On my venture around the expo, I sought out what each vendor was displaying. I saw lots of items that have been around for years. These products have been tried and true. Then I saw several new products that I felt would be very useful for an overlander.
The first item I thought was the ARB Hydraulic jack. This jack is 35 inches tall when stored and has a maximum of 56 inches. It moves upward a half inch each push of the lever. The ARB jack can lift 4409 pounds. Using the handle was very easy; as the jack went up higher, the handle press increased a small amount. The starting height is only six inches. The overall weight of the ARB jack is 23 pounds. The ARB jack has nine different point to raise or lower the hook to accommodate a wide range of vehicle clearances. A great plus for the ARB jack is its sensitivity – a simple push on a lever makes it come down within seconds, or you can just lift your fingers off and it stops.
Elsewhere, Pelican cases introduced their current line of Elite Coolers, Vault and Air cases. They are looking to chilling the competition with their new coolers. They displayed the 70-quart model. This model can hold four days of food and 24 12-ounce cans.
The Elite Cooler line offers press and pull latches, a built-in bottle opener, corrosion resistant stainless steel hardware, non-skid and non-marking raised feet, molded can holders, a sloped drain with a tethered threaded plug which can be removed, and a garden hose attached to drain to keep liquids away from your camp. Molded-in handles and tiedowns, an integrated fish scale on the lid, freezer grade basket, and two inches of polyurethane insulation round out the features. Perhaps the best claim is the coolers are certified bear-proof from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. They offer nine different color patterns.
I asked a few fellow visitors: When it come to your back-country expeditions, what is it that you find that is the most important item that you need for your expedition? The biggest answer was power, either AC or DC.
Nowadays, everyone has an electronic device that requires power or recharging. Also, the tending of a vehicle battery while camping. One person said he needed power to run medical equipment. One company, Cascadia 4×4, was introducing their new product – a very slim, hood-mounted solar panel. This panel mounted using double-stick tape and would fit the hood of your Jeep or Toyota. The Jeep model offered pass-through holes for your windshield mounts and a 75-watt charging capacity. The Toyota panel offered a 95-watt charging capacity. Both panels had 3-5 amps which depended on varying factors, like angle or weather. Their solar panels are planned to be on the market later this year.
Yokohama was introducing their new all-terrain tire. The Geolandar X-AT is both a great tread for off-road as well as quiet on the road. It has been in testing on a few vehicles and employees said they are happy with their performance, handling and lack of the usual tire hum from all-terrain tires. The tires do not offer a common white or black wall. Instead, they offer two different sidewall tread patterns. The tire comes in rim sizes from 15-22 inches. The starting price wasn’t brought up, but Yokohama hinted that when they come out in July 2019, they will be comparable to other all-terrain tires.
Bilstein shocks displayed a few coil overs. They were marketing toward a shock for both a smooth ride on and off-road. Coil over shocks offer better handling and ride than most stock shocks. We all know our highways and byways are not the best maintained roads out there, and sometimes make you feel like you are crossing a rocky trail, so having the right shocks is essential. Bilstein had several models to choose from on display.
Overland Expo West 2019 Facts & Figures
- The highest number of attendees in event history, totaling over 22,000 guests
- A 30-percent increase in the number of event exhibitors in 2019
- A 20-percent increase in the number of day-pass attendees
- A 15-percent increase in motorcycle-specific attendance
- 450 classes, seminars, demos, activities, slideshows, and films, totaling 570 session-hours of instruction
- 135 media outlets from local, national and international markets
While Overland Expo West touches down in Arizona annually each spring, its sister event, Overland Expo East, is slated for October 11-13 in Arlington, Virginia. Overland Experience VIP packages and exhibitor booth space for Overland Expo East are on sale now at OverlandExpo.com/East. For more on Overland Expo, visit OverlandExpo.com.
Thank you to Overland Expo for such a great show. I applaud the setup and ease of finding the vendors. If you plan on attending either the 2019 East Expo or next year’s West, visit their website and sign up, EARLY. They can pack the forest.