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  • Necessity Fuels Innovative Creations at 2022 Overland Expo West

Necessity Fuels Innovative Creations at 2022 Overland Expo West

There were nearly 400 exhibitors at this year’s Overland Expo West held in Flagstaff, Arizona. Amid high-dollar overland vehicles and numerous impressive motorcycle displays, it was the work of homegrown entrepreneurs that stole the show. These ingenious products take on the challenge of overlanding travails and provide useful, productive, and practical solutions to make life easier outdoors—from hygiene on the go to quickly lifting your overland vehicle to baking biscuits on mountaintops.

Bottle Jack Buddy: Roadside Assistance in Seconds

Everybody knows the drill. You need to jack up your Jeep, RV, travel trailer, or truck. You lift the back seat and pull out all the jack components, assemble them, then get on the ground and search for a suitable area to place the jack.

Forget all that with the Bottle Jack Buddy.

Toss this lightweight, 4-inch steel axle cradle into your roadside safety kit along with a bottle jack, and in minutes you’ll be jacked up and ready for a repair. Considered one of the safest ways to lift your vehicle, this nifty, durable saddle fits snuggle to any axle up to a 4-inch tube and makes a larger cradle that fits most Dana 60, Dana 70, and Dana 80 axles.

The saddle is made of 1/4-inch steel and is powder-coated black. Use in the garage or on the side of the road.

$55 | bottlejackbuddy.net

Deadman Off-Road: The Cadillac of Recovery Kits

You’ve just bought the perfect winch and have headed into the solitude of the desert for some sublime overlanding. But now that you’re out there, your Jeep is axle-deep in sand. You look for an anchor, but there’s no tree in sight. Now what?

This potentially precarious situation is precisely why Deadman created its Earth Anchor, a PVC vinyl Class VII polyester industrial sling that easily rolls to fit under your driver’s seat. Deadman promises its product is the strongest recovery kit on the market, capable of recovering virtually any vehicle with an MBS ranging from 16,600 to 66,400 pounds. No anchor in sight? No problem. This tarp can be buried deeply enough to pull your Jeep back to safe ground. The sling also works well as a rock hugger or a tree snuggler.

$279 to $1,143 | deadmanoffroad.com

ExtremeMist: The Drinking Hydration Backpack

With summer rapidly approaching, the Arizona desert was the perfect place for ExtremeMist to demonstrate its latest innovation in cooling and hydration for hikers and bikers. Whether you’re pedaling through the summer heat or running trails, this misting hydration pack can literally be a lifesaver when things get scary in the backcountry.

Touted as the only backpack that offers both hydration and misting systems, the battery will last for up to 12 hours at low speeds. The drinking tube allows outdoor enthusiasts to hydrate on the go (nothing new here, really), but add an enjoying, cool, and energizing mist, and now you’re ready to conquer the world.

The personal cooling system comes with a rechargeable battery and an 8-speed wireless remote control for adjustable misting settings. The cooling pump removes from the pack easily and is compatible with ExtremeMist’s Quad Host Nozzle Kit for large-scale cooling.

Ergonomically shaped mesh shoulder straps allow you to adjust the pack from small to 4XL. The backpack features a multitude of pockets, including zippered side mesh pockets, four additional stretch pockets, a convenient top pocket, and an interior pocket with a key clip. The 2-liter reservoir is made with food-grade TPU materials that are BPA-free and FDA-approved.

$239 | extrememist.com

GoRuffly: Canine Compatible Moto Carriers

Jess Stone is riding a five-continent adventure with her favorite companion, her German Shepherd, Moxie. The pair stopped by Overland Expo West en route north. “Live extraordinarily with your dog, every day,” the blond solo rider touts. She means it. At 75 pounds and wearing goggles and a safety harness, Moxie’s favorite seat is right behind his owner, perched in one of Stone’s custom dog carriers.

Stone says Go Ruffly is the only company creating custom dog carriers built specifically for the size of the dog and the compatible bike. Custom upholstery and embroidered personal text are among its offerings, as are a number of other outdoor dog products, such as harnesses, leashes, and toys. The company, based in Guatemala, says it puts safety first, with compatible harnesses that keep Spot cozy and safe. The products are created by artisans from Guatemala. “We use top-quality materials and pay above-market, living wages to our independent artisans, tailors, and craftspeople,” Stone says.

Since carriers are custom-created, allow up to six weeks for delivery.

$1,200 | goruffly.com

Mobility Trauma Kit: Make It Out Alive

This is one of those items you put off buying because you don’t want to think you’ll ever need it. Think again.

Unlike cutting your finger while wrenching on your bike, outdoor accidents can cause far more than a finger bleed. From broken bones protruding through skin to road rash, most first-aid kits do little to stop the bleed, and in most cases, a Band-Aid won’t do.

Enter the MTK trauma kit. Designed by Fieldcraft Survival TACMED Solutions, a company providing industry-leading medical, simulation, and protection solutions for combat military personnel and first responders, this kit is created with everyday mobility, off-roading, and overlanding in mind. The kit includes everything you could need—from a tourniquet and modular bandages to tactical burn dressings and a Hyfin vent chest seal. It’s compact enough for a pannier or an easy fit under a seat and could mean the difference between making it alive to a hospital or not.

Not certain how to use it? No problem. Fieldcraft Survival also offers full online training courses.

$175 | fieldcraftsurvival.com

Shower Pouch: Fresh and Clean, Straight from the Pouch

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After camping for three days in the sun and wind, I was delighted to run across this home-developed product, and so was everyone else in my company.

Shower Pouch was created as a natural and safe means of maintaining hygiene while on the trail or on the road, where a shower or water source isn’t readily available. This pocket-sized product unwraps into a 2- by 1-foot towel and acts as a disinfectant body wipe, removing dirt, sweat, and odor without all the soap and chemicals you’d want to wash off.

Simply tear open the pouch, wipe your entire body, and cleanly go forth. The reusable cloth is three times thicker than your average baby wipe and moisturizes and conditions the skin with organic ingredients such as aloe leaf juice, tea tree oil, witch hazel, and willow bark. Free of parabens, dyes, and sulfates, the product is offered in unscented, cucumber, or bamboo (my favorite). Its vegan, hypoallergenic, and pH-balanced formula make it a great choice for sensitive skin, too.

$25/five-pack, $45/10-pack | theshowerpouch.com

Trail Fire Grill: The Last Grill You’ll Ever Need

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Company creators Mark and Willy are two mountain biking trail builders from Southern California. When the pandemic hit, they opted to stay outside, escaping to the hills to build trails. Eventually, they got hungry and began cooking gourmet meals in an abandoned granite quarry over a modified fire pit.

It wasn’t long before they refined their method and decided to share their engineering excellence with other outdoor enthusiast foodies. In a nutshell, Trail Fire Grill is a barbecue, a wok, an oven, and a firepit rolled into one eye-appealing, easy-to-carry, lightweight bundle. Fueled by propane, the even heat is spread by lava rocks. Grill burgers, steaks, chicken, and fish, or place the wok on the grill and stir-fry your favorite vegetables. Add a pizza stone, turn the wok over to use as a lid, lower the heat, and bake cookies, even biscuits. It is USFS safe and beautifully constructed, weighing just 20 pounds and measuring 13 inches tall with a 16-inch diameter.

$349 | trailfiregrill.com

TredCred: Sharing the Story

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My moto panniers display everything from my favorite quips and parts, the places I’ve been, the name for my bike’s suspension, to the eatery my moto buddies and I enjoyed in Marfa, Texas—Para Llevar. We adventure types like to share our stories, and displaying the stickers and patches of the terrain and routes we’ve conquered is one way we do it.

It’s no wonder why this small, Utah-based company garnered the attention of so many adventure seekers at this year’s Overland Expo West, with quality stickers and patches touting states, trails, routes, and parks. Boasted as the “toughest sticker you’ll ever own,” the vinyl stickers and Velcro-backed patches are fade-resistant, waterproof, dishwasher safe, and scratch-resistant. Sized at 3 x 3 inches, Tred Cred company also offers durable PVC rubber patches.

Don’t see the sticker or patch of your heart’s desire? Simply put in a special request on their website.

$8.50/patches, $4.50/stickers | tredcred.com

Vibe Speaker Tumbler: The Good Times Drinkware

overland expo

Whether you’re on a lounge chair by the beach or wrenching on your bike in the garage, this nifty hands-free device allows you to listen to music, make or answer calls, and enjoy a refreshing drink at the same time.

Whatever your environment, you set the pace with your choice of drink and music. The tumbler features a detachable 3.7-watt waterproof high-fidelity integrated speaker and is available in 12 bright colors. Designed to fit a standard car cup holder, this stainless steel tumbler is powder-coated and offers LED lighting for ambience and a built-in microphone for hands-free calling. The design allows your drinks to stay cold for up to 24 hours and keeps your music playing for eight hours.

$45 | firesideoutdoor.com

Wildland Coffee: Java in a Bag

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I never fail to carry a rapid boil and ground coffee on my BMW F 750 GS. The truth is, I’m up far before the coffee shops open, so when I came across this sustainable product from Wildland Coffee, I was curious if this java could pack the punch it promises.

Turns out, steeped coffee in a tea bag is as good as French-pressed and a whole lot easier to brew with less to carry. Instead of grinding coffee and pouring it into sandwich bags prior to a trip, I toss a few of these into my rapid boil canister and hit the road.

Simply boil your water and submerge your coffee bag for eight minutes. Wildland sources its beans from Cerrado, Brazil, and uses a compostable bag and recycled wrapper, so it receives a double thumbs-up for ethical standards and sustainability. The company even offers trial packs for its light, medium, dark, and extra-dark roasts.

$2.50/bag | wildlandcoffee.com

Read more: Eye-Catching Rigs of Overland Expo West 2022

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.

Marianne Todd has been a professional photojournalist and writer since 1987. Her career began in newspapers and rapidly spread into national news magazines. Her work has been featured on the pages of Time, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal, where she was nominated for Photographer of the Year International. Todd became a publisher in 2009, creating titles reflecting the music, arts, and tourism industries of the South (she still sports the accent), and her work as the official photographer for Governor Haley Barbour led her to photograph everything from Hurricane Katrina to presidential visits. Since moving to New Mexico four years ago, she has left hard news coverage to travel on her trusty BMW F 750 GS, journeying the roads of America and beyond.