Automotive

Gallery: Jeep campers, floaty amphibians and other world-exploration rigs of Overland Expo 2019

Gallery: Jeep campers, floaty ...
Those giant 63-in Sherp tires propel the beast through water, as well as over land
Those giant 63-in Sherp tires propel the beast through water, as well as over land
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Some security inside the EarthRoamer XV-LTS
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Some security inside the EarthRoamer XV-LTS
The EarthRoamer XV-LTS just as good as the last time we toured it and now includes 1,320 watts of solar feeding its 12-kWh battery
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The EarthRoamer XV-LTS just as good as the last time we toured it and now includes 1,320 watts of solar feeding its 12-kWh battery
Not your average pickup camper ... 
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Not your average pickup camper ... 
Big rigs of Overland Expo West 2019
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Big rigs of Overland Expo West 2019
Big rigs of Overland Expo West 2019
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Big rigs of Overland Expo West 2019
A look inside a big truck camper box from Germany's Box Manufaktur
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A look inside a big truck camper box from Germany's Box Manufaktur
RRE Global imports various overlanding and camping equipment from Germany
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RRE Global imports various overlanding and camping equipment from Germany
RRE Global shows one of the massive six-wheeler motorhomes of the show
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RRE Global shows one of the massive six-wheeler motorhomes of the show
Starting price for a basic (empty) version of the Box Manufaktur living module on display was listed at $50,000
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Starting price for a basic (empty) version of the Box Manufaktur living module on display was listed at $50,000
Even at a show known for wild off-road vehicles of every size, the Russian-designed Sherp ATV stands out
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Even at a show known for wild off-road vehicles of every size, the Russian-designed Sherp ATV stands out
Those giant 63-in Sherp tires propel the beast through water, as well as over land
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Those giant 63-in Sherp tires propel the beast through water, as well as over land
Inside the cockpit of the Sherp ATV
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Inside the cockpit of the Sherp ATV
West Texas-based Lonestar Sherp shows the unique Sherp ATV at Overland Expo West 2019
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West Texas-based Lonestar Sherp shows the unique Sherp ATV at Overland Expo West 2019
Wyld Garage shows off its 1979 Toyota HJ45 Crew Cab build
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Wyld Garage shows off its 1979 Toyota HJ45 Crew Cab build
Wyld Garage dropped in a new Tacoma 3.4-liter V6 engine
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Wyld Garage dropped in a new Tacoma 3.4-liter V6 engine
Inside Wyld Garage's HJ45
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Inside Wyld Garage's HJ45
Tackling some dirt obstacles
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Tackling some dirt obstacles
iKamper turns this Tacoma into a camping machine with its fold-out tents 
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iKamper turns this Tacoma into a camping machine with its fold-out tents 
Getting muddy
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Getting muddy
Trucks and SUVs of Overland Expo West 2019
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Trucks and SUVs of Overland Expo West 2019
XPCamper shows off its XPCube atop a big truck
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XPCamper shows off its XPCube atop a big truck
Trucks and SUVs of Overland Expo West 2019
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Trucks and SUVs of Overland Expo West 2019
Hunter RMV merges military LMTVs with prebuilt camper cabins
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Hunter RMV merges military LMTVs with prebuilt camper cabins
Inside the Hunter RMV Predator II
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Inside the Hunter RMV Predator II
The Predator II is Hunter RMV's newer, less expensive model, basing in around $175,000 
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The Predator II is Hunter RMV's newer, less expensive model, basing in around $175,000 
Trucks and SUVs of Overland Expo West 2019
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Trucks and SUVs of Overland Expo West 2019
A particularly nice looking Toyota Land Cruiser ready for some serious travel and camping
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A particularly nice looking Toyota Land Cruiser ready for some serious travel and camping
Cascadia Vehicle Tents teams its hardshell pop-top roof tent with a bumper mounted hammock shelter
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Cascadia Vehicle Tents teams its hardshell pop-top roof tent with a bumper mounted hammock shelter
We looked at Fiftyten's modular truck-back adventure system at ISPO 2018, and here it is in the US at Overland Expo 
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We looked at Fiftyten's modular truck-back adventure system at ISPO 2018, and here it is in the US at Overland Expo 
Montana extreme-duty truck shop Acela and Dutch expedition camper specialist Bliss Mobil team up on one of the slickest big motorhomes of the show. We'll be looking closer at this one in an upcoming article
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Montana extreme-duty truck shop Acela and Dutch expedition camper specialist Bliss Mobil team up on one of the slickest big motorhomes of the show. We'll be looking closer at this one in an upcoming article
Inside the Bliss Mobil/Acela expedition truck
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Inside the Bliss Mobil/Acela expedition truck
Inside the Bliss Mobil/Acela expedition truck
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Inside the Bliss Mobil/Acela expedition truck
Angry Iron Metalworks/Never Quit Overland Isuzu NPR Crew Cab build
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Angry Iron Metalworks/Never Quit Overland Isuzu NPR Crew Cab build
Angry Iron Metalworks/Never Quit Overland Isuzu NPR Crew Cab build
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Angry Iron Metalworks/Never Quit Overland Isuzu NPR Crew Cab build
Overland Expo West 2019
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Overland Expo West 2019
The NuCamp Cirrus truck camper stands alone at OX West 2019
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The NuCamp Cirrus truck camper stands alone at OX West 2019
Inside the NuCamp Cirrus pickup camper
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Inside the NuCamp Cirrus pickup camper
Expanding bathroom just inside the entry of the NuCamp Cirrus camper
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Expanding bathroom just inside the entry of the NuCamp Cirrus camper
The impressive Jurassic MegaRaptor Overlander by Kent Kiehl/ MegaRexxtrucks.com marries a tuned and lifted 600-hp Ford F-250 with a NuCamp Cirrus 820 camper
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The impressive Jurassic MegaRaptor Overlander by Kent Kiehl/ MegaRexxtrucks.com marries a tuned and lifted 600-hp Ford F-250 with a NuCamp Cirrus 820 camper
Megaraptor overland pickup camper
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Megaraptor overland pickup camper
A peek inside the Megaraptor's Cirrus camper
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A peek inside the Megaraptor's Cirrus camper
Rivian shows the first all-electric overland vehicle at Overland Expo
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Rivian shows the first all-electric overland vehicle at Overland Expo
Rivian's truck uses its 180-kWh battery pack to power the LED lighting and induction cooktop, as well as the 750-hp four-motor powertrain, of its R1T overlanding pickup
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Rivian's truck uses its 180-kWh battery pack to power the LED lighting and induction cooktop, as well as the 750-hp four-motor powertrain, of its R1T overlanding pickup
Inside the Rivian R1T
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Inside the Rivian R1T
Electric trucks are sure to bring some serious range anxiety to off-roaders and overlanders, but the Rivian R1T's estimated 400 miles is a good start
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Electric trucks are sure to bring some serious range anxiety to off-roaders and overlanders, but the Rivian R1T's estimated 400 miles is a good start
EarthRoamer XV-LTS
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EarthRoamer XV-LTS
EarthRoamer XV-LTS
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EarthRoamer XV-LTS
Inside the EarthRoamer XV-LTS
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Inside the EarthRoamer XV-LTS
The floor with integrated drawers will be optional on the Hower Overland pickup camper, a simple pop-top camping solution with plenty of headroom
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The floor with integrated drawers will be optional on the Hower Overland pickup camper, a simple pop-top camping solution with plenty of headroom
A look at the Hower Overland pickup camper bed
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A look at the Hower Overland pickup camper bed
Oregon's Hower Overland shows its high-popping aluminum-skinned wood pickup camper
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Oregon's Hower Overland shows its high-popping aluminum-skinned wood pickup camper
Hower Overland says its camper will start around $15,000, with this one optioned up to around $18,000
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Hower Overland says its camper will start around $15,000, with this one optioned up to around $18,000
A good-looking pair of Toyota camper rigs
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A good-looking pair of Toyota camper rigs
Honda shows how overlanders can go light and simple with its Ridgeline Adventure Lifestyle Project show truck
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Honda shows how overlanders can go light and simple with its Ridgeline Adventure Lifestyle Project show truck
Honda worked with Jsport on both the Ridgeline and this Passport overland show car
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Honda worked with Jsport on both the Ridgeline and this Passport overland show car
RRE Global imports everything from massive expedition vehicles to compact camping systems like this Ququq D-Box
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RRE Global imports everything from massive expedition vehicles to compact camping systems like this Ququq D-Box
Designed specifically for the Land Rover Defender, Ququq's D-Box turns 4x4 into rugged, compact camper
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Designed specifically for the Land Rover Defender, Ququq's D-Box turns 4x4 into rugged, compact camper
RRE Global shows one of the biggest trucks of the show
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RRE Global shows one of the biggest trucks of the show
Another big, mean six-wheeler
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Another big, mean six-wheeler
We looked at the American Safari JXL Wrangler pop-up camper conversion when it was just getting off the ground last year, and this year it appears to have found its stride
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We looked at the American Safari JXL Wrangler pop-up camper conversion when it was just getting off the ground last year, and this year it appears to have found its stride
Inside the American Safari JXL camper
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Inside the American Safari JXL camper
The JXL kit extends the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and adds pop-up camping capabilities
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The JXL kit extends the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and adds pop-up camping capabilities
This one was unmanned, so we're not sure the story behind the Freightliner-based "not for hire" private RV, but it certainly caught our eye
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This one was unmanned, so we're not sure the story behind the Freightliner-based "not for hire" private RV, but it certainly caught our eye
Unimog camper with deck on show by the International 4-Wheel Drive Trainers Association
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Unimog camper with deck on show by the International 4-Wheel Drive Trainers Association
The littlest "big" camper rig of the show
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The littlest "big" camper rig of the show
A cheaper alternative to a camper van or overlanding 4x4, Deepsleep's $150 inflatable mattress is custom-designed to turn the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited into a mobile bed
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A cheaper alternative to a camper van or overlanding 4x4, Deepsleep's $150 inflatable mattress is custom-designed to turn the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited into a mobile bed
Deepsleep's Wrangler Unlimited
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Deepsleep's Wrangler Unlimited
The Deepsleep mattress packs well smaller than most of the camper gear at Overland Expo
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The Deepsleep mattress packs well smaller than most of the camper gear at Overland Expo
Located locally in Flagstaff, Arizona, OVRLND builds custom pop-up truck campers
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Located locally in Flagstaff, Arizona, OVRLND builds custom pop-up truck campers
OVRLND pop-top pickup camper
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OVRLND pop-top pickup camper

Overland Expo celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, and the 2019 show proved more than ever that "overlanding" has exploded from barely-recognized travel alternative to aspirational lifestyle. The largest Overland Expo ever welcomed more than 22,000 attendees and 1,500 registered vehicles (and plenty of cool non-registered vehicles, too). We've seen the camper vans of the show, and here we take a tour of everything from neatly packaged utility vehicle campers, to big expedition trucks, to that amphibious Russian rover staring at you just above.

We first attended Overland Expo in 2014, right at the midway point of its 10-year journey. Although the Flagstaff-area show was in the midst of strong year-to-year growth during that time, it still had the feel of a small gathering of weathered world travelers, each bringing little more than the bike or truck he rode in on and enough travel stories to fill a nightlong fireside chat or three.

The roughly 8,000 people that meandered their way around the grounds of Mormon Lake Lodge in 2014 represented just over 1/3 of the horde that flooded this year's event at Fort Tuthill County Park a little ways northwest through Coconino National Forest. At those Mormon Lake shows (2015 and 2016, too), we felt like we were peeking into a tiny but passionate subculture otherwise witnessed only in safari documentaries or travel novels. It was very much a meet-up of like minds, not as much a "trade show."

But those like minds were rapidly growing more numerous, as were the number of people peeking in. As Overland Expo grew, so too did America's perception and idealization of the overlanding lifestyle, which sort of converged with the thriving #vanlife scene in opening the public's mind to the idea of ditching plane tickets and cruises for more visceral, rubber-on-the-ground forms of travel. No longer is overlanding solely a novelty entertained momentarily while watching a Nat Geo documentary, but a market force that's helping shape outdoor product development, marketing and adventure tourism.

In turn, all that growth has changed the face and feel of Overland Expo. The 2017 move to larger, more sterile grounds at Fort Tuthill saw the show starting to feel more like any other trade fair. The show's center shifted to the numerous rows of exhibitors hawking everything from military trucks-turned-adventure campers to compact lights and multitools, the less business-focused demo areas and owner vehicle showcase sections pushed to the outskirts. This year counted 405 exhibitors all together, among them major auto brands like Honda, Nissan and Jeep.

Overland Expo West 2019
Overland Expo West 2019

Whether the fast growth proves a long-term boon or bane for overlanding and the community that loves it remains to be seen. Is overlanding just the latest fast-burning trend, or is it now a normalized outdoor activity, an established alternative to standbys like backpacking or mountain biking?

Either way, the Expo's fast-moving evolution felt quite evident this year as we walked briskly up and down the numerous aisles trying to check out every one of the hundreds of booths. On one hand, we missed the old days when we could saunter and chat much more casually, interacting not only with business owners and sales reps but with the attendees who were there to simply fuel their own passion, often as a short pit stop on a much greater road trip. On the other, we travel to Flagstaff each year to bring back news of cool vehicles and innovative products, and a growing show means more of both.

This year's record-breaking show certainly didn't disappoint with its innovative expedition vehicles. Its impressive slate encompassed everything from the type of massive 6x6 motorhomes we usually have to travel to Germany to see, to some very efficiently packaged compact truck and 4x4 motorhomes, plus plenty in between. So step into the photo gallery, and experience the thriving overland scene for yourself, through the lens of the rumbling, ultra-rugged adventure rigs that set it into motion in places near and far.

5 comments
mark41
"Electric trucks are sure to bring some serious range anxiety to off-roaders and overlanders"? Solar-powered charging stations have far more flexibility of location than gas stations as they do not have to provide access for tankers to refill them.
Colt12
I saw the Sherp or similar float it's way through a mud bog on Youtube. Float it does.
Concerned
Mark 41....lol. Solar charging stations producing enough power to recharge trucks in the middle of the wilderness? The green lefties would never tolerate ANY kind of infrastructure in the wilds! And if it were either possible or practical to have PROFITABLE solar powered recharging stations, someone would be doing it in cities where the majority of electric cars live. As it stands now, most solar powered recharging stations are SUBSIDISED grid tied systems.
mark41
@Concerned... I'm wondering if IKEA will make them.
Grunchy
"Overland" is just a word for harassing and exterminating wildlife with even greater efficiency.