Best Overland Products Feature Photo Credit: Marcus Stevens/Shutterstock
Each year, countless Overlanding enthusiasts descend on the mountain town of Flagstaff, Arizona, for the best adventure show this side of the Mississippi – Overland Expo West.
This year marked the 10th year of the event, and it was significant because there were new promoters in charge. Any presumptions about this massive show being less extravagant compared to years past were wiped away as soon as the campers started showing up on Thursday – the place was massive and well organized.
Friday morning saw everyone immersing themselves into Overland wanderlust as the show opened its tree-lined doors to the masses. One of the things that sets this show apart from so many others are the opportunities to attend talks, training classes, and in-person motorcycle skills courses where you actually bring your own bike to get better as a rider. Or, if you prefer four wheels instead of two, there are many classes on Overlanding techniques and tricks of the trade.
If you missed this year’s West show, be sure to mark your calendars for October 11-13 as Overland Expo East invades Arrington, Virginia. But, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the best overlanding products for Jeeps and trucks from Overland Expo West 2019…
Table of contents
- 1. Editor's Pick: ORTLIEB Waterproof Duffle Bags
- 2. Rubicon Expedition Products Hitch-mounted Popup Tent Platform
- 3. Genesis OffRoad Jeep JL & JK Dual Battery Kit
- 4. Alu-Cab Roof Top Tents
- 5. Garmin Overlander GPS System
- 6. Roambuilt Van Accessories
- 7. Deepsleep Jeep Wrangler Air Mattress
- 8. Overland Bound Memberships & Community
- 9. Pelican Vault Pistol Case
- 10. Leitner Designs Active Cargo System
- 11. American Safari JXL Conversion
- 12. Goal Zero Solar Station
1. Editor's Pick: ORTLIEB Waterproof Duffle Bags
Carrying gear that is made to take on the harshest weather is a key ingredient to overlanding success. Ortlieb makes a host of products for the dedicated overlander, but one of their best overland products is their line of multi use duffle bags, which also double as backpacks. Like all of Ortlieb’s products, these duffle bags are waterproof and come in a variety of sizes (40L, 60L, 85L, and 110L). With the ability to tie this bag down anywhere, the functionality is something that you’ll appreciate when on the trail with your Jeep or truck.
2. Rubicon Expedition Products Hitch-mounted Popup Tent Platform
Rooftop tents serve many purposes—they get you out of the weather, they are easy to set up and take down, and they are made to last. However, one of the biggest drawbacks is that you have to mount it high up on your vehicle and can’t move said vehicle once you have it set up. Rubicon Expedition Products decided to do something about this. Bennett and his team designed a hitch-mounted platform, which is essentially a frame to hold a rooftop tent. The system allows you to carry to the tent on the back of your vehicle (as long as you have a tow hitch). By building in a pivot at the hitch so the tent folds up vertically, the team made sure the roof top tent is secured close to the back of your vehicle. As you can imagine, the receiver-mounted system also allows you to disconnect the tent and leave it at your campsite while you take your vehicle on fun adventures. Oh, and one more thing – the frame for the tent has 4 independently adjustable legs to level the tent out – no more finding that elusive level campsite.
3. Genesis OffRoad Jeep JL & JK Dual Battery Kit
Many of you have Jeep JL or JK Wranglers, and many of you have been looking for a purpose-built dual battery system for your rig. Genesis OffRoad, who has made dual battery kits for Toyota vehicles for many years, came to Overland Expo West this year prepared for the Jeep JL & JK crowds with one of the best overland products at the show – their innovative and fully self contained dual battery system. It is a smart system, which means that it has a built in 200 amp isolator to manage charging functions. There is also an included boost switch, which allows you to jump start your vehicle off the second battery. Adding accessories is also easy with the built in bus bars. Best of all, the entire kit is plug-and-play and made in the USA!
4. Alu-Cab Roof Top Tents
Giving consumers like you and I a different take on roof top tent products, Alu-Cab builds a variety of products, including tents, awnings, and hauling accessories. The thing that makes Alu-Cab different from the rest is the fact that they use aluminum for the entire structure surrounding the tent. This not only gives you a hard shell structure and easy setup/takedown, but their Gen-3 version also has built in rails on the roof of the tent, giving you the ability to mount racks and supplies up on the top of the tent. Functionality and versatility are keys to this system, plus you pretty much couldn’t kill it with such a well-built structure.
5. Garmin Overlander GPS System
Garmin is set to launch the all-new Overlander GPS system this June, and it couldn’t be a moment too soon. This 7” touchscreen is going to retail for $699, and it comes with on-road and off-road functionality, plus integration with Garmin InReach devices, different kinds of campsite and mapping features (such as iOverlander points of interest, Ultimate Public Campgrounds, and Topo maps to find land boundaries and 4×4 roads), and of course mounting options that include universal RAM mounts. The only downside is it is not weatherproof for moto-based overlanders, but that won’t matter too much for vehicle-based overlanding fans around the world.
6. Roambuilt Van Accessories
Sprinter vans with adventure enthusiasts living the #VanLife are all the rage these days. Whether you are using the vans for business use, overlanding adventures, or just for fun with the family, Sprinter vans are great tools to get you out into the wilderness. Roambuilt is a company that builds some of the best overland products in the industry, but their side ladders paired with their fuel jugs are the items that caught our eye at this year’s Overland Expo West. These are simple solutions to getting up to the top of your van, whether you mount a roof rack up there or are just carrying snowboards, etc… Plus, having extra fuel on board is always a smart idea when venturing long distances into the wilderness.
7. Deepsleep Jeep Wrangler Air Mattress
Do you own a Jeep JKU, JLU, or maybe even an XJ? Do you like to sleep in the confines of your Jeep backseat and cargo area instead of a rooftop tent or trailer? Deepsleep has an answer for everyone who wants to sleep in comfort in the back of your Jeep. This blow up mattress, which can be bought with or without an external pump, takes advantage of every inch of room in your Jeep – you have to slide your front seats forward to fit it in place. If you’re like me and a bit over 6’ tall, then you’ll just about fit on the mattress as it measures exactly 72”. This setup allows for fun, off-the-cuff adventures without the need to haul heavy items on your roof all the time, aka the one item that all impromptu adventures need.
8. Overland Bound Memberships & Community
One of the biggest things that overlanders seek is knowledge, whether it’s knowledge about parts, destinations, or dos/don’ts on the trail. Overland Bound is a community of like-minded individuals who love every facet of the overland lifestyle, many of whom live it full time. The community offers new and old members the opportunity to get inspired, learn a lot, and connect with groups and adventurers all around the world. Most features are free for you to explore, but there is a one-time membership fee if you want to gain access to all of the benefits of the worldwide and growing community.
9. Pelican Vault Pistol Case
You’ve seen Pelican cases around since the mid-’70s, but you’ve been seeing them more and more recently as the company releases additional consumer-driven products, which are based on their long history of military-based products. One of their most recent cases and among the best overland products we saw at the show is the Vault, which is lightweight, weather resistant, offered in many sizes, and a bit more affordable. Available in 3 sizes, these particular Vault Pistol cases are made of a crushproof high-impact polymer, and they include HD handles plus easy to use push button latches.
10. Leitner Designs Active Cargo System
Providing a bit of a different design to the traditional bed rack cargo systems that we find on the market these days, Leitner Designs put together a sliding center load bar that allows you to configure the cargo system to accommodate dirt bikes and mountain bikes, or just larger storage items that you would normally haul in your truck bed. Many other systems have stationary load bars to keep the two halves of the rack system stable, but this Leitner system allows you to carry more and keep everything stable at the same time. Plus, with the sliding mechanisms found on this cargo system, you can add different accessories to further build out your rear cargo rack system. With more accessories available, including integrated gear boxes, you can really customize this system to exactly what works for you and your family.
11. American Safari JXL Conversion
What could you do with 15” extra inches behind your Jeep Wrangler back seat? A lot actually—that’s 50% more volume than you would normally have behind your rear seats! To make the extra space, the American Safari JXL conversion kit comes with extended side and roof panels. Not only is the roof longer, but every kit also includes a pop up roof tent. For the family who wants a fully optioned out Jeep all in one concise package, this extended length conversion kit might be the perfect solution for all of your overlanding needs. It is easily one of the best overland products for Jeep Wrangler owners.
12. Goal Zero Solar Station
Goal Zero has brought battery and solar technologies to the overlanding world, and their latest technologies allow you to enjoy more power and recharging capabilities for your adventures than ever before. This particular kit has a 428Wh lithium portable power station, along with one of their Nomad 28 Plus foldable solar panels. The lithium battery pack can power 7 devices at once with several 120V AC plugs, USB outputs, and more. Charging the power pack with the solar charger takes a total of 20 hours, or you can use the solar charger directly with your devices. In its entirety, this system can give you the portable power you need to live comfortably off the grid for as long as you want. Plus, Goal Zero has more products to make your adventures easier and more portable-friendly in every way.
All of these products were showcased at this year’s Overland Expo West event, and if you haven’t been to this one, make sure you bookmark their website for the latest updates on 2020’s event. If you can’t wait that long, then check out the aforementioned East-event in October of this year. Happy Overlanding!
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