Wander In Style: New Must-Haves from 2017 Overland EXPO East
When it comes to celebrating all things overland, the Overland EXPO does it great. With West and East shows happening yearly, the Overland EXPO has become the go-to place for two- and four-wheel drive adventure enthusiasts. For the 2017 Overland EXPO East, the show came to one of the most picturesque locations on the east coast—the Biltmore Estate. Home to the largest privately owned house in the United States, Biltmore's grounds also served as an excellent spot for the show's many activities.
While the video recap above highlights the incredible event, we are diving into the details on some of the coolest stuff we found at the show in the article below.
Off-Road Survival Classes
Beyond having numerous manufacturers on hand to show off the latest camping and adventure products, the Overland EXPO had an assortment of classes and hands-on training seminars guests could attend. This included proper winching techniques, along with extraction tips for how to get your vehicle un-stuck when resources are at a minimum.
If you like to explore the great outdoors on two wheels rather than four, you are in luck. The EXPO had plenty of on-bike training events that taught you valuable information for when things don't go according to plan.
Work, Play, Overland
Do you already own a pickup and want to get serious about overlanding? XP Camper had one of the coolest setups at the show. The company's V1 bed-mounted pop-up style camper offers all of the camping amenities you'd need (small kitchen, shower, toilet, bed, and plenty of storage). Aside from the aerodynamic advantage of being able to lower the camper top when on the road, we really like the base. Since the camper portion can free stand on its on, you can pull it off when you don't need it. With the camper removed, it frees up the heavy-duty aluminum flatbed. Fitted with loads of storage and cargo holding abilities, it allows you to keep your pickup diverse. You can even order optional bed rails so it can be used for more conventional hauling.
If you're not ready to convert you're daily driver to a full-time overlander, a Hiker Off Road Trailer just might be a great solution. Hiker offers a Basic, Deluxe, and Off Road trailer (shown), all of which are designed to be lightweight and fit with an assortment of cabinetry, and of course, a nice place to lay your head. At the show, the trailer was setup on 295/70R17 Nitto Trail Grapplers and was fully decked out. You can see more of it in the video above.
Another killer haul-behind option came from Cumberland Adventure Trailers. The trailer can be purchased with just the box, lid and torsion axle, allowing you to customize it to fit your needs. Currently, Cumberland is working on additional camping and accessory mounts to help build the trailer out for a variety of uses.
New Gear Everywhere
Beyond being a product showcase for overland-specific vendors, there were plenty of companies on hand showcasing practical and convenient camping and vehicle upgrades. Of course, many of these products were for the still wildly popular Jeep Wrangler JK.
Warrior Products had a few new add-on's at the show. It's new MOD Box offers a great storage solution that can work on a variety of roof racks or bolt directly up to the 2005 to 2007 Toyota Tacoma bed channels. The 18-inch-long box uses a heavy-duty draw-tight latch to prevent rattling and comes with a black powdercoat finish.
It's easy to get caught up ogling all of the extreme off-road campers at the EXPO, but there were still plenty of more practical vehicles on the grounds as well. We were digging the Genesis Off-Road 3rd Gen Tacoma on Ridge Grapplers.
The significance of the Genesis Toyota wasn't purely for show, but rather to showcase the company's new dual battery setup. The entirely bolt-in upgrade is crafted to squeeze two Odyssey dry-cell batteries under the hood of the 2016-to-present Toyota Tacoma. While the company is known for its Jeep and universal dual battery systems, it's been expanding its line of products into the Toyota world with the Tacoma, with other applications in the works.
Here's an upgrade that we could gladly get behind (or in for that matter). It's called the Hitch Hammock, and while, yes, it's a portable hammock that bolts into any standard 2-inch receiver, there's more to it than that. When the hammock is not in use, it serves as a sturdy cargo base for hauling up to the 300 pounds of gear. Another great feature for those who like to cook on the trail is the grille grate riser, which allows you to use it as a portable grille.
Along with soaking in cool build ideas from the vast variety of vehicles at the EXPO, the show was also a great place to load up on gear. This Tundra in front of the Southeast Overland booth got us thinking about the potential for a cool ½-ton overland pickup build. The question is, what brand of truck do we start with?
Project Base Camp
Nissan and Land Rover had a host of vehicles setup for display. While you could try your hand at 'wheeling by signing up for the Land Rover driver experience, we were glued to Nissan's killer Cummins-powered pickup called Project Base Camp.
Designed to get you and your gear to remote destinations, Nissan's Base Camp showcased just how far you can modify the latest Titan platform with readily available aftermarket parts. Items such as the 35x12.50R17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers on ICON wheels, Fab Fours bumpers and Leitner Designs bed rack make this overland-ready pickup something easily replicable.