Overland News of the Week

Pelican Commemorative First Aid Kit

Pelican Founder Dave Parker, who recently passed away April 2020, started the now-global company in his garage in Torrence, California, back in 1976. One of his first products, a first aid kit specifically designed for divers, initially put him on the map after customers began repurposing the waterproof, crushproof housing as a protective case for other, delicate items. Parker saw this and seized the opportunity, tapping into emerging plastics manufacturing to begin producing the protective cases we have come to know and love today.

As an homage to their founder, Pelican Products have released a limited (very limited, it already sold out!) edition first aid kit commemorating Dave’s achievements in the industry.

The limited run of 100 first aid kits has a brass plate engraved with Parker’s name and the dates of his life, 1936-2020. All proceeds from sales of the kit, which is characterized by Pelican’s 1976 branding scheme, will be donated to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

Pelican Commemorative First Aid Kit | $100 | Pelican


Leatherman Raptor Medical Shears

Complementing any first aid kit or as a valuable standalone tool for medical professionals and first responders, Leatherman’s Raptor medical shears are a beefy, foldable pair of scissors with a handful of other useful tools cleverly integrated.

These specialty shears were developed with input from operations medics, EMTs, and fire professionals to create a multi-tool that has everything needed for emergency response. In addition to the main shears (and their exceptional cutting strength), Leatherman has integrated an oxygen bottle wrench, an emergency hook for cutting webbing and cord, a ring cutter, and a glass-breaking point. The shears can be stored open or folded in the included hard plastic case, which can be adjusted to carry in a variety of orientations.

The Raptor shears are made of 420 HC stainless steel with glass-filled nylon handles and a carbide glass-breaking point. They are manufactured at Leatherman’s Oregon plant and carry a 25-year warranty.

Leatherman Raptor Medical Shears | $80 | Leatherman


Clothing Arts Pick-Pocket Proof Explorer Travel Jeans

In our quest to visit the far reaches of this planet, chances are that we’ll occasionally find ourselves in a location where opportunists may try to liberate us from our wallets, passports, or any other valuables. Well, the folks at Travel Arts have designed a pair of jeans that will keep your belongings a little bit safer thanks to their integrated security features. Four hidden pockets (two up front and two in back) have ample room for passports, smartphones, or wallets, and the hidden YKK zippers keep everything safe.

The Pick-Pocket Proof jeans are made with a blend of Coolmax, cotton, modal, polyester, and lycra that results in a comfortably breathable pair of pants that offer enough stretch for a full day of movement.

Clothing Arts Travel Jeans | $125 | Clothing Arts


Hex Brand Ranger Camera Sling

What makes the perfect camera bag? This is a question I ask myself fairly often, and over the years, I’ve come to believe that bigger is not always better. Case in point, the Hex Brand Ranger Camera Sling is a medium-sized bag with just enough room for a camera and essentials.

Internal organization is achieved with removable padded dividers that are modular and allow you to create a customized cocoon of protection. When traveling, you can fully remove the internal padding and flip up the bottom structure panel, so the entire Ranger Sling flattens out and packs into a larger suitcase easily. Water-resistant Cordura fabric and YKK zippers make up the exterior of the sling while a fleece-lined main compartment protects the camera, lenses, and delicate LCD screens. A faux-fur-lined back pocket has room for a small tablet (think iPad mini), and a smaller front faux-fur-lined pocket protects sunglasses. Additional interior organization in the form of mesh pockets provides storage for memory cards, batteries, or car keys. Adjustable straps on the bottom can secure a small tripod or jacket.

Numerous reviewers have positive things to say about the build quality of these bags, as well as the surprising amount of gear they were able to pack inside.

Hex Brand Ranger DSLR Sling | $100 | Hex Brand


Osprey Transporter Panel Loader Pack

The backpack is one of the essential tools of the outdoor enthusiast, and the Osprey Transporter pack is right at home in the elements. With features like a laptop sleeve, internal organization, a dedicated internal water bottle pocket, and a rear taillight attachment loop, this pack is ideally designed for bike commuters and urban explorers. The Transporter is constructed with 400-denier, TPU-coated nylon, which means that it’s fairly water-resistant (not waterproof), in case you get caught in an unexpected afternoon rain shower. The pack has a padded back panel, removable waist strap, and an adjustable sternum strap that all conspire to produce a comfortable wearing experience. The Osprey Transporter Panel Loader Pack has an internal volume of 20 liters (1,220 cubic inches) and weighs in at 2 pounds.

Perhaps the best feature of this pack is its warranty. Every Osprey product comes with Osprey’s All-Mighty Guarantee: “Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge–whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it.” That’s rad.

Osprey Transporter Panel Loader Pack | $125 | Osprey


Vasque Breeze LT GTX Boots

The Breeze III is Vasque’s bestselling hiking boot, and the Breeze LT GTX is the lightweight version that utilizes a Gore-Tex waterproof-breathable membrane to keep your feet dry and comfortable in wet conditions. It’s available in both regular and wide widths.

The biggest news with the Breeze LT GTX is a massive 25 percent weight savings in the outsole, achieved through the use of the Vasque-exclusive Vibram Ground Control LiteBase with Megagrip compound and Vasque’s lug technology. And they say less weight on your feet equates to less fatigue (something I can personally attest to). Additional weight savings are gained with a synthetic upper that is constructed with a combination of microfiber and abrasion-resistant mesh. Vasque says that a pair of their Breeze LT GTX Boots weighs in at 1 pound, 11 ounces.

Vasque Breeze LT GTX Boots | $180 | Vasque


Snow Peak Waterproof Gear Container 2 Unit

Japanese outdoor gear designer Snow Peak always seems to produce products that are both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional, and this product sticks with that trend. At 5.6 pounds, the bag is not a featherweight, but that extra heft feels like a fair trade-off for being waterproof. It’s intended to transport two Iron Grill Table units (a specialty cooking/kitchen setup from Snow Peak), but we think it would work just fine for toting around anything that you want to keep dry.

Made out of a durable 600-denier, TPU-coated polyester, the Snow Peak Waterproof Gear Container measures roughly 20 x 14 x 10 inches.

Snow Peak Waterproof Gear Container 2 Unit | $295 | Snow Peak


Ultimate Ears Hyperboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears is well-known for its portable Bluetooth speakers that produce a surprisingly high-quality, high-volume sound given their tiny size. But this is not a small speaker. This is the Hyperboom, and the company says that it is their “biggest, loudest, BOOMiest speaker yet.” The speaker measures roughly 14 inches tall and 7.5 inches wide, so while it isn’t tiny, you should have no problem finding a place in your campervan or truck for this portable party machine.

A rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides a substantial 24 hours of battery life and charges in just 2.5 hours. This speaker delivers its high-quality sound from 2- x 4.5-inch (114 millimeters) woofers, 2- x 1-inch (25 millimeters) tweeters, and 2- x 3.5-inch (89 millimeters) x 7.5-inch (190 millimeters) passive radiators. Bluetooth with a range of 150 feet allows up to four devices to be simultaneously paired so that you can seamlessly take turns choosing and playing songs. The Hyperboom also offers auxiliary input, optical input, and a USB charge (out), so you can keep your phone topped off while playing music. A dedicated app and customizable EQ let you further refine and customize your listening experience.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had a UE product on Expedition Portal: if you’re looking for a smaller speaker, check out Chris’ review of the UE Roll 2 here.

Ultimate Ears Hyperboom Bluetooth Speaker | $400 | UE


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Matthew Swartz is originally from Connecticut and currently lives in Denver, Colorado where he passionately pursues rock climbing, trail running, and skiing. Matt’s love of travel has inspired him to through-hike the JMT and part of the PCT, bike across the United States, and explore the West coast of South America from Ecuador to Patagonia. Matt and his partner Amanda have also travelled across much of the Western US in their 1964 Clark Cortez RV, which they lived in, on the road for the better part of three years. Matt has worked for the USFS as an Interpretive Ranger and Wildland Firefighter and Matt's photography and writing has been published in Rova Magazine, the Leatherman blog, 'Hit The Road' by Gestalten Publishing, and Forbes.