The overland theme continues into the South Hall for our coverage of 2019 SEMA day two. The Gladiator was certainly a darling of the show, but Tacomas and Colorados also filled the halls. One theme that was encouraging is a general trend towards functionality, with many of the parts reflecting better durability, improved coatings, and even the use of lighter materials. New fridges were on display by ARB and Dometic, along with innovative new products from Warn, AEV, iKamper, and others. As SEMA is always best shown in pictures, here is our mashup from day two:
We should start the day 2 feature off with a genuine overland vehicle. This well-loved JK has been around most of Africa during a three year journey with The Road Chose Me.
This VW Syncro from Radflo has a nice stance to it, and a proper suspension underneath.
XVenture had a trailer on display behind a clean 4Runner build. It has a James Baroud tent on top and a complete camping setup. The owner of this Toyota is quite the adventurer in his own right.
The Tacoma in the Tuffy Products booth was one of my favorite from the show, featuring classic graphics and a minimalist build.
ARB had their new fridges on display, complete with an entirely new design and a squared-off, modern design.
The new EarthRoamer LTi was on display, and is without a doubt the best EarthRoamer yet, with a full carbon body and nearly 2,000 pounds less weight.
Subaru owners will rejoice at the new Warn bumper for these durable crossovers. It has a clean, factory look. The Crosstrek looked good with the bigger tires and roof rack.
Warn also showcased their new Gladiator and JL tube doors.
American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) always brings a level of refinement and quality unique to the aftermarket, and this year was no exception. Their Brute (er, Gladiator) showcased the new front bumper, JT suspension, and lights. The bed also included a unique spare tire mount for those that wish to run a larger tire. I was also impressed by the design and coverage of the new RAM bumper, which enhanced the appearance of the truck and provided excellent coverage and protection. The JL looked reminiscent of the original J8 and included a stealthy and extremely robust set of steel wheels…
We know that light bars make many travelers swoon, but I really like the performance and traditional appearance of a round. These combination HID and LED HTX2 Lightforce units achieve the best of both worlds.
Dometic had their newest fridges on display, including this innovative new ice tray. Gin and Tonic anyone?
EarthCruiser was also in attendance with their newest expedition camper, complete with a GM V8 and Dynatrac axles. Air Lockers will be standard, and front/rear winches can be fitted. I have experience with this chassis in Australia, and feel it is one of the best solutions for global travel (including fitting into a container).
As expected, the show was jam packed with Gladiators, and most were actually functional in their build. Here are a few worth sharing.
The Rigid booth had a Camburg racing prepared JT
The Decked Gladiator was particularly nice (but those wheels…), including a Leitner Designs rack and their new bed drawer system.
Perfect Bungee had these extremely cool little tiedown ropes that featured proper metal hooks and easy release rings. The short rubber bungee helps keep the rope under tension, but does not allow too much stretch. These are perfect for securing interior loads and I bought a few right there at the show! Made in the USA is a nice touch too.
Cooper Tire had a clean LR4 on display, complete with a full Front Runner rack and tent. Cooper tires have proven to be excellent travel tires, long respected in Australia for their durability.
Tentrax is back on the market and includes a new kitchen design. These trailers were extremely popular a decade ago, and are well suited for towing behind smaller SUVs and crossovers.
iKamper had a full booth this year and featured several of their new models, including the XCover and a new Skycamp Mini. Their products have done very well in our testing, and solve real issues with roof tents like weight, set-up time, and rack footprint.
TheScheel-Mann booth was sure popular, with every seat filled with tired show-goers. There seats are without question the most popular and highest quality option for the overland traveler.
TeraFlex had their new JL suspension on display with a bare chassis. I clearly showcases the quality of the components and how they integrate with the platform. The reservoir configuration was particularly innovative, and ensure both ease of installation and full tire clearance.
Yakima had their new LockNLoad rack design on display, which is not only robust, but will look appropriate on many modern vehicles.
Rhino Rack had their new bed rack system on display, which is both lockable and adjustable. I liked the lower height, which would put a tent only slightly above the roof line, lowering center of gravity and improving economy.
Feature vehicles are a big part of SEMA, and overland trucks were well-represented throughout the show.
And of course, every SEMA is filled with head scratching fails. This one wins today’s vote…