The annual SEMA Show is the place to find the latest in automotive aftermarket. Each year automotive professionals from around the globe descend on Las Vegas to show, discover, and/or purchase the best new gear for their respective markets. It was great to see a few innovative, quality new products specifically oriented for the overland and off-road markets this year, both from the big players and some newcomers.
Sure, there were a ton of the same old same old, knockoffs galore, and some not so fully developed products on display. Hopefully, the products below prove that the off-road and overland industry is growing within the automotive landscape and there are still new ideas to be developed. Which of these new products do you want with you on your next overland adventure?
1. Maxtrax: Xtreme, Mini, and Jax Base
The original, and still market leader in the traction board recovery product category, Maxtrax continues to lead through innovation. They introduced three new products at SEMA 2017, all of which will be available in Spring 2018.
Their new Xtreme model is basically a Maxtrax MKII with aluminum replaceable lugs and reinforcements in key wear areas. They will retail for $429 and weigh in at about 3 pounds more per pair than the MKII model. They are designed for professional users, through feedback from 4WD trainers and military clients, and will be more durable during recovery situations where wheel spin is inevitable.
The new Maxtrax Mini are the same width as the MKII, but about 3/5 the length (25”x13”). They are perfectly suited to throw into the back of AWD crossovers and small adventure vehicles, like Subaru Outbacks, and perfectly suited for the UTV market. They should come in at about $200 per pair.
Multi-use function is key to keeping loads light on your vehicle-based adventures, and the new Maxtrax Mini Jax Base is a truly versatile tool. It is the same size and top profile of the Maxtrax Mini, but with lots of reinforcement on the underside. Designed to be a jack base in soft off-road conditions, it also works perfectly as a recovery board and leveling block.
2. ARB LINX System
While there are already some high-quality vehicle accessory control systems on the market, ARB has jumped into the market with both feet with their new LINX System. The system includes a mini tablet, universal gimbal mount, and switch control box. Optional sensor modules will expand the system’s versatility even further.
The mini tablet, which is essentially a smart phone-sized tablet, is designed to work in a wide range of temperatures, meaning it can be left mounted on the dash on a hot day under full sun and it will continue operation, where a phone would go into safe mode from overheating. The software on the mini tablet has a user-friendly graphic interface and is highly configurable for your specific application.
Besides acting as a clean integrated accessory switching system, the LINX also offers battery monitoring, air suspension, automation and monitoring, as well as tire inflation control. While the system is optimized for ARB Air Lockers, compressors, lighting, and other accessories, it also integrates well with accessories from other manufacturers.
3. MORryde Trail Kitchen
The MORryde Trail Kitchen is just a prototype, but should hit the market in the first half of 2018. The system is a good combination of a number of quality-integrated ideas that create a collapsible kitchen that neatly stores in the back of your adventure vehicle. The system fits perfectly and installs with no drilling into Jeep JKs. It will cost you from $500-$800, depending on the configuration you choose.
4. Scheel-mann Seat
Scheel-mann makes a full line of incredibly high-quality and comfortable automotive seats, and will offer a new integrated seatbelt option for their Traveler and Touring models in 2018. These new seats have fully re-engineered internals, which are strong enough to pass the highest level of destructive testing. The base price on the Traveler and Touring seat models is $1,259, and the integrated seatbelt option adds $500 to that price. These seats are a great option for Defender, Land Cruiser, Sprinter, and a plethora of other overland vehicle builds.
5. RAM Mount Aluminum Tough-Track
RAM Mount has offered the Tough-Track universal mounting system in a glass reinforced nylon for some time now, but they just released an aluminum track version of the system. This clean, durable system allows you to mount just about anything to just about any surface. It’s perfect for creating a solid clean install of a variety of mounts for your navigation, coms, and other electronics within your vehicle.
6. Wilco Offroad Truck Rack System
There were lots of new truck rack systems on display this year, but the new Wilco Offroad unit really caught our eye. The entire rack only weighs about 60 pounds, while being extremely well built, and comes with two adjustable cross bars. The quick adjust cross bars allow you quickly and easily change the cargo carry configuration of your truck bed, like going from carrying a RTT to carrying a dirt bike. Rotopax, Maxtrax, and other optional mounts integrate perfectly into the side mounts on this rack system. The system is a universal fit for all brand truck beds, but comes in two sizes: 5 and 6 feet. The rack system is available now, and the smaller version costs $1,600.
7. Black Forest by Webasto
Webasto has been a trusted name in overland appliances for decades, with products like their diesel cook tops and air and water heaters. They are also well known in the automotive world for their convertible and soft-top products, which they’ve mostly produced for OEMs. The company is now developing a full line of overland products under the Black Forest brand.
They now offer a line of 12-volt fridges and a bunch of Jeep JK accessories: metal rear storage system, rear base plate, 200-pound slides, engine food warming compartment, and a ThrowBack soft fold-back roof. We are looking forward to seeing what quality products Webasto comes up with as they develop this new line.
8. Bubba Rope Gator-Jaw PRO-Line
Bubba Rope continues to innovate in the off-road recovery rope category. Their latest product is the Gator-Jaw PRO-Line, a new 3/8-inch synthetic winch line with an integrated soft shackle, perfect for 8,000- to 12,000-pound winches. Weighing only 3.9 pounds, this new line eliminates the need for metal winch hooks or thimbles. The new line just hit the market, will cost you $423, and comes standard in bright green, but is available in a wide variety of color options.
The Gator-Jaw PRO-Line is also available for smaller applications in the form of a ¼-inch, 50- feet line for 3,500- to 5,000-pound winches ($165).
9. Rigid Industries SAE Compliant Lighting
Rigid Industries continues to innovate and expand their line of quality LED lighting products for off-road applications. Their latest product offerings are a full line of SAE compliant/DOT certified LED fog, high beam, and driving lights. These lights allow you to run quality lights on the street and are perfect for overland vehicles and adventure motorcycles alike.
10. RhinoRack Aluminum Folding Ladder
RhinoRack continues to make quality roof racks and accessories that offer a ton of versatility in gear carrying for all adventurers. They showed off three new products at SEMA this year: a shovel/axe attachment, a roof basket with integrated bicycle fork mounts, and a roof rack ladder.
The aluminum folding ladder caught our eye the most, as it is perfect for some hard-shell RTT applications and for easier rack loading on lifted vehicles. Wide adjustable feet make this durable lightweight collapsible ladder perfectly suited for rough and uneven surfaces. It is available now for $280.
The Maxtrax is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars from 55 customer reviews on Amazon.