Overland News of the Week

Decked Traction Mat by SeaDek

I’m a big fan of companies that look to further maximize the functionality of their existing products, and the Decked Traction Mat by SeaDek is one such example. The mat is made from marine-grade, self-adhesive foam padding router-cut to fit the top of the Decked Drawer System. This provides a non-slip surface for up to 2,000 pounds of gear that can be safely stored on top of the drawers.

“Let’s be honest, in the rain, the Drawer System’s deck can be as slick as a buttered eel on a marble floor,” says SeaDek vice-president of marketing Greg Randolph. “The SeaDek Traction Mat brings much-needed grip and traction.” Additionally, the soft material provides padding on the deck panels, making crawling around on top or maneuvering heavy items more comfortable. If you already own the Decked Drawer System, the SeaDek is well worth your consideration.

$525 | decked.com

Roofnest Meadowlark Roof Top Tent

There is such a wide variety of rooftop tents on the market that choosing the right one can feel a little daunting. Consequently, with so many valid options, it’s not primarily about quality but function. You need to identify your objectives and choose a rooftop tent that best suits your rig and travel plans. The Roofnest Medowlark distinguishes itself as a super lightweight option for rigs with a limited payload or as a solution for owners who wish to frequently mount or remove the product. At 90 pounds, it’s the perfect soft-shell option for a daily driver or for a rig where roof-mounted weight needs to be kept to a minimum (although this is good practice across all vehicles.) Roofnest Product Development Lead Turner Sessions says the Meadowlark is super lightweight due to the combination of high tensile strength materials and aluminum. The company promises the tent can be set up in seconds and is so compact it leaves room to carry a bike on the same crossbars. Finally, Roofnest is offering the Meadowlark on pre-sale for $1,395, $200 below its retail price.

$1,395 | roofnest.com

Nebo, Omni 3K

If you’ve spent any time under your vehicle or contorted within the engine bay, then you understand the value of a quality work light. Even easy jobs can be a physical and emotional sufferfest, and being able to see what you’re doing is often half the battle. Fortunately, Nebo has you covered with its new Omni 3K LED which can produce an impressive 3,000 lumens and is made with aircraft-grade aluminum. This compact yet powerful work light incorporates six modes (with a range of 8 to 70 meters) and has a battery life of up to eight hours using white light mode or as much as 20 hours using the red light setting. Working on a vehicle is often awkward, and getting light directed where you need it can be frustrating. The Omni 3K ensures you always find the perfect illumination angle, thanks to a built-in stand, integrated tripod mount, magnetic handle, and rotating lighting panels. It has a built-in power bank which can charge any USB-powered device and is IPX7 water resistant for up to 30 minutes at one meter.

$50 | nebo.acgbrands.com

Planetary Design, BruTrek Collapsible Pour Over

I recently interviewed legendary bikepacker Michael Dammer,and during our discussion, we agreed that a hot cup of coffee could compensate for even the most grueling mornings. In the past, I’d pack sachets of instant coffee, but thanks to the caffeine revolution, there are now a number of super lightweight systems that enable explorers to bring along their favorite blend of fresh ground coffee. One such product is Planetary Design’s new stainless steel BruTrek Collapsible Pour Over. This minimalist solution weighs 6.5 ounces (measuring 7 x 7.5 x 0.5 inches), includes two CoffeeSock reusable coffee filters (saving about 500 paper filters per year), and is housed in a convenient wax canvas bag. The BruTrek ensures you can enjoy your favorite coffee on backcountry excursions while also reducing waste. What’s not to love?

$45 | planetarydesign.com

The Great Arctic Swim

This summer, long-distance swimmer Justin Fornal, supported by his exploration partner, Wesley Archer, will attempt to be the first human to swim from Canada to Greenland across a 25-mile section of the Nares Strait. This epic demonstration of endurance (four years in the making) seeks to bring awareness to the impacts of global warming on the Arctic. According to the team, “The Nares Strait and to the south, Baffin Bay, are the epicenter for the results of global warming. Conditions are changing fast and in dramatic fashion, and the result is the loss of traditional Inuit culture and the natural ecology.” The expedition, in collaboration with Polar Bears International, is supported by Inuit hunters who will assist the team and remain close by during the swim to keep away potential encounters with wildlife such as Greenland sharks and walruses. The team will fly from New York to Qaanaaq, Greenland, and from there will cross more than 100 miles of sea to reach Pim Island (led by Inuit hunters) before attempting the swim. As the impact of global warming on the Arctic reaches a critical point, the Great Arctic Swim team’s challenge is to be applauded.


Expedition Overland Launches Overlander Network App

The Overlander Network is a subscription-based platform for ad-free overlanding and adventure travel content, and it can now be enjoyed via apps on devices and smart TVs. The company says subscribers can enjoy early-release content premiering on Overlander Network before being shown on YouTube. “Through the introduction of apps, subscribers enjoy the added convenience of being able to watch anywhere, at any time while fueling the creation of future content.” With Amazon Prime Video purging documentary and short film creators, YouTube imposing greater restrictions, and algorithms increasingly favoring short-form content, the Overlander Network provides a space where more cinematic long-form adventure content can thrive. At present, the platform is almost exclusively content from Expedition Overland, but from 2023 on, it will work with other filmmakers and travelers to provide content from around the world. I signed up, downloaded the app, and spent a weekend getting a feel for everything. As you’d expect from Expedition Overland, the app is well-organized and a pleasure to use, while the omission of ads and the ability to sync videos offline are welcomed features. The Overlander Network may be relatively new to the scene, but the potential for the platform is huge.


Jones Bikes turns 20!

It takes a decidedly talented company to create something original in this day and age, but since its inception, Jones Bikes has consistently produced unique bikes, parts, bags, and accessories. I was first introduced to Jones Bikes via a bikepacking hero of mine, Cass Gilbert (whileoutriding.com). While I’d always drooled over his various expedition rigs, I found myself completely memorized by his Titanium Jones’ bike (check out Cass’ review of the Jones SWBfor more info). The company recently celebrated turning 20. “When I started Jones Bikes, I was not intending to make Spaceframes, Truss forks, or H-Bars,” says owner Jeff Jones. “I was only planning on making custom titanium framesets and bikes. I began making bikes and experimenting with different ideas and geometry on bikes for myself. Before I knew it, the only custom bikes people were asking me to build were bikes like I was building for myself.” The company will continue to create innovative products, he says, while also introducing its new electric lineup with a dedicated website, jonesmotorbikes.com.

$varies | jonesbikes.com

Can-Am Unveils Two Electric Motorcycles

Like it or not, the motoring world is going electric, but with lightning performance, impressive range, and a growing infrastructure, there’s a lot to look forward to. Can-Am has recently announced two new electric motorcycles: the street bike Pulse and the exciting Origin dual-sport. “We have set to reclaim our motorcycle heritage and are very proud to re-enter the market with the introduction of the first two models of our all-electric Can-Am motorcycle family,” says President and CEO José Boisjoli. “Half a century ago, Can-Am roared to victory on the track and the trail, and today, a legacy is reborn.” Both bikes will feature BRP’s new Rotax E-Power technology which promises plenty of horsepower and torque. The Origin dual-sport is especially interesting with rally-style bodywork, spoked wheels, fork guards, a TFT display, single-disc brakes, and solo seating. Full details are set to be released in August 2023.

$TBD | can-am.brp.com

Leatherman, Garage

I’ve owned my Leatherman Rebarmulti-tool for over a decade, and despite years of expedition punishment, it still functions perfectly. I keep up-to-date with all their latest offerings, and a few weeks back, a product caught my eye that was decidedly unique in design: Batch #003: Parts. The company says its goal is to “make the best folding knife possible by using the greatest amount of found resources from the factory. The final product uses 26 parts found in the factory and includes an innovative interchangeable blade system.” Batch #003: Parts is one of three new products released by Leatherman’s new subsection, The Garage. Tim Leatherman designed and fabricated the first multi-tool in a garage, and so the company has introduced this new project to continue “that same spirit of grit, perseverance, and engineering to test out new ideas and tinker with the old ones.” The products will be released in limited runs of less than 1,000, and when they’re gone, that’s it. Each product has sold out quickly, so I’d recommend signing up to their mailing list if you’re interested in getting your hands on one.

$varies | leatherman.com

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Explorer Documentary

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is a living legend, and when it comes to exploration, his achievements are truly extraordinary. In fact, he was coined the “World’s Greatest Living Explorer” by the Guinness Book of Records, and it’s not hard to see why. His accomplishments include, but are not limited to, being the first person to circumnavigate the world from pole to pole and to run seven marathons on seven consecutive days on seven continents, discovering a lost city in Arabia, crossing the Antarctic on foot, being the oldest Briton to complete the 156-mile Marathon des Sables in the Sahara, and so much more. Additionally, he’s a passionate overlander and led the Land Rover Global Expedition, which was a circumnavigation of the earth via the Bering Strait. The Explorer documentary, directed by Matt Dyas, has exclusive access to Ranulph’s extensive film archive but seeks to go beyond his adventures and reveal the man behind the myth.


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No money in the bank, but gas in the tank. Our resident Bikepacking Editor Jack Mac is an exploration photographer and writer living full-time in his 1986 Vanagon Syncro but spends most days at the garage pondering why he didn’t buy a Land Cruiser Troopy. If he’s not watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, he can be found mountaineering for Berghaus, sea kayaking for Prijon, or bikepacking for Surly Bikes. Jack most recently spent two years on various assignments in the Arctic Circle but is now back in the UK preparing for his upcoming expeditions—looking at Land Cruisers. Find him on his website, Instagram, or on Facebook under Bicycle Touring Apocalypse.