Outdoors

In pictures: Rubber, metal and mud at Overland Expo West 2015

Overland Expo West 2015
Overland Expo West 2015
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Our first morning at camp, Dixie National Forest, Utah
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Our first morning at camp, Dixie National Forest, Utah
We were camped less than a mile from the highway, so we had no issues getting stranded by muddy road
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We were camped less than a mile from the highway, so we had no issues getting stranded by muddy road
A bit of snow with morning coffee
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A bit of snow with morning coffee
Our second night camping in Coconino National Forest, Arizona was even snowier (and colder and muddier) than the first
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Our second night camping in Coconino National Forest, Arizona was even snowier (and colder and muddier) than the first
This Nissan camper van was the highest pop-top we saw at the expo
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This Nissan camper van was the highest pop-top we saw at the expo
Sportsmobile's new Sportsmobile Classic camper van uses a custom fiberglass van cabin atop a bare Ford chassis
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Sportsmobile's new Sportsmobile Classic camper van uses a custom fiberglass van cabin atop a bare Ford chassis
Sportsmobile's Classic cabin is a touch wider than the old Ford E-Series van, adding interior space
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Sportsmobile's Classic cabin is a touch wider than the old Ford E-Series van, adding interior space
Inside the Sportsmobile Classic
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Inside the Sportsmobile Classic
All Terrain Warriors' Mitsubishi Fuso FG-based expedition vehicle
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All Terrain Warriors' Mitsubishi Fuso FG-based expedition vehicle
Sportsmobile teamed up with Australia's All Terrain Warriors several years ago to create All Terrain Warriors USA
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Sportsmobile teamed up with Australia's All Terrain Warriors several years ago to create All Terrain Warriors USA
All Terrain Warriors' 4x4 Isuzu NPS-based expedition vehicle
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All Terrain Warriors' 4x4 Isuzu NPS-based expedition vehicle
All Terrain Warriors at Overland Expo West 2015
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All Terrain Warriors at Overland Expo West 2015
All Terrain Warriors at Overland Expo West 2015
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All Terrain Warriors at Overland Expo West 2015
All Terrain Warriors at Overland Expo West 2015
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All Terrain Warriors at Overland Expo West 2015
The all-new Sportsmobile Classic debuts at Overland Expo West
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The all-new Sportsmobile Classic debuts at Overland Expo West
Overland Expo West 2015
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Overland Expo West 2015
Mitsubishi Fuso-based expedition vehicle from Four Wheel Pop-Up Campers
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Mitsubishi Fuso-based expedition vehicle from Four Wheel Pop-Up Campers
Four Wheel Pop-Up Campers offers a variety of pop-up campers for pickup trucks and also built this custom camper for a Mitsubishi Fuso
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Four Wheel Pop-Up Campers offers a variety of pop-up campers for pickup trucks and also built this custom camper for a Mitsubishi Fuso
Adventure Trailers/Ursa Minor Jeep JK Habitat
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Adventure Trailers/Ursa Minor Jeep JK Habitat
The JK Habitat tent is supplied by Nemo
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The JK Habitat tent is supplied by Nemo
Adventure Trailers/Ursa Minor Jeep JK Habitat
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Adventure Trailers/Ursa Minor Jeep JK Habitat
Adventure Trailers at Overland Expo West 2015
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Adventure Trailers at Overland Expo West 2015
Overland Expo West 2015
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Overland Expo West 2015
Revealed earlier this year at Easter Jeep Safari, the Wrangler Africa concept makes an appearance at Overland Expo West
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Revealed earlier this year at Easter Jeep Safari, the Wrangler Africa concept makes an appearance at Overland Expo West
Overland Expo West 2015
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Overland Expo West 2015
My Camp Kitchen designs portable kitchen boxes for camp cooking
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My Camp Kitchen designs portable kitchen boxes for camp cooking
American Expedition Vehicles' Ram 2500 tray back
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American Expedition Vehicles' Ram 2500 tray back
AEV Jeep Brute Double Cab for Filson
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AEV Jeep Brute Double Cab for Filson
AEV Jeep Brute Double Cab for Filson
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AEV Jeep Brute Double Cab for Filson
American Expedition Vehicles offers a variety of aftermarket parts for Ram trucks
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American Expedition Vehicles offers a variety of aftermarket parts for Ram trucks
American Expedition Vehicles Ram 2500 Prospector
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American Expedition Vehicles Ram 2500 Prospector
American Expedition Vehicles Ram 2500 Prospector
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American Expedition Vehicles Ram 2500 Prospector
An AEV Brute Double Cab designed for outdoor goods and apparel outfitter Filson
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An AEV Brute Double Cab designed for outdoor goods and apparel outfitter Filson
Under the hood of the Brute Double Cab
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Under the hood of the Brute Double Cab
A modified Jeep Wrangler at Overland Expo West 2015
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A modified Jeep Wrangler at Overland Expo West 2015
Fox pulls the wheel off to show off its shocks
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Fox pulls the wheel off to show off its shocks
Findlay Toyota Flagstaff FJ Cruiser
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Findlay Toyota Flagstaff FJ Cruiser
Findlay Toyota shows off its "Ultimate Tailgating Tundra"
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Findlay Toyota shows off its "Ultimate Tailgating Tundra"
Pop-up TV and sound system
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Pop-up TV and sound system
Slide-out grill and kitchen area
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Slide-out grill and kitchen area
Findlay Toyota tailgating Tundra
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Findlay Toyota tailgating Tundra
One entertainment system would probably be enough for most campers/tailgaters, but this truck has one on each side
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One entertainment system would probably be enough for most campers/tailgaters, but this truck has one on each side
Military Land Rover with pop-up roof tent
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Military Land Rover with pop-up roof tent
Military Land Rover with pop-up roof tent
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Military Land Rover with pop-up roof tent
Tiger Adventure Vehicles Malayan 4x4
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Tiger Adventure Vehicles Malayan 4x4
Adventure Driven Lexus expedition vehicle
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Adventure Driven Lexus expedition vehicle
VMI Off Road Xtender Alpine trailer
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VMI Off Road Xtender Alpine trailer
We overheard VMI explaining that the wood in this trailer was customer-selected
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We overheard VMI explaining that the wood in this trailer was customer-selected
Inside the VMI Xtender Alpine
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Inside the VMI Xtender Alpine
Inside the VMI Xtender Alpine
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Inside the VMI Xtender Alpine
Overland Expo West 2015
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Overland Expo West 2015
VMI Xtender Canyon trailer
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VMI Xtender Canyon trailer
Global Expedition Vehicles Patagonia based on a BAE Systems SD Brazos truck chassis
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Global Expedition Vehicles Patagonia based on a BAE Systems SD Brazos truck chassis
Global Expedition Vehicles Patagonia
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Global Expedition Vehicles Patagonia
This Global Expedition Vehicles Patagonia has a 19-foot (5.8-m) composite sandwich panel camper body
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This Global Expedition Vehicles Patagonia has a 19-foot (5.8-m) composite sandwich panel camper body
In addition to the BAE, GXV offers the Patagonia on a variety of chassis options, including Freightliner, Mercedes Actros and MAN
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In addition to the BAE, GXV offers the Patagonia on a variety of chassis options, including Freightliner, Mercedes Actros and MAN
Global Expedition Vehicles Turtle
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Global Expedition Vehicles Turtle
Overland Expo West 2015
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Overland Expo West 2015
Overland Expo West 2015
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Overland Expo West 2015
Overland Expo West 2015
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Overland Expo West 2015
Ursa Minor Vehicles Honda Element pop-top ECamper
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Ursa Minor Vehicles Honda Element pop-top ECamper
One of the few Fusos at Overland Expo without a large camper box on back
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One of the few Fusos at Overland Expo without a large camper box on back
Expedition Overland
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Expedition Overland
Mercedes-based expedition vehicle
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Mercedes-based expedition vehicle
Mercedes-based expedition vehicle
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Mercedes-based expedition vehicle
Overland Expo West 2015
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Overland Expo West 2015
Moby1 Expedition Trailers
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Moby1 Expedition Trailers
Moby1 Expedition Trailers
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Moby1 Expedition Trailers
Locked and loaded
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Locked and loaded
Wild Boar JK6 Wrangler 6x6 conversion by Tyrant Motorworks
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Wild Boar JK6 Wrangler 6x6 conversion by Tyrant Motorworks
Wild Boar JK6 with Bushwagon trailer
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Wild Boar JK6 with Bushwagon trailer
Land Rover Defender pop-top
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Land Rover Defender pop-top
Land Rover Defender pop-top
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Land Rover Defender pop-top
Four Wheel Pop-Up Campers at Overland Expo West 2015
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Four Wheel Pop-Up Campers at Overland Expo West 2015
EarthRoamer XV-LT
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EarthRoamer XV-LT
Overland Expo West 2015
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Overland Expo West 2015
Featured in the book "927 Days of Summer," this 1984 VW van nicknamed "Nacho" has traveled the Pan-American Highway, Asia, Europe and beyond
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Featured in the book "927 Days of Summer," this 1984 VW van nicknamed "Nacho" has traveled the Pan-American Highway, Asia, Europe and beyond
The cleverly named "Robinson Fuso"
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The cleverly named "Robinson Fuso"
Unimog expedition vehicles convene at Overland Expo West 2015
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Unimog expedition vehicles convene at Overland Expo West 2015
Unimog expedition vehicles convene at Overland Expo West 2015
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Unimog expedition vehicles convene at Overland Expo West 2015
One of the most interesting aspects of Overland Expo West is seeing the many shapes and sizes of living module that fit the same (or similar) truck platforms
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One of the most interesting aspects of Overland Expo West is seeing the many shapes and sizes of living module that fit the same (or similar) truck platforms
This truck doesn't have as much interior space as it could, but it gains some versatile bed space
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This truck doesn't have as much interior space as it could, but it gains some versatile bed space
Unimog expedition vehicles convene at Overland Expo West 2015
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Unimog expedition vehicles convene at Overland Expo West 2015
This Unimog-based vehicle with undersized pop-up truck camper gets our nod for most creative expedition vehicle at this year's show
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This Unimog-based vehicle with undersized pop-up truck camper gets our nod for most creative expedition vehicle at this year's show
Unimog expedition vehicles convene at Overland Expo West 2015
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Unimog expedition vehicles convene at Overland Expo West 2015
Unimog expedition vehicles convene at Overland Expo West 2015
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Unimog expedition vehicles convene at Overland Expo West 2015
This rugged Wrangler takes cover from the weather
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This rugged Wrangler takes cover from the weather
Smittybilt prototype camping trailer
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Smittybilt prototype camping trailer
Smittybilt prototype camping trailer
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Smittybilt prototype camping trailer
This Wild Boar Wrangler has the usual four wheels
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This Wild Boar Wrangler has the usual four wheels
Bushwagon camping trailer
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Bushwagon camping trailer
Wild Boar Jeep with Bushwagon trailer in tow
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Wild Boar Jeep with Bushwagon trailer in tow
Colorado-based Mastodon Motor Company imports, restores and sells vintage military G-Class diesels
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Colorado-based Mastodon Motor Company imports, restores and sells vintage military G-Class diesels
Mastodon G-wagon
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Mastodon G-wagon
A rugged Sportsmobile van at Overland Expo West 2015
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A rugged Sportsmobile van at Overland Expo West 2015
A rugged Sportsmobile van at Overland Expo West 2015
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A rugged Sportsmobile van at Overland Expo West 2015
Sportsmobile corner at Overland Expo West 2015
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Sportsmobile corner at Overland Expo West 2015
No matter how many huge vehicles you see at Overland Expo West, it seems there's an even bigger one just around the corner. We spotted this beast about 10 minutes before we left the show.
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No matter how many huge vehicles you see at Overland Expo West, it seems there's an even bigger one just around the corner. We spotted this beast about 10 minutes before we left the show.
This 1978 Mercedes L-Class-based expedition vehicle is a support vehicle for the "Expedition Electric" electric motorcycle voyage through the Americas
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This 1978 Mercedes L-Class-based expedition vehicle is a support vehicle for the "Expedition Electric" electric motorcycle voyage through the Americas
Ural Motorcycles at Overland Expo West 2015
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Ural Motorcycles at Overland Expo West 2015
Probably the lightest overland vehicle at the show, the Rocky Mountain Sherpa mountain bike, introduced last month, is purpose-built for bikepacking
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Probably the lightest overland vehicle at the show, the Rocky Mountain Sherpa mountain bike, introduced last month, is purpose-built for bikepacking
The Trayon Campers module can slide off and stand on its own
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The Trayon Campers module can slide off and stand on its own
Overland Expo West 2015
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Overland Expo West 2015
Eventually the Fuso ground free and tackled the climb
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Eventually the Fuso ground free and tackled the climb
Expedition campers and 4x4s get muddy
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Expedition campers and 4x4s get muddy
This massive Fuso expedition vehicle was stuck on this muddy incline for a few moments
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This massive Fuso expedition vehicle was stuck on this muddy incline for a few moments
This TO Extreme Off Road tent-top trailer includes the optional sliding lid that makes it easy to access the interior, even with the tent rack in place
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This TO Extreme Off Road tent-top trailer includes the optional sliding lid that makes it easy to access the interior, even with the tent rack in place
TO Extreme trailers start just under US$4,500 for a basic 60-in trailer; this show model with roof top tent, sliding lid and raised rack prices in at $7,140
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TO Extreme trailers start just under US$4,500 for a basic 60-in trailer; this show model with roof top tent, sliding lid and raised rack prices in at $7,140
TO Extreme Off Road trailers are a fairly new branch of Twin Oaks Industries Inc.
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TO Extreme Off Road trailers are a fairly new branch of Twin Oaks Industries Inc.
TO Extreme Off Road trailers use a Timbren Axle-Less rubber suspension
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TO Extreme Off Road trailers use a Timbren Axle-Less rubber suspension
Overland Expo West 2015
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Overland Expo West 2015
TCTeardrops has been around for the better part of a decade, but told us it's just now pushing its off-road line
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TCTeardrops has been around for the better part of a decade, but told us it's just now pushing its off-road line
TCTeardrops makes its first appearance at Overland Expo West
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TCTeardrops makes its first appearance at Overland Expo West
Inside the TCTeardrops Off Road Extreme
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Inside the TCTeardrops Off Road Extreme
TCTeardrops offers trailers between 4x8 and 5x10 feet
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TCTeardrops offers trailers between 4x8 and 5x10 feet
Phoenix Pop Up Campers at Overland Expo West 2015
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Phoenix Pop Up Campers at Overland Expo West 2015
The Phoenix Custom PHX-RV conversion was one of the more extreme vehicles we saw at the show
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The Phoenix Custom PHX-RV conversion was one of the more extreme vehicles we saw at the show
A peek inside the Phoenix Custom PHX-RV
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A peek inside the Phoenix Custom PHX-RV
The PHX-RV package starts at $379,000, base vehicle not included
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The PHX-RV package starts at $379,000, base vehicle not included
The PHX-RV includes double slide-outs, an electric-lift roof, a roof deck, an interior bathroom, and a solar system
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The PHX-RV includes double slide-outs, an electric-lift roof, a roof deck, an interior bathroom, and a solar system
Cascadia Vehicle Tents at Overland Expo West 2015
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Cascadia Vehicle Tents at Overland Expo West 2015
The PHX-RV includes Ultraleather upholstery
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The PHX-RV includes Ultraleather upholstery
A big, gnarly van conversion from U-Joint Offroad
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A big, gnarly van conversion from U-Joint Offroad
Advanced 4WD Systems Nissan 4x4 van conversion
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Advanced 4WD Systems Nissan 4x4 van conversion
Advanced 4WD Systems Nissan 4x4 van conversion
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Advanced 4WD Systems Nissan 4x4 van conversion
Bushwagon flip-top trailer
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Bushwagon flip-top trailer
U-Joint 4x4 van conversion
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U-Joint 4x4 van conversion
Overland Expo West 2015
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Overland Expo West 2015

Gizmag traveled to last week's Overland Expo West in Northern Arizona to explore the latest in 4x4s and adventure campers. In contrast to last year's warm, beautiful weather, this year was cold and rainy with a touch of snow, creating tire-swallowing, ego-crushing mud that left many a vehicle grinding its gears fruitlessly. It wasn't ideal weather for a camping trip, but it proved the perfect backdrop for showcasing rugged four-wheelers with specialized chassis and powertrain components.

As we prepared to venture off to Overland Expo West, we were really excited for a repeat of last year's escape to balmy Arizona weather and stories of far-flung adventure. The weather had other ideas, however. Mother Nature smothered Southern Utah and Northern Arizona in wet, bone-chilling gray during both of our travel days. The first two nights of camping were spent hiding out under the tailgate, slogging through ankle-high mud and fighting to keep the fire going in the face of a steady onslaught of rain showers. And on both nights, the rain transformed rather abruptly into dumping, mid-winter-like snow, sticking to the ground just enough to create light coverage – and more mud.

Our second night camping in Coconino National Forest, Arizona was even snowier (and colder and muddier) than the first
Our second night camping in Coconino National Forest, Arizona was even snowier (and colder and muddier) than the first

We made it to Overland Expo on Saturday morning to find that two days (and counting) of rain and snow had left a cold, muddy stew bowl in place of the field parking lot. An untimely 4WD operator error left us boating around the swamp with only two driven wheels, sending us to a screaming, sinking stop. Thankfully, a quick restart of the ignition reset the 4WD system and gave us the traction we needed to escape the tire-sucking field for the dry, hard dependability of roadside parking – an extra 10 minutes of walking was well worth the peace of mind that comes with knowing you'd definitely be able to leave at day's end. We later heard that dozens of vehicles got stuck in the mud at what could be described as both the best (plenty of rugged 4x4 and 6x6 vehicles to tow you out) and worst (kind of embarrassing to be that guy or gal at a gathering of off-road aficionados) place in the world to be spinning your tires in the slop.

Expedition campers and 4x4s get muddy
Expedition campers and 4x4s get muddy

The rough weather didn't do much for anyone's camping plans or overall comfort level, but it did set the perfect stage on which oversized, mud tire-equipped jeeps, trailers and expedition vehicles could strut their stuff. As one 4x4 camper van retailer told us, the mud was bad for attendees but great for business – he was selling six-figure camper vans like they were being liquidated. It didn't hurt the photography, either. Our Overland Expo West photo gallery shows the world's most extreme off-road machines in their natural element, battling it out with the mud and grime.

4 comments
Tom Lee Mullins
I think those are some really cool off road vehicles.
Bob Flint
Not one of them had a system to clean & manage dirty boots, aside of the od few with at least a mat or two. Most of the soft tops wouldn't manage a blizzard @ higher altitudes. $380 grand should have come with a butler to put on your indoor motorhome shoes.
Island Architect
By and large CC, some of the ugliest crap that I have ever seen yet somehow Ralph Gilles beautiful Wranglers shine through. But don't ever confuse a 6X6 with a classic 2 x 4. Ugh! Bill Btw. I have done a side by side of the Converj and the ELR with the pic that you took and Wow! Can body engineers ever screw things up thanks to Mark Reuss.
unklmurray
I read the comments then went back over the 128 photos and wasn't able to find any I thought were Ugly, maybe I just appreciate that most off-road vehicles aren't gonna look like a Fleetwood Cadillac or a Rolls Royce!!
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