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Gear Round Up Overland Expo PNW 2023

There are three main reasons to visit any of the Overland Expos including the PNW and other nationally, and those are (in order) the people, the vehicles, and the gear. While the people and the vehicles are generally easy to spot, even if some do insist on being clad in camouflage, finding the newest, best gear intrigues me. It’s an Easter egg hunt of sorts as I search for something new, something innovative, or a fresh take on an old idea. To be honest, gear can represent more of a challenge than an opportunity for many overlanders, as it is gear that can incrementally drain our wallets and fill our vehicles (and garages) with items that seemed like a good idea at the time but might eventually have limited practical use. Then there are other items that seem bad at the time but turn out to be a bloody genius (I am talking about you, Poolahoop). Below are my favorite items of gear from the Overland Expo Pacific Northwest and, true to form, some are better than others; I will leave it up to you to decide which is which, but that may depend on your specific needs and style of travel.

DMOS Nomad Shovel

Overland Expo PNW Overland Expo PNW

The Nomad shovel is a versatile, lightweight adventure shovel designed to be your go-to tool. Made from super lightweight aluminum, the functional two-part shovel has an overall length of 33 inches and the ability to compact down to 17 inches, making it perfect for various activities such as overland travel, fishing or river trips, camping, beach outings, and most importantly, for leaving no trace of campfires or waste. With a blade and shaft constructed from durable eight-gauge 5052 aluminum, the Nomad is built to withstand years of adventures and even includes a built-in bottle opener. There are various other size shovels available, as well as snow shovels for us winter lovers.

From $99 | dmosproshoveltools.com

Barebones Tools

Overland Expo PNW

The Barebones stand stood out with a collection of attractive gear, and three items particularly caught my eye. These tools are not handmade in a cabin in Norway, but they seem practical and well-made. The Felling Axe on display had a 23.5-inch curved hickory handle with good grain, a lightweight 1055 carbon steel head, and a hand-sharpened 3.75-inch blade. The axe is sized and shaped to handle various tasks, including clearing limbs and brush, felling trees, driving wedges, and processing firewood.

The Japanese Nata Tool is a thoughtfully crafted tool for a multitude of tasks inspired by traditional Japanese implements. Its stainless steel blade, reminiscent of a machete, is complemented by a solid steel core that extends throughout the length of the hardwood handle, providing stability and increased swinging weight. This tool would be handy for clearing brush, stripping bark, planking wood, and making kindling.

The Pulaski Axe combines the practicality of an axe and a hoe, featuring a wide-angle 1055 high carbon steel split blade. Reinforced by a 1/3-inch solid steel core, the wood handle secures the head with a tightening hex bolt which is connected to the steel pommel end, facilitating easy maneuverability around rooting and trenching. All three products feature varnished handles; oiled handles might have been more practical and desirable.

$110/Felling axe, $70/Japanese nata tool, $180/Pulaski axe | barebonesliving.com

Pesaro Green DB2 Speaker

Overland Expo PNW

The Pesaro DB2 speaker is designed and manufactured for durability and portability while delivering professional-grade sound, clear highs, and powerful bass that elevate your outdoor adventures. Encased in a rugged Pelican case, the Bluetooth speakers are protected against impact with convenient features such as dry internal storage and internal USB charging, and with a battery life of 40-plus hours, you can enjoy uninterrupted music wherever you go. We suggest you experience this speaker’s awesome sonic power far from any unwilling ears, be they human or animal.

$399 | demerbox.com

Agawa Boreal21 Folding Bow Saw

The Boreal21 folding bow saw is available in three sizes and is a versatile tool suited to various activities such as camping, backpacking, canoeing, off-trail exploration, hunting, trail clearing, and domestic use. The saw opens in seconds; unfold it, snap it into position, and start sawing. The automatic blade tensioning eliminates the need for loose parts, and you won’t have to touch the blade while opening or closing the saw. The Boreal21 is lightweight and easily packable, while the saw’s effectiveness is enhanced by its ergonomic design, featuring a high-clearance frame for handling large-diameter cuts and optimized geometry that ensures the most efficient saw stroke. It’s constructed of an anodized 6063 aluminum frame, a fiberglass reinforced nylon handle, and stainless steel hardware along with hardened and coated saw blades. The kit includes a folding bow saw and a rugged olive Cordura sheath designed for durability, featuring dual pockets to securely hold the saw and extra blades with an additional flap compartment for storing spare parts.

From $100 | agawagear.com

DeepSleep Inflatable Mats

DeepSleep products are crafted with military-grade materials, ensuring their tenacity for off-road use and providing you with an affordable night’s rest. You can set up your base camp in your car in just a few minutes. DeepSleep products are focused on quality and designed to withstand multiple trips (unlike inferior mats that can fail after a few uses) and reducing waste in the long run. The comfortable mattresses are made to fit many popular overland vehicles, including Toyota, Ford, Jeep, and Subaru, along with a dedicated tent mat series. The kits generally include a mat, protective storage bag, repair patch kit, and Velcro roll storage straps.

From $45 | deepsleepoverland.com

Stod WoodGaiter Wood Carrier and Utility Mat

I have had enough of using my camping chair covers to cart wood; it is time for an investment. The WoodGaiter can securely hold the equivalent of two typical pre-packaged bundles of wood, keeping the contents safe and the mess contained. The WoodGaiter adjusts to accommodate varying volumes of wood and can even accommodate longer pieces of collected firewood. This design allows moisture to escape while simultaneously protecting your wood from the elements when carried outside the vehicle. It also prevents debris from spilling if carried inside a vehicle. The carrier can also be used as a utility mat for hauling small, fiddly gear.

$130 | stodgear.com

SmartCap Toppers

Overland Expo PNW

SmartCap Toppers are constructed from robust stainless steel, ensuring they can withstand most off-road or onsite challenges while offering protection and customization options. It transforms your bed into an overland camper, a practical commercial toolbox, a hunting vehicle, or a mobile tackle box. Claimed to be arguably the strongest truck cap ever designed, the SmartCap can securely hold up to 330 pounds of gear while on the move. When parked, it can handle an impressive 770 pounds. Designed to fit Chevrolet, Jeep, Ford, Toyota, and Ram models, the SmartCap offers South African-made performance and compatibility for a range of locally available trucks.

Priced by vehicle | na.rsismartcap.com

Prinsu Racks, Accessories, and Gear

Overland Expo PNW

Prinsu racks are built with quality materials, ensuring they can withstand your off-road adventures. Designed to fit various vehicles, the racks offer high-strength alloy crossbars, integrated drop points, and an aerodynamic and quiet performance constructed entirely from aluminum for exceptional durability. The satin-black-texture-powder coating adds a stylish touch to its rugged functionality, and its modular design allows for maximum customization, so you can tailor it to meet your specific needs. Installation is a breeze, utilizing factory mou

nting points for convenience. Prinsu also offers a range of racks for UTVs as well as a range of accessories and gear.

Price per vehicle | prinsu.com

Otzi Ember Portable Dual-Person Grill

Overland Expo PNW

Weighing in at just 8 pounds, this compact flat-pack grill is a versatile cooking solution stored in a 13- x 13-inch case and conveniently breaks down completely flat. With its innovative six-position skewer holder and flat skewer design, the ember cook surface provides an ideal cooking area for small groups or families. It allows for adjustable cook plates with four different heights, offering control over the cooking heat throughout the process. Adjust the grill’s position to suit your cooking needs, whether moving the cooking plate up for roasting or to the top position for keeping food warm while the rest of the meal is prepared. Choose from high-strength carbon steel or stainless steel, both offering durability and performance.

$180 | otzigear.com

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Graeme Bell is an author and explorer who has dedicated his life to traveling the planet by land, seeking adventure and unique experiences. Together with his wife and two children, Graeme has spent the last decade living permanently on the road in a self-built Land Rover based camper. They have explored 27 African countries (including West Africa), circumnavigated South America, and driven from Argentina to Alaska, which was followed by an exploration of Europe and Western Asia before returning to explore the Americas. Graeme is the Senior Editor 4WD for Expedition Portal, a member of the Explorers Club, the author of six books, and an Overland Journal contributor since 2015. You can follow Graeme's adventures across the globe on Instagram at graeme.r.bell