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The 2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for You

On Monday we published the first of three holiday gift guides for 2017. (You can see it here) It covers some of our favorite outdoor and four-wheel drive products that cost $125 USD or less, making it perfect for things you’d give to family, friends, or yourself. However, it does it feel a little lackluster under the constraints of that price limit. I mean, let’s be honest, our own holiday wish lists often include items of a more expensive nature, and we can’t just ignore those, can we? Of course not. To address this important segment, we’ve created our second holiday guide: Gifts for You. It includes gifts ranging from $126 USD to $25,000 USD, and encompasses a wide array of interests. Which products you choose and the quantities in which you buy them will depend greatly on the depth of your pocketbook, but we feel there’s something for everyone tucked into the article below. As always, let us know how we did, and have a happy holiday season!

Warn Winch – Prices start at $500 USD 

If you’ve done any research on winches, chances are that you’re familiar with Warn. This iconic U.S. 4×4 brand has been producing winches since the late 1950s, and to say they’ve become experts is an understatement. Our team has used everything from their Pullzalls to their 16.5 ti-S in various parts of the world, and so far we’ve not had a single failure. Whether you’re looking for an 8000-pound model for your Jeep, or a 16,500-pound option for your full-size truck, Warn has a winch for you. Compare them on their website here, or shop one of their online retailers. 

Aether Expedition Motorcycle Jacket and Pants – $750, $495 USD

If you’re looking for a way to improve both safety and looks on your motorcycle, then you need to check out the Expedition Motorcycle jacket and pants from Aether Apparel. The Jacket features three layers of Japanese field nylon, a heavy duty fabric which is abrasion resistant, water-proof, and breathable. This durable fabric has been doubled in the critical impact areas, and combined with D3O padding in the shoulder, elbow, and back, and chest. The pants share a similar construction, except a three-layer stretch nylon has been added in the seat and knees to make long rides more enjoyable. They also feature standard D3O side hip pads and adjustable pocket knee pads for when things go wrong. Both the Expedition jacket and pants are fully seam sealed, making the entire garment waterproof on their own, and eliminating the need for annoying liners. Each can be purchased in multiple colors and a range of sizes. Check them out on the Aether website. 

Overland Experts Training – Prices as low as $255 per person per day

Yesterday we published a full review of the comprehensive training offered by Overland Experts. (You can find it here) While I encourage you to read the whole review, I’ll summarize by saying it’s one of the most informative and effective course I’ve ever taken. Their staff is knowledgable, their curriculum is excellent, and their driving facilities are both challenging and fun. Of course, I’d expect nothing less from a company run by Bruce Elfstrom, one of the industry’s leading experts in overland training. He was born to parents hailing from two different nations: his mother was a UN and freelance journalist from Sweden, his father a documentary filmmaker from the United States. He drove his first four-wheel drive at the age of 9 in Maine, was rolling through Beirut and the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon in a Range Rover with a 70mm roof-mounted gun by 13, and was operating vehicles around Libya’s back door at age 20. To say the guy knows his stuff is an understatement.

Courses can be tailored to fit each student’s goals in driving, recovery, navigation, or repairs, and lengths range from a day to as long as you need. Each facility offers a variety of vehicles to train with, including many unique options not commonly found in this country. While I know that training may not seem as attractive as fitting your vehicle with that new bumper or upgraded roof rack, I can guarantee it will do more for your performance on the trail than both combined. To learn more about their courses, visit their website. 

Goose Gear Plate Systems and Sleeping Platforms – Prices start at $275 USD

We’re all about organization and efficiency here at Expedition Portal, so it should come as no surprise that Goose Gear has made a big impression on us over the past few years. While all of their products are exceptional, we’d like to spotlight their plate systems and sleeping platforms. The sleeping platform transforms the stock interior of your vehicle into a home on wheels, with a flat space on which to rest, and hidden storage beneath the deck. It’s highly versatile and often costs less than a roof-top tent.

The plate systems allow owners to easily secure cargo and equipment with various types of tie-downs, as well as install and remove Goose-Gear modules without further modifying their vehicles. These systems are available for 4Runners, FJ Cruisers, Jeep JKs, Land Cruisers, Lexus GX, Ram trucks, and many other custom applications. For more information, visit the Goose Gear website. 

Four Wheel Pop-up Camper – $18,000-25,000 USD

If you are looking for a comfortable, lightweight, and durable truck-mounted abode, a Four Wheel Camper (while it won’t fit in your stocking) might be your ticket this holiday season. From its welded aluminum frame and high-quality cabinetry to a customizable galley and power systems, this low-profile home away from home will take you into the backcountry in style. To learn more, visit their website.

KTM 690 Enduro R – $10,800 USD

If you are a rider and prefer an agile, dirt-ready performer rather than a 600-pound street-biased cruiser, the KTM 690 Enduro R will get you over the whoops in style for Christmas dinner. Weighing in at a scant 309 pounds dry, it has copious suspension travel, impressive power band, and loves backcountry two-tracks. Technically a street-legal dirt bike on steroids, it can be accessorized for the long haul and truly puts the “dual” in dual-sport. To learn more, visit their website here. 

ARB Air Locker – $941 USD

ARB’s air locker—the 8th wonder of the world—provides the “push,” “click,” and “go” that will get you though the most technical of terrain and home for Christmas dinner. Available for more than a hundred differentials, this pneumatically actuated air locker provides 100 percent traction when you need it, and the easy-to-drive properties of an open diff when you don’t. To learn more, check out their website. 

BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 – $176 to $359 USD each

With more than 40 years experience winning off-road races in places like Baja, Mexico, BFGoodrich has had plenty of time to perfect the All-terrain tire. It makes sense, as they pretty much created the genre. The latest iteration, the KO2, features CoreGard technology (borrowed from their race-only Baja T/A KR2), and has the toughness to handle the rocky road, traction (full-depth 3D siping) for the slippery sled track, and tread life to see you through many more holiday seasons—we put 35,000 miles on a set and burned through less than half the tread. To see all the details, visit their website.

Yeti Tundra 45 – $350 USD

It may be winter, but you still need to keep your coldies cold, and the Yeti Tundra 45 is up for the task in any weather. This rotomolded champ won Overland Journal’s premium cooler test (2016 Fall Issue) by outperforming the competition in a battery of tests. Its dimensions are perfect for the back of a Jeep or bed of a truck, handles make for an easy carry, and it is as tough as, well, a Yeti. To buy yours or learn more, check it out here. 

Cummins 2.8 Turbo-Diesel Repower – $8,999 USD

People have been doing Cummins motor swaps for years, and it’s pretty clear why. When it comes to diesels, they’re indisputably one of the best. More recently, however, the brand has made things a whole lot easier by launching their 2.8L crate motor—a cleaner, more efficient, and better-performing engine than most small pickups and SUVS used to come with. It packs plenty of low-end torque, low fuel consumption, low engine operating temperatures, modern high-pressure common rail fuel injection, and a compact footprint making it a pretty attractive option for overlanders. For more information, visit their website. 

Triple Aught Design Talisman Jacket – $425 USD

The Talisman is a stylish and elegant waxed canvas jacket built for all your adventures. It features secure pockets inside and out for organized gear storage, and a concealed ventile hood beneath the stand-up collar for extra weather protection. The jacket is available in both black and Havana brown, but supplies are limited. Check it out here before it’s gone. 

Hard Shell Roof-Top Tent – Pricing Varies

Hard shell tents come with a plethora of advantages. They’re quick to deploy, great in foul weather, easily store your bedding and clothing, and don’t coat you in dirt each time you remove the cover, so it’s easy to understand why they’ve made our gift list. Unfortunately, choosing which tent to buy is where things get difficult. Instead of listing just one or two of them, we decided that it would make far more sense to show you all of the options on the market with our Hard Shell Roof-Top Tent Buyer’s Guide. There you’ll find a complete list of the tents currently on the market, along with links to every manufacturer’s page you might need. Happy camping!

Nemo Stargaze Luxury Recliner – $219 USD

There are some things that I just can’t logically justify as a need, but I absolutely want, and this chair is one of them. It’s called the Stargaze, and it’s the first-ever swinging and reclining camp chair. It’s designed to work on rocks, sand, mud, or just about any other surface, and thanks to the hanging design you’ll be sitting even through it all. The Stargaze features an aircraft-grade aluminum suspension frame, is sturdy enough to hold 300 pounds, and packs down quickly and compactly. It also includes padded arm rests, cup holders, a stash pocket for tablets keys and books, and a padded carrying case for while you’re on the road. It’s available for purchase at REI, and can be seen on their website. 

Norweld Aluminum Tray – $8,629 USD and up

Norweld is an Australian company that has developed some absolutely stellar aluminum trays for trucks and utes. Each tray is modular, and can be quickly altered to fit the needs of the owner on various days. One week it may be equipped with a secure canopy for work, the next it might be a camper or a flat bed. The options are limitless. Norweld has been producing these products for over 40 years, but only recently came to the United States through a partnership with Main Line Overland on the East Coast. The basic tray, which starts at just over $8,000, features two tool boxes in front of the wheel wells, one tool box behind a wheel well, and one 43-liter freshwater tank. From there you can add a range of options including additional storage, electronics, campers, and even an awesome canopy packed with secure compartments and features. For more information on the product, pricing, and additional pictures, visit the Main Line Overland site. 

BMW R NineT – $12,995 USD

BMW has been making epic adventure bikes for decades, and with each new model we’re lured in by their beauty and charm. It’s no small feat then that they’ve managed to make a bike that at least for me, stands out above the rest. It’s called the R NineT, a 1,170cc beauty that is perfect for all of your retro ride dreams. Although it has been out for a few years, we still get chills just thinking about grabbing one for a cruise through the Pacific Northwest. The R NineT is available in several styles, and can all be seen on their website here. 

Premier Power Welder – $1,400-1,500 USD

When “stuff” happens on the trail and typical hand tools won’t do the trick, the Premier Power Welder is a mechanic’s best friend. This 100-percent duty cycle unit, which generates high-frequency pulsating DC current, will let you ARC, MIG, and TIG weld mild or high-carbon steel, stainless, and aluminum. Combined with the included high-output alternator, the Premier also produces 115-volt DC power (up to 2,300 watts/20 amps) to run grinders, drills, and other brush-type shop tools. You may not use it often, but when you need to patch up a broken frame or spring perch on the trail, the Premier will save your bacon. Check it out on their website. 

 

Bestop Supertop – $660 USD

Built with the same quality as their original Jeep tops, Bestop’s Supertop for trucks provides durability, easy removal, and one-of-a-kind styling. Also like their Jeep tops, the rear and side windows can be conveniently removed or rolled up for quick access to your gear, and all windows feature a 31-percent tint that meets U.S. and European vehicle regulations. It protects your gear from the elements, and when you need to load up a motorcycle, just flip the top forward and you are good to go. Bestop has an application for most full- and mid-sized trucks ranging from the Tacoma to the Ram 2500, and it will set you back about half the cost of a conventional canopy. To learn more, visit their website here.

1990 Land Cruiser HDJ81 Turbo-diesel – $23,000 USD

Why spend $70 grand for a new cruiser when you can source a classic imported 80 Series for a fraction of the cost. Grab this cherry HDJ81 fitted with 1HDT 4.2-liter turbo-diesel, 4-speed automatic, AC, power package, and factory E-lockers from Land Cruisers Direct. The odometer reads only 91,500 miles and it is currently en route to the States from Japan. If you pine for a BJ74 or LJ78 Troopie, they have these as well. To see their inventory, check out their website. 

Autohome Columbus Variant – $2,599-3,699 USD

Avoid sleeping in the snow and mud this winter with a Columbus Variant roof-top tent from Autohome. This aerodynamic fiberglass abode takes 20 seconds to open and about a minute to stow. Screened windows on three sides offer exceptional ventilation, it features a comfortable mattress and pillows, interior LED lighting, and is weather tight in the worst of conditions. To learn more, visit their website here. 

Rhino-Rack Pioneer Platform – $499 USD and up

I’ve used or owned a lot of brands of roof racks on the market, and the Pioneer Platform has definitely become one of my favorites. Its low profile makes it nearly silent on the highway and helps retain your vehicle’s stock fuel economy. It has a wide range of accessories from bike carriers and paddle board mounts, to shovel holders and folding ladders for easy access. You can even choose locking quick release feet to make removing and installing the rack a 5-minute process. You can read our full review here, or check out all of the options on their website. 

Kariba Hot Water Shower

If there’s one complaint I hear most about spending extended periods on the road, it’s that people want a hot shower. Well, Equipt Expedition Outfitters now has a solution for that and it’s called the Kariba. This single burner gas heater can be used as a stove or a hot water heater for a shower, and is compact enough to fit just about anywhere. It can raise ambient water temps by 65°F, and can operate on camping gas and propane. For more information, visit the Equipt website here.

Rule of 5 Training – Pricing Varies

If you’re looking for a peaceful weekend in the woods drinking a beer by a fire, you won’t find it here. Rule of 5 trains its attendees in wilderness survival skills while exploring some of the most beautiful stretches of our nation’s landscape. It’s not a rough and tough obstacle course or mud run, but a true outdoor experience that anyone can participate in. As they put it, “Rule of Five Wilderness Company offers you a new way to connect with the natural world while having fun doing it. You can have the experience of a high-end getaway with a heavy dose of adventure as we teach you Wilderness Living skills.” Their courses are structured around five core tenants: Shelter, Fire, Edge, Vessels and Cordage, and their instructors will cover the crucial aspects of each while incorporating lessons on expeditionary planning, ecology, and natural history. To learn more, visit their website here and gear up for your next adventure. 

DOMETIC COOLMATIC CD 30 – $600 USD

The fridge/freezer is nothing new to overlanders, and neither is the drawer system, but I think the drawer fridge has been highly under utilized in the industry. Low profile, affordable, and highly efficient, options like the Dometic CD 30 make loads of sense for people who are running drawers or want to build a sleeping platform into the vehicle. The CD 30 is available in black, white, or my personal favorite, stainless. Check out all the details on their website here. 

Soft-Shell Roof-Top Tent – Pricing Varies

Ah yes, the overland classic, soft-shell tents. For many of us, these awesome products were our first introduction to this industry, and I’d wager more than a few of us have owned one in the past. They keep you off the ground, away from animals, and sleeping comfortably all year long. Like the hard-shell tents above, there are simply too many great options to list here in this gift guide, so we will simply direct you to our Soft-Shell Roof-Top Tent Buyers Guide here. We hope whatever tent you find helps improve your camping experience, and encourages you to explore this beautiful world in which we live.

Overland Gear Exchange – Pricing Varies

If you’re mulling over a big purchase and want to try the product before you buy it, or simply can’t justify the cost of something for only using it a few times a year, it’s time to check out Overland Gear Exchange. This cool company has set out to be a platform for buying, selling, and RENTING overland gear. This includes everything from roof-top tents, heaters, and stoves, to a fully kitted out Conqueror UEV-440 trailer or a flatbed Toyota Tacoma with Four-Wheel Camper. Oh, and yes, you can list your own equipment and vehicles for rent as well! Check it all out on their website here. 

Adventure Vehicle Rentals – Pricing Varies

Another great way option for renting an adventure vehicles comes from Adventure Travel Sports Rentals. This Colorado-based company has a fleet of vehicles including Sportsmobiles, Tiger adventure campers, Chaser trailers, Land Cruisers, Jeep Rubicons, and even a Tundra TRD Pro. Each can be rented on its own, or with a fantastic trip suggestion into some of our nation’s most beautiful places. To plan your next vacation or inquire about pricing, check out their website here. 

AT Overland Habitat – $8,600 USD and up

AT Overland has been a powerhouse in the industry since their inception, and today their influence is stronger than ever. One of their coolest products is the Habitat, a truck topper that turns your pickup into a highly versatile camper. Designed to fill the gap between a traditional truck topper and a slide-in camper, the Habitat has 7 feet of interior head room for standing, working, and sitting, along with a comfortable bed with a dense foam mattress. The shell can be used as is or combined with a number of interior options from AT Overland or Goose Gear to create a true home on wheels. To learn more, check it out on their website. 

Rigid Adapt Light Bar – $829-2,800 USD
The Adapt light bar is one of the coolest developments in lighting to hit our industry in some time. It’s the first light bar to adjust instantly to driving conditions through 8 selectable beam patterns that range from broad, short-distance lighting to highly focused long-distance lighting. It also packs adjustments for a range of colors, a compact dash controller, and two programmable preset modes. All of this sounds well and good written out, but to truly appreciate it, you really need to see it in action, so we’ve included a video which you can view by clicking the image below. Once you’ve watched it, check out all of the sizes and features on their website here. 

Patriot Campers X2 Trailer – $25,000 USD

Patriot Campers has won Australia’s trailer of the year for the last 4 years running, and now they’ve finally arrived on U.S. shores. Despite being at the foundation of the company’s trailer range, the X2 is far from basic. It packs in more features and comforts than many competing trailers do when fully loaded, and includes options like a Foxwing Eco Awning with gas-assisted lift system, underchassis spare tire mount with spare tire and wheel, stainless cooktop with slide-out, a front storage shelf and propane instant hot water heater, and a Bluetooth Stereo. And this isn’t some trailer fabbed up by a guy in his garage, it has been designed by Australian engineers, and tested under some of the harshest off-road conditions in the world, so you know it’s built for the long haul. To learn everything you’ll need to know about the X2, visit the Patriot Campers website here. Once you’re done, head on over to Exploration Outfitters to purchase. 

Yaesu FT-7900 R FM Transceiver – $269 USD

Reliable communication provides a margin of safety when traveling in the backcountry, and the Yaesu FT-7900 R dual-band base unit will help you stay in touch with the world. It offers 50 watts of power in the 144 MHz band and 40 watts in 430 MHz. It will also receive from 108 to 520 MHz and 700 to 999.99 MHz. It features 1000 memory channels in up to 20 groups, intuitive programing menus, instant recall for NOAA weather frequencies, high-visibility backlit LCD screen, and remote mounting of the control panel and body; a very hand feature. To learn more, visit their website here. 

ARB Intensity AR21 – $511 USD each

During the long nights of winter, light your way with a pair of ARB Intensity AR21 LED auxiliary lights. These fire-breathing torches have UV-resistant powder-coated A360 aluminum body, durable polycarbonate lens, and Gore membrane breather. The multi-position mount is crafted from stainless steel, and the wiring loom utilizes Deutsch DT-06 waterproof connectors. The AR21 is also IP68 (dust and moisture intrusion) and MIL-STD-810G (vibration) certified, and is RoHS (Restriction of Use of Hazardous Substances) compliant. It features 21 3.5-watt SMD Osram LEDs that emit 6,950 raw lumens while only drawing 6.1 amps. Available in spot and flood patterns, these Made in USA lamps will brighten your holidays. To learn more, check them out on the ARB website. 

Dual Odyssey Batteries – $580 USD

Keep your rig energized this winter with a pair of Odyssey batteries. These absorbent glass mat (AGM) dry cell design offer 820 cold cranking amps (CCA), a 20-hour capacity, and a 130-minute reserve. The AGM feature allows for unrestricted mounting positions and eliminates the spills and mess associated with flooded lead-acid design. We’ve found Odyssey batteries to be one of the most rugged and long lasting products in the genre. To learn more, view them on the Odyssey website here.

ICON Vehicle Dynamics CDC Coilovers – $1,848-2,940 USD

If your suspension is ready for an upgrade, ICON Vehicle Dynamics has got you covered with their Compression Damping Control (CDC) coilovers. The CDC system features ICON-engineered Eibach coil springs, an .875-inch, corrosion-resistant, hardened steel shaft, and CNC-machined 6061 T6 aluminum components. The system also offers full adjustability via a 10-position dial on the remotely mounted reservoirs. ICON’s tubular upper control arms incorporate a uniball joint, eliminate the upper ball joint binding that is experienced during full droop, and provide an extra half-inch of travel. To see more information on these great suspension systems, check them out on the ICON website here.

Ready Welder II ADP-CS – $699 USD

The Ready Welder MIG unit is another invaluable trail tool when things go pear shaped. Their newest model, the Ready Welder II ADP-CS, has a cold switch function that cuts power to the tip when not welding. It accommodates a 1-pound spool of flux core wire and can also be used with solid wire and gas. Field welding is accomplished by hooking it up to two or three 12-volt batteries in series (24 and 36 volts respectively), depending on the thickness of the material being welded. It can also be used as a spool gun when connected to a DC arc unit such as a Premier Power Welder or shop unit. No need go giftwrap this one; it will look great under the tree as-is. To learn more, check them out here.

Front Runner Spare Tire Braai and BBQ – $137 USD

I recently purchased this cool product from Front Runner along with their ratchet strap step. It’s made from stainless steel and can be adapted to fit up to a 35-inch tire while taking up virtually no space on your vehicle. Besides looking great, this grate is the perfect way to grill out over an open fire while camping. Cook your favorite dish, and when you’re done clean up the grill and toss it back on your tire. Find out more on the Front Runner website. 

Alubox – $205-655 USD

We’ve been using Aluboxes for gear and equipment storage now for several years, and our team has been far from easy on them. Whether they’re bouncing around in a trailer, falling off a roof rack into the mud, or being bolted to the back of a truck and filled with supplies, these things have been through the ringer time and time again yet they still perform flawlessly. Whether you’re looking for a water and weatherproof case to use on the exterior of your vehicle, a secure storage option for travel, or just a cool-looking cargo case, the Alubox will serve you well. Check them out on the Equipt Expedition Outfitters website. 

Buckstop Bumpers – Pricing Varies

Buckstop bumpers are made right here in the USA in the company’s manufacturing facility in central Oregon. From laser cutting to tube bending and powder coating, their employees handle their products every step of the way, and the final products are some of the most durable bumpers on the market. This process also allows their staff to make adjustments to each bumper as you order it, so lighting, swing-outs, and accessories can vary as you need them to. We opted for a dual swing-out rear bumper on our Excursion, along with slots for back-up lights, a spare tire, and a custom mount for a 120L Alubox kitchen. To learn more about these products and the options available, check them out on the Buckstop website here. 

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Chris didn’t receive a real taste of the outdoors until moving to Prescott, Arizona, in 2009. While working on his business degree, he learned to fly and spent his weekends exploring the Arizona desert and high country. It was there that he fell in love with backcountry travel and four-wheel drive vehicles, eventually leading him to Overland Journal and Expedition Portal. After several years of honing his skills in writing, photography, and off-road driving, Chris now works for the company full time as Expedition Portal's Managing Editor.