• Home
  • /
  • Camping
  • /
  • Best Finds for Overlanders from the Big Gear Show

Best Finds for Overlanders from the Big Gear Show

Presented by:

The Big Gear Show isn’t specific to overlanding, but that’s a nice change of pace in some ways from more niche events. The versatility of full-time travel means that some of the best tools to enhance life on the road come from unlikely corners of the market. The entire outdoor industry is fair game for overlanders interested in adding a bit more ease, innovation, and spunk to their everyday ramblings. Plus, there’s a good chance you chose this way of life as a means to be closer to the places you love and the activities that take you even further off the asphalt. Dig into these new ways to incorporate your favorite pursuits and explorations without overcrowding your space, disrupting your flow, or compromising your values.

MoonShade

One of the most difficult aspects of overland life is wrestling with the weather. Even the most colossal vans and RVs out there still start to feel cramped after a day stuck waiting out a torrential downpour or hiding from a hotter-than-hell summer heat wave. The MoonShade offers a portable and packable way to expand the footprint of your vehicle and get a little fresh air anywhere. At just 8 pounds, it unrolls to cover a 9- x 7-foot space but packs down to a low-profile package that fits in the slim space beside your car door or under a seat. The MoonShade works with a variety of anchor options, including heavy-duty suction cups, magnets, and rail attachments to fit any type of vehicle. Look for an upcoming field-tested review on the MoonShade on Expedition Portal soon.

$350, available now

JackRabbit Miniature E-bike

When you’re parked and settled, it doesn’t always make sense to bring your whole rig on an errand run. The hassle—not to mention the environmental impact as the miles add up—just isn’t worth the effort. The JackRabbit, a miniature eBike, was designed specifically for this purpose. Take it to replace car trips under 10 miles when it would be overkill to take your vehicle. It folds down to 7 inches wide and weighs 24 pounds, so it’s not a big ask to stow it away when you’re back on the road again. The amount you’ll save in wear and tear on your car, your sanity, and the planet over the years will be well worth the expense.

$999, available now

Rugged Road Ultralight Cooler

As I lug my stuffed-to-the-brim cooler in and out of my vehicle for every meal, snack, and grocery store run, passersby will hear more than one expletive slip out of my mouth as I struggle to wrap it in a bear hug and lift it on my own. Premium coolers are nonnegotiable for long-term travel, so it’s high time for a more portable option to enter the scene. Rugged Road Outdoors has designed “a cooler so light, you’ll forget it’s there” until hunger pangs strike. A week’s worth of food, drinks, and ice weighs enough; take the heft of a traditional cooler out of the equation. These coolers weigh under 10 pounds, come in three different sizes, and still retain ice for seven straight days. The top comes completely off for an easy open in either direction and flips over to serve as either a versatile flat surface or a picnic-style table with cupholders and an in-cut tray.

$300 for 65 cans, available now; 45 and 85 can options available Fall 2022 | ruggedroadoutdoors.com

Thule Foothill Rooftop Tent

Rooftop tents save precious room inside your vehicle by essentially adding another story to your setup but tend to monopolize the top of your car and steal valuable storage space there too. The new Foothill from Thule only takes up half the surface area but unfolds for the same caliber of rooftop slumber. When closed, it occupies only 24 inches across and leaves room for boats, bikes, or a slim cargo container on the other side. When open, it accommodates two people and features a skylight and surrounding windows for 360-degree panoramic views, so you never miss a sunrise.

$2,200, available now

ModL Outdoors Water Bottle

Living efficiently on the road means every item needs to serve at least a few different purposes. This water bottle fills at least five. The ModL bottle system features a variety of add-ons or “mods” that transform a simple water bottle into a new kind of multi-tool. A multitude of attachment options means that one ModL bottle can replace a handful of appliances like a hydration pack, shower, water filter, and lamp. Save space and cash by combining separate items into one with this handy transformer.

$39 for base, available now

Camp Chef Juniper Firepit

This pit takes up less space than a roll of firewood and streamlines the whole process at the same time. Just attach it to propane, light it up, and settle in for a warm night. Spring-loaded legs fold under for a slim and snag-free design. Tuck the Juniper into its carry case to keep the pit and lava rocks safe and the hose consolidated and accessible whenever the moment calls for gathering around a cozy fire. And when it’s time to hit the hay, there is no need to wait around stifling yawns while the coals burn out—snuff it out in seconds by detaching from your fuel source and head straight to bed before another long day that you’ll want to end in the exact same way.

$165, available now

Mountain Hardwear Camp Tough Duffel

I can read your mind on this one: another duffel? All too often, bags that are supposed to store our belongings and keep things under wraps end up filling more space themselves than the things we planned to fill them up with in the first place. But the Camp Tough will probably have you regifting all the other bags stuffed under your seat, so we’ll call it a space-saver in the end. Internal panels and dividers plus four external pockets mean you don’t need different bags for different categories of gear; everything fits side-by-side in separate compartments for easily distinguishable organization. The internal compartments are fully collapsible and removable, too, to make room for bulkier gear rather than a herd of smaller items. The cover rolls back for a full view of everything inside for quick grab-and-go moments, and the 1200D polyester finish keeps everything protected no matter what nook or cranny this bag ends up in when it’s time to head out to the next destination.

$75 for 30L, $180 for 80L, available Spring 2023 | mountainhardwear.com

Yakima Skybox NX

Rooftop boxes add important storage space but wreak havoc on fuel efficiency. The new Skybox NX makes Yakima’s classic Skybox more aerodynamic with an even lower-profile design and sleeker exterior. And because looks do matter, the Skybox fits the aesthetic of modern cars better than the previous model. Other perks include a one-touch handle, a closer roof attachment system to free up more space inside of the box, and an entirely removable inner liner to take the stress out of muddy, snowy, rainy, and downright dirty adventures.

$749-$799, available Spring 2023 | yakima.com

HydraPak Flow and In-line Filters

Streamline your hydration system with two new filters from HydraPak. This is the company’s first foray into filtration technology, and both the Flow and In-Line filters are fully compatible with all of their water storage options. So if you already own a HydraPak reservoir, like the ever-dependable Expedition 8L or Stow Bottle, you can safely and securely filter your water right into your container without any extra components or steps. The Flow filter threads directly onto the mouthpiece of your vessel for immediate drinkability through the mouthpiece. The In-Line filter works best for larger, tubed reservoirs or gravity filtration.

$40 for Flow, $35 for inline, availability TBD | hydrapak.com

Goal Zero Sherpa 100 AC and PD Batteries

big gear show

This brand is already a staple for ramblers on the road, but their recent update to the classic Sherpa powerbanks is worth a special note. The Sherpa 100 AC and PD banks now feature a much more user-friendly design while retaining the same 100-watt-hour capacity for each. The screen orientation has been widened, angled, and brightened for better visibility of both watt usage and hours to empty without having to manhandle the whole battery. The screen turns off to solve the small but impactful issue of a glaring light that keeps you up at night. One USB-C and two USB-As on the PD version plus an additional USB-C on the AC bank and wireless compatibility on top of each opens up a host of charging options, even when everything seems to need a power boost at the same time.

$200 for PD, $300 for AC, available Spring 2023 | goalzero.com

BruTrek Ovrlndr Travel Press

big gear show

Brew, press, drink, and go, all in one with the Ovrlndr Travel Press, designed specifically for the sake of saving dishes and easy cleanup on the go. Drink right from the press itself, thanks to a unique plate that completely blocks the grinds from seeping back into your coffee when you tip it back to guzzle it down for a smoother sip in both taste and texture. Press the grounds into the removable bottom, then unscrew to quickly rinse them out without making a mess. Insulated walls keep your drink warm for hours, so sit back and relax with a fresh brew all morning long.

$45, available now

GSI Outdoors Guide Cast

.

This take on cast-iron cookware is significantly thinner and 30 percent lighter than traditional cast iron, which makes these durable pans that often outlive their owners an option for overlander kitchen collections. The nitrided surface helps prevent corrosion and adds some non-stick properties to the pan, addressing a common pain point that steers many a cook away from cast iron. Uplevel each 10- or 12-inch pan with new grill and griddle attachments that sit right on top under the lid for simultaneous multipurpose cooking.

$28 for 10 inch, $33 for 12 inch, grill and griddle attachments available Spring 2023 | gsioutdoors.com

Primus SIP Gas

big gear show

Primus is introducing the first bio-based fuel to hit the outdoor market. SIP stands for Sustainable Improvement Program, as this fuel becomes the first step toward more eco-friendly travel and adventure practices to come from Primus. Not only does this gas eschew fossil fuels in favor of energy straight from food waste, but Primus has also shifted sourcing and production of all SIP gas from South Korea to Europe (closer to their main market) in order to cut down on their footprint by 50 percent.

$10 for 230g, $14 for 450g, available now in stores only | primus.us

Trippy Outdoor Chair

big gear show

The Trippy Chair is handmade in Texas from seven-ply maple, custom-pressed for subtle curvature on the back and seat that somehow makes simple slabs of wood feel right in line with your dad’s favorite leather recliner. You won’t fully believe me until you try it for yourself, but I promise it’s worth the risk. After a day spent logging thousands of steps walking around the show, I could barely convince myself to stand back up and keep going. The straightforward design—just two basic components that fit together at the seat—easily transforms from an A-frame seat to flat storage mode so it can slide into any narrow slot of space and features three handles for different modes of carrying and carting it around. No plastic, just wood and aluminum throughout the whole body of this chair for longevity and a reduced environmental impact. Each of the three sizes clocks in at 10 pounds or less.

$132 for the Lil’ Trip (small), $158 for the Tripster (medium), $178 for the Dreamer (tall), available now

Kleen Kanteen Rise Drinkware

big gear show

It’s the little things that make overlanding feel less like a temporary adventure that you’ll burn out on and more like a way of life sustainable for years to come. The Rise collection from Kleen Kanteen combines the practical needs of travel with the creature comforts of a home base. These tumblers, mugs, and cups, available in five different sizes, are more appropriate for day-to-day use than what you expect from regular portable thermoses. The muted earth tones blend in rather than stand out like a sore thumb and sacrifice some of the typical “ruggedness” for everyday conveniences like thinner points of contact and wider openings for better drinking comfort. They’re still spill-proof to suit the reality of a bouncing car ride, but not leak-proof to toss in your bag without a second thought. That’s for good reason: these cups aim to help you feel at home, not constantly uprooted.

$25-$40 for 10-ounce to 26-ounce sizes, available January 2023 | kleankanteen.com

Kijaro Native Table-to-Footrest

big gear show

We all know how good it feels to put your feet up after a long day, but it’s not usually worth an extra piece of furniture to keep from mucking up the table. New to the Native line from Kijaro is the Table-to-Footrest, which is exactly what it sounds like: a table with a removable top that transitions into a comfortable and flexible footrest. Like every other overland necessity, it packs flat into a designated carry bag with a separate slot for the table surface so that it doesn’t get scuffed up between uses. The fabric on both the footrest and the bag is made of 100 percent recycled polyester obtained from water bottles, and the raw aluminum frame is free from any additional chemical treatments.

$65, available Spring 2023 | kijaro.com

GrandTrunk Monarch Chair

big gear show

Put your legs to good use, even while sitting down. The Monarch Chair from GrandTrunk saves space by eliminating the two front legs in favor of the ones you’ve already got on tap. Yeah, it’s a slightly more active position, but keeping the blood pumping a bit is probably better for you anyway. Just two legs on this chair make it easier to use on uneven terrain, and it has a smaller footprint for simpler storage. Rock back and forth or hold yourself steady; either way, you’ll enjoy a chair that weighs a mere 1.3 pounds and makes the most out of the basics.

$99, available Fall 2022 | grandtrunk.com

Our No Compromise Clause: We carefully screen all contributors to ensure they are independent and impartial. We never have and never will accept advertorial, and we do not allow advertising to influence our product or destination reviews.

Read more: Graeme Bell’s Gear Roundup from Overland Expo West

Lucie is a sport climber, ultrarunner, writer, and mental training consultant based in Eagle, Colorado. She and her partner live part-time out of their converted Honda Element, the “Hotelement,” which supports them on climbing trips all across the country. She’s always on the hunt for new products and ideas that can help them share their small space better and enjoy the little moments in between big adventures. Lucie prioritizes quality over quantity and a less-is-more mindset but knows that the right tools make it easier to focus on the present moment. When she’s not writing or moving, she helps other outdoor athletes dial in their mental strategy in sport to find the crossroads between joy and ambition.