Having just returned from my first Overland Expo, I’m a bit overwhelmed. I’ve never seen so many kitted-out vehicles and overland gear in the same place. I found myself being drawn in five different directions at the same time. Woah! Check out these bumpers…and, oh wow! Is that the Acela Monterra? It was like being a kid in a candy shop, except in this case, the candy was made of metal and costs you a year’s salary.
For this installment of Overland News of the Week, I’m bringing you a few highlights from Overland Expo Mountain West. Enjoy.
LavaBox Portable Campfire
Campfires add a certain ambiance to the campsite that’s hard to replicate with electric lighting alone. They also make a cold evening much more comfortable. But in much of the western US, fire bans prevent us from enjoying campfires throughout the summer months. The propane-fueled LavaBox offers the best qualities of the campfire, ambiance and warmth, while being a safer alternative to burning wood. The smallest version is also extremely compact and packs into small spaces much easier than a round fire pit. The natural patina of the Naked Tabletop Vol-CAN-no, which is pictured above, was my favorite in the lineup.
$175+ | LavaBox.com
Dometic HYD-WF Water Faucet & HYD-J11 Water Jug
I’m not one to try and predict industry trends, but I’m willing to make a bet that this little guy is about to disrupt water storage in the overlanding world, and here’s why. Traditional Jerry Cans and 5-gallon water jugs are heavy and difficult to pour from when full. But there’s no reason that a water container needs to hold so much fluid. Why not carry multiple, smaller jugs? That’s the idea behind the 11-liter HYD-J11 water jug. It’s designed with two openings: one is 63mm, the same size as a wide-mouth Nalgene bottle, and the other is a quick-connect CPC connection (standard connection on water bladders) with an integrated pick-up tube that sits inside the container.
By connecting the USB-rechargeable HYD-WF to the CPC fitting on the jug, you can easily pump out one liter per minute at the push of a button. The faucet has an integrated LED light so that you can see what you are doing and it will pump up to 150-liters of water on a single charge. It has a magnet in its base, which allows it to securely attach to many metal surfaces.
Price & Availability TBD | Dometic.com
Skinny Guy Campers
These compact slide-in truck campers from Skinny Guy Campers caught got our attention for a few reasons. They can be specified to work with truck bed organizer systems (like Decked or Truckvault) and are designed around your truck’s tailgate so that it won’t need to be removed to accommodate the camper. This also means that you won’t need to relocate your rear-facing camera (if your truck has one) and you’ll still be able to use your truck’s hitch without any special accommodations. When stowed, the Skinny Guy doesn’t protrude above your truck’s cab which should result in better gas mileage as well as the ability to garage your truck with the camper still installed. Also, how about that pivoting fly rod holder? (it’s not currently a production item…at least, not yet). Their campers come in bed lengths starting at 4.5-feet up to 8-feet (no 6-footer though).
$15,625+ | Skinnyguycampers.com
Leitner Hydropod Shower
Over at the Leitner booth, I got to check out their new Hydropod Shower. Designed to integrate seamlessly with their Active Cargo System (a truck-bed rack with accessory rails), the Hydropod is a 4.5-gallon plastic water pod that can be pressurized with a garden hose or a custom-engineered high-volume hand pump. Once pressurized, just attach the included 20-foot hose and adjustable spray nozzle and you’re ready to take a shower. But don’t stop there, once you’ve cleaned yourself the Hydropod can spray debris off your rig, sand off your surfboard, or food off of your dishes.
Price & Availability TBD | Leitner.com
Mountain Hatch Tailgate Cutting Board
Designed to make your truck’s tailgate a little bit more versatile, the Mountain Hatch is an FDA-approved 1/2-inch thick food-safe plastic cover that screws onto your truck’s factory tailgate. It makes your tailgate completely flat so that you can more easily use it as a table or a cutting board. Additionally, the Mountain Hatch has cup-holders and can be ordered in a variety of colors.
$229+ | Mountainhatch.org
Step 22 Tenkile Tech Pouch
Step 22 gear has been on our radar for a while now and getting to check out their products in person showed just how thoughtful their designs choices are. For me, the Tenkile tech pouch seems like an excellent solution for toting around delicate items in the outdoors. It’s constructed from super-durable Cordura and has a very simple but clever diagonal zipper, allowing the pouch to remain wide open and stable (whilst protecting the contents from whatever surface you set it on). The Tenkile also has molle webbing on the backside, allowing you to integrate it with an organization panel or attach a shoulder strap.
$70 | Step22gear.com
This modular accessory mounting system from RV Rail could be a great way for DIYers to easily add functionality to their rig. Just attach the screw or bolt-on mounting rail wherever you’d like, making it easy to swap between items such as a bar-b-q, sink, paper towel holder, or work surface. At their booth, they had the system mounted to a vertical slide in the back of a Jeep, a clever way to add functionality to a vehicle with limited space.
Website & pricing are not currently available
Redtail Overland Basecamp RTT
Is Redtail Overland’s $31,500 hard-sided carbon fiber rooftop tent rediculous? I’m going to reserve judgement, although, I’d like to point out that you could buy a vehicle and travel around the world for that amount of money. Nonetheless, this is a beautifully-designed piece of equipment with features that you don’t often find in rooftop tents. The Basecamp can be optioned with integrated diesel heating, DC and AC power, solar panels, a floor hatch, and quick-release mounting hardware. Weight ranges from 225-330 pounds depending on options.
$19,500+ | Redtailoverland.com
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