With the pandemic supercharging interest in overlanding, the industry has been overflowing with newcomers. And that interest has helped spur new product development. The 2022 installment of Overland Expo West showcased a host of new and innovative off-road accessories for enthusiasts to add to their rigs. From knives and water faucets to wheels and portable toilets, there are the best items that caught my eye this past weekend at Overland Expo West in Flagstaff, Arizona.
These wheels from Nomad drew interest with their attractive designs. It’s clear that all of these rims take a classic look and bring it right up to date. All of these wheels are flow-formed (a process that starts with a basic casting, which is then heated while being stretched and compressed) and will be plenty strong for any overlanding application. Compared to standard gravity-cast wheels, they’re much stiffer and lighter. In fact, the company itself is actually a sub-brand of Raceline wheels—one of the market leaders in manufacturing high-performance wheels for off-road, track, and street use. Their product expert couldn’t give me any information on pricing, but I’d venture to guess these wheels could retail around $300 a pop.
As I walked into Hitent’s booth, I was more than a little surprised to see rolls of toilet paper hanging from the edge of the display tent. I looked closer and realized that these rolls of TP were hanging from a device called the Poola Hoop. While these may look super simple—and frankly hilarious—they solve a critical issue you sometimes come across while overlanding (and really camping in general): dropping your toilet paper before you do your business.
There was no shortage of big rigs with fully built-out bathrooms—shower and all—at the Expo. However, not everyone has $400,000 to burn on what’s essentially an apartment on wheels. That’s why this toilet solution from Thunderbox caught my eye. It’s essentially a foldable toilet that makes any spot the right spot. Once deployed, it’s the same size as a standard house toilet to civilize the experience of doing a number two in the woods.
Dirt Complex Trail Swing Adventure Series
When it comes to tire carriers, Dirt Complex is one of the industry leaders. So what separates the brand from the rest of the crowd? Its lightweight Trail Swing tire carrier easily accommodates the hitch on your standard bumper. Without requiring you go for a heavy—and, frankly, expensive—full bumper replacement, this high-clearance tire carrier can accommodate up to a 35-inch tire. That’s great, but one of DirtCom’s claims to fame is structural integrity; the anti-wobble hitch mount keeps the tire from swinging and rattling the tow hitch.
iKamper ExoShell 270
Rooftop tents are all the rage. And they’re awesome, but I saw a lot going on with awnings walking around the Overland Expo this year. Take iKamper’s 270 awnings. They provide 270 degrees of shade around your vehicle. Whether it’s keeping you out of rain or sun, these awnings open up a ton of space around your vehicle that would previously be unused. While the picture shows a number of anchors securing the shading device to the ground, these aren’t always necessary—the show saw wind speeds upwards of 20 mph that day.
The Shower Pouch
Seasoned campers without access to a shower will likely be experts at taking a “bath” with wet wipes. However, these often feel microscopic and awkward to use when it comes to getting a proper clean. That’s why Shower Pouch decided to make a massive wet wipe. Compared to one that may seem like the size of a postage stamp, these are one-foot wide and two-feet long. Along with its larger size, the full-body wet wipe is organic and reusable. Sure, it wasn’t the flashiest product on display, but it was definitely one of the cleverest.
Dometic Hydration Water Faucet
Veteran overlanders will know that running water is super underrated at a campsite. Whether it’s for a quick shower or rinsing your hands off before preparing dinner, there’s no replacement for simply washing your hands. Referred to as the Hydration Water Faucet, this solution has a magnetic base that keeps it in place and a touch-sensitive button on top for easy operation. In this setup, it’s connected to Dometic’s 11-liter Hydration Water Jug via a quick disconnect fitting. The battery is good to dispense 150 liters of water and easily recharges via micro USB.
Messermeister Overland Chef Collection
When it comes to overlanding, cooking doesn’t have to involve compromise. Even without considerable cost, you can cook some tasty meals at your campsite with relatively little gear. Keen camp chefs will know that knives are invaluable in a campsite kitchen. That’s why Messermeister’s Overland Chef collection caught my eye; it includes a 4.5-inch utility knife as well as an 8-inch chef’s knife. Each knife features a Nitro B steel blade—that will hold its edge while being easy to restore—along with a Micarta handle and a leather sheath. While these knives are designed for cooking on the go, I’d just as soon buy them for my home kitchen.
Luno Air Mattress 2.0
During my stint in college as a painfully average mountain bike racer, I spent more than a few weekends camping in the back of my Volkswagen GTI. After folding the back seats down and laying out a sleeping pad, I faced an uphill battle to get comfortable and keep things organized. Thankfully Luno’s inflatable air mattresses are custom made to fit your vehicle and quickly create a comfortable sleeping space. Luno also sells a handy magnetic storage bag that sticks to the outside of your vehicle—no more shoes stinking up the inside your car.
Leitner Designs ACS Forged Rack
Amid the crazy builds that grace the show grounds at Overland Expo, Leitner Designs’s racks and accessories have an iconic look that is hard to miss. Known as the Active Cargo System (ACS), the “Forged” variant of the rack can support up to 85 pounds of gear thanks to its single-piece aluminum alloy uprights and custom alloy-steel fasteners. For those of you worried about drilling into your tailgate, the ACS Forged only has two brackets that require making holes in your vehicle for. You’ll notice in the above photo that these brackets sit high enough to allow room for a Decked Cargo System, too.
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