A blog about off-road vehicles, overlanding, 4×4 trips & travel. We write posts about interesting trucks for sale, help you improve your driving and camping skills, learn about gear, show you amazing places to go, and share stories of adventure. We like to go out and explore, and we love adventure.

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This is our second installment on Overland Expo covering products. Besides the classes and workshops, there’s a whole section of the Expo devoted to vendors. What follows are some of the more interesting ones that Greg, our man on the scene, spotted.

The photo above shows a collection of handmade fire steels by L. T. Wright.

Next year’s Overland Expo will be held May 20–22, 2016 in Flagstaff, Arizona. The event offers a chance to work on your overland driving skills, attend workshops and classes, watch films and demos, and offers a tangible air of camaraderie. They’re already taking reservations. If you’re interested, click here.

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American Camp Chair utilizes leftover wood from the piano manufacturing industry to create high-quality camp chairs from a classic, 19th-century design. The sling is made of high-quality duck canvas. Chairs cost about $240, but that price still represents a low profit margin for the company, since much of that cost goes into the quality of the chair.

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High-quality flashlights from SureFire.

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A roof rack from BajaRack. Their Mule rack is powder-coated, universal fit rack for trucks with existing factory cross bars. This is nice, if you have something like a Montero for which there’s not a lot of after market support. A 48″ x 64″ Mega Mule rack is only $450. Not bad!

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This is a German-made Kanz outdoor bar, for when you want to take your high-country cocktail hour up a notch (or two).

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These are modular camp kitchen and chuck boxes by My Camp Kitchen. Again, high-quality stuff here: hardwoods, nice joinery, brass hardware. I bet these would make trail cooking a real pleasure.

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The tent above is an Oz Tent RV-5Oz Tent. It offers 72 sq. ft. of space, over 6 feet of head room, a large awning (whose space can be enclosed by optional panels), heavy-duty construction, and a very fast set-up time (about 30 seconds to set up the tent and a couple of minutes to stake it down.) Heres a video. Apparently it’s an Australian classic but it will set you back over $1000.

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These tents are from Oz’s Malamoo line. They’ll set you back only $200 to $350 depending on size, and practically set themselves up. Here’s a video of that.

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Oz Tent also makes very nice cots.

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These Roto Pax storage cubbies and fuel tanks are designed to free up space in the bed of your truck.

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If you use ratchet straps you’ve probably noticed that they can vibrate loose under load. These Shock Straps are designed to prevent that by building in a flexible link along with the ratchet strap. They’re also much beefier than the standard ratchet strap.

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There were also handmade goods from overlands like Pablo and Anna who have been driving their Mitsubishi Delica, La Cucaracha, around the world for the past ten years.

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This simple looking loop of rope is actually a very clever shackle replacement. It’s called Gator Jaw and it’s a “soft shackle” that can replace a standard D-ring shackle or be used to attach to a truck where no good recovery point is available, around a bumper or frame for example. It’s rated to 32,000 lbs. and costs just over $40.

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The Rugged ‘N Ready Backwoods Trailer, a heavy-duty off-road trailer that can be configured for overlanding.

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These Alu-Box cases are light, stackable, high-quality storage boxes. They’re sealed against water and dust though aren’t fully submergible. They can be drilled through and permanently mounted on vehicles. Here’s and interesting post on Expedition Portal in which they compare them Pelican cases.

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If you have a Hi-Lift jack with a neoprene cover, you know that eventually the neoprene will fade, degrade, and fall apart do to UV exposure. Well, this guy created a jack cover out of UV-stablized, marine grade vinyl so it will last for years. Here’s a link. 

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Crux Offload makes sand / bridging ladders that (when clean) can double as very nice camp furniture. When on trail duty each bridging ladder is rated to hold 2,000 lbs, or 4,000 lbs per axle for a set of two.

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This a very clever DIY project is made with parts available from any RV supplier. It enables you to pump water from your jerry can without having to move them from their mounted location. The spigot twists upwards to seal the can and downwards to open. Then just pump away. Here’s an Expo build thread on the topic.

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And one final tip. If you have a rooftop tent and have issues with condensation dripping from the ceiling, install a piece of fabric like this. The fabric reduces condensation and will absorb any water drops that do fall. During the day, when the tent is ventilated, moisture escapes from the fabric back into the atmosphere. Brilliant!

This great video from Jay Leno’s Garage the other day features Montana-based Legacy Classic Trucks and their restomod 6×6 Dodge Powerwagon. Restomods, as you may know, are classic cars or trucks that have updated mechanicals. This truck is powered by a 4-liter Cummins 4-cylinder diesel with mountains of torque. Such a nice truck…

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Greg on his way to Overland Expo 2015

Dear Readers!

I apologize for the radio silence the past few months. I’d like to get the WCXC ball rolling again with series of posts about last spring’s Overland Expo 2015. I had initially invited my good friend Greg from gadmachine to go with me. When a scheduling conflict came up, Greg, always up for adventure, accepted our press pass (kindly provided by Overland Expo) and headed to Arizona solo. He had a great time, met some great people, and took the fantastic photos you see here.

I’ll cover the Expo in four posts: Trucks, Products, Camp Vibes, and the Obstacle Course.

Next year’s Overland Expo will be held May 20–22, 2016 in Flagstaff, Arizona. The event offers a chance to work on your overland driving skills, attend workshops and classes, watch films and demos, and offers a tangible air of camaraderie. They’re already taking reservations. If you’re interested, click here.

On to the trucks! The Expo is a great place to see adventure vehicles. Here’s what Greg spotted.

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A couple of portal axle-equipped G-wagens

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A Land Rover Defender 130 Double Cab with a nice, built-in camp kitchen and pull-down work surfaces

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A few varieties of two-wheeled transport

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The 2015 Jeep Africa concept vehicle, equipped with a 2.8-liter diesel engine

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The Earth Cruiser, a shipping crate-compatible world explorer, is based on the Mitsubishi Fuso truck chassis and features a fully insulated pop-up camper top.

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A nice Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser

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A nicely equipped G-wagen with wheels and tires that make off-road sense.

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Not all overlanders require 4-wheel drive. 
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La Cucaracha, a Mitsubishi Delica 4×4 belonging to Pablo and Anna, who have been traveling the world for more than 15 years. Check out their blog at Viajeros4x4x4.com. They were in the Special Vehicles section (for overlanders invited to the event).

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This Defender 130 was equipped with a Ramsey winch and a talisman against evil spirits (like banditos, and corrupt cops, for example).

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Here it is from the back. This Defender belongs to the Bell family from South Africa currently traveling in the United States. Follow them through their site a2aexpedition.com.

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A Unimog U4000 DoKa equipped with camper shell and flag pole.

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This Unimog U500 was customized by Global Expedition Vehicles with a lifting roof. The couple that owns it said their experience is that it’s great to travel with but if they happen to get stuck, they get stuck good. Good thing there’s a winch on the front. Check out more photos of this amazing, roomy vehicle here.

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This Sportsmobile belongs to John and Mandi, who having traveling along the Pan-American Highway since May of this year. They’re currently in Mexico. Check their site out at johnandmandi.com or find them on Instagram, @johnandmandi.

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Another nice Mercedes Geländewagen

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Here’s a G-wagen specifically fitted out for camping.

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A few more two-wheeled steeds…

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A 1960s-era Mercedes-Benz 911 DoKa truck. These are incredibly durable trucks. You can still find them in Africa carrying ridiculous loads. This one was for sale.

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A Rev’it All-Wheel Drive adventure bike

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Ah, a little West County Explorers Club love on the rear of this G-wagen cabriolet

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This is Global Roamer 2, owned by an Australian couple. You can see some of their photos here.

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And what’s an Overland Expo with out a Pinzgauer and Hummer H1?

 

This English couple has written a photo book about their 5-month trip, north to south, through Africa. To do it they bought an 80-series Land Cruiser which they named “Indlovu,” the unstoppable elephant.

They’re currently pre-selling their book on Kickstarter.

Link:
Indlovu on Kickstarter

The guys from Roadkill find out…

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It’s spring and you’re probably getting ready for a camping trip or two. In case you’re wondering what to bring, I’ll share our camp list, our checklist for everything we bring.

First though a word on how we pack. I have a drawer system in the truck and a lot of the tools and recovery gear live in there. In the flat area above the drawers we have room for three plastic bins (like the ones in the photo above) and one cooler. That makes four solid items that can easily be strapped down. Always secure your load inside the vehicle. You don’t want that stuff shifting on the trail, or worse, flying around in an accident. All of the soft stuff (blankets, sleeping bags and the like) go between the space left over along side the bins. Usually I can get us packed and still see out of the rear window.

For longer trips, I take out the back seat of the truck and bolt a couple of D-rings to the floor of the truck where the seat bolts go. In that space, low and central, I’ll strap down 21 gallons of water in 3 plastic jugs. That’s enough for a maximum of 10 days for my wife and I at a rate of 1 gallon per person per day for drinking, cooking, and dishes.

You can see one of the water containers in the picture below.

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I’ve rigged it up as a solar shower. Just so you know, showering is not calculated in the 1 gal. / person / day formula. You’ll need extra water for that.

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It’s nice to travel comfortably. My wife, Natalie, always has amazing snacks at the ready.

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Don’t forget the entertainment! Our friend Greg likes to take a rubber rattlesnake camping and hide it in our stuff. I always forget and end up startled 2 or 3 times per trip.

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Our tent is pretty plush. Natalie wasn’t into the 2-1/2 man tent from my bachelor days.

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Here’s the tent from the outside. It’s an REI Base Camp 4. We like it a lot. Plenty of room for the two of us plus our gear. Then there’s even more room for stuff in the vestibules.

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Greg prefers more spartan accommodations. Those Italian, wool army blankets are great. We both have them.

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This is how I set up the roof rack: spare gas, foam bed roll, and a 2nd spare tire.

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Here’s a shot of the drawer system I built (there’s a latch missing in this photo). The white, top of the drawers is actually a removable camp table.

OK—here’s our camp list!

Camping List

Kitchen 
Cooler, medium size
Coleman 2-burner stove
grill grates (2)
cutting board
chef’s knife
nested sauce pans (2)
tin foil
ziploc bags, quart and gallon size
tongs
paper plates
compostable cutlery
plastic wash tubs (2, one for wash, one for rinse)
sponge / dish brush
dish soap
dish cloth (2)
sponge
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grill Spray (high heat)
Dehydrated Food
top ramen
plates + bowls
utensils
cups
big percolator
Water (1 gal. per person, per day, minimum)
Water purifier (for emergencies)
citronella candle
binder clips (for sealing chip bags and the like)

Fire 
firewood
Camp axe
news paper / paper bags
matches

Sleeping
Tent
camp pads
egg crate
sheets
pillows
sleeping bag / blankets

Camp
chairs (2)
Coleman gas lantern or 60-day battery lantern
Firewood (depending on availability)
Camp table (I built mine into my drawer system)

Clothing
Travel pants (2)
sweater
jacket
hiking boots
crocs
sun hat
knit hat
synth. undershirts (3)
rain boots

Toiletry
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
deodorant
razor
towel
bug spray
sun screen
lip balm
lotion
hand soap
solar shower
quick-dry towel
Nivea / hand lotion

Navigation
USGS maps (30 min., 7.5 min.)
Benchmark Atlases
GPS
Off-road guidebooks
Binder with trip notes, radio manuals, weather reports, helpful how-tos, and this camp list (if consumables run out, or you think of something else you need, write it on the list).

Utility
flashlight
headlamps
clamp light
lantern
trash bags
rope
heaving line
leatherman
zip ties
Suunto Core watch (altimeter, barometer, compass equipped)
spare batteries (AA, AAA)
knife
GMRS radio
tarp, 10’ x 20’ (great improvised shelter / rain fly)
4 2’ rebar stakes (for anchoring tarp)
fishing poles
fishing net
tackle box
fishing licenses
fire tongs
hot water bottle
axe
tie-down straps
leather gloves
binoculars
folding camp shovel (Great for trenching, if rain is forecast. Great for clearing ground around a fire. Works for handling burning logs too.)

Recording
camera
video camera
video camera kit (housing, lens, tapes, charger)

Truck Supplies
motor oil (4 qts)
extra gasoline, 10 gallons (optional)
Onboard CO2 tank (Power Tank)
tire gauge
Spare fuses
tube of grease
WD40
flat repair kit
spare parts kit for your truck (upper and lower radiator hoses, fuel filter, oil filter, spare fuel line, all belts)

Emergency Kit
Flares
Jumper cables
Neosporin
sterile pads
advil
water purification tablets
medical tape

Recovery
Hi-lift jack
Hi-lift base
Hi-lift off-road kit
Hi-lift wheel hooks
Chain, (8ft., 25 ft.)
Starter fluid
Tire chains (4)
Pull-pall
Hydraulic jack
Shovels (2)
Hand saw
PowerTank
Air hose

Tools
Duct tape
Crescent wrench
Vice grips
Socket set
pliers
screwdrivers
adjustable wrench
multimeter


This is a nice documentary about the benefits of off-road riding and how it keeps you fit, even into later life.

We have osprey here on the Russian River. They’re pretty amazing. Check out this video of their fishing skills.

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Photo: Paul Guillien

As you’re prepping for rides this spring and summer, it might be worth having a look at these adventure bike tips compiled by four-time Baja 1000 champion Quinn Cody for the website ADV Pulse. He covers planning, prep, gear, as well as riding tips. Good to know.

Link:
Quinn Cody’s Off-Road Safety Tips for Adventure Riders » ADV Pulse.