It’s been a while since we wandered the cabins and watched the incredible platforms showcased at Overland Expo, one of our favorite annual trade shows. Fortunately, the Exhibition series is back in full swing this year, with three shows across the country. The events bring together ground vehicle builders and enthusiasts looking to buy their next Adventuremobile, and they never fail to spur ideas on how to improve the current ones.
If you like adventure platforms, the the expo can be overwhelming– your head feels like it’s on a pivot for the whole weekend, and just when you think you’ve seen all there is to see, you find something else to drool over.
Last month’s event in Loveland, Colorado was the first Overland Expo Mountain West, and although it was considerably smaller than the flagship Overland Expo West which takes place annually in Flagstaff, Arizona, there was still plenty to admire. In the place of focusing on the coolest platforms on the spot i went looking for the best new gear that will suit everyone no matter what kind of setup you have. Here are my favorite finds.
Dometic Go Collection ($ 80 and more)
You probably know Dometic for their excellent electric coolers (I have CFX3 55IM in my motorhome for years), but the brand is stepping up its game of camping and outdoor living even further. The Dometic Go collection includes furniture, storage solutions, lighting and a fantastic hydration system, all designed to make packing for camp and longer outings easy.
Dometic’s camping table ($ 200), chair ($ 150), and bench ($ 100) look incredibly sturdy but fold up enough to fit in the trunk of a car. There’s even a 12-volt personal camp heater ($ 80) that can double as a seat heater if your vehicle doesn’t have one. New The Pac H50 Hard Storage aluminum case ($ 150) features removable soft-sided inserts to help keep your gear organized and protected, and you can even get an insulated one if you want to keep snacks cool on the drive. The collection will be available in spring 2022.
Dometic hydration jug and water faucet ($ 70 and $ 100)
The hydration pot and water faucet combo is the crown jewel of the Dometic Go collection, and I think it deserves its own mention. Here’s why: When it comes to camp comfort, the two biggest game changers are refrigeration and running water. After playing hard in the open air all day, coming back to enjoy these two simple necessities is going in leaps and bounds to feeling like a human. This twinning makes this comfort more accessible to all.
The faucet has a built-in rechargeable battery that powers the pump, an LED light for nighttime use, and a magnetic base that allows it to adhere to other surfaces. This means you can turn the back of your car into a mobile kitchen and have running water to wash your hands, dishes or whatever wherever you are – no manual pumping needed – just by patting the top of the faucet. It combines with the 11 liter water of hydration carafe, which is easy to pack (it will fit behind your vehicle’s wheel arch) and transport to the campsite. Two openings facilitate cleaning.
Steel Making Culinary Module ($ 2,419)
Overland Expo isn’t just about looking at new RV and adventure rig options; they’re also a great resource for DIY-oriented people to generate ideas on how to build their own rig. Steelhouse Fabrication, a new venture from Albuquerque, New Mexico, aims to make building your own Sprinter trailer or van easier than ever with its innovative line of camp-kitchen modules. The concept is simple: buy a 6ft by 12ft cargo trailer, then buy one of Steelhouse’s culinary units and a dinette sleeper for $ 650, and you effectively have a fully equipped motorhome for under $ 8,000. $. In a world of $ 30,000 teardrop trailers and $ 80,000 off-road travel trailers, this is an incredible bargain.
The culinary module is designed to be fully modular and is easily removable if you need to use your cargo trailer for transportation. It can hold up to five gallons of fresh and gray water, uses a 56- or 100-amp hour lithium battery, a 90-watt solar panel, and a 1,500-watt inverter; it also has a sink, LED lighting, two or three shelves, and USB ports and charging sockets, depending on how you set it up. If you are looking to build your own motorhome and are on a budget, you would be hard pressed to find a better or easier turnkey solution.
Pakmule bike bits ($ 85 and more)
We have written on Pakmule before, and the benefits of carrying extra gear behind your platform rather than on a roof: it’s more convenient, keeps your center of gravity lower, and allows you to carry heavy items like firewood or a loaded cooler .
The problem with a hitch mounted bike rack like the one from Pakmule is that you can’t use a hitch mounted bike rack, but the Bike Bit changes that. This is a welded fork-type rack that attaches to the Pakmule and allows you to load bikes directly on it. There are options for road or mountain bikes, and you can fit up to four at a time. The real beauty, however, is that you don’t have to choose between hauling a cooler and bikes, and with a little creative arrangement, you can haul all of your gear down via your vehicle’s hitch, to its place.
OnX Off Road Premium ($ 30 per year)
Chances are you are already using some sort of mapping app for human adventures like Mountain bike Where Trek, corn OnX off-road is the best navigation app that I have used specifically for off road driving. When you open the app, a Nearby Trails section will appear listing various options in your area, along with a technical rating and detailed information.
While it’s not all new, the company recently added 3D mapping features on its desktop site and for iOS users, which is incredibly useful when planning your route and trying to visualize what a trail will look like. (I learned this firsthand en route to Overland Expo Mountain West this year, driving trails in the mountains while towing my teardrop trailer.)
Shower pouch (five for $ 25)
One of the most popular equipment at Overland Expo was not a part for your rig, but a giant wipe to clean you up at camp. Credit the 90+ degree heat and dusty camping for making it so popular at the living room, but anyone who has had a “shower” with baby wipes in the past will appreciate the shower pouch.
Its size – two feet on one foot – means you can wash hard-to-reach places, like the middle of your back, and wipe your entire body with just one cloth. It also contains several fancy ingredients, like witch hazel water, organic white willow bark extract, and tea tree leaf oil, to keep you refreshed and smelling great at the end. of a long day. And the shower pouch is reusable; his Manufacturers suggest throwing it in the washing machine when you get home, then reimagining it as a rag for washing your dishes, cleaning your car, or whatever else you can think of.
Step 22 Gear Pangolin Tool Roller ($ 145)
If you are not familiar with Step 22 Gear, the brand makes some of the best bags and organizing tools for overlanding and general adventure travel that I have ever used. His booth was full of cool products, but my favorite is the Pangolin Tool Roll. I have been testing it for several months and it has become one of the essentials that I keep in my truck at all times.
Made from 1000 denier nylon, it’s built to last; best of all, it ensures that all of my tools are in one place. This came in handy at the show when the awning of my camper van folded due to the strong wind and I had to fix it quickly. At 2.4 pounds, this tool roll is lighter than a standard toolbox, and all of its pouches and organization units are modular, so you can customize it to suit the tools you want to carry.