Top Gear of the 2019 Overland Expo West

The Overland Expo is the most unique event for DIY adventure travel enthusiasts in the world and one of Truck Camper Adventure’s favorites. While the countless vehicle builds and classes deservedly take center stage, the hundreds of vendors selling their wares are just as interesting. It’s a tradition here at Truck Camper Adventure to rank the best truck campers of the Overland Expo West and we did that last week. For this show, we thought we’d do something a little different and pick our favorite gear as well. Indeed, we were so impressed with the quality and the amount of gear at the show that an article dedicated to the subject is warranted. So without further adieu, and in no particular order, here is our Top Gear of the 2019 Overland Expo West.

Tailgater Tire Table

Portable tables are a must for anyone who enjoys boondocking in the great outdoors. The problem with most camping tables is that they’re a pain to assemble and take down. Not the TailGater Tire Table. The Tailgater attaches to most tires in just seconds without the need for any tools. The simple yet ingenious design includes two small legs that rest up against the tire and an additional center extendable leg that provides extra support. The third leg can be used straight, angled against the bottom of the tire, or not used at all. The TailGater Table measures 23 inches wide and 29 inches long and weighs under 12 pounds. A Truck Camper Adventure top gear favorite. Lists for $139. www.tailgatertiretable.com

McLean Metalworks Hammock Mount

Courtesy Down2Mob Overland

There’s nothing quite like relaxing in a hammock while enjoying the great outdoors. But as you know, trees are sometimes difficult to find, especially if you’re camping in the desert or on the beach. That’s where the McLean Metalworks Hammock Mount comes in. The company has designed a patented hammock mounting system that installs in any standard Class III or Class IV 2-inch receiver. It’s constructed of a high-strength, CNC-cut, welded steel, is easy to use, and can accommodate hammocks of up to 114 inches in length. An exceptionally clever design and another top gear favorite, the classic mount with fold-out, telescoping arms retails for $449, while a new, “bare bones” version with detachable arms goes for $199. Made in the USA.

GoTreads Traction Mat

Traction mats are an absolute, must-have item for overlanders, but the patented GoTreads traction mat is even better. Not only does GoTreads’ traction mat provide traction just as well as other, over-priced imports like Maxtrax, but it also doubles as a leveling block and is easier to store because it folds up. Not only that, the GoTreads traction mat was designed with commercial big rigs and military vehicles in mind, so you know that it’s tough and can take a lot of weight. It’s also made in the USA and guaranteed for life. A two-pack of GoTreads goes for only $119.00. Stores easily in most truck camper rig compartments. Available in either orange or black. www.gotreads.com

TemboTusk Skottle

If you enjoy creating tasty dishes away from home, then you know that creating those dishes can be a challenge without the right grill. Enter the Skottle by TemboTusk. Popularized in Africa, the Skottle’s unique, wok-like design provides hot and warm zones to cook and keep already cooked food warm. Each TemboTusk Skottle kit includes a wok or cooking disk, a portable Coleman burner that attaches underneath, three mounting legs, five locking pins, and a two-piece carry bag. All you need is a propane tank that screws directly into the burner and a lighter. The TemboTusk disk measures 18-inches, while the entire unit is 28 inches high fully assembled. Works great either at home or on the road. The kit sells for $325. www.tembotusk.com

HeadSpin All-Purpose Light

A good flashlight is one thing you can’t live without when you’re on the road. Texas-based HeadSpin has taken the standard, everyday flashlight to even greater heights by providing three, easy-to-use mounting options for its powerful 400 lumen LED light—a headlamp mount, a flashlight mount, and a bike/rail mount. HeadSpin’s unique “Spindock” connection uses magnets to rotate and lock the light into place on each of the enclosed mounts. Better yet, the all-purpose LED light, which includes a red light setting for night time use and an SOS flasher, is easy to use and features four intuitive control buttons, not one. Recharges using either the enclosed AC wall charger or the micro USB. Includes an attractive, orange carrying case. Sells for $199. www.headspinoutdoors.com

AT Overland NATO-Style Can Holder

A staple in the overland community, few accessories are more functional and look better on your rig than an AT Overland NATO-style Can Holder. It’s rugged, well-made, and consists of 0.125-inch thick aluminum plates that are riveted together. These rivets, along with the see-through AT logo, gives the accessory an industrial look that is hard to beat. Each can holder weighs only 6 pounds and includes built-in attachment points so that it can mounted in a variety of positions on your rig. Also includes the aluminum strap needed to secure a diesel or gasoline MFC can. The AT Overland Can Holder measures 19.875 inches tall, 14.75 inches wide, and 7.375 inches thick (505mm x 375mm x 187mm). A top gear favorite, the AT Overland Can Holder sells for $134. www.atoverland.com

NEMO Stargaze Luxury Recliner

Unlike the standard camping chair, the NEMO Stargaze incorporates an auto-reclining mechanism into its design. To activate it, all you need to do is lean back. But the Nemo Stargaze does more than just recline, it’s also a rocker designed to be used on any surface, including rocks, sand, and uneven ground. Made of aircraft-grade aluminum, the Stargaze Recliner comes with an adjustable headrest, a no-spill cup holder, and a stash pocket to store small items. Set-up is quick and easy. Comes with a padded carrying case with shoulder strap. The Luxury model retails for $219, while the standard model sells for a cool $149. A terrific, top gear favorite, you better buy two or you’ll end up fighting over it. www.nemoequipment.com

Quick Pitch En-Suite Exterior Shower Enclosure

The Quick Pitch En-Suite Shower allows you to enjoy the privacy of an outdoor shower in a way that is quick and effortless. The En-Suite Shower Enclosure comes in two forms, a soft bag or an aluminum hard mount, and mounts on the side of your truck camper like an awning. The privacy curtain is made of a durable, safari-green fabric that can be adjusted to accommodate the height of your camper. Doubles as an outdoor bathroom or changing room. Ideal for both hard-side and pop-up truck campers without an indoor shower. Made in South Africa and distributed in the USA through our friends at BundutecUSA, the canvas soft-mount sells for $375, while the superior aluminum hard-mount lists for $500. www.bundutecusa.com

VSSL Portable Survival Kit

If you enjoy long hikes, having a quality, flashlight, survival kit, and compass are must-have items to store in your backpack. The VSSL (pronounced ‘Vessel’) provides all three in a way that is clever and truly innovative. The key to the VSSL’s design is the void in the middle that can accommodate eight small tins, a roll of trail tape, and bamboo cloth, all of which fit snugly inside the flashlight’s anodized aluminum housing. The tins are packed with a wide assortment of survival essentials like fire starter implements, a mini first aid kit, a rope and razor, a fishing kit, a six-hour beeswax candle, a water purification kit, and more. The Canadian company also provides ready-made, specialized VSSLs or you can design your own kit. Lists for $129. Available in silver or black. www.vsslgear.com

Fireside Outdoor Pop-Up Fire Pit

Looking for a collapsible, leave-no-trace fire pit that is also compliant with strict Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service regulations? Well, you’re in luck. Arizona-based Fireside Outdoor makes pop-up fire pit that sets-up in less than one minute without the need for tools. Made from high-quality aluminum and stainless steel, the Pop-Up Pit comes with everything you need to create a safe campfire, including a collapsible frame, four ember guards, a mesh screen, and a detachable heat shield that reflects 98 percent of the heat away from the ground. Cools and packs-up like a camping chair within 90 seconds, and weighs less than 8 pounds, the Fireside Outdoor Pop-Up Fire Pit sells for $119. www.firesideoutdoor.com

SherpTek Pak Horse

Appropriately named, the SherpTek Pak Horse mounts to any truck camper ladder, rack system and hard surface, including your spare tire, and can carry up to 1,000 pounds of gear and supplies. The unique design features an infinite number of tie down/attachment points along the main face, sides and back for securing gear. Comes in two lengths, a 5-foot and a 4-foot version, and can be used to haul anything from traction mats and generators to shovels and Hi-Lo jacks. It can also be used as a table, an emergency spineboard, a firewood hauler, a dolly, and more. Constructed of a rugged, lightweight aluminum, the SherpTek Pak Horse weighs only 25 pounds for the 5-foot model. A terrific, multipurpose product for truck camper rigs, pricing starts at $700 and includes mounting hardware. www.sherptek.com

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About Mello Mike 446 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a Jeep and truck camper enthusiast, and has restored several Airstream travel trailers. He currently drives a 2013 Ram 3500 4x4 pickup truck with a 2016 Northstar Laredo solar powered truck camper mounted on top. He enjoys football, music, hiking, travel, photography, and fishing. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years, worked in project management until 2017, and now runs this website full-time. He also does some consulting and RV inspections on the side.

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