7 New Off-Road Products from 2016 Overland Expo
Aside from some very impressive – and in some cases, ridiculous – vehicles, there were also a number of great new products showcased at the event. Here are a just a few of the ones we came across.
Wilco Jeep Wrangler JK MC2X Rear Tire Carrier
There are quite a few tire carriers for the Jeep Wrangler JK, but what caught our eye with Wilco Offroad’s new MC2X Tire Carrier is the complete package it offers. This new product Wilco will be launching soon mounts to the company’s MC2X bumper, can accommodate up to a 42-inch tire, offers mounting locations for Roto-Paks and a large cargo rack that mounts just above the spare, and can accommodate up to 275 lbs. of total gear. Using a trailer-style roller bearing system, the sturdy steel rack uses a single-door mount that allows it to open easily with the JK’s rear door. “A lot of the door-mounted tire carrier solutions aren’t designed to carry anything more than a tire,” said Luke Wronski, general manager for Wilco Offroad. “That’s part of the reason we spent so much time designing ours because we really wanted to have the ability to use a cargo rack system as well.” Wilco Offroad also offers a hitch-mounted spare tire carrier as well for the JK that doesn’t require the use of its MC2X bumper. For more information, visit WilcoOffroad.com.
Road Shower 2
We came across this thoughtful product at Overland Expo this year called the Road Shower 2. This long, 5-gallon aluminum unit features an on/off valve, a locking loop to secure it while away from the vehicle, an LCD thermometer that displays the temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius, and a protective coating to stand up to the outdoor environment. Most importantly, the Road Shower 2 doesn’t simply hold water, as it can be pressurized with CO2, hand pumps or onboard air and air compressors (via its 1/4-inch air valve) to offer two to three outdoor showers.
The Road Shower 2 can pressurize to enough to shoot up to 60 feet through the included 5/8-inch ID food grade hose and adjustable nozzle. Since the unit is constructed of aluminum, the water can warm by the sun relatively quickly, and a stick-on thermometer can quickly tell you the temp – or you can test it on your hand. In the event there’s no sun, you can add a few gallons of boiling water to a few gallons of cool water for immediate warm water. As for mounting locations, the unit is designed to mount on most OE racks, Yakima and Thule racks, or anywhere else thanks to its T-slot underside and included stainless steel nuts and bolts. The Road Shower only weighs 12 lbs. dry and then 48 lbs. when full. The Road Shower 2 retails for $300 and ships for free in the lower 48 states. Check out more info on the company’s website at RoadShower.com.
Goal Zero is a company dedicated to providing explorers and off-roaders with products designed to help power electric devices with power harnessed from the sun. With solar panel kits, small speaker systems and larger solar generator units, Goal Zero offers a number of solutions to power devices and equipment when civilization isn’t exactly right around the corner. The Yeti 150 Solar Generator is one such device, as this portal battery once fully charged can power a light for up to 50 hours, recharge 15 cell phones, two laptops for 25 POV cameras. The Yeti 150 is the smallest unit of Goal Zero’s Solar Generators (there’s also a Yeti 400 and 1250), and it features 12-volt car-adapter input input, one AC connection and two USB to power or recharge whatever small device you have on hand. The Yeti 150 can be charged up at home prior to your next adventure, or it can be recharged on the trail with one of Goal Zero’s many solar panel kits (sold separately). The Yeti 150 has a suggested retail price of $229.99. For more info on the rest of the Goal Zero lineup, head over to GoalZero.com.
Eezi-Awn Manta 270
Overland adventurers look to get away from it all for a few days, and while on the trail or when setting up camp in the evening, having shade to get out of the heat is crucial. One unique awning option we came across at this year’s show is the Eezi Awn Mantra 270, a durable awning designed to provide 270 degrees of freestanding coverage around your vehicle. The Eezi-Awn Manta 270 features waterproof rip-stop canvas panels that stretch 80 inches to the side, 84 inches from the corner, and 80 inches to the back of the vehicle to offer enough shade. The aluminum frame features integrated legs that are adjustable in height, and as we saw first-hand during a windy day in Flagstaff, the awning can withstand winds in the 30-40 mph range.
Eezi-Awn Awnings are distributed by Equipt Expedition Outfitters in the U.S., which is currently offering free shipping in the lower 48 states. The Eezi-Awn Manta Awning weighs 50 lbs. in total, and it is available in either silver or beige for $1410. Head over to the Equipt Expedition Outfitters website at http://www.equipt1.com/ for more info.
Decked Pickup Truck Bed Storage
Decked is a manufacturer of truck bed and in-storage vehicle systems, and we were immediately drawn to the cool drawer setup the company had on display at this year’s show. Vice President of Marketing for Decked Greg Randolph explained the idea was really born out of wanting to produce a quality storage solution that wouldn’t break down in the elements like the homemade systems they’ve seen in recent years. The Decked unit starts out with a steel subframe and is then constructed using high-density polyethylene that wont break down in the sun, is chemically inert to withstand small chemical or gas spills, and is durable enough to handle the demands of off-road travel. Each individual drawer is designed to hold up to 200 pounds, and the unit itself still provides a 2,000-pound payload rating so loading hefty cargo in the bed is not out of the question since the bed’s overall footprint remains intact. The unit can be installed at home or by dealers if the buyer chooses, and after the initial installation the Decked unit can be removed or reinstalled in about 15 minutes. Units can be customized with locks, trays and dividers. Decked is built in the U.S. and the housing is built of 100 percent recycled material. Pricing for the half-ton truck Decked drawer system starts at $1080 and ranges up to $1240, not including accessories. Head over to Decked.com for more info.
Smittybilt Jeep Wrangler JK Safari Top
Smittybilt brought out some unique new products to Expo this year, including an inexpensive steel front bumper for the JK priced under $400. The product that really caught our attention, however, is the new Safari top for the Wrangler JK. This new Smittybilt Safari reminds us of last year’s Easter Jeep Safari Africa concept vehicle, because like the concept rig this new top increases headspace and vertical storage for the Wrangler.
The one-piece top features honeycomb fiberglass construction to hold up to the demands of the off-road environment. Inside, the top features a fabric liner for insulation, and the top features the same window openings as a stock hard top (one per side and one in the rear), but it also features two additional windows up top per side to allow additional light in the cabin.
The rear of the top opens up much like a stock Wrangler would, using hydraulic shocks to keep it open while loading or unloading. The new Smittybilt Safari top will be available later this summer, with pricing starting at $3,200 for two-door JK Wranglers and $3,500 for the four-door Unlimited models. For more information on Smittybilt’s line of products, head over to http://www.smittybilt.com/.
Goose Gear Jeep JKU Floor Plate
Goose Gear is a company dedicated to providing storage solutions for off-road rigs.
Its new customizable plate system for the Jeep Wrangler JK offers a way to add the ideal storage configurations to fit your personal needs. The “plate” pieces are constructed from Baltic Birch plywood that are Line-X coated on all sides. The plate system uses stock mounting locations to bolt into place, requiring no drilling of cutting into your rig. Options include a flat plate system, single- and double-drawer systems, or the option to use Goose Gear’s icebox module to secure a travel refrigerator. The plates are secured in place with Allen-key bolts, so the configurations can be modified on the fly without needing a full toolbox to make changes. Pricing for the Goose Gear plating varies depending upon the configuration, but for an idea of cost the JK Unlimited floor plate for 2011-2014 models is priced at $500. For more details and a closer look at the options, head over to Goose-Gear.com.