With the pandemic ramping up interest in overlanding, the industry is overflowing with new entrants. And that interest has stimulated the development of new products. The 2022 episode 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 taps 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 attracted interest with their attractive designs. It is clear that all these rims have a classic look and are completely up to date. All these wheels are flowformed (a process that starts with a base casting, which is then heated as it is stretched and compressed) and will be strong enough for any overland application. Compared to standard gravity cast wheels, they are much stiffer and lighter. In fact, the company itself is actually a sub-brand of Raceline wheels— one of the market leaders in the production of high-quality wheels for off-road, track and street use. Their product expert couldn’t give me any information on pricing, but I’d venture to assume these wheels could sell for about $300 each.
Walking 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 more closely and realized that these rolls of TP were hanging from a device called the Poola Hoop. While these look super simple—and frankly hilarious—they solve a critical problem you sometimes run into when landing (and really camping in general): dropping your toilet paper before doing your business.
There was no shortage of large platforms at the Expo with fully extended bathrooms – showers and all. However, not everyone has $400,000 to spend on what is essentially an apartment on wheels. That’s why this toilet solution from Thunderbox caught my eye. It is essentially a collapsible toilet that turns any place into the right place. Once deployed, it is the same size as a standard home toilet to civilize the experience of a number two in the woods.
Dirt Complex Trail Swing Adventure Series
When it comes to belt conveyors, Dirt Complex is one of the industry leaders. So what sets the brand apart from the rest of the crowd? The lightweight Trail Swing tire carrier easily accommodates the trailer hitch on your stock bumper. Without going 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 attachment ensures that the tire does not swing and rattle with the tow bar.
iKamper ExoShell 270
Rooftop tents are all the rage. And they’re great, but I saw a lot of canopies walking around this year at the Overland Expo. Take the 270 canopies from iKamper. They provide 270 degrees of shade around your vehicle. Whether it’s to keep you out of the rain or the sun, these awnings provide a ton of space around your vehicle that would previously be unused. While the image shows a number of anchors securing the shading device to the ground, they aren’t always necessary — the show saw winds in excess of 20 mph that day.
The shower bag
Seasoned campers without access to a shower will likely be experts at taking a “bath” with wet wipes. However, these often feel microscopic and clunky to use when it comes to proper cleaning. That’s why Shower Pouch decided to make a huge wet wipe. Compared to a postage stamp that may appear the size of a postage stamp, these are a 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 certainly one of the smartest.
Dometic hydration water tap
Veteran overlanders will know that running water at a campground is super underrated. Whether it’s a quick shower or rinsing your hands before preparing dinner, there’s no substitute for simply washing your hands. Also known as the hydration water tap, this solution has a magnetic base that holds it in place and a touch-sensitive button on top for easy operation. In this setup it is connected to Dometic’s 11 liter Hydration Water Jug through a shortcut. The battery is good for dispensing 150 liters of water and charges easily via micro USB.
Messermeister Overland Chef Collection
When it comes to overlanding, cooking doesn’t have to be a compromise. Even without a lot of costs, you can prepare a tasty meal with relatively little stuff on your campsite. Avid camp cooks will know that knives are invaluable in a camp kitchen. That’s why Messermeister’s Overland Chef collection caught my eye; it contains a 4.5-inch blade as well as an 8-inch chef’s knife. Each knife features a Nitro B steel blade, which retains its edge and is easy to restore, along with a Micarta handle and leather sheath. While these knives are designed for on-the-go cooking, I’d be just as quick to buy them for my home kitchen.
Luno Airbed 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 and laying out a sleeping pad, I faced an uphill battle to get comfortable and keep things organized. Fortunately, 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 car – no more shoes that stink on the inside of your car.
Leitner designs ACS forged rack
Amid the crazy structures that grace the show grounds at Overland Expo, Leitner Designs’ shelving and accessories have an iconic look that’s 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 one-piece aluminum alloy uprights and custom alloy steel fasteners. For those of you concerned about drilling into your tailgate, the ACS Forged only has two brackets that require holes to be drilled into your vehicle. You will see in the photo above that these brackets sit high enough to accommodate a Decked Cargo Systemat.
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