Veterans of the overlanding and off-roading scenes are witnessing a recent spike in the “get out and escape” movement—especially from newcomers. People are fleeing in droves to find fresh air, sun and solitude, sometimes even just car-camping as a form of inexpensive urban escape. In addition, of course, the pandemic has contributed to the surge, adjusting priorities and expectations accordingly, making simple outdoor excursions more popular than ever.
However, when it comes to exploring the great outdoors, choosing the appropriate gear and equipment goes a long way to ensure your excursion is successful. Existing manufacturers and upstarts have answered the call, offering an unprecedented variety of gear from rechargeable seat heaters to solar-powered campers and high-tech carrying and cargo options to get you there. The proper kit will help keep you safe, secure, and stylishly happy wherever the adventure takes you.
These top accessories from the 2021 Overland Expo Mountain West show can help keep you stay safe and secure while escaping everyday life in the backcountry.
Super Pacific Switchback X1 Camper
Based in Portland, Oregon, Super Pacific is a newcomer in the marketplace. Founded roughly a year ago, Super Pacific saw a need not being fulfilled, so they created the Switchback X1 camper. A unique take on truck bed camper, the hard-shelled unit is billed as four-season suitable. Super Pacific showcased multiple trucks fitted with their lightweight Switchback X1 campers at the Overland Expo West, the company’s first. The company also featured prototype MOLLE panel accessories slated for future production.
Switchback X1 campers come standard with 12-volt and dual USB ports, modular floor panels, as well as a premium commercial-grade tent and a third brake light. Super Pacific offers a robust single-priced package versus upselling multiple add-ons for additional costs. Five powder coating colors and two tent fabric options are available, plus the purchase price covers camper install in their Portland, Oregon shop. Super Pacific manufactures at their Portland headquarters; they build everything in CAD and work with manufacturing partners to build the products, most found in the same zip code. Standard pricing to fit mid-size trucks is $11,995; full-size counterparts edge up to $12,495.
Campworks NS-1 Off-Road Trailer
The Campworks NS-1 off-road trailer features an onboard 400-watt solar array to provide quiet, emission-free power in the backcountry. A 400 amp-hour lithium battery stores power when the sun is hiding, and a 3000-watt inverter/generator scales, distributes and generates power when necessary. Of particular note, the company is working on a system to send power back to any all-electric (EV) vehicle that happens to be towing it. As of now, the NS-1 trailer is upgradeable to enable EV charging wherever you camp.
Based in Longmont, Colorado, Campworks was founded in 2019 by a former EarthRoamer employee, Thomas Hoffman. Since his departure, he and the Campworks team created a premium solar-powered off-road trailer generating enough power to sustain itself for infinite off-grid living—you’ll run out of food before needing to revisit civilization. Key off-road-ready features include a heavy-duty composite shell and sealed, a powder-coated frame, BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires for improved off-road traction, a Lock ‘N’ Roll articulating trailer hitch for greater movement ability in tricky terrain, and beefy rock sliders. Additional niceties include a Front Runner Outfitters roof rack, exterior opportunities to carry extra equipment, and an onboard air compressor to air up tires or mattresses after a day of fun on the trails. The Campworks’ interior is thoughtfully designed with wood cabinets and a myriad of premium features.
Campworks is currently delivering initial NS-1 units to its customers. The NS-1 base price starts at $40,000, with optional upgrades adding to the cost.
Lavabox Portable Campfire
Rafting guide turned company owner Josh Thurmond saw a need for a no-fuss, simple campfire solution when fire bans are in effect. What he came up with is the Lavabox, a patent-pending portable propane campfire set inside a military ammunition can.
Based in Denver, Colorado, and showing at his first event, Josh demonstrated how the Lavabox series of products can easily be transported, set up in minutes, and, thanks to its’ clever design, avoid violating any fire bans or drought regulations. Camping in California during the summer or a poolside party in Oregon? Lavabox has you covered, and according to the manufacturer, can be used anywhere, anytime.
Lavabox showcases two propane campfire units (the larger Krakatoa FireBreather at $330.00 and its smaller cousin, the Tabletop Vol-CAN-no at $195.00. Additionally, Lavabox debuted a diminutive ammo box containing citronella candles, a prototype product requiring a few tweaks before it’s released to consumers. Pricing for the pint-sized Lavabox has yet to be announced.
Maxxis RAZR All-Terrain Tire
Maxxis has long been known for making a variety of tires for auto, light truck, ATV and motorcycle applications. Based in Georgia, the cornerstone of its RAZR tire line-up is the popular RAZR MT mud-terrain tire; the RAZR AT (All-Terrain) tire is the team’s newest member.
Released earlier this year, the RAZR AT blends solid on-road performance with off-road prowess and is available in sizes to fit SUVs and light-duty trucks. Designed with a new off-road compound maximizing tear resistance and tread wear, RAZR AT tires boast a minimum 50,000-mile limited treadwear warranty. Maxxis ATs also feature an aggressive sidewall for increased grip and puncture resistance, dual-cord casing technology for improved durability and toughness and a new tread block pattern to minimize road noise. The Maxxis RAZR AT is also M&S/Mountain Snowflake rated certified, making it an ell-rounded option. Prices and sizes vary.
ARB Full-Size Bronco Summit Front Bumper
Australian-based ARB knows a thing or two about off-grid adventuring. The long-standing company offers a wide selection of aftermarket accessories to compliment trucks and SUVs, included but not limited to suspension and drivetrain components, auxiliary lighting, portable refrigeration, and recovery gear for vehicle extractions when the going gets stuck.
The soon-to-be-released ARB Bronco Summit front bumper is a hot new aftermarket upgrade for the new full-size Bronco (not to be confused with the smaller Bronco Sport). Strategically designed, the Summit bumper will be fully functional with factory sensors, including parking, airbags, and a relocation provision to relocate the adaptive cruise control radar unit. Additionally, the new ARB front bumper integrates two forged recovery points, twin jack points and supports most winch models. Additional ARB full-size Bronco upgrades will include a rear bumper and rock sliders. Exact pricing and availability are to be determined, with updates slated for late this year or early 2022.
Dometic Personal Camp Heater
Cold weather can put a damper on even the best-planned excursions. From freezing fingers to a numb bum, we’ve all been there and done that. However, camping and RV accessories giant Dometic has just announced the Personal Camp Heater, a product designed to warm you up, no matter where you are.
Sized initially to sit neatly atop their foldable Compact Camp Bench, Dometic’s Personal Camp Heater rectangular pad can be used independently to warm up any seat or sleeping bag. The new flat heating cushion is made from waterproof fabric and uses copper filament heating elements for long-lasting warming duties.
The Dometic Personal Camp Heater includes low, medium and high heating modes and is chargeable via a USB port or a 12-volt charge cord (which neatly stows into the pad’s side sewn-on zippered pouch). The Personal Camp Heater measures approximately 13.75 inches by 17.75 inches (35cm x 45cm) and is slated for spring 2022 availability. The Personal Camp Heater costs $79.99; the Compact Camp Bench runs $99.99.
Pelican Cargo Case Collection
Inspired by the company’s military cases, Pelican devised a new series of storage cases and mounting systems to coincide with the needs of the Overlanding crowd: the Pelican Cargo case collection. The new Cargo cases are adaptable to various mounting methods and are designed to reduce vibrations and wind resistance. Pelican’s Cargo cases include lay-flat, non-protruding handles, integrated metal tie-down plates, and roto-molded construction that is dustproof and weather resistant. In addition, the free-open lid design permits access even when mounted to the vehicle.
The Pelican Cargo case collection offers eight different case sizes to fit most adventure vehicles, from truck bed carrying systems to rooftop racking opportunities. Currently available for Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, Ram, Jeep, Toyota, and Nissan, they also work with many roof rack companies and offer some universal solutions as well. Prices and sizes vary.