Gear Spotlight

We are planning another intercontinental overland journey, and as always, our gear is an essential part of the trip. While we are not always able to get our paws on an actual product, the internet is a wonderful, addictive creature, and a few hours are easily lost to drooling over new gear, gizmos, and essentials. I have come across a few products lately, which, I am sure, would be very welcome editions to any serious expedition. Here is some of the amazing stuff populating the top of my wish list.

(NB, the easiest way to make an article like this a paint-dry, yawn piece is to get bogged down in technical details. I have listed the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) and have provided a link for you to continue your path down the great gear rabbit hole where you can find in-depth technical information).

 

Yeti

I got sucked into this website, big time. We built our Land Rover camper in Florida, outdoors. The Sunshine State will do its level best to suck the moisture from your body and drain your energy. You know. Luckily, our friend had both a Yeti cooler and an industrial ice machine, and the Yeti kept the ice cubes frozen for more than 24 hours despite the heat and the box being opened every hour. Yeti makes the good gear.

The Roadie 24 Hard Cooler

Road trippin’ done right. If your fridge is in the back of the pickup, and you like your drinks cold and frequent, this little beauty will slide in behind the seat or even between the front seats. Lighter, more voluminous, and apparently, a lot more efficient than ever before, this cooler is deep enough to stand a generous bottle upright. Don’t forget the optional seat cushion if you are a minimalist like me and can think of nothing better than sitting on a cooler waiting for a fish to bite or staring into the flames of a campfire. The hella good looking Rambler 12oz Colster Can Insulator ($25) will keep your cans cold and your hand warm, nobody likes a warm beer.

$200

Honorable mention: The Loadout Gobox 30

Drool. This, on the roof rack, packed with spare parts, electrical goodies, lightweight tools, camping gear, you name it. Lockable, near-indestructible (if their cooler boxes are any indication of strength), dust-proof, waterproof, stackable, and dead sexy in a stormtrooper/Darth Vader kind of way, this box will last as long as your rig and comes with a five-year warranty because us overlander types are hard on our gear.

$250

yeti.com

 

Midland Radio

My handle was Jungle Boy when I was a kid; my dad had installed a chunky CB radio in the VW Passat. I don’t know why he needed a CB, but he did, and I have always wanted one. Why? Well, the truth is that we never travel in convoy, but when we do, we want to be able to tell the guy on point that he is lost again, his ass is huge, and wife needs to piddle, again. 

Midland MXT275 Micromobile Two Way Radio

Compact, two-way, weather updates, 15-watts with 15 GMSR channels—I only know what half of that means, but I want it. Yes, I want those eight repeater channels I didn’t know I needed, and I want 50-mile line of sight comms with a walkie talkie. I don’t want the GMSR license coz screw the man, man! But I guess I don’t really have much of a choice. CB radio is AM, GMSR is FM!

$149

Works best with the MXTA25 3DB Gain Ghost Antenna for short distances, but we all know the big boys rock the MXTA26 6 DB Gain Whip Antenna. It whips, it has double the DB, and it makes your rig look like the Crocodile Hunter cruisin’ into the outback to catch a salty.

MXTA25 3DB – $35

MXTA26 6 DB – $40

midlandusa.com

Benchmade

The Leuku is perhaps the perfect bush knife, and I have to admit, I am a sucker for all things Scandinavian and Made in USA. The Leuku looks like the kind of knife which will help you survive in that jungle (after you escape your FARC kidnappers) and will not let you down. To quote those in the know, “Leuku is a Finnish translation for the name and style of ‘big knife’ often used by the Sámi people. The uniquely ergonomic handle shape, full tang, and size make it a suitable tool for all sorts of bushcrafting jobs, which is why the Sámi people have been known to pair this style along with the smaller puukko style knives as essential carry for tasks when fishing, trapping, and reindeer herding.” Yes, please.

202 Leuku – $165

benchmade.com

Last but not least…

Goal Zero

Yeti 1000

As a digital nomad travelling family, we have a tiny footprint, but we consume electricity like a fat German biker with an Uber to an Airbnb sucks down beer at the Oktoberfest. We have three laptops running, four tablets and phone, ventilation fans, LED camper lights, and a Snomaster fridge. The traditional dual battery system with a solar panel is no match for our watt addiction, and a unit like the Yeti 1000 is exactly what we need. Compact, portable, powerful, functional, practical, and versatile, it is the Leatherman of the lithium battery world. If Doc had the Yeti 1000, he would not have needed the flux capacitor or the eventually putrid Mr. Fusion. There are smaller versions of the Yeti available, but I crave the full-on power of the 1000, which can charge a smartphone 50 times or a laptop 17 times. No more nagging wife and kids and no more heading out of the mountains to find a grid hook-up to finish an assignment. Elektrickery is my kryptonite, so I won’t even attempt to bore you with the technical stuff. Have a look at the Yeti 1000 and decide for yourself if this preppers dream is good enough for you.

YETI 1000 – $1,200

goalzero.com

Graeme Bell was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Together with his wife and two children he has spent much of his adult life chasing momentous experiences and campfire smoke across five continents. He has traveled overland to Kilimanjaro from Cape Town, circumnavigated South America, explored from Argentina to Alaska, Europe to Asia, and across the entirety of coastal Western Africa, all in a trusty Land Rover. Graeme and the family are now encouraging their self-built Defender live-in camper (and permanent home since 2012) to find a way from Cape Town to Vladivostok. Graeme is a member of The Explorers Club, the author of five excellent books, and an Overland Journal contributor since 2015.


The Midland Radio is rated 4.2 out of 5 stars from 165 customer reviews on Amazon.
Midland Radio
From $140.67
 

Graeme Bell is a full time overlander and author. He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa but considers Cape Town home. He is currently travelling the planet with his wife Luisa and two children, Keelan and Jessica, in a Land Rover Defender 130 affectionately know as Mafuta. www.a2aexpedition.com