We now return to our regularly scheduled programming: Overland Expo West is back to it’s normal timing in May! But with only six-odd months having passed since the last Expo event, like many of you we had to wonder what could really be new here if anything.
Cool new stuff was definitely a little harder to come by at this event (don’t worry we still found a few things) but thankfully, Overland Expo is much more than just an exhibitor bazaar. Newly revamped for this year was the training team that handled all of the vehicle based training, and the new team certainly came out strong. Several OEMs had an official presence, and many of the long standing vendors were upping their booth game with bigger displays. Big money also seems to be testing the waters of this Overland thing, with brands like 4Wheel Parts and Ebay motors posting up for the show.
Overland Expo is definitely continuing to grow, but the growth seems to be biased toward big money at the expense of the smaller brands and sense of community we’ve always loved. It’s going to be very interesting to see where these events are at in a few years. But enough of my postulating – here’s our usual extensive serving of gear, rigs, and training that makes Overland Expo an experience.
GO FAST CAMPERS – GFC has been hard at work cranking out their V2 campers, and they had the first 8-foot bed version on display at the show. Notice the lack of cab over. We also spied their new rack system and their use of Austere Manufacturing buckles on their new straps.
GEYSER SYSTEMS – This small portable showering system looks like an awesome way to get a hot shower in the field. There are two versions, one with a heater, and one that relies on you heating water with a portable stove and adding it to cold water already placed in the unit. A small pump feeds a special sponge making for a hot sponge bath just about anywhere.
WARN – Warn was showing off their new HUB system at Overland Expo. This adds wireless functionality to any of their non-wireless winches (non Zeon Platinum). The system is easy to use and very responsive, and you can still use a corded controller when you want to.
TOYOTA – Toyota claimed so serious real estate for the show, and of course the new Tundra was on hand.
COOL RIGS – Overland Expo is becoming a SEMA show in the sense that there are some truly impressive OEM’s and personal builds on display. Here are a few standouts.
ARB Is continuing to expand their gear management systems, and they had this new Tacoma specific system on display.
Deadman Off-Road makes an awesome earth anchor, appropriately named the Deadman. Their new Stretchy Band Kinetic recovery ropes have the same attention to quality and come in a number of sizes and lengths.
Magnaflow – Posted up with a full size semi truck. They were showing off new exhaust systems, including their new xMOD DIY systems with a Helmholtz resonator that helps with droning when used in a turn down application.
THIS THING – There are always a few things at Overland Expo that make you stop and go “what?” And this fits the bill. If you know who makes these trailers, comment below!
LOKI BASECAMP – Remember the big black Falcon Series camper Loki Basecamp was showing off at the last Expo West? Well, meet the smaller sibling, the Icarus.
ONEWHEELS & E-BIKES were all over the place at the show. I only witnessed two Onewheel crashes the entire weekend, and of course neither of said folks who got to eat a soil sandwich had any protective gear on…
GOOSE GEAR has been hard at work building new gear systems for an expanded number of applications. Here are new Goose Gear systems for Ford’s Bronco, Ranger, and F-150.
EQUIPT is expanding their line of National Luna Power systems. They have also given one of their shop trucks, “Sleepy”, a serious refresh and this first gen Tundra looks great! I love their solution for outfitting an AT camper with Aluboxes, which comes in at roughly half the price of a full camper build out.
COMPANY NAME WITHHELD. There are always new companies that show up to Overland Expo to introduce their wares to the world for the first time. Yet sometimes these companies are completely ignorant of best practices in the industry they are selling to. They may also have failed to do adequate research during their product development. This product is a foldable fire ring, which still causes the user to leave a burn scar, which isn’t how you #leavenotrace. It’s also made out of galvanized steel, which releases toxic zinc vapors when you get it hot, say from a fire…
Guzzle H20 makes some really impressive water filtering systems. They also offer A-La-Carte parts and pieces if you’re looking to build out your own water treatment system.
Rouge Journeyman – This was pretty neat to watch. This leather smith has all of his tools packed in this old firetruck and he was cranking out all kinds of handmade items at the show.
LUNO makes vehicle fitting sleeping pads for crossovers and trucks like the Tacoma. I wish they would make a one sided version, so you can sleep with your gear when you’re out solo.
INSTY Makes a 5G hotspot that is claimed to deliver much better data throughput than other boosters on the market that can only work with 3G data signals.
STEP 22 Gear is continuing to make more awesome new gear bags and other ingenious organizational products that help you keep all of your kit safe and sorted. Recovery rope may also be back on a secret menu basis…
Ride With Us was teaching learn to ride a motorcycle classes at Overland Expo.
Truckvault is getting into the bed slider system in a big way. The name of their game is customization, and they’ve got all sorts of options available to help you build out the exact bed slide system you’re looking for.
Training – In our opinion, the quality of training and education provided at Overland Expo saw a decline in recent years. Thankfully they picked up a new training coordinator for this year, and as such the training cadre changed significantly. It was great to see a couple of I4WDTA Certified Trainers in the mix along with a number of other veteran instructors and some up and comers.
Overland Expo has a jam-packed schedule of classes that provide a great breadth of learning opportunities, and I was really impressed with the learning aids that I4WDTA Certified Trainer Nick Cimmarusti created for his class on field repairs. The cutaway third member was especially cool.
Moto Training at Overland Expo is handled by Bill Dragoo and his crew from DART. It’s always impressive to watch these instructors rip around on their monster BMWs like they’re dirt bikes.
Skinny Guy Campers is bringing a unique approach to the camper game. They can be spec’d from bare bones to fully farkled out with a macerating toilet.
EGOE makes loadout systems that provide sleeping, cooking, and other camping needs for a number of vehicles.
TEMBO TUSK had a pile of new products at the show. Revised tables with quick switch collapsible sinks, propane firepits, new bike and build it yourself slides, and of course Jerry’s famous South African Boerwors sausage for breakfast on Sunday.
Factor 55 still makes some of the best recovery gear on the market – gear that’s made in the USA. They were showing off their new Hitch Link Pro which is the industry’s first recovery point designed for both soft and hard (screw pin) shackles. Note that the 2.0 version now has bores for 90 degree clocking like the Hitch Link 2.5 has.
Roller Cams solve the problem of all cam straps in that their unique roller pivot allows you get get a Roller Cam Strap much more tight than a comparable cam strap without a roller. WLL is rated at 350 pounds and they come in all sorts of lengths.
THE BIG NAMES – eBay Motors and 4Wheel Parts are getting into the Overland thing… hello mainstream.
By all accounts, Overland Expo seems to have returned to it’s normal groove. Every year brings with it new things, and this year was no different. The event is clearly changing and it’s going to be interesting to see where this event goes in the coming years. What are your thoughts on the future of Overland Expo?