Melbourne 4WD Show :: Australia

Each year, much of the Australian 4WD industry descends on Melbourne for the National 4WD Outdoors Show.
Over 200 vendors and nearly 30,000 attendees explore the latest in offroad, fishing, and overland equipment. The vehicles do not disappoint either, complete with all of the unobtanium an American can imagine, from 6×6 70 Series to Nissan Patrols to Land Rover Defenders. These are some of the highlights from my day at the event.

Even the parking lot is ridiculous. The outcome of this turbo-diesel V8 VDJ79 with tray back and cargo box  is both clean and functional, minimalist in all the right ways and with a few hidden gems, like a 6-speed automatic conversion from Marks 4WD.

The venue is spread out over several tented and roofed halls, the booths rivaling anything from the SEMA Show. Fishing is also represented, as angling and overlanding share many of the same customers in Australia.

One of the more interesting products was these Rhino Hide panels, custom-molded for several popular 4WD models. Easily removable, I can see this being quite popular for more expensive SUVs in the U.S. Rhino Hide Link

ASG Conversions completed a tray-back 200 Series with an extended chassis for the show. The 200 Series is the strongest 4WD Toyota makes (yes, more HD than the 70 Series), so a quad-cab tray bed is very interesting indeed! They call it the Toowoomba, because Aussies love inexplicable product names with extra vowels (grin).  ASG Link

Another clean 70 series with cargo box. This was the most factory-looking of the canopies and is made by Trigpoint. Link.
Even the South African products were represented, including Eezi-Awn and National Luna. All imported by Dolium.

Yep, just one of the dozens of nicely prepared Nissan Patrols.

While I am sure the new Ford Ranger is a fantastic vehicle, this one was assembled by someone with an inappropriate affection for Legos. Poor little Ranger.

Opposite Lock is growing quickly, their line of accessories expanding and their booth (and products) showing new levels of refinement. 
OZ Tent has been a long-time favorite, producing roomy, easy to set up, and classic-looking ground tents. It was interesting seeing the entire line in one place, making the size comparison a firsthand experience.

One of the more exciting vehicles at the show was the 6×6 tray back VDJ79 built by Patriot Campers. Complete with portal axles.
Unlike Europe, full-size American trucks have a place and function in the wilds of Australia, often enlisted to pull larger campers and boats. Seeing a righthand drive Ram took a second look. 
One of the most interesting brands is REDARC, a highly regarded manufacturing company out of Adelaide, producers of extreme-duty electronics like dual-battery systems, charge controllers, trailer controllers, and more. Having used a few of their products in the field, they really are like nothing else on the market. REDARC Link

Of course, a 4WD show in Australia would be incomplete with ARB in attendance, and their booth was massive, showcasing their full line of overland kit, bumpers, lockers, and suspensions. ARB Link

HEMA Maps was also on display in the ARB booth, displaying their newest HX-1 GPS unit with 7-inch display. HEMA also had several tablets running their excellent HEMA Explorer app. I became a big fan of HEMA products after my crossing of Australia in HEMA Maps Link.

A surprise was seeing the Iveco line of medium-duty trucks, all a perfect option for an expedition camper. Fingers crossed they eventually arrive in North America. Link for the Iveco Daily

Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and include three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar travels include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. He lives in Prescott, Arizona