Outdoors

Beasts of the East: Photos from Overland Expo East 2016

The view from atop the Bravo 1's cabover deck might have been the best at the show
The view from atop the Bravo 1's cabover deck might have been the best at the show
View 136 Images
The Biltmore Estate made for an interesting backdrop for an overland expedition show. The show was on a separate section of the 8,000-acre estate, but we had to at least get a photo of the largest home in the US
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The Biltmore Estate made for an interesting backdrop for an overland expedition show. The show was on a separate section of the 8,000-acre estate, but we had to at least get a photo of the largest home in the US
Quite different from the Biltmore Estate, or the typical outdoor living solution of OX East, Tentipi Nordic tipis were the first official exhibit to greet us
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Quite different from the Biltmore Estate, or the typical outdoor living solution of OX East, Tentipi Nordic tipis were the first official exhibit to greet us
Expedition pickup at Cascadia Vehicle Tents booth
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Expedition pickup at Cascadia Vehicle Tents booth
GooseGear says it's the exclusive Southern California dealer of AT Overland's Tacoma Habitat flip-over tent. The company also specializes in truck/expedition storage solutions
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GooseGear says it's the exclusive Southern California dealer of AT Overland's Tacoma Habitat flip-over tent. The company also specializes in truck/expedition storage solutions
North Carolina-based TW Adventures specializes in upgrading old VW vehicles for both on-road and off-road adventure
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North Carolina-based TW Adventures specializes in upgrading old VW vehicles for both on-road and off-road adventure
VW camper van at TW Adventures' booth
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VW camper van at TW Adventures' booth
Packed up and ready to expedition
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Packed up and ready to expedition
Pickup trucks of Overland Expo 2016
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Pickup trucks of Overland Expo 2016
We looked at several new-to-US trailers in our Overland Expo East trailer round-up, and Main Line Overland is bringing over another fresh-to-the-States import: Norweld ute trays and truck canopies from Australia
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We looked at several new-to-US trailers in our Overland Expo East trailer round-up, and Main Line Overland is bringing over another fresh-to-the-States import: Norweld ute trays and truck canopies from Australia
Chassis-mounted Norweld tray with canopy and added storage dropped around the wheel arches
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Chassis-mounted Norweld tray with canopy and added storage dropped around the wheel arches
Norweld trays can be ordered as basic flat trays or outfitted with removable bed walls and under-tray storage, like this one
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Norweld trays can be ordered as basic flat trays or outfitted with removable bed walls and under-tray storage, like this one
An aluminum Ute Canopy provides protected storage that could be useful everywhere from job sites to backcountry campsites
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An aluminum Ute Canopy provides protected storage that could be useful everywhere from job sites to backcountry campsites
Main Line currently offers Norweld Ute Trays and Canopies for the Toyota Tacoma, short and standard beds. The tray/canopy combo pictured here retails for $17,499
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Main Line currently offers Norweld Ute Trays and Canopies for the Toyota Tacoma, short and standard beds. The tray/canopy combo pictured here retails for $17,499
Shown empty at Overland Expo East, Norweld canopies can also be fitted with storage solutions, slide-outs and accessories, helping the customer build a truck for his/her specific purposes 
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Shown empty at Overland Expo East, Norweld canopies can also be fitted with storage solutions, slide-outs and accessories, helping the customer build a truck for his/her specific purposes 
Trucks of Overland Expo 2016
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Trucks of Overland Expo 2016
Jeep JK Habitat by AT Overland
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Jeep JK Habitat by AT Overland
A bamboo cutting board on the tailgate
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A bamboo cutting board on the tailgate
AT Overland's Jeep JK Habitat got a sibling, the Tacoma Habitat, at Overland Expo West earlier this year
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AT Overland's Jeep JK Habitat got a sibling, the Tacoma Habitat, at Overland Expo West earlier this year
The Camel Trophy Skills Area
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The Camel Trophy Skills Area
Sportsmobile Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 camper van
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Sportsmobile Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 camper van
The Sprinter 4x4-based Sportsmobile debuted last year, and we'd say it looks better in red
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The Sprinter 4x4-based Sportsmobile debuted last year, and we'd say it looks better in red
Inside Sportsmobile's Sprinter 4x4
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Inside Sportsmobile's Sprinter 4x4
Inside Sportsmobile's Sprinter 4x4
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Inside Sportsmobile's Sprinter 4x4
Classic Land Rover at Overland Expo East 2016
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Classic Land Rover at Overland Expo East 2016
Classic Land Rover at Overland Expo East 2016
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Classic Land Rover at Overland Expo East 2016
Classic Land Rover at Overland Expo East 2016
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Classic Land Rover at Overland Expo East 2016
No digital instruments or touchscreen infotainment in this Land Rover
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No digital instruments or touchscreen infotainment in this Land Rover
Land Rovers of Overland Expo 2016
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Land Rovers of Overland Expo 2016
Team4Runner expedition 4Runner
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Team4Runner expedition 4Runner
We didn't keep tally, but there didn't seem to be quite as many huge expedition vehicles at the east show as the west, so Global Expedition Vehicles stood out even more than usual
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We didn't keep tally, but there didn't seem to be quite as many huge expedition vehicles at the east show as the west, so Global Expedition Vehicles stood out even more than usual
In addition to trailers like the Acorn, Nuthouse Industries supplies a variety of other off-road/expedition gear
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In addition to trailers like the Acorn, Nuthouse Industries supplies a variety of other off-road/expedition gear
A new name in expedition vehicles, Minnesota-based HAF Xpedition Camper builds mean-looking aluminum-framed modules for on- and off-road use
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A new name in expedition vehicles, Minnesota-based HAF Xpedition Camper builds mean-looking aluminum-framed modules for on- and off-road use
There was no one around this HAF Xpedition Camper when we visited, so we're not sure the details of it specifically, but some of the model specs on HAF's website include 800 watts of solar panels all around the camper roof, wet bath and 13K BTU air conditioner
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There was no one around this HAF Xpedition Camper when we visited, so we're not sure the details of it specifically, but some of the model specs on HAF's website include 800 watts of solar panels all around the camper roof, wet bath and 13K BTU air conditioner
In addition to importing Norweld products from Australia, Main Line Overland deals in Four Wheel Campers
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In addition to importing Norweld products from Australia, Main Line Overland deals in Four Wheel Campers
The Four Wheel Camper looks especially tough when bolted to a big, brown Unimog
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The Four Wheel Camper looks especially tough when bolted to a big, brown Unimog
4x4s of Overland Expo East
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4x4s of Overland Expo East
This HAF Xpedition Camper is clearly still a work in progress
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This HAF Xpedition Camper is clearly still a work in progress
Inside the HAF Xpedition Camper
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Inside the HAF Xpedition Camper
One mean expedition rig
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One mean expedition rig
Adventurous Vanagon
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Adventurous Vanagon
Military-style expedition truck
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Military-style expedition truck
We're not sure if these military-based expedition vehicles arrived together, just congregated together after arrival or maybe someone directed them to the same area. Whatever the case, they made an interesting exhibit of soldier-turned-traveller
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We're not sure if these military-based expedition vehicles arrived together, just congregated together after arrival or maybe someone directed them to the same area. Whatever the case, they made an interesting exhibit of soldier-turned-traveller
Public servants turned permanent nomads
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Public servants turned permanent nomads
Large earth wanderers of Overland Expo East 2016
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Large earth wanderers of Overland Expo East 2016
The mustachioed Robinson Fuso
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The mustachioed Robinson Fuso
We've seen the Robinson Fuso at Overland Expo West, and it appears it's wandered east
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We've seen the Robinson Fuso at Overland Expo West, and it appears it's wandered east
The massive Bravo 1 expedition truck is an owner-converted 5-ton BMW military truck with serious style
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The massive Bravo 1 expedition truck is an owner-converted 5-ton BMW military truck with serious style
Our favorite feature of the Bravo 1 is the cabover deck. We'd imagine it's a great place to spend evening and morning when at a particularly scenic backcountry campsite
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Our favorite feature of the Bravo 1 is the cabover deck. We'd imagine it's a great place to spend evening and morning when at a particularly scenic backcountry campsite
4x4s of Overland Expo East 2016
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4x4s of Overland Expo East 2016
If you don't like the roof tent, try the hammock shelter rigged up between Wrangler and Land Rover
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If you don't like the roof tent, try the hammock shelter rigged up between Wrangler and Land Rover
Not only did this Land Rover bookend the hammock-shelter with the Wrangler, it anchored another hammock on the other side
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Not only did this Land Rover bookend the hammock-shelter with the Wrangler, it anchored another hammock on the other side
Expedition rigs of Overland Expo East 2016
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Expedition rigs of Overland Expo East 2016
Expedition rigs of Overland Expo East 2016
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Expedition rigs of Overland Expo East 2016
Expedition rigs of Overland Expo East 2016
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Expedition rigs of Overland Expo East 2016
This looks like a group that knows how to have fun 
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This looks like a group that knows how to have fun 
Huge spare tire on Bravo 1
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Huge spare tire on Bravo 1
The Bravo 1 has two 50-gal fresh water tanks, a 150-gal waste water tank and a 77-gal diesel tank
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The Bravo 1 has two 50-gal fresh water tanks, a 150-gal waste water tank and a 77-gal diesel tank
One of several interesting touches, the Bravo 1's exterior and bathroom doors are actual Navy ship doors
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One of several interesting touches, the Bravo 1's exterior and bathroom doors are actual Navy ship doors
They aren't always the largest expedition vehicles, but Unimog rigs are always some of the meanest-looking
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They aren't always the largest expedition vehicles, but Unimog rigs are always some of the meanest-looking
Quite a size disparity
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Quite a size disparity
A different place for a spare tire
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A different place for a spare tire
Rugged truck out in the OX East camping area
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Rugged truck out in the OX East camping area
4x4s of Overland Expo East 2016
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4x4s of Overland Expo East 2016
VW vans were particularly popular at this show
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VW vans were particularly popular at this show
Pop-top Land Rover
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Pop-top Land Rover
This Land Rover is all about sharing the story of its journey
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This Land Rover is all about sharing the story of its journey
Another VW camper van
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Another VW camper van
An International Scout expedition rig isn't one we see as often as Tacomas, Wranglers and Land Rovers. Looks pretty nice
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An International Scout expedition rig isn't one we see as often as Tacomas, Wranglers and Land Rovers. Looks pretty nice
Someone took overland (over land?) a little differently
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Someone took overland (over land?) a little differently
After spending some time at Bonneville two months ago, we first thought that sporty red Jeep Wrangler was towing a land speed record streamliner. But that's actually an airplane ... or at least it was back when it had wings and a nose. Either way, a unique vehicle that stands out like a sore thumb in a crowd of unique vehicles
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After spending some time at Bonneville two months ago, we first thought that sporty red Jeep Wrangler was towing a land speed record streamliner. But that's actually an airplane ... or at least it was back when it had wings and a nose. Either way, a unique vehicle that stands out like a sore thumb in a crowd of unique vehicles
Another hulking expedition rig
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Another hulking expedition rig
Staubwolke motorcycle accessories
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Staubwolke motorcycle accessories
Staubwolke's line of accessories includes the Crash Bar and Rear Handle 
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Staubwolke's line of accessories includes the Crash Bar and Rear Handle 
Triumph bike at Overland Expo East 2016
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Triumph bike at Overland Expo East 2016
Group relaxation with ENO hammocks
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Group relaxation with ENO hammocks
The lightest shelters at Overland Expo East: Lightheart Gear ultralight tents
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The lightest shelters at Overland Expo East: Lightheart Gear ultralight tents
Lightheart Gear ultralight backpacking tents
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Lightheart Gear ultralight backpacking tents
Designed by a US Army Green Beret, the Java Can puts a full espresso-making kit inside a military container
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Designed by a US Army Green Beret, the Java Can puts a full espresso-making kit inside a military container
The Java Can includes an espresso pot, coffee grinder, cups and other tools
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The Java Can includes an espresso pot, coffee grinder, cups and other tools
Big, tough (and very expensive) coolers have been very trendy lately, but the Orion Cooler is more than just a "me too" icebox built to hold up to bear claws and mountain tumbles. Made by the folks that make Jackson Kayaks, the rotomolded Orion has a bunch of features, like a padded top for both sitting (comfort) and standing (non-slip traction), bottle openers at each corner, and side YakAttack tracks that let you mount everything from fishing rod holders, to smartphone docks, to Bluetooth speakers
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Big, tough (and very expensive) coolers have been very trendy lately, but the Orion Cooler is more than just a "me too" icebox built to hold up to bear claws and mountain tumbles. Made by the folks that make Jackson Kayaks, the rotomolded Orion has a bunch of features, like a padded top for both sitting (comfort) and standing (non-slip traction), bottle openers at each corner, and side YakAttack tracks that let you mount everything from fishing rod holders, to smartphone docks, to Bluetooth speakers
Overland Expo East 2016
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Overland Expo East 2016
Toyota FJ Cruiser
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Toyota FJ Cruiser
The Land Rover Defender upgraded for overlanding with an Alu-Cab Icarus pop-top roof
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The Land Rover Defender upgraded for overlanding with an Alu-Cab Icarus pop-top roof
Inside the Alu-Cab pop-up Land Rover Defender
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Inside the Alu-Cab pop-up Land Rover Defender
Inside the pop-up Land Rover Defender
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Inside the pop-up Land Rover Defender
Classic Willys 4x4
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Classic Willys 4x4
Classic Willys 4x4
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Classic Willys 4x4
Sportsmobile ready for outdoor action
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Sportsmobile ready for outdoor action
4x4s of Overland Expo East 2016
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4x4s of Overland Expo East 2016
A hitch-mounted hammock stand looks like a great addition to camp, particulary a treeless camp
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A hitch-mounted hammock stand looks like a great addition to camp, particulary a treeless camp
Besides showing a slick little trailer, HEO had this distinctive Nissan Xterra parked on the grass
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Besides showing a slick little trailer, HEO had this distinctive Nissan Xterra parked on the grass
Classic Land Cruiser
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Classic Land Cruiser
While many overlanding vehicles have slick slide-out kitchens and drop-down tables, there are simpler solutions
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While many overlanding vehicles have slick slide-out kitchens and drop-down tables, there are simpler solutions
Gnarly Hummer on the grass at OX East 2016
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Gnarly Hummer on the grass at OX East 2016
Small and sweet: Land Cruiser expedition vehicle
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Small and sweet: Land Cruiser expedition vehicle
Another Land Cruiser expedition vehicle, this one size "large" 
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Another Land Cruiser expedition vehicle, this one size "large" 
Land Cruisers of Overland Expo East 2016
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Land Cruisers of Overland Expo East 2016
Ford truck with Phoenix Pop Up Camper 
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Ford truck with Phoenix Pop Up Camper 
This Phoenix camper pays homage to the host city, Asheville, NC
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This Phoenix camper pays homage to the host city, Asheville, NC
Bundutec USA unveiled the Bivak truck camper at Overland Expo West and shows it again on the eastern side of the US
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Bundutec USA unveiled the Bivak truck camper at Overland Expo West and shows it again on the eastern side of the US
Yakima is one of the best-known vehicle rack brands out there, and it's getting into the roof-top tent game. It announced the SkyRise tent in July and has since been showing it at events like Outdoor Retailer, Interbike and Overland Expo East
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Yakima is one of the best-known vehicle rack brands out there, and it's getting into the roof-top tent game. It announced the SkyRise tent in July and has since been showing it at events like Outdoor RetailerInterbike and Overland Expo East
2017 BMW R9TSCR
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2017 BMW R9TSCR
Adventure comes in all shapes and sizes at Overland Expo East .. from 6- and 8-wheeled expedition monsters to motorcycles and electric mountain bikes
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Adventure comes in all shapes and sizes at Overland Expo East .. from 6- and 8-wheeled expedition monsters to motorcycles and electric mountain bikes
Motorcycles at OX East 2016
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Motorcycles at OX East 2016
Triumph Tiger adventure/touring motorcycle
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Triumph Tiger adventure/touring motorcycle
KTM motorcycles at Overland Expo East 2016
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KTM motorcycles at Overland Expo East 2016
KTM motorcycles at Overland Expo East 2016
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KTM motorcycles at Overland Expo East 2016
This truck has seen some stuff ... 
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This truck has seen some stuff ... 
Camping of all flavors 
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Camping of all flavors 
Between our first and second day at OX East, this Unimog decided to put its tire up
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Between our first and second day at OX East, this Unimog decided to put its tire up
The view from atop the Bravo 1's cabover deck might have been the best at the show
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The view from atop the Bravo 1's cabover deck might have been the best at the show
Overland Expo East as seen from above
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Overland Expo East as seen from above
This roof hatch gets you up onto the Bravo 1 roof and deck from inside
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This roof hatch gets you up onto the Bravo 1 roof and deck from inside
The Bravo 1 is spartan and function-forward, but it does have one little luxury: a roomy bathroom with full-size toilet
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The Bravo 1 is spartan and function-forward, but it does have one little luxury: a roomy bathroom with full-size toilet
The Bravo 1's wet bath includes galvanized wall panels and a shower
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The Bravo 1's wet bath includes galvanized wall panels and a shower
Bunk beds and metal surfaces give this expedition truck its utilitarian, military-fashioned look
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Bunk beds and metal surfaces give this expedition truck its utilitarian, military-fashioned look
Nothing fancy, but plenty of space to prep, cook and work inside the Bravo 1
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Nothing fancy, but plenty of space to prep, cook and work inside the Bravo 1
We're not sure we'd want to spend months on end living in the Bravo 1, but we love the thoroughness of the military/industrial motif
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We're not sure we'd want to spend months on end living in the Bravo 1, but we love the thoroughness of the military/industrial motif
Boarding the Bravo 1
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Boarding the Bravo 1
Another OX East visitor enjoys the view from up top
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Another OX East visitor enjoys the view from up top
The Bravo 1 rolls on 48-in tires
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The Bravo 1 rolls on 48-in tires
Nicknamed "Green Rover," this 1960 Land Rover conversion is the vehicle that wrote the book on overlanding ... or at least its owner TeriAnn Wakeman did. From the quick flip-through we did, her new book "The Essential Guide to Overland Travel in the United States and Canada"  looks like a great resource for those looking to get into overlanding
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Nicknamed "Green Rover," this 1960 Land Rover conversion is the vehicle that wrote the book on overlanding ... or at least its owner TeriAnn Wakeman did. From the quick flip-through we did, her new book "The Essential Guide to Overland Travel in the United States and Canada"  looks like a great resource for those looking to get into overlanding
We really like the Green Rover's compact but generously equipped interior 
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We really like the Green Rover's compact but generously equipped interior 
With its small stove and compact dimensions, the Green Rover's interior looks almost like a toy or model overlander at first - at least compared to the interiors of larger motorhomes and caravans. But it's seen countless (wo)man-hours of demanding use that no toy would endure
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With its small stove and compact dimensions, the Green Rover's interior looks almost like a toy or model overlander at first - at least compared to the interiors of larger motorhomes and caravans. But it's seen countless (wo)man-hours of demanding use that no toy would endure
The Green Rover features a Dormobile pop-up roof. For those who might be interested in all the ins and outs of the equipment and build, Wakeman offers a thorough look on her website, expeditionlandrover.info
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The Green Rover features a Dormobile pop-up roof. For those who might be interested in all the ins and outs of the equipment and build, Wakeman offers a thorough look on her website, expeditionlandrover.info
A flashing ambulance makes for a great way of advertising your lighting line
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A flashing ambulance makes for a great way of advertising your lighting line
FireTech by HiViz LED Lighting
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FireTech by HiViz LED Lighting
Global Expedition Vehicles at OX East 2016
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Global Expedition Vehicles at OX East 2016
We've looked at Outrider electric recumbent trikes for street and dirt in the past, and the NC-based company showed probably the lightest adventure vehicle at Overland Expo East. We got to take its latest model for a spin, which we'll detail in a full future article
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We've looked at Outrider electric recumbent trikes for street and dirt in the past, and the NC-based company showed probably the lightest adventure vehicle at Overland Expo East. We got to take its latest model for a spin, which we'll detail in a full future article
The Outrider Alpha is Outrider's road-only model, as well as its fastest (top speed: 45 mph/72 km/h)
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The Outrider Alpha is Outrider's road-only model, as well as its fastest (top speed: 45 mph/72 km/h)
XPCamper at Overland Expo East 2016
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XPCamper at Overland Expo East 2016
Parting shot of the Camel Trophy Skills Area
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Parting shot of the Camel Trophy Skills Area
One mean, green off-roader
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One mean, green off-roader
A much more compact adventure pickup than the others at the show
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A much more compact adventure pickup than the others at the show
Old Mitsubishi truck, updated tech
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Old Mitsubishi truck, updated tech
Interestingly enough, a small Mitsubishi Delica camper van was the first vehicle to focus our camera lens at OX West 2016 back in the spring, and this small Mitsubishi pickup was the last to do so at OX East 2016 
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Interestingly enough, a small Mitsubishi Delica camper van was the first vehicle to focus our camera lens at OX West 2016 back in the spring, and this small Mitsubishi pickup was the last to do so at OX East 2016 

We've been attending Overland Expo West for the past three years, getting a closer look at the fascinating world of on/off-road overland expeditions, and the purpose-built vehicles, gear and tech that goes into it. After a great 2016 show in May, we found ourselves hungry for more, so this year we attended the newer Overland Expo East show in Asheville, North Carolina, which was held last weekend. The show isn't simply an East Coast rerun of the West show, as it has some exhibitors that we haven't seen in Arizona. It also has the same great sense of go-anywhere adventure and "no-obstacle-too-big" innovation. Here are the highlights.

Domesticating restless nomads

This year's Overland Expo East moved locations, and for the first time was held on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate, one of Asheville's premier tourist highlights. Built by George Washington Vanderbilt, grandson of famed industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt, over a six-year period between 1889 and 1895, the home is the largest in the United States. The massive 175,000-sq ft (16,258-sq m) house includes 250 rooms, among them a banquet hall with 70-ft (21-m) ceilings. The land of the estate is a fraction of the original 125,000 acres (50,585 ha), but at 8,000 acres (3,237 ha) it's not exactly cramped, encompassing gardens, vineyards, a winery, a touristy village, active farmland and plenty of open space. We didn't have time to tour the Biltmore home, but we did drive by to snap a photo.

The Biltmore Estate made for an interesting backdrop for an overland expedition show. The show was on a separate section of the 8,000-acre estate, but we had to at least get a photo of the largest home in the US
The Biltmore Estate made for an interesting backdrop for an overland expedition show. The show was on a separate section of the 8,000-acre estate, but we had to at least get a photo of the largest home in the US

As you can tell, the Expo wasn't planted out front on the Biltmore lawn, and you didn't even have to drive past the home to get to that corner of the estate (we took the long way 'round above). But hosting a show of roaming wanderers, some living full-time on the road, at the largest home in the country still made for an interesting dichotomy. We suppose the same love for scenic, wide-open spaces, like North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, that drove George Vanderbilt to stake his own sprawling piece also drives modern-day explorers to spend their own fortunes compiling gear and venturing out for weeks, months and years on end. One simply nested, the others stray about. The inner space of that massive hunk of real estate is undoubtedly in a very different galaxy from the compact, multifunctional space of even the largest, most luxurious off-road motorhome, though.

New Atlas' favorites

Bravo 1

Once we arrived at OX East, all pondering about huge mansions and wealthy elite quickly came to an end, as we were greeted by the same familiar crowd of khaki- and chaps-clad explorers that we know quite well from the Arizona show, not to mention the same kinds of vehicles built to climb rock, wade rivers, summit mountains and survive the extremes. The vehicles seemed a bit more compact overall, with fewer rolling off-road monoliths and more tent-topped Tacomas and Wranglers. There were a few monsters, though, and one stood out as a clear favorite, an Army green military truck-based rig nicknamed Bravo 1.

Our favorite feature of the Bravo 1 is the cabover deck. We'd imagine it's a great place to spend evening and morning when at a particularly scenic backcountry campsite
Our favorite feature of the Bravo 1 is the cabover deck. We'd imagine it's a great place to spend evening and morning when at a particularly scenic backcountry campsite

Last year, Bruce Kibler purchased a 1990 BMY M923A2 6x6 surplus 5-ton military truck and set to work converting it into an absolutely bad-ass expedition vehicle. The reconditioned base truck was actually a flatbed, and Kibler built it into a motorhome from the floor up, extending the bed by 5 ft (1.5 m) and dropping the insulated steel-plated, steel-tube-framed camper box on top.

Instead of transforming it into something more modern, Kibler took care to let the truck's military roots shine through in virtually every facet of the design, with a touch of nautical and industrial flair thrown in. The windows are military grade, and sleeping accommodations are barracks-basic bunks with cold metal frames. The entry and bathroom doors are actual 5-psi-rated Navy ship doors painted to match the body, and they have the muscle-cramping heft to prove it. There's also a Navy wardrobe and pair of safes with combination locks inside. The metal countertops and industrial-style lights add a touch of workshop feel to the cabin.

Bunk beds and metal surfaces give this expedition truck its utilitarian, military-fashioned look
Bunk beds and metal surfaces give this expedition truck its utilitarian, military-fashioned look

It's not the coziest motorhome, but it does have a few comforts of home, including a full-size, residential-style toilet and the pièce de résistance, a cabover observation deck. Campers climb up the cabin ladder and through the roof hatch before emerging back into the fresh air atop the roof, taking a few steps forward onto the deck. For us, this truck-top perch provided a nice view of the show and the photo at the top of this article, but we could imagine how grand it would be to sit out and sip a beer or coffee while above the diving depths of the Grand Canyon or below the soaring heights of the Canadian Rockies.

Kibler's conversion took about 14 months, and the Bravo 1 recently passed motor vehicle inspection in North Carolina and is legal both on the streets and in the backcountry. And it could be yours: Kibler said he's looking to sell the 8.3-liter Cummins diesel-powered expedition truck. Price: US$120K.

It was clear that Kibler was very proud of his work, as well he should be, and a bit disappointed that the Bravo 1 didn't gain more traction in the pre-expo "Cool Ride Contest." Based on the enthusiasm we saw from everyone checking out the exterior and interior, it did seem to be the frontrunner for the unofficial title of "favorite rig on show grounds," though, and it definitely earns our unofficial "best of show." It appears it's not too late for more-official recognition – Kibler said once he sells the truck, he'll get started on the next one.

For all the details on the Bravo 1 build, read Kibler's explanation in the Bravo 1 Cool Ride Contest entry.

Land Rover Defender Alu-Cab Pop-Top

The Land Rover Defender upgraded for overlanding with an Alu-Cab Icarus pop-top roof
The Land Rover Defender upgraded for overlanding with an Alu-Cab Icarus pop-top roof

Dropping down to a smaller scale, another one of our favorite vehicles of the show was this brand-new pop-top Land Rover Defender. The booth was swarmed when we made it through taking photos, so we didn't get to talk details in-depth with the folks behind it, but from what we could glean looking it over and chasing down social media posts about it, it's a Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition with an all-new Alu-Cab Icarus pop-up camper roof with two-person bed. As one attendee pointed out, it wears Mexican stickers because that's the route it traveled, given the Defender hasn't been available in the United States for nearly two decades.

South African gear debuting in the US was a trend at the show, as we observed with the trailers, and Alu-Cab was yet another example, albeit in the roof-top tent/accessory market. The brand is establishing a presence in the States through NJ off-road/overland gear supplier OK4WD, which was the one at the Expo showing the retro-styled Defender camper. Alu-Cab's American lineup also includes the $3,700 Expedition III aluminum shell roof-top tent and $1,495 270-degree Shadow Awning. Given that it's a more complex conversion, the Icarus is a "contact for pricing"-style product.

Those were our favorites, but there are many other highlights in our full photo gallery, so take a look and pick out your own.

1 comment
Leonard Foster Jr
Please come up with a grid view, so one can pick what photos to look at instead of scrolling all
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