on the banner below:

 

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Buyers Guide: Portable Fridge-Freezers http://expeditionportal.com/buyers-guide-portable-fridge-freezers/ http://expeditionportal.com/buyers-guide-portable-fridge-freezers/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 09:30:22 +0000 http://expeditionportal.com/?p=41354 Fridge freezers are by far one of the most welcomed additions to any overlanding kit. They absolutely change the way you eat in the back country and can raise your culinary game to the next level. True, you can certainly live without one, but once you take the plunge you’ll wonder why you didn’t break the ice leash sooner. There are several advantages, and very few disadvantages to switching from a cooler to a fridge/freezer. However, we won’t be arguing for or against either here, instead we have compiled an alphabetical list of quality fridge freezers that are sure to accommodate your beer payload and provide you with years of dutiful service. If you are interested in a head to head comparison of fridge versus coolers, you can find that in a previous article here.

fridge guide (2)

Below, you will find several high end refrigerator manufacturers. Each brand was carefully chosen for this list based on quality factors such as construction, compressor manufacturer, and overall durability. Many of the examples listed below have been owned and/or tested by Expedition Portal staff at some point. However, we hold no specific allegiance to any particular brand and have chosen our personal fridge freezers based on our own specific tastes and needs. We suggest that you do the same.

Christophe Selects07

Things to consider:

  1. Amperage draw: The higher the draw, the greater the demands on your electrical system. If power draw is too great, you will need to consider supplementing your starting battery. If voltage drops below a specified amount, the fridge will turn off to ensure that you can start your vehicle. Obviously, this can spoil your food and trip. You can avoid this issue by either choosing a fridge with a relatively low amperage draw, by adding a second battery, solar, or both. A jumper pack can also rescue a dead battery.
  2. Clearance: The mechanical/electrical components of the fridge freezer require airflow to function properly. This requires leaving space around the fridge to maintain this airflow *Consult your user manual for specific space requirements -you may find it helpful to review the online PDF manuals where available to determine if this is a limiting factor for your setup.
  3. Wiring: This goes back to number 1 above. Factory wiring is often too small to handle the current draw required by almost all fridge freezers on the market -which tend to start at 2.5 amps and increase from there. This means you will likely need to run a separate wire from your battery to the fridge in order to accommodate the increased electrical demands.
  4. Compressor: With the exception of a few brands and models listed below, all use the same brand and model of compressor: Danfoss, particularly, the BD35F. This means that the proprietary advantages of one fridge over another primarily comes in the form of insulation materials and thickness, compressor controls, temperature monitors, electronics, and construction materials. Many claim to use “higher quality compressors than the competition” when in reality, they likely share the same brand and model. To help with you make an informed decision, we have provided the compressor brand of each brand and model listed below.

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list. In fact, there are countless 12 volt fridge freezers popping up all the time. We chose to provide the following brands based on two factors: availability in the United States, and high quality. If find that we have missed any key models or brands, please drop us a note in the comment section below.

 

 

ARB


“ARB Fridge Freezers are the ideal way to keep your food and beverages chilled or frozen on your 4×4 adventures, regardless of ambient conditions. Not to be confused with less effective 12 volt ‘coolers’, the ARB unit is a true refrigerator/freezer. Own one and you’ll never again find your lunch water- logged by shifting ice, and there’ll always be a cold drink on hand during the sweltering summer months.” -ARB

arb_fridge_various_sizes

ARB: 37 qt Fridge/Freezer

Offroad Images Studio Photography

Price: $849

Model: 10800351

Capacity:

-37 qt

Features:

-Integrated digital control panel

-Drain plug

-Internal LED light

-Recessed powder coat steel fixed carry handles

-Integrated battery protection system

-Removable lid; removable internal basket

-Separate dairy/fruit compartment

-Right angle power plug for additional clearance

-Operates at angles up to 30*

-Optional transit bag adds insulation and physical protection

-3 yr warranty

Weight:

-46.6 lb

External Dimensions:

-H16.9” x W15” x L27.8”

Current Draw:

-0.7 to 2.3 amp/hr @12 volts

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Danfoss BD35F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Powder coated zinc steel cabinet shell; UV stable, injection molded lid

 

ARB: 50 qt Fridge/Freezer

fridge guide (1)

Price: $924

Model: 10800472

Capacity:

-50 qt

Features:

-Integrated digital control panel

-Drain plug

-Internal LED light

-Recessed powder coat steel fixed carry handles

-Integrated battery protection system

-Removable lid; removable internal basket

-Separate dairy/fruit compartment

-Right angle power plug for additional clearance

-Operates at angles up to 30*

-Optional transit bag adds insulation and physical protection

-3 yr warranty

Weight:

-53 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H20” x W27.76” x L14.96”

Current Draw:

-0.7 to 2.3 amp/hr @12 volts

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Danfoss BD35F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Powder coated zinc steel cabinet shell; UV stable, injection molded lid

 

ARB: 63 qt Fridge/Freezer

Offroad Images Studio Photography

Price: $1092 

Model: 10800602

Capacity:

-63 qt

Features:

-Integrated digital control panel

-Drain plug

-Internal LED light

-Recessed powder coat steel fixed carry handles

-Integrated battery protection system

-Removable lid; removable internal basket

-Separate dairy/fruit compartment

-Right angle power plug for additional clearance

-Operates at angles up to 30*

-Optional transit bag adds insulation and physical protection

-3 yr warranty

Weight:

-54 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H16.9” x W19.7” x L33.3”

Current Draw:

-0.7 to 2.3 amp/hr @12 volts

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Danfoss BD35F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Powder coated zinc steel cabinet shell; UV stable, injection molded lid

 

ARB: 82 qt Fridge/Freezer

arb10800782-2

Price: $1294

Model: 10800782

Capacity:

-82 qt

Features:

-Integrated digital control panel

-Drain plug

-Internal LED light

-Recessed powder coat steel fixed carry handles

-Integrated battery protection system

-Removable lid; removable internal basket

-Separate dairy/fruit compartment

-Right angle power plug for additional clearance

-Operates at angles up to 30*

-Optional transit bag adds insulation and physical protection

-3 yr warranty

Weight:

-59.7 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H20” x W17.7” x L33.3”

Current Draw:

-0.7 to 2.3 amp/hr @12 volts

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Danfoss BD50F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Powder coated zinc steel cabinet shell; UV stable, injection molded lid

 

 

Dometic


Dometic recently revealed the 26 liter fridge freezer at Overland Expo West. This smaller unit is part of the company’s expansive line of heavy duty CFX model fridge freezers.  Dometic has been producing cooling equipment since 1968. They produce refrigerator and freezer solutions for home, boating, trucking and yes, overlanding applications.

Dometic: 26 Liter Fridge/Freezer

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Price: $608.99

Model: CFX-28

Capacity:

-27 at

Features:

-Soft touch digital controls

-Quick chill/turbo function

-Strong hinges, latches, and drop-down handles

-Memories maintains preset temperatures when shut off

-Internal LED light

-Holds 31 12 oz cans

Weight:

-36.4 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H16.75”  x W13.5”  x L24.5”

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Waeco

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Polypropylene exterior

 

Dometic: 35 Liter Fridge/Freezer

CFX-and-accessories-460px

Price: $525.56

Model: CFX-35

Capacity:

-37 qt

Features:

-Soft touch digital controls

-Quick chill/turbo function

-Strong hinges, latches, and drop-down handles

-Memories maintains preset temperatures when shut off

-Internal LED light

-Holds 47 12 oz cans

Weight:

- 39 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H16”  x W16”  x L27”

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Waeco

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Polypropylene exterior

 

Dometic: 41 Liter Fridge/Freezer

88488n-dometic

Price: $679.99

Model: CFX-40

Capacity:

-43 qt

Features:

-Soft touch digital controls

-Quick chill/turbo function

-Strong hinges, latches, and drop-down handles

-Memories maintains preset temperatures when shut off

-Internal LED light

-Holds 60 12 oz cans

Weight:

- 41 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H15.7”  x W18.1”  x L27.2”

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Waeco

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Polypropylene exterior

 

 

Dometic: 50 Liter Fridge/Freezer

88489n-dometic

Price: $585

Model: CFX-50

Capacity:

-53 qt

Features:

-Soft touch digital controls

-Quick chill/turbo function

-Strong hinges, latches, and drop-down handles

-Memories maintains preset temperatures when shut off

-Internal LED light

Weight:

- 44.97 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H17.9”  x W18.5”  x L28.5”

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Waeco

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Polypropylene exterior

 

Dometic: 61 liter Fridge/Freezer

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Price: $681.62

Model: CFX-65

Capacity:

-65 qt

Features:

-Soft touch digital controls

-Quick chill/turbo function

-Strong hinges, latches, and drop-down handles

-Memories maintains preset temperatures when shut off

-Internal LED light

Weight:

-51 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H26”  x W22”  x L18”

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Waeco

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Polypropylene exterior

 

Dometic: 94.5 liter Fridge/Freezer

88492n-dometic

Price: $1049.99

Model: CFX-95

Capacity:

-100 qt (57 qt fridge compartment; separate 43 qt freezer compartment)

Features:

-Soft touch digital controls

-Quick chill/turbo function

-Strong hinges, latches, and drop-down handles

-Memories maintains preset temperatures when shut off

-Internal LED light

Weight:

- 84.9 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H26”  x W22”  x L18”

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Waeco

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Polypropylene exterior

 

 

Engel


“The heart of every new Engel fridge/freezer is the next-generation F-Series Sawafuji Swing Motor compressor. This extraordinary compressor motor provides the refrigeration you need without placing unreasonable demands on your batteries. With just one moving part, this motor is the epitome of efficiency. Its piston-action is powered by electro-magnets. Start up power draw is minimal, with piston moving just a fraction of an inch and gradually gaining speed. (Just the opposite of a radial motor compressor which places an enormous power draw on your batteries every time it starts up.)

Spring-mounted in a steel cocoon, the Sawafuji Swing Motor is maintenance-free and designed to do its job in extreme conditions. Vibration-resistant and capable of unaffected operation at inclines of up to 30-degrees, you can count on refrigeration virtually wherever you roam.” -Engel

fridge guide

Engel: 16 qt Fridge/Freezer

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Price: $814

Model: MT17F-U1

Capacity:

-16 qts

Features:

-Interior wire basket

-Internal rubber mat

-Heavy duty handles (removeable)

-Variable temperature control

Weight:

-40 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H14.2” x W12” x L21.2”

Current Draw:

-2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Engel

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Plastic external shell

 

 

Engel: 22 qt Fridge/Freezer

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Price: $840

Model: MT27F-U1

Capacity:

-22 qts

Features:

-Interior wire basket

-Internal rubber mat

-Heavy duty handles (removeable)

-Variable temperature control

Weight:

-45 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H18.2” x W12” x L21.2”

Current Draw:

-2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Engel

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Plastic external shell

 

Engel: 34 qt Fridge/Freezer

EC-MT35F-U1-2

Price: $868

Model: MT35F-U1

Capacity:

-34 qts

Features:

-Interior wire basket

-Internal rubber mat

-Heavy duty handles (removeable)

-Variable temperature control

Weight:

-60 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H16” x W14.3” x L25.5”

Current Draw:

-2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Engel

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Galvanized steel exterior

 

Engel: 40 qt Fridge/Freezer

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Price: $849

Model: MR040F-U1

Capacity:

-40 qts

Features:

-Interior wire basket

-Internal rubber mat

-Heavy duty handles (removeable)

-Variable temperature control

Weight:

-48 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H18.5” x W15.5” x L25”

Current Draw:

-2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Engel

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-ABS plastic external shell

 

Engel: 43 qt Fridge/Freezer

MT45F-U1-4

Price: $910

Model: MT45F-U1

Capacity:

-43 qts

Features:

-Interior wire basket

-Internal rubber mat

-Heavy duty handles (removeable)

-Variable temperature control

Weight:

-66 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H20” x W14.3” x L25.5”

Current Draw:

-2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Engel

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Galvanized steel exterior

 

Engel: 64 qt Fridge/Freezer

MT60F-U1-2

Price: $1320

Model: MT60F-U1

Capacity:

-64 qts

Features:

-Interior wire basket

-Internal rubber mat

-Heavy duty handles (removeable)

-Variable temperature control

Weight:

-85 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H17.4” x W19.3” x L31.1”

Current Draw:

-2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Engel

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Galvanized steel exterior

 

Engel: 64 qt Fridge/Freezer

MT60F-U1-5

Price: $1436

Model: MT60F-U1-C

Capacity:

-34 qt (fridge), 26.5 qt (freezer)

Features:

-Interior wire basket

-Internal rubber mat

-Heavy duty handles (removeable)

-Variable temperature control

-Split fridge/freezer compartments

-Removable hinged lid

Weight:

-85 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H17.4” x W19.3” x L31.1”

Current Draw:

-2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Engel

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Galvanized steel exterior

 

Engel: 84 qt Fridge/Freezer

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Price: $1635

Model: MT80F-U1

Capacity:

-84 qts

Features:

-Interior wire basket

-Internal rubber mat

-Heavy duty handles (removeable)

-Variable temperature control

Weight:

-100 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H21.7” x W19.3” x L31.1”

Current Draw:

-2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Engel

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 120 volts AC

Construction:

-Galvanized steel exterior

 

Indel B


“In 1982 Indel B was selected by NASA to create a refrigerator for use aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.” -Indel B It’s not known whether the rigors of backcountry travel can match that of a shuttle launch, but with NASA’s backing, the Indel B is should be high on your list of contenders.

Indel B: 30 Liter Fridge

IndelTravelBox31-1

Price: $430

Model: TB31a

Capacity:

-32 qt

Features:

-Integrated digital display

 

-Interior light

-Interior basket

-Eco function to conserve battery life

-3 level battery protection system

-Max cool function to speed up cooling

-0-41F temperature operating range

Weight:

-35.2 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H15”  x W13.75”  x L23”

Current Draw:

-4.16 amps  

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Danfoss DB35F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 115/230 Volts AC

Construction:

-Outdoor grade plastic interior/exterior

 

Indel B: 40 Liter Fridge/Freezer

208_ID-143

Price: $530

Model: TB41a

Capacity:

-42 qt

Features:

-Integrated digital display

-Interior light

-Interior basket

-Eco function to conserve battery life

-3 level battery protection system

-Max cool function to speed up cooling

-0-41F temperature operating range

Weight:

-37.4 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H17.5” x W13.75” x L23”

Current Draw:

-4.16 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Danfoss DB35F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 115/230 Volts AC

Construction:

-Outdoor grade plastic interior/exterior

 

Indel B: 50 Liter Fridge/Freezer

Indelb_TB31a

Price: $570

Model: TB51a

Capacity:

-52.8 qt

Features:

-Integrated digital display

-Interior light

-Interior basket

-Eco function to conserve battery life

-Turbo mode, when surplus power available

-3 level battery protection system

-Max cool function to speed up cooling

-0-41F temperature operating range

Weight:

-40.7 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H21” x W13.75” x L23”

Current Draw:

-4.16 amps  

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Danfoss DB35F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 115/230 Volts AC

Construction:

-Outdoor grade plastic interior/exterior

 

National Luna


“Originally designed to meet World Health Organisation specifications for transporting medicines in harsh African conditions, National Luna fridges are now the preferred choice for safari operators, caterers, mining companies, camper manufacturers and serious 4×4 enthusiasts. National Luna refrigerators boast superior cooling power and exceptional efficiency in the harshest environments. All models are tested and guaranteed to freeze to a minimum of -18 in tropical conditions of 43 degrees celsius.” National Luna

fridge guide (4)

 

National Luna: 40 liter Fridge/Freezer

NLR40A

Price:  $1550 (aluminum exterior) $1835 (stainless exterior)

Model: National Luna 40

Capacity:

-42 qt

Features:

-Internal LED light

-Lockable latch

-High strength carry handles

-Turbo mode, when surplus power available

-Digital thermostat

-3 level battery protection

-Up to 3 baskets

Weight:

-50.5 lbs

External Dimensions:

H20.25” x W16.5” x L25”  

Current Draw:

- 2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

Danfoss BD35F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 100-240 Volts AC

Construction:

-Rigidized stainless steel exterior; smooth aluminum interior or structured 3004-H44 aluminum exterior

 

National Luna: 50 liter Fridge/Freezer -Weekender

Christophe Selects09

Price:  $1650

Model: Weekender 50

Capacity:

-42.25 qt fridge; 10.5 qt freezer

Features:

-Internal LED light

-Lockable latch

-High strength carry handles

-Digital thermostat

-3 level battery protection

-Battery monitor

-Turbo mode, when surplus power available

-Dual-direction hinging lid (customizable)

-Separate freezer compartment with internal lid

-3 food grade plastic baskets

Weight:

-58 lbs

External Dimensions:

H20” x W15” x L28”  

Current Draw:

- 2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

Danfoss BD35F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 100-240 Volts AC

Construction:

-Rigidized stainless steel exterior; smooth aluminum interior

 

National Luna: 52 liter Fridge/Freezer -Weekender

Christophe Selects06

Price:  $1470 (aluminum exterior) $1650 (stainless exterior) 

Model: Weekender 52

Capacity:

-55 qt

Features:

-Internal LED light

-Lockable latch

-High strength spring loaded handles

-Turbo mode, when surplus power available

-Digital thermostat

-3 level battery protection

-Battery monitor

-Dual-direction hinging lid (customizable)

-Separate freezer compartment with internal lid

-Optional fridge freezer compartments

-3 food grade plastic baskets

-Holds 84 12 oz drink cans without basket

Weight:

-51 lbs

External Dimensions:

H33.25” x W20” x L28”

Current Draw:

- 2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

Danfoss BD35F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 100-240 Volts AC

Construction:

-Rigidized stainless steel exterior; smooth aluminum interior or structured 3004-H44 aluminum exterior

 

National Luna: 60 liter Fridge/Freezer  

NL60RS

Price:  $1720 (aluminum exterior) $1950 (stainless exterior) 

Model: Twin 60

Capacity:

-36.87 qt fridge, 25.57 qt freezer

Features:

-Internal LED light

-Lockable latch

-High strength spring loaded handles

-Digital thermostat

-Turbo mode, when surplus power available

-3 level battery protection

-Battery monitor

-Dual-direction hinging lid (customizable)

-Separate freezer compartment with internal lid

-5 food grade plastic baskets

Weight:

-57 lbs

External Dimensions:

H21” x W17” x L30”

Current Draw:

- 2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

Danfoss BD35F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 100-240 Volts AC

Construction:

-Rigidized stainless steel exterior; smooth aluminum interior or structured 3004-H44 aluminum exterior

 

National Luna: 72 liter Fridge/Freezer

72L Fridge 2
Price:
 $2535

 

Model: 72 Liter Dual Door

Capacity:

-36 qt right bin, 40 qt left bin

Features:

-Internal LED light

-High strength spring loaded handles

-Dual independent digital thermostats

-Turbo mode, when surplus power available

-3 level battery protection

-Battery monitor

-Dual lids with lockable latches

-Separate freezer compartment with internal lid

-5 food grade plastic baskets

Weight:

-95 lbs

External Dimensions:

H21” x W19.5” x L32.87”

Current Draw:

- 2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

Danfoss BD35F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 100-240 Volts AC

Construction:

-Rigidized stainless steel exterior; smooth aluminum interior

 

National Luna: 80 liter Fridge/Freezer

NLR80A

Price:  $2125

Model: National Luna 80

Capacity:

-36 qt right bin, 40 qt left bin

Features:

-Internal LED light

-High strength handles

-Digital thermostat

-Turbo mode, when surplus power available

-3 level battery protection

-Battery monitor

-Lockable latches

-Separate freezer compartment with internal lid

-4 food grade plastic baskets

Weight:

-90 lbs

External Dimensions:

H21” x W19.5” x L32.87”

Current Draw:

- 2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

Danfoss BD35F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 100-240 Volts AC

Construction:

-Rigidized stainless steel exterior; smooth aluminum interior

 

National Luna: 90 liter Fridge/Freezer

NLR90RS

Price:  $2535

Model: Weekender 90

Capacity:

-95 qt (dual compartments, one 50 liter, one 40 liter)

Features:

-Internal LED light

-High strength handles

-Digital thermostat

-Turbo mode, when surplus power available

-3 level battery protection

-Battery monitor

-Lockable latches

-Separate freezer compartment with internal lid

-5 food grade plastic baskets

Weight:

-73 lbs

External Dimensions:

H21” x W19.5” x L32.87”

Current Draw:

- 2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

Danfoss BD35F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 100-240 Volts AC

Construction:

-Rigidized stainless steel exterior; smooth aluminum interior

 

National Luna: 125 liter Fridge/Freezer

NLR125RS

Price:  $2525

Model: National Luna 125

Capacity:

-135 qt

Features:

-Internal LED light

-High strength handles

-Digital thermostat

-Turbo mode, when surplus power available

-3 level battery protection

-Battery monitor

-Lockable latches

-Separate freezer compartment with internal lid

-7 stainless steel baskets

Weight:

-105 lbs

External Dimensions:

H29.5” x W19.5” x L32.87”

Current Draw:

- 2.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

Danfoss BD35F

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 100-240 Volts AC

Construction:

-Rigidized stainless steel exterior; smooth aluminum interior

 

Smittybilt


Rock-rails, sliders, lift kits …Smittybilt is well known for their Jeep upgrade components. However, the company also offers a breadth of items to make your camping experience more comfortable. This list includes everything from tools to roof top tents to …well, their new Arctic fridge freezer.

Smittybilt: 52 qt Fridge/Freezer

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Price: $799.99

Model: Arctic

Capacity:

-52 qts

Features:

-Fast cool capability

-Digital temp presetting and LCD display

-Interior LED

-Removable internal basket

-3 level battery protection

-Separate dairy section

Weight:

-46.1 lbs

External Dimensions:

H21” x W13.5” x L22”

Current Draw:

-3.3 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Danfoss

Power Source Compatibility:

-12 volt DC, 120 volt AC

Construction:

-Aluminum lined interior, plastic exterior

 

 

 

Whynter


Whynter produces a host of fun products, including ice cream makers and humidors. They also produce refrigerators and freezers for commercial applications and 12/24 volt fridge freezers for marine and automotive purposes. They are possibly the most economical company listed on our list, but also have the highest amperage draw by almost two fold.

Whynter: 45 qt Fridge/Freezer

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Price: $645

Model: FM-45G

Capacity:

-45 qt

Features:

-Fast freeze function

-LED temp display

-Low power indicator

-2 removable wire baskets

-Side handles

Weight:

-45 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H20.5” x W23.5” x L16.5”

Current Draw:

-4.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Panasonic

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 115/230 Volts AC

Construction:

-“Tough and solid outer casing”

 

Whynter: 65 qt Fridge/Freezer

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Price: $690

Model: FM-65G

Capacity:

-65 qt

Features:

-Fast freeze function

-LED temp display

-Low power indicator

-2 removable wire baskets

-Side handles

Weight:

-57 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H21” x W28” x L18”

Current Draw:

-4.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Panasonic

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 115/230 Volts AC

Construction:

-“Tough and solid outer casing”

 

Whynter: 85 qt Fridge/Freezer

ef303e02-ddc6-4fa1-b41c-cf3e68d044b2_1.2553a574d31487deea319f861ebcefa0

Price: $833

Model: FM-85G

Capacity:

-85 qt

Features:

-Fast freeze function

-LED temp display

-Low power indicator

-2 removable wire baskets

-Side handles

Weight:

-57 lbs

External Dimensions:

-H21” x W29” x L21”

Current Draw:

-4.5 amps

Compressor Manufacturer:

-Panasonic

Power Source Compatibility:

-12, 24 volts DC; 115/230 Volts AC

Construction:

-“Tough and solid outer casing”

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Destinations: Peru’s Majestic Cordillera Blanca http://expeditionportal.com/destinations-perus-majestic-cordillera-blanca/ http://expeditionportal.com/destinations-perus-majestic-cordillera-blanca/#comments Mon, 22 Aug 2016 07:22:27 +0000 http://expeditionportal.com/?p=42428 With every successive step the trail got steeper and our brief rests more frequent. We didn’t just stop to fill our lungs with gulps of thin air, but also because the view was so immense we couldn’t take it in at a glance. Every momentary pause gave us time to look deeper into the valley and at the trail ahead. It was a stunning sight to behold.

Directly in front of us was the Huaytapallana glacier, a jumble of ice draped over an impossibly steep rock face. Flanking either side of the glacier towered the twin peaks of Huandoy and Huandoy Sur, both piercing the sky at over 20,000 feet tall. In the distance we could hear a waterfall periodically interrupted by the rush of a gentle wind. Adding to the serenity of the scene, and as if on cue, an eagle soared overhead linking swooping turns as it caught one thermal after another until it was out of sight, lost in the blue.

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As we picked our way through boulders and the final section of trail, we arrived at a small turquoise lake perched on a ledge at 14,000 feet. We dropped our packs, snacked on sandwiches, and spent the next hour lounging on rocks and gazing at massive ice-capped peaks. If there is a better way to spend a morning, I haven’t found it.

For the adventure traveler, Peru is a bucket list destination but most people associate the country with iconic images of trekkers standing on the escarpments of Machu Pichu. Not to say that isn’t a worthy visit, but just to the north is another equally impressive attraction, the ivory peaks of the Cordillera Blanca.

The second highest mountain range in the world, the Cordillera Blanca have more than 33 summits over 18,000 feet with the tallest, Huascarán, breaking 22,000 feet. Despite its proximity to the equator, the range has 663 glaciers including one ice cap. As mountains go, they rival the enormity of the Himalayas and the beauty of the Alps. The region’s most famous peak, Alpamayo, is touted by many as the most beautiful mountain in the world. It is also one of the more elusive and only accessible by way of a multi-day approach on foot.

The bulk of the Cordillera Blanca is contained within the boundaries of Huascarán National Park. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985, it encompasses 1,300 square miles and is webbed with dozens of serpentine gravel roads and trekking trails. Bring your best set of lungs if you plan to walk those tracks as many of them reach staggering heights. Difficult as some of those hikes are, your efforts will be rewarded with dramatic vistas beyond description.

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Like most travelers to the region, we arrived in the quaint town of Huaraz weary from a long bus journey and slightly short of breath. Huaraz is a common jumping off point for forays into the park and a good opportunity to acclimatize to the thin air. I have a fondness for South American towns and thoroughly enjoyed walking the colorful streets of Huaraz, some quiet and tranquil, others vibrant and bustling with activity. Just beyond the edge of town, the 20,700 foot summit of Huantsan glistened in the morning sun reminding us why we had traveled so far.

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The place lost to time

Despite the natural beauty of the area and the charm of its modern towns and villages, other cultural treasures offer a glimpse into Peru’s age of antiquity. Allowing ourselves more time to adjust to the altitude, we spent a day exploring the interior of the mountains and drove to the UNESCO World Heritage site at Chavin. Like many of the country’s archeological sites, the ancients who lived in this part of the mountains created elaborate structures festooned with intricate works of carved art. Originally founded in 900 BC, the ceremonial complex at Chavin predates Machu Pichu by more than 2,000 years.

A central feature of Chavin’s temple is a stone monolith called the Lanzon. Burried deep within a labyrinth of tunnels and dark antechambers, the 15 foot tall deity depicts a key figure in the Chavin religion. With its curved fangs, down turned eyes, and ominous placement in the depths of the temple, it evokes haunting images of ritualistic life for the Chavin.

After a lengthy negotiation between our guides and security officials, we were allowed a rare opportunity to enter the inner chamber. Standing just inches from the Lanzon I marveled at the precision of each carved line. It appeared as if it had been erected just days before. We shuffled around the cramped quarters of the room, whispering as if to not disturb the sprites within.

Throughout the site there are images of the condor, puma and serpent, the three sacred animals that represent the sky, earth, and underworld. Although the original inhabitants no longer dwell in the valley, their ghostly presence is palpable.

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A walk to the sky

With our sightseeing concluded, we loaded our packs, laced up our boots, and set out to climb into the upper reaches of the Llanganuco valley. Considered one of the most scenic walks in the range, the trail leading to Lago 69 starts with a gentle grade the locals refer to as “Incan flat,” before culminating in a series of steep switchbacks topping out at 16,000 feet. With the last few steps of the climb, the view opens to reveal an alpine amphitheater worthy of the effort required to reach it. Said to display every shade of blue in the spectrum, the placid lake sits below a wall of craggy stone with crystalline peaks dominating the skyline. A vivid collage of contrasts, blue on white, rock and ice, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. A fitting objective to our travels in the Cordillera Blanca, it only wetted my appetite to see more.

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As a first time visitor to Peru, I arrived with many preconceived expectations, most formed by casually reading travel blogs and guidebooks. On the trip back to Lima and subsequently home to the States, I realized that the Peru I thought I would experience was very different from the Peru I discovered. It is far more majestic, colorful, and intoxicating than I could have ever imagined. What I loved most is how the mountains, the people who live within them, and the legacy of their ancestors, all exist in perfect harmony.

I was also moved by the nebulous passage of time in the Cordillera Blanca. Peru sits at the nexus of fascinating trajactoriris of geological and historical timelines. It’s a place where you can walk out the back door of a modern mountain lodge and within minutes be staring at ancient skulls tucked into the dark recesses of a burial mound. Locals dress as they have for centuries and the valleys wear the scars of millions of years of glaciation. Another aspect of Peruvian time is how fleeting it is. My time there went all too quickly.

It has only been a few weeks since my return from Peru. My bag is still not fully unpacked and my boots still wear the dust of the Andes on their soles. I know I’ve found a special destination when I’m slow to let go of the experience and most of all––eager to return.

 

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Peru Planner

 

For those of us in the upper half of the Americas, getting to Peru and the Cordillera Blanca is surprisingly easy. By my calculations, my exact travel time from my front door in Prescott, Arizona to the shores of Lago 69 at a height of 16,000 feet, was only 22 hours. That includes flying time, bus transfers, and even four hours of hiking time.

 

Most flights to the capital city of Lima depart from Dallas, Atlanta, and Miami. Airfare is always relatively inexpensive given the exotic nature of the final destination. Prices for lodging and food, once outside Lima, are traveler friendly. Public transportation is easily accessed and lodging options are abundant and range from basic to luxurious. We stayed in a mix of small hotels and mountain lodges like the Llanganuco Mountain Lodge high above the mountain town of Yungay.

 

While there are regular flights between Lima and Huaraz, bus service is more frequent and far less expensive. The idea of taking a sleeper bus for the eight hour journey initially sounded terrible, but in retrospect, was wonderful. For the overlander with their own mode of transportation, the vast network of gravel roads weaving around the mountains promise endless hours of exploration.

 

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Lima

Like the rest of Peru, Lima is a study in contrast. Built around, and even atop, ancient ruins, it is a mix of new and old. The coastal area of the city is modern and polished. The colonial sections of the city still wear the architectural influences left behind by the Spanish. Although traffic is thick, Lima is vibrant and welcoming. For the food lover, it is a culinary destination you should put on your short list. I’ll go back again, if just for more pisco sours and copious servings of ceveche.

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Living with the Maggiolina Extreme Tent http://expeditionportal.com/living-with-the-maggiolina-extreme-tent/ http://expeditionportal.com/living-with-the-maggiolina-extreme-tent/#comments Thu, 18 Aug 2016 10:00:10 +0000 http://expeditionportal.com/?p=42230 I have never been bashful on my dislike of roof top tents. Sure, I love the image of a Defender camped with one in the Serengeti, or the romance of a cross-continent expedition; but my main beef has always been in regards to vehicle dynamics when I’m not on some adventure. I felt that ruining my daily commute for occasional camping trips just wasn’t worth it.

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When Overland Journal started testing a few hard shell roof tents last summer, I had the opportunity to help out. Despite my hesitations, we mounted Autohome’s Maggiolina Extreme atop my Jeep Cherokee and hit the road. Sure enough, after our first outing something happened. I went from mumbling under my breath about roof loads and how it was ruining my truck to looking for more reasons to leave town and sleep under the stars. In a three month span, we managed to find time to camp at least seven weekends.

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Weight

Your average soft shell roof tent weighs about the same as the Maggiolina’s 154 pounds, but only takes up half to two-thirds of the roof. This means that the weight of the tent is concentrated in one area and can cause strange suspension behavior on technical terrain. This tent uses the whole roof which makes it more stable when the trail starts to get tricky. While driving, you will still know that the weight is up top, however the benefit of predictable balance exceeds the lost roof space. Its aerodynamic shape also minimizes buffeting and whistling right above your head, making the added noise comparable to that of a standard roof rack.

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Set up

Many tent systems can be very quick to set up but hard shell roof tents are in a whole different league. While the Maggiolina Extreme may take slightly longer to deploy than some comparable models, it can still have you climbing under your covers in about a minute. The hand crank turns two scissor arms in the front and rear to raise the tent vertically. This may seem like extra trouble compared to a gas strut system, but the classic design adds to its charm. You can count on the scissor arm mechanism to always work the same, while gas struts can sag in (very) cold weather and can wear out after several years. Another advantage to the hand crank comes during stowage—you can stop cranking at any point to make sure that all of the fabric is tucked in properly.

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Comfort

Using the method of rating comfort by how I feel when I wake up, the Maggiolina kept me feeling no different than my mattress at home. When first laying down, the 3.5 inch mattress feels far thinner than described. However, after the closed cell foam warms up, it gives way to being soft yet quite supportive. Even though I sleep on my side, I have still never found the bottom of the tent with my hip. Taller users of this tent should note that 10 inches of the internal length is consumed by the aluminum track which houses the roof supports. This isn’t a deal breaker though, because a blanket or piece of clothing can bridge the gap and keep a rogue toe from touching the cold aluminum during the night. _DSC6660 (Copy)

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The mattress isn’t the only thing that will help you sleep through the night. Other things to consider are: ventilation, condensation, and waterproof effectiveness. With all of the windows open, the Maggiolina breathes quite well, and the large doors on both sides create nice airflow. The Dralon fabric prevents condensation by maintaining excellent breath-ability, while simultaneously keeping wind, rain, and snow outside. After spending over a dozen nights that dropped well below freezing, I have yet to wake up with any moisture in the tent. Both doors are equipped with draft flaps that tuck under the edge of the mattress to keep cold breezes out. From personal experience, I can tell you that this is extremely important in 50 mph winds at temperatures below 30°F.

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Storage

On the inside, storage options are plentiful with a large mesh attic and dual hanging pockets for each side of the tent. This allows enough space to keep all of your personal items off of the mattress and out of the way. When closed, the tent can store a couple of pillows as well as a pair of sleeping bags or blankets. The upper shell on the Extreme is reinforced, and extra duty riser components support the use of its integrated roof rack. This small, and somewhat cheesy, accessory seems to be an afterthought, and I haven’t discovered a real use for it yet. The depression in the fiberglass pools rainwater (or snow) during storms which slides off onto the windshield the first time you hit the brakes. Overall, this is a minor complaint, but it is still worth noting.

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Conclusions

Starting at $3,099 this tent should be seen as an investment, as its robust components and strong shell make me confident that it will last a lifetime. After over 1,000 miles of heavy off-road travel and 25+ nights of use, the Maggiolina shows little to no wear. Overall, the impact on driving is negligible, the comfort is outstanding, and the ease of use is hard to beat. Since we mounted it I have wanted to camp more often, and the time saved on packing, setup, and tear down gives me the freedom to enjoy the outdoors, which is why I want to camp in the first place. At the end of the day the Maggiolina is a fantastic tent, but I have to warn you, it will change what you expect out of a tent forever.  

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Trail Tested: Salewa Alp Flow Mid GTX http://expeditionportal.com/trail-tested-salewa-alp-flow-mid-gtx/ http://expeditionportal.com/trail-tested-salewa-alp-flow-mid-gtx/#comments Thu, 18 Aug 2016 07:33:10 +0000 http://expeditionportal.com/?p=42413 Despite their legacy as one of Europe’s premier manufacturers of climbing hardware and apparel, the Salewa brand is a relative newcomer to the footwear market. That doesn’t mean their boots and shoes have not become extremely popular with the adventure set since their release in 2005. I have personally seen them in action all over the world, from the depths of the Grand Canyon to the heights of the Himalayas and Andes.

And with that, here comes a confession. This is not the most unbiased product review I have ever scribed as I am an unabashed Salewa fanboy. I have owned a couple different pairs of Salewa boots and worn them for hundreds of miles over some of the most rugged trails in the Southwest. They have always served me well, but with their soles wearing thin, I thought it was time to slip on a new pair––the Alp Flow Mid GTX.

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At only 2-pounds, 11-ounces for my size 10.5 boots, they are impressively light given the level of protection they afford. Perfectly suited for portaging a fully loaded backpack, the soft EVA midsole and moderate stiffness make them comfortable for daily wear when traveling on and off the trail. The climbing DNA in the Alp Flow can be seen with the lace-points which extend all the way to the tip of the toes for precise adjustment, and the lay-flat lace loops provide even and comfortable pressure across the entire foot. Best of all, they require no break-in. I plucked the Alp Flows from their box and proceeded to knock out a 9 mile hike with no discomfort at all.

The most unique element of the design is the trellis-shaped rubber rand on the sides of the boot. That rand provides support and protection  without compromising breathability. The other distinctive feature, one commonly seen on Salewa boots, is the reinforcement that extends over the instep to hold the foot firmly in the heel cup. A well padded tongue and cuff soften the contact points and the nubuck leather uppers and ballistic mesh are extremely breathable and supple. These are possibly the most comfortable pack-weight boots I have ever worn. The Gore-Tex Surround membrane has been water tight, even in Arizona’s worst monsoons and after repeated stream crossings.

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For those not familiar with Gore-Tex Surround, and particularly for anyone harboring skepticism of waterproof membranes of any kind, Gore’s latest waterproof barrier is specifically engineered for footwear. Perforations in the footbed and midsole help circulate air around the foot for better moisture transference. After trudging down the trail for hours on end in the sweltering heat of Arizona, I can attest to the Alp Flow’s superior breathability. Like any waterproof boot, they do get warm, but not nearly has hot and stuffy as I had expected.

The rest of the boots have all the attributes one would expect of a fine trekking boot. The Vibram outsole has an aggressive tread pattern with a smooth toe section for precise foot placement. A rubber toe cap protects the most easily damaged portion of the upper and a recessed heel counter affords good traction when on loose, downhill sections of trail.

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Fit is neutral with medium volume, although people with wider feet may find the forefoot a tad snug. I would classify the shape as commensurate with a European fit; Narrow in the heel and mid-foot, although there is a respectable amount of toe room. Modern boots have evolved towards a lower mid and outsole thickness and this is true of the Alp Flow Mid. I endorse this trend as it keeps the foot low to the ground for a more natural stride, and for those of us in the overlanding world, feels more comfortable while driving.

In the last few years I have gone on a number of adventures that required a trekking boot, but mandated I travel with just one or two pairs of footwear. This means I’m often flying in my boots or wearing them for hours on end in a truck. The Alp Flow Mid, as light and comfortable as they are, will tackle those travels with aplomb.

It’s another superb offering from Salewa and I can’t wait to see where they take me. On the short list is the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska this fall.

 

www.salewa.us

 

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Third Wheeling It http://expeditionportal.com/third-wheeling-it/ http://expeditionportal.com/third-wheeling-it/#comments Wed, 17 Aug 2016 10:00:23 +0000 http://expeditionportal.com/?p=42283 As we approached the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal, the young girl inside the ticket booth opened the window and hung her head out. “Hello, I’d like to pay for me and the guys behind me,” I said. Momentarily nonplussed, her eyes gazed from me, down to our vehicles, then back up to me. “Well,” she said, “You’re the size of a smartcar, but you only have…” she craned her neck to double-check, “three wheels. So, I guess that sort of makes you a motorcycle.” And with that, our two Ural sidecars, loaded up with what could have easily been a Toyota RAV4’s worth of supplies, entered the holding lot. We passed row after row of cars before sliding down to the front of the preferred motorcycle loading lane. When the ferry arrived, we were the first to board. It’s not often the case, but sometimes being a complete vehicular oddity can really work to your favor.

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Earlier that day, we arrived at a delightful nondescript industrial park in Redmond, Washington, to pick up the sidecars from Ural’s North American headquarters. Nick Johnson, founder of the adventure motorcycle blog Ride & Wander, put the trip together and had invited a small group of us to come along. Ben Lamprecht, a San Francisco-based biotech engineer and general motorcycle fanatic, piloted one of the sidecars. And I, in a bid to justify my inclusion, overstated my writing abilities for the opportunity to come along. Nick’s brother Kyle, a Seattle-based photographer, would manage visual documentation of the trip.

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The plan was sparse on details, but rich with potential. We intended to make our way out to the Olympic Peninsula and post up at a secluded A-frame cabin outside Forks, and from there explore the multitude of logging roads that crisscross that part of the state like the ribs of a wicker basket. Our trip also coincided with the start of the spring run for steelhead trout, which, generally speaking, meant very little to us—except for Kyle, to whom it meant a tremendous deal. When he arrived with a handcrafted collapsible rod in hand, a pair of Filson waders, and a level of sanguine enthusiasm I had no idea could be aroused by the notion of fishing, it became clear we’d be spending some time down by the river. Thankfully, there is no vehicle better suited for scrambling around on rocky river banks than a Ural sidecar.

Outside the hangar-sized garage at Ural headquarters, the chief mechanic gave us a quick rundown of the two models we’d be riding. The first was a tundra cameo 2015 Gear-Up. This classic 2WD workhorse is the perfect example of Ural’s time-honored, Soviet-hardened agrarian grit. As far as sidecars go, the Gear-Up is the weapon of choice for gray-bearded, wild-eyed men of the mountains. The second rig was a terra-cotta colored cT, a brand-new bike for Ural. This slimmed down, single-wheel drive model is designed to be lower, lighter, and easier to handle than the Gear-Up—a configuration intended to be a little more appealing to the wax-bearded sartorialists of the city.

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Both vehicles are built tough-as-nails, almost entirely out of metal, with hardly a piece of plastic on them. When we cautiously asked if it would be all right for us to take them off-piste, the mechanic said we’d be fools if we didn’t. “These things are practically indestructible,” he said. “Don’t worry if you bring them back with a few nicks or dings, we’ll just pound it back into shape and slap some paint on it.” This blasé attitude toward property damage is definitely not the usual line one hears when taking out a press bike. And true enough, upon closer inspection, the faint remnants of past mishaps and miscalculations could be discerned underneath a fresh coat of paint. After taking a few turns in a nearby parking lot to get acquainted with the sidecar’s unique steering characteristics, we were cleared to take them out for the weekend.

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When the ferry was docked and the ramp lowered, our two Urals were also the first vehicles to disembark. Traveling by ferry is completely common around the Puget Sound, but there is still something particularly grand about starting a trip in this fashion. When your mode of transportation requires another mode of transportation to get where you’re going, it can make even a modest weekend trip feel like a proper adventure.

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The first leg of the trip had us skirting along the northernmost section of U.S. Route 101. The sun was out, but the coastal air was cool and thick. The salty smell of ocean brine filled our helmets whenever we passed a cove or inlet, leaving us with the sensation that we had just slurped down an oyster—which was great if you enjoy oysters.

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While long stretches of highway are often the most monotonous part of any motorcycle trip, they can be somewhat of a challenge when riding a Ural. This is because the bike’s 749cc boxer-twin engine, a piece of hardware that has scarcely been updated since the Soviets first “acquired” the designs from the Nazis in 1940, can only muster about 41 horses. To make matters worse, Urals are purposely built to be “big-boned” and weigh in at a husky 700 pounds. With so much heft and so little oomph, highway travel becomes a serious game of momentum conservation. Like master tacticians, we scanned the road ahead for any change in grade that could aid or hinder our progress. Pouring on the gas during a slight downhill might push the needle from 75 mph to 85 mph, but a poorly timed downshift on an uphill could quickly reduce our speed back to 50 mph for quite awhile. In this way, our two sidecars yo-yoed back and forth as we each tried to dial in Newton’s first law of motion.

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From Port Angeles the road to Forks heads inland and winds through the foothills of the Olympic Mountains. With the sun starting to set and a foreboding cold creeping into the valley, we found ourselves racing along the crooked contours of Lake Crescent. The surface of the water was as still as glass and reflected like the portal to an inverse universe. Towering mountains surrounded us, appearing to stretch down into the lake’s depths with an endless abyss of twilight purple sky at its very bottom. Here the road began to twist and turn and the Ural’s bizarre steering revealed itself in full.

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While a typical motorcycle is able to gracefully bank through a turn with just a bit of counter steer, cornering with a sidecar is a far more physically involved process. Urals  have fixed axles and are unable to lean, which means the only way to get around a turn is to manually steer through it using the front wheel. A seasoned rider might call this an “engaging experience,” but to novices like ourselves we were inclined to call it “a real son of a bitch.”

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The whole thing goes a little something like this. Steer to the left and the sidecar starts dragging like an anchor on your right. Steer to the right and the sidecar will start to feel light, as if it were about to pop up and over your head. The only way to make it around the corner and keep speed up is to hike off the side of the seat like a deckhand on an America’s Cup sailboat. This goes for the person in the sidecar too, who, during these times, becomes more of a participant than a passenger. After the initial gut-wrenching terror wore off, we started to loosen up and get into the groove of things. Before the end, our clenched teeth had slowly worked their way into smiles.
None of us could really remember the last 40 miles to the cabin. It was an eye-watering blur of wind and cold. With the last ounce of light draining from the sky and our night’s shelter still an unknown distance away, we slipped into a frenzied, animal-like dash in a final bid to escape the approaching night. We didn’t know where we were going, but we were sure as hell going to get there fast.

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We eventually found the road that led to another road that led to a dirt trail that led to the cabin. However, it wasn’t until we were inside and got the wood stove rip-roaring like an atomic reactor did we started to feel human again. The cabin had one legitimate bed, a narrow couch, and a variety of other pillows and mats that one would struggle to categorize as “bedding.” Thankfully, full-body exhaustion can do a lot to smooth out the rough spots and we had little trouble getting comfortable. Although it wasn’t long after my eyes closed that I started carving those far-out corners again in my dreams.

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I woke up a little before dawn to the sound of one of the Urals revving to life. Outside, Kyle was already suited up in his fly-fishing regalia and using the light from the headlight to string up his reel. Like the crow of a rooster, the sound of the engine idling roused us into action and we slowly got dressed and shambled outside for a scouting run down to the river.

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It had been an abnormally dry year and the water level was far lower than normal. In order to reach the river we had to cross a minefield of football-sized rocks. When we got to the edge I stopped and leaned over to Nick, “So, when they said it was okay to take them off-pavement, did they mean this?” Before Nick could respond, Ben and Kyle had blitzed through the trees and gunned it out into the rocks. “I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Nick said, and away we went.

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Our Urals clamored, rattled, and rolled over the loose rocks, but never lost traction. Their engines are known for a nearly flat torque curve, so even at a crawl the back wheel has plenty of bite. As we plodded forward over the rocks, we could feel each wheel searching for proper footing. Like a crab on the beach, the experience felt more like scuttling then riding. On only a few rare occasions did we pop our Gear-Up into 2WD mode, more out of curiosity than necessity. The single-wheel drive cT seemed to be more than capable of handling the terrain without an extra-powered wheel. We eventually reached the river and deposited an enthusiastic Kyle along its banks. The rest of us, with equal enthusiasm, did the next natural thing, which was to find a place to do a water crossing.

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I would say that 90 percent of water crossings are needlessly contrived spectacles. I would also say that our actions that day were in strong support of this presumption. Nevertheless, they are an integral part of motorcycling lore and an essential right of passage. They are also a ton of fun, especially when there is practically zero chance of falling over. We went a good distance upstream, so not to disturb Kyle, and found a suitable section of the river. Despite their utilitarian design, Urals have a conspicuously low tailpipe configuration, which gave us a fleeting moment of pause. However, we all agreed to just “not get stuck,” which is delusional off-pavement speak for “don’t let off the throttle.” So we backed up, built up a little steam, and charged in.

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A sidecar displaces a lot of water. Like a gas-powered flume ride, we kicked up a magnificent spray that nearly engulfed us as we barreled through the shallows. When we arrived at the mid-river sandbar we were heading for, we made two important discoveries. The first was that the temperature of the Bogachiel River in March is as close to liquid ice as the laws of thermodynamics will allow, and secondly, that we had taken on quite a bit of water. Thankfully, there is a small drainage hole underneath the floor mat. Apparently, this sort of ill-conceived amphibious usage was something Ural engineers had anticipated. We spent the next couple of hours racing about the riverbanks trying to “not get stuck” before finally returning to collect Kyle.

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He was just as stoked about being there as he was when we dropped him off, and it took a bit of cajoling to get him out of the river and back to shore. “Man, that was fantastic. What a great morning,” he said as he started to break down his pole. Being completely unfamiliar with the unspoken etiquette of fly fishing, I asked the first dumb question that came into my head, “So, did you catch anything?” Clearly he had been asked this before and was ready with a response, “You know, sometimes there’s fish in the river and sometimes there isn’t, but that’s not really the point.” Out of sheer contrarian habit I contested, but eventually came around to see that it was the exact same thing we were doing. Some guys ride motorcycles because they want to win trophies, but most of us do it just to enjoy the ride.

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That afternoon we stopped at a classic all-American burger stand where we smudged up a map with greasy fingers in search of some dirt roads. Maps and six-bar cell service are excellent resources, but when it comes to sussing out the best riding roads in an area, nothing beats finding an affable old guy who has been living “around these parts” all his life.  Such roadside sages are often filled with real gems of local information—so long as you’re willing to mine through the tall tales and meandering anecdotes to get to them.

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We were fortunate to attract the attention of just such a personage, named Bob, who was handing out Xeroxed flyers for a motorcycle-themed campground he called Cycle Camp. After telling us a bit about his business, he gave us the inside scoop on a nearby logging road that led up to a recently cleared hilltop vista point. We thanked him for the tip and wished him luck on his decidedly niche venture.

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We turned off the smooth surface of the 101 and onto a crumbly, loose gravel road that wound its way up into the mountains. Most logging operations shut down for the weekend, but you never know when a 40-ton cloud of dust might come flying around the corner, so we kept a careful eye out. The deeper we pushed into the forest the closer the pines grew, until the canopy of needles overhead became so thick that only a few pools of light dotted our path.

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While our rock scrambling down by the river showed off the Ural’s technical ability, on long stretches of dirt road is where the machine is truly at home. Tearing down mile after mile of dirt track, bounding over washboard ruts, and charging through muddy puddles is exactly what these vehicles are designed to do. On the dirt, the reduced traction takes the edge off the sidecar’s somewhat sticky steering, allowing the vehicle to gently “float” around corners. And unlike riding an adventure motorcycle, there’s no lurking paranoia of washing out the back wheel or keeling over for no apparent reason. Here, more than anywhere, it becomes clear that a Ural has the spirit of a dirt bike, but the stability of an SUV.

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It was late in the day when we finally arrived at the bottom of what we would later refer to as “the big climb.” Apparently, logging companies don’t waste time building switchbacks; this road seemed to run straight up the side of the hill. The surface was hardpacked at the bottom, but toward the top it looked like a crumbly mess of churned earth and coarsely chopped mulch. We would need to build up a good deal of speed to make it up without losing momentum.

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Experience has taught me that the longer you sit looking up at a climb, the more horrifyingly elaborate your visions of failure become. At first glance, you can register a vague notion of doubt, but linger around at the bottom for a few minutes and your mind will concoct all sorts of crazy scenarios that end with your vehicle cartwheeling end-over-end back down the hill. That is why it’s important to act quickly and decisively and not give in to hesitation. Fortune favors the bold, which is why I wasted no time in electing Ben to go up first. He had been driving like a madman all afternoon and I knew he had just the right clarity of mind to make it.

So up he and Kyle went. There was a brief moment of concern when they transitioned to the loose stuff near the top, but despite the plume of dust that came out the back, they just kept chugging away. This proof of concept was a heartening sight indeed, and just what I needed to kick myself into gear. With a running head start, we followed after them.

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It was steep but smooth most of the way up; things began to get a little bouncy once we hit the hanging cloud of dust. A steep hill climb is difficult, but throw in low-visibility and the whole experience starts to feel more like a theme park roller coaster than a motorcycle ride. The road eventually leveled off and we emerged from the cascading particles of dust and ascended into the golden rays of the afternoon.

The hilltop had been entirely cleared, which gave us a nearly 360-degree panorama of the surrounding area. White-capped mountains towered all around and were connected by a lush evergreen carpet of pines that filled the valleys. It was a tremendous sight on its own, but enjoying it with such good company is what made the moment stick.

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Herein lies the sidecar’s greatest feature: the shared experience. Even if you ride in a group, motorcycling is almost always something you participate in as an individual. People around you may be experiencing something similar, but it’s never quite the same. In a sidecar, the other person is sitting there right beside you, enjoying everything in tandem. This perspective changes the whole dynamic of the ride by transforming a solitary activity into a group event, allowing you to have more fun than you ever could alone. Whether you are you are rocketing up a squirrelly climb or plowing through an icy river, there’s nothing quite like being able to turn to the person next to you with a devious grin, and say, “Whoa, let’s do that again.”

 

These Photos were taken by Kyle Johnson and are just a small sample of his amazing work. To see more, check out his Instagram account here or his website at KJPhotos.com

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This story was originally published in the Gear 2016 issue of Overland Journal, the publication for environmentally responsible, worldwide vehicle-supported expedition and adventure travel. To find out more or purchase this issue, visit their website here. 

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“New” Defenders from the East Coast http://expeditionportal.com/new-defenders-from-the-east-coast/ http://expeditionportal.com/new-defenders-from-the-east-coast/#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2016 10:00:44 +0000 http://expeditionportal.com/?p=42353 For many people the rugged and capable vehicles that built Land Rover’s rich heritage have become just that, heritage. Camel Trophy trucks no longer push and wade their way through the depths of foreign jungles, and the rows of machines that once rattled Defenders off the Solihull lines have finally fallen silent.  It would seem that those loyal to the green oval have been relegated to the leather clad luxury machines which wear the badge today; but for a select few that possess a Range Rover budget and Defender dreams, East Coast Defenders has the perfect alternative; a built to order “new” Defender.

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So wait, what do I mean by “new”? Is some regulation crazed customs agent out there waiting to confiscate this truck? Don’t worry, these Landys are totally legal, but lets start with a little back ground on the men behind the company and where they come from.

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Tom and Eliot Humble founded East Coast Defender (ECD) just over four years ago, but their history with Land Rovers goes back much further than that. The two brothers were raised around farms in the midlands of England and their love of Defenders grew while riding in the back of them with animals, hauling bales of hay, and wrenching on them as they broke down. By 2012 the pair had moved to the United States, and while they still turn a few wrenches on these classic work horses, they are far from the rusted and leaking examples of their childhood.

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The Defenders their team turns out today are some of the best in North America, and the level of craftsmanship put into each is unmatched. That’s a big statement, but after talking with the owners I would say they’ve earned it.

There are plenty of Defenders being sold in the U.S. today, what makes your vehicles so different?

“Each vehicle we sell has been torn down to the frame and rebuilt piece by piece so nothing is EVER overlooked. While other companies sell a Defender running on 1980’s components, we start with a totally overhauled vehicle as the base. We even machine our own door handles because the originals didn’t meet our standards.”

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With this level of expectation for quality, it’s no surprise that ECD had to internalize all the work on these trucks, but that is easier said then done. Our discussion quickly revealed that their requirements for staff exceeds that of any Land Rover shop we’ve yet experienced.

“One of our biggest challenges was finding the necessary skill base to complete these vehicles. We discussed a few options but ended up settling on a core team of four people we named the quadruplets. It’s comprised of a Land Rover Defender technician with 25 years of experience, (ECD had to bring him over from England), a head of engineering from Volvo, a 4×4 quality control specialist, and a custom car builder from the U.S.. After that we hire techs through a three step interview process, a face to face interview, an in shop evaluation, and finally a special project test. Once they pass they are sent through an OSHA and ASE cert process. We expect continuous improvement out of our employees, just like we strive for continuous improvement in our vehicles.”

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While all their builds can be purchased as “base models”, they say that most of their customers want to add modern luxury amenities. These can include anything from an improved interior, to different suspensions and accessories, all the way to a GM drive train with an LS3 motor. That’s the same engine used in the corvette for those who aren’t familiar. Each build is unique and designed from the ground up to fit the needs of the customer buying it. If your daily drive requires hidden storage, a fridge/freezer, portal axles, or just about anything else, they can make it happen.

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Of course these vehicles don’t come cheap, but East Coast Defenders makes the purchase process a little easier with several incentives including a pay as they build option, a free $10,000 in accessories for those that qualify, and a level of service that matches the buyer’s investment.

“When someone buys a truck from us they become part of the East Coast Defender family. Through the build process we send customers pictures of the vehicle coming together, and we’ve even flown people in to see it themselves. We will always stay in touch, it’s a sort of ongoing concierge to show our appreciation. If they want to upgrade to a different Defender down the road we give them a guaranteed trade in, and we can even help them sell the vehicle to someone else”

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So what if you already have a Defender and just aren’t happy with it, will ECD bring it up to snuff? You bet. They now offer a “drive-thru” service where their team will upgrade your truck with any number of packages including drive train, sound system, seats, a Puma dash, off-road wheels and tires, and exterior accessories and paint.

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So now to the question you’ve all been wanting to ask, how much do they cost? Well for a frame up restored NAS spec D-90, about $79,000 USD. That might seem like a lot, but for those looking for something more unique and adventurous than a Range Rover, which totes a base price of $85,000 USD, it’s a great alternative. As you move into the 110 and 130 platforms and begin adding options like LS drive trains and hand stitched interiors, prices can climb to nearly $200,000. These ultra-exotic builds might not be our cup of tea, but the thought of buying a “new” stock Defender certainly is.

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At the end of the day these trucks aren’t for everyone, and there are sure to be several comments complaining about the price, but that’s okay. While most people, myself included, can’t even afford to dream of buying these trucks, the fact that over 100 have been sold in four years means that we might just get our chance some day.

 

To learn more about East Coast Defender and the work they do, or to just waste time using their awesome build your own truck tool, check out their website here. 

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Yakima Announces SkyRise, Their Entry into the RTT Market http://expeditionportal.com/yakima-announces-skyrise-their-entry-into-the-rtt-market/ http://expeditionportal.com/yakima-announces-skyrise-their-entry-into-the-rtt-market/#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2016 07:17:29 +0000 http://expeditionportal.com/?p=42275 No one is more aware of the uptick in roof top tent popularity than the Overland International editorial team. We’ve spent the last several years evaluating over a dozen different tents from as many manufacturers. And now there is one more tent entering the mix. Yakima, one of the largest rack manufacturers in the world, has just released their own roof sleeper called the SkyRise.

Like many longtime ground tent users, I often wondered why manufacturers of roof top tents didn’t bother to make ultra-light models made with modern fabrics and updated features. I was always given the same canned response, usually something about durability, expeditions in Africa, and other variables that really don’t register with the average weekend camper. It was no surprise then, when Yakima released a tent made of lightweight 210 denier nylon and clocking in at just 70 pounds. That’s impressive, but there’s more to this than low pound count.

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The designers of the SkyRise clearly understand the roof top tent market and what buyers need and want. Because not everyone has a 7,000 pound expedition vehicle, the low weight and small folded footprint make the SkyRise a viable option for smaller SUVs, wagons, and even sedans. Another much welcomed feature is the quick-release mounting system. Few people want to drive around day to day with a house on the roof, so a quick on/off is a long overdue innovation.

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The rest of the SkyRise should look familiar to educated RTT buyers. The clamshell design, locking ladder, foam mattress, and other attributes are common to traditional tents in this segment. Yakima didn’t elect to reinvent the wheel, just make it better suited for a wider range of users. Available in two and three person models with an MSRP starting at $999 and topping out at $1350, they also nailed the value proposition. Many buyers will be drawn to the SkyRise by the reputation of the Yakima brand and their extensive network of dealers across the country.

 

Available in early 2017, we hope to get our hands on a test model as soon as possible. It was only a matter of time, and that time is now.

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National Geographic Now Offering USGS Maps For Free http://expeditionportal.com/national-geographic-now-offering-usgs-maps-for-free/ http://expeditionportal.com/national-geographic-now-offering-usgs-maps-for-free/#comments Mon, 15 Aug 2016 07:23:40 +0000 http://expeditionportal.com/?p=42222 Many of us remember the days when paper USGS topo maps sold for as much as $12 a sheet. That’s assuming you could even find them. When they were eventually made available digitally, they still weren’t cheap and printing them off on a standard printer was a complete headache. All of that is behind us now.

The map mavens at National Geographic recently launched a new web-based service which offers all of the 1:24,000 quads in the USGS inventory for the low, low price of––free. Even better, they created a new system which allows users to easily print their desired map sections with the click of a button, and on a standard printer.

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Locating the quads you need is as simple as using your computer mouse to drill down into the online map guide. As your focus narrows on a particular area, the site even gives prompts if that region is also covered with one of National Geographic’s folding recreational maps, which I think are the best in the business.

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When your target quad is selected and printed, the system automatically prints five individual maps. The first is the area key showing the quad as it sits within neighboring map segments. The other four detail the information in the quad in four quarters. National Geographic went a step beyond and added hill shading for easier reading of the chart’s topography.

As much as I love GPS units, phone apps, and other whiz-bang navigational tools, the paper map is still the adventurer’s first choice. I print my quads on National Geographic’s Adventure Paper, which is virtually indestructible. Easy and free. What’s not to love about that?

 

Visit their website and start printing: National Geographic Maps

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2017 Ford F-150 Raptor http://expeditionportal.com/2017-ford-f-150-raptor-2/ http://expeditionportal.com/2017-ford-f-150-raptor-2/#comments Fri, 12 Aug 2016 07:11:20 +0000 http://expeditionportal.com/?p=42345 Leading up to its debut in 2010,  Ford left no stone unturned while cultivating the ultimate desert weapon: the Ford F-150 Raptor. Still poised firmly at the top of the class it created, the all new Raptor promises substantial improvements over its predecessor. The fully revamped, soon to be released 2017 model is better in every way imaginable. According to Ford, it will be lighter, faster, more powerful, and pretty much more awesome in every way -from engine to suspension, to the vehicle specific chassis, everything is new. Ford has shared some of the details of the overall improvements, but still remains tight lipped ahead of the autumn 2016 release date.

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Here is what we do know: Fox Shox have been at the very heart of the Ford Raptor since day one and that hasn’t changed. The 2017 model will sport a 3” variable damping internal bypass shock arrangement, increased from 2.5” previously. The upgraded Fox Shox and some incredibly beefy aluminum front control arms will be suspend an all new boxed steel frame made specifically for the Raptor platform. An all aluminum body along with composite fenders and hood help to shed nearly 500 pounds from the new chassis, and provide a facelift for the new model.

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This may come as a sad news to some, but it’s not all bad. Ford has decided to drop the throaty 6.2 liter V8 in favor of a well sorted, second generation 3.5 liter V6 -let this sink in for a second. Don’t worry, this won’t be the standard 3.5 that’s found in the F-150 lineup. Instead you can expect a second generation, fire-breathing, twin turbo, direct injection EcoBoost powerplant (say that three times fast). Although they haven’t hinted at how much power the six cylinder will make, they did promise that it will be more than the 411 hp and 434 lb/ft of torque the current 6.2 liter V8 produces. Some welcomed refinements have been made as well.

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Somehow, amongst the massive diet, Ford has managed to upgrade the interior with a more luxurious fit while retaining the sporting feel of the older model -they are waiting for the release to reveal the specifics of these changes. We do know there will be paddle shifters on the steering column and contrast stitching on the bolstered seats. There will also be improved passenger safety features and an optional 360 degree camera. BFG KM2’s will encompass a set of beadlock capable wheels and will also benefit from an on demand transfercase, a torsen limited slip differential (front) and an all new “Terrain Control”. The new Terrain Control is reminiscent of the Land Rover and Jeep Grand Cherokee terrain control systems and has the following functions: Rock Crawl / Sport / Baja / Mud / Sand / Weather, each with its own set of unique parameters for handling and traction details. Unlike Land Rover and Jeep, these functions will be controlled via buttons on the steering wheel, which makes them much easier to access while storming the sand dunes.

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The SVT team has an uncanny ability to create custom projects that alter a seemingly benign vehicle into a fire breathing monster. Where other companies tend to swap in a set of fancy wheels and tires, bolt on a custom exhaust, and create a fancy decal wrap, Ford has a habit of completely reinventing the entire package. Compared with the Chevrolet Reaper concept, and Dodge Ram-Runner the Raptor remains to be bested. 

Price:

-Rumored to be ~$50,000 US

 

Improvements:

-Increased suspension travel to 13”, currently at 11.2”/12.1” respectively

-New, Raptor specific, fully boxed, steel frame

-Robust aluminum front suspension control arms

-500 lbs weight reduction made possible by the aluminum body and composite hood and fenders

-2nd generation 3.5 l EcoBoost with improved cylinder heads, fuel system, internals

-Fox Shox increase from 2.5” internal bypass shocks to 3.0” internal bypass, variable damping

-10 speed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifts

-Increased departure angle

 

Specs:

-133” supercab

-154” supercrew

-3.5 l EcoBoost, aluminum engine, direct injection, twin turbo, 24 valve, true dual exhaust

-17” wheels, 35” BFG KM2

-MPG 15/21

-86.3” width (the F-350 Dually is 90” wide)

-78.5” height

-High strength, military grade aluminum alloy body

-Beadlock capable wheels

-Terrain management system Rock Crawl/Sport/Baja/Mud/Sand/Weather

-Torque on demand transfercase

-Torsen front differential

-Optional 360* camera

-Front skid plate

*3.5 turbo EcoBoost will make more power than current 6.2 l V8 which currently produces 411 hp / 434 tq -Ford has not released the expected out.

 

Interior:

-Deeply bolstered seats with optional contrast stitching, optional carbon fiber accents

-Contoured steering wheel with large paddle shifters

 

Current race schedule:

PARKER 425 Parker, AZ
Feb. 4-7
MINT 400 Las Vegas, NV
March 10-14
LAUGHLIN DESERT CLASSIC Laughlin, NV
May 5-8
VEGAS TO RENO Nevada
Aug. 17-20
BLUEWATER CHALLENGE Parker, AZ
Oct. 6-9
PAHRUMP NUGGET 250 Pahrump, NV
Dec. 1-4

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