The Coolest New Products We Found at Overland Expo West 2018

These can help on your next adventure

May. 28, 2018 By G.R. Whale

From a dozen vendors at the inaugural event, Overland Expo has grown to more than 375 exhibitors, from pocket-size tools to "that's too heavy for the bridge" expedition vehicles. While the mannequin on the can caught the most second glances, these are the items we noticed as new, different, or merely worthy.

We probably missed some too, but with all the available brew and dogs to distract, you would too.

READ MORE: Testing the 6112 Big-Piston Bilstein Shocks

Read on for our full list of helpful products.

American Safari JXL

This bolt-on kit (no welding, drilling or cutting…unless you muck up the wiring extension) adds 15 inches to a JK Wrangler Unlimited, increasing cargo volume by 50 percent. With a pop-up tent it provides options like dual-level sleeping, cooking surfaces and toilet, sink and shower options. We might suggest a suspension upgrade such as AEV's high-capacity arrangement.

Cummins R2.8

A $9,000 Cummins R2.8 engine costs as much as some used 4x4s but it could make yours feel like a new rig. Rated at about 160 hp/267 lb-ft and weighing in at 500 pounds, the R2.8 easily adds range and altitude performance, and comes with alternator, power steering and vacuum pumps, wiring harness (except the heavy starter cables), throttle pedal and J1939 CAN dash display. We've seen it in Jeeps before, but this is a Series 1 Discovery.

Sloop / Camp King

Sloop Imports introduced the new 12 Volt Mate portable dual battery setup that houses a Group 31 battery (a Full River 115ah noted) and Redarc DC/DC charging system in a weatherproof enclosure. Sloop also imports Camp King gear, including this new, bed rail mounted all-aluminum topper for 2016-and-up Tacoma with 250-kg load rating up top. The camping pod shown above it is $5250, topper TBD.


The MOD (my own design) is essentially an a la carte version of last year's GZL, a one-piece composite shell pop-up (in seconds) with mounting points built in to the floor and shell. More utilitarian than fancy, it lets you decide which components you want, where, and can be easily reconfigured - say to remove living equipment and carry mountain bikes - with basic hand tools and skill. It weighs about 800 pounds, is available for most pickup beds except eight-footers and base price ranges from $22,000-23,500.


Although they showed a Tacoma with updated front and A-arm skid plates, CBI Off Road Fab's Colorado sported the most rock candy, with hood-hinge ditch light mounts, front bumper (shown on a ZR2 but adaptable), rear bumper with swing-away carrier and hitch mount for bike racks. Last year CBI acquired PrinSu racks, so all the display trucks carried one.


The Stealth Shovel from DMOS (do my own stuff) Collective isn't for cat holes, but it will move sand or mud from beneath your frame (even big ones), crack ice or rake the coals to put a fire out, and it packs to 18x9x2.5 inches. Built of T6 6061 aluminum with stainless spring pins and nylon/Zytel grip and connectors it extends to 56 inches, weighs 3.3 pounds and comes with a lifetime warranty. MSRP $99.


As the 750-pound gorilla at Expo the EarthRoamer XV-HD was arguably the biggest four-wheel unit there. Built on an F-750 chassis converted to 4WD and powered by a 6.7 PowerStroke, the XV-HD has big room, tree-tangling height and some big numbers if not terrifically detailed: 30,000-pound hydraulic Warn front winch, PTO driven generator for a 20-kW lithium-ion battery bank, 250 gallons of fresh water and 115 gallons of diesel. Full appliances, in-floor radiant heat and Bose surround sound ensure another big number - 1.5 million dollars.


Factor 55 winch accessories were on many display trucks, but with the popularity of synthetic winch rope the debate goes on about what does or does not damage synthetic cable - sun, water, contaminants, abrasion and heat. The UltraHook XTV rope guard takes care of sun, abrasion and most contaminants ahead of the fairlead, and can be relatively easily replaced if forward surfaces on your rig are considered wear items. MSRP $49.95 (with installation kit).


New to Expo, Moosebilt trailers are rigged to order around a foam- filled ¼-inch-wall aluminum frame and central box. These include a kitchen, roof tent, racks and carriers, A-frame storage, inside cabinets, drawers or open space if you like - and the finish is spray-on Kevlar. Timbren suspension carries wheels matched to tow-vehicle bolt pattern, tent and awning are from Bundutec, it's 1900-pounds dry and carries 45 gallons of water. Fully fitted out at $37,000.

Fireside pop-up pit

Campfire Defender calls their Fireside Pop-Up Pit the "Swiss Army knife of firepits." Constructed of aluminum except for leg pins and the stainless fire mesh that's "52 percent air to make the least smoke," the 24x24x15-inch pit weighs 8 pounds, folds to 27x5x5 and cools quickly. Accessories include an aluminum grill, heat shield and replacement mesh screen.


Freespirit Recreation had a variety of rooftop tents on display, including a new blow-molded Caprock gas-strut assist unit that opens "in 15 seconds," but they also debuted a new tri-layer fabric that's adapted from the ice-fishing industry, designed for extreme cold climates (think freezing, light hail, heavy rain), and available on some models at a $350 surcharge.


While Tudo might be best known for racks that allow carrying and easy access of kayaks, bicycles or snowboards above roof mounted tents, they've recently teamed up with Freespirit to bring fabrication back to America…Bend, Oregon specifically. This is the first aluminum roof tent shell made in America and if you already have a Freespirit A49 tent, it's easy fit to this shell.


Among the smallest new four-wheel vehicles was Recon's NV200, a compact van conversion that covered 50 overland miles before the Expo needing a push only once. In pop-top Envy ($24,999) or fixed Stealth ($18,200) it features windows, a two-passenger seat that converts to a 42x72 bed (using different foam than the seating surfaces), a 40x80 upper bed, stainless sink,42-liter DC fridge, 10-gallon water tank, outdoor shower, AGM electrical system, full touch-screen control and options like solar and shore power, water heater, racks, rear door screens and solar vent fan. The NV200 (about $23,000) Envy has an effective payload of 850 pounds (full gas and water).

Off Grid Trailers

Also on their first Expo visit, Canada's Off Grid trailers are aluminum/composite on a steel frame, no wood anywhere, and come with cooktop, sink, water heater and 24 gallons fresh, spray-in insulation, galvanized steel belly pan, Timbren suspension, 10” drum brakes, dual AGM batteries and weigh 1700 pounds with water.  An extreme cold weather pack is optional, but we were afraid to ask northern Canadians what extreme cold was.


Tent maker Tepui has new hard shell offerings that include multiple colors, vent fans and new upholstery choices. They also debuted this pop-up hard shell with zipper gimp feature allowing you to easily zip the canopy off the frame for cleaning or swapping to a heavier or lighter fabric for seasonal use.

Xoverland Tundra

Rounding out their body-on-frame Toyota portfolio was X Overland's Tundra Crew Cab with PCOR “pressurized” cargo box to keep dust out, slide-out kitchen, 20 gallons of water (heater in the trailer), Icon suspension and wheels, TRD exhaust that's already melted through the mudflaps, CBI aluminum armor (except for steel sliders), dual batteries and Redarc management, Spod multiplexing, Rigid variable-beam light bar and it all locks with the remote or same key. Unlike most expedition vehicles it was built on the top Platinum trim level because that comes with LED headlights and the most safety systems, and no, they couldn't tell us how much it weighs. Newsletter
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