SEMA Gear of 2022

Smartop Truck Bed Covers

Smartop Platform (originally from South Africa) secured the runner-up award for the Best New Van/Pickup/SUV product as a first-time attendee and newcomer to the US market.

This truck bed cover is made from aluminum with built-in anchoring T-slots that can hold up to 550 pounds. You can secure jerry cans and bicycles or snowboards along with your rooftop tent to the bed cover without losing space in your cargo bay. The Smartop truck bed covers are dustproof and waterproof with built-in dual locks. The bed cover is not rolled but rather raised and assisted by interior gas struts (these can be replaced for heavier loads). Accessories such as tables, axes, spades, and lighting can be mounted to the underside of the bed cover for easy access.

From $2,150 including shipping | smartopplatform.com

Oracle Lighting

It has been a very competitive year in the automotive aftermarket sector of late, with many new companies taking the opportunity to harness the current overlanding uptrend. Oracle Lighting, however, has been in business since 1999. This glowing review promises, “very bright white [light] and [a] shine like God’s eyes,” so you know you’re in good hands.

Oracle Lighting launched these three new products at SEMA:

LED Taillights

These flush tail lights have a low-profile design that is more compact than the pre-installed factory lights, thereby eliminating the chance of damage when driving on off-road trails. They also feature high-powered reverse lights and an animated turn signal sequence with perimeter lighting. These lights are quick to install with easy plug-and-play wiring and are available for the following truck models: Ford Super Duty Trucks (models 2017-2022), Ford Bronco 2021+, and the Jeep Wrangler JK (models 2007-2018) – From $370

Triple Fog LED Light for the Ford Bronco 2021+

The six LED lights emit over 6,000 lumens with no-glare precision and are housed in a galvanized powder-coated steel plate. These LED lights are easy to install as a simple bolt-on installation kit – $360

Integrated Roof Light Bar

This 18,000-lumen LED light bar is ingeniously disguised as a Ford factory-fitted cowl. The 30 x 8-watt LED lights are housed in an aerodynamic polycarbonate cowl and can be color-matched to your Bronco or finished in matte-black or carbonized gray. The amber or white clearance lights can be connected directly via an aux switch to your parking lights and driving lights or used independently. Only available for the Ford Bronco 2021+. Available on pre-order with delivery in Summer 2023 with prices starting at $1,000.

Oraclelights.com

BoltLock J-Mount

When traveling off-road or on trails with your AWD or 4WD, you should always ensure that you travel with the correct and adequate recovery equipment. A Hi-Lift jack can be a great help when changing a tire, getting out of deep mud, or even bending back a damaged body panel, but it’s also imperative to ensure that it is secured in a safe and accessible space on your vehicle. Your Hi-Lift jack should not be the cause of your recovery. BoltLock has developed the J-Mount, a device that attaches your Hi-Lift directly to your Jeep. The J-Mount is easily installed by utilizing the existing factory-drilled holes on your door panel along with with two plastic threaded knobs and a waterproof and impregnable BoltLock (which uses your Jeep’s ignition key). This setup securely holds the Hi-Lift jack in place. Only available for Jeep TJ and JK, 1997 models and upward.

$140 | boltlock.com

Bubba Off-Road Truck Recovery Gear Set

Bubba Rope has been nominated and won several awards at SEMA since 2010, and their recovery gear has become synonymous with the “best of” in the 4×4 arena. The NexGen Gator-Jaw synthetic soft shackle and the Bubba Power Stretch Rope, coated with vinyl armor Gatorized coating, will be the saving grace when called out over the weekend to save your buddy’s Bronco stuck on a sandbar on the beach in Maine. This time, the tow strap will not snap, and the Bronco will be saved, unscathed.

We are impressed that their recovery kit comes coated with two high-performance, elastic polymer coatings which allow more flex and protects it from the elements. And as a bonus, they offer professional recovery tips and advice to off-roaders on their website.

$275/20-foot, $325/30-foot | bubbarope.com

Moki Door Step

My average height of 5 feet 4 inches means that I don’t tower over many people and reaching the roof rack on my Land Rover Defender is not difficult. However, when we are in the US and driving American-made trucks, I can’t seem to even see into the engine bay of a Dodge Ram truck, let alone reach up and over onto the roof rack. That’s why we love the idea of the Moki Door Step. I don’t need to rely on my husband’s tall stature to assist me with tucking in the rooftop tent or accessing the ammo box. I am capable, and the Moki Door Step helps with that capability. The concept is a simple one, but the design is well-thought-out. The Moki Door Step is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, making it lightweight and robust with a 400-pound weight capacity, and it can be stored in your cubby box or the side door. I prefer the textured surface, which ensures I have a grip when unlocking the rooftop tent after a long day on the muddy trail or in the snow, meaning that I won’t be slipping off, flailing my arms as I hurtle to the ground.

$50/1 pack, $75/2 pack | mokidoorstep.com

SeaSucker Monkey Bars, Light Bar Mount, and Ski Rack

SeaSucker has over 100 products that allow you to take your outdoor gear along for the ride without the mess of straps, mounts, or drilling holes into your rig or boat. SeaSucker’s vacuum mounts are lightweight and easy to install and store. If you’re interested in having your axe, spade, and bike mounted to your rig just for the weekend, the easy removal of all the gear and mounts allows you to have your rig pristine and ready for the Monday blues.

SeaSucker recently featured these three new products at SEMA:

Classic Ski Rack

A clam-style carrier with soft rubber padding that can hold up to two snowboards or four sets of skis with their 6-inch vacuum mounts. Just in time to hit the snow-white slopes of Aspen – $425

Light Bar Mount

If you’re hitting the trails in the forest of West Virginia or the muddy slopes of Big Sur, you will need a light bar to spot the trail and wildlife. Most light bars are mounted permanently, but with SeaSuckers, you can position them at alternate spots on your rig, giving you a wider field of view – $200

Ridge Ready Monkey Bars

Many SUVs do not come with channels on their roof, providing a more rigid and structurally sound area for mounting gear. However, SUVs with ridges or channels can now install gear on their roof with the SeaSucker Ridge Ready Monkey Bars. Four 3.25-inch oval vacuum cups fit inside the channels, and two round aluminum powder-coated crossbars in 48-inch or 60-inch lengths – $550

seasucker.com

Optima Orangetop

The Optima brand, and their AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries in particular, have suffered a reputation knock since production moved across the border to Mexico. If in doubt, visit the Optima website and read their blog titled, “Optima Batteries Suck? The Truth,” which acknowledges this bias and explains why it is unfounded in reality.

Perhaps Optima’s newly released lithium battery range will re-establish the company’s reputation. Designed for powersports, the Optima Orangetop features quad terminals for easier installation across a broader range of vehicle fitments and a microprocessor-controlled battery management system (BMS) that automatically monitors the battery’s performance. Great news for powersports enthusiasts is that the Optima Orangetop boasts an IP67 rating against dust and water intrusion, is vibration resistant, and is relatively lightweight. The integrated Optima Powerlink system provides a convenient means to control the battery, connect your charger, and communicate battery condition. The Optima CPR function automatically disconnects your battery from parasitic loads and reserves enough power to start your ride.

optimabatteries.com

Vintage Air Builder Series Climate Control Systems

Vintage Air, based in San Antonio, Texas, has been operating since 1976 with the sole aim of creating interior cooling and heating systems for specialty vehicles with parts specially designed for street rods, sport trucks, and performance cars. If they can install their units in 1930’s and 1940’s-era trucks, you know they can shoehorn one into a classic Defender or Toyota Land Cruiser, increasing the comfort of those vehicles significantly at a savings (an aftermarket OE air conditioning kit for a Defender 110 is up to $3,700 before shipping).

A vehicle builder or owner can create their own Vintage Air climate control system with components from the universal Builder’s Series by selecting an evaporator kit, compressor, compressor mounting bracket, universal hose kit, condenser, and safety switch. When ordering a Builder Series kit, the Vintage Air team of experts will assist you in taking all of the measurements needed for ordering and walk you through the available options.

$820 | vintageair.com

TrailFX Ford Bronco Flat Steel Fender Flares

These flares are a durable and stylish addition that provides additional clearance for larger wheel and tire packages as well as protection from road or trail hazards. The TrailFX flares are designed to protect a vehicle from flying stones, rocks, and other debris and are constructed of 11-gauge mild steel and 1.3-inch outer diameter tubing with stainless steel fasteners. The great news is that these flares can be installed into your beloved Bronco’s fender without the need to drill new holes as the flares are installed into the existing factory mounting points. The tough-looking flares are finished in a matte-black powdercoat, are sold as a pair, and come with a limited three-year warranty.

$300 |trailfx.com

RockJock Adjustable Front Bump Stops For Jeep

In situations of extreme articulation and compression of a vehicle’s suspension, an axle housing-mounted bump stop may rotate inward toward the center of the vehicle, with the lower bump stop often missing the upper bump stop entirely. By lowering the front bump stop and being able to adjust its length as required, you can guarantee bump stop contact when and where you need it.

Awarded SEMA’s 2022 Best New Off-Road/4-Wheel Drive Product of the year and designed for the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator (JL/JT and JK), the RockJock adjustable front bump stop kit features billet aluminum components and 5/16-inch thick steel shims that may be added and removed for fine-tuning, all while the bump stop assemblies remain on the vehicle. To adjust, simply put a socket on the upper bolt to hold it in place, loosen the bump stop body with the supplied spanner wrench, add or remove bump stop shims as needed and then tighten the assembly backup.

The vehicle’s factory yellow bump stop cushions are retained and relocated by inserting them back into the bottom of the new aluminum RockJock bump stop bodies. This provides a factory “feel” when the bump stops make contact. The finish is clear anodized on the aluminum body with zinc plating on the spacers and bolts.

$315 |rockjock4x4.com

Apex Chassis Ford F250/350 17-22 HD Steering Kit

If you use your Ford truck as intended, you may eventually find that all the bad roads and hard work have caused your steering to become vague, clunky, and even noisy on trails.

While not cheap, it may be worth the investment in an Apex Chassis direct replacement extreme duty Tie Rod and Drag Link assembly to replace your compromised OE steering. Oversized tie rods and drag link ends are connected by tough, large-diameter DOM tubes to eliminate the death wobble and tighten up steering under the most extreme conditions. Weak adjusting sleeves are replaced by tie rods and drag link ends that thread directly into the connecting rods, secured by jam nuts and Apex Chassis branded ninja lock-washers.

It must be noted that this kit is not compatible with BDS track bars and will not fit wide-track models.

$1150 | apexhassis.com

Hammerhead Armor Box

Hammerhead Armor is a well-known and established American-owned company that specializes in front and rear bumpers for over 200 truck models. They have been providing high-quality materials and craftsmanship for over 60 years, so we did not find it surprising when they were the finalist in SEMA’s Best New Exterior Accessory Product for their Hammerhead Armor Box.

More information is pending from the supplier and a public release of the Armor Box is expected soon.

Hammerheadarmor.com

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Graeme Bell is an author and explorer who has dedicated his life to traveling the planet by land, seeking adventure and unique experiences. Together with his wife and two children, Graeme has spent the last decade living permanently on the road in a self-built Land Rover based camper. They have explored 27 African countries (including West Africa), circumnavigated South America, and driven from Argentina to Alaska, which was followed by an exploration of Europe and Western Asia before returning to explore the Americas. Graeme is the Senior Editor 4WD for Expedition Portal, a member of the Explorers Club, the author of six books, and an Overland Journal contributor since 2015. You can follow Graeme's adventures across the globe on Instagram at graeme.r.bell