Expedition trucks, 4x4 campers and angry beasts of Overland Expo 2016
Teardrops and trailer boxes dominated the exhibitor section of Overland Expo West 2016, but there were still plenty of larger vehicles on display around the show. We've compiled a full photo gallery of everything from basic pickup trailers with pop-up tents, to hulking commercial truck-sized shelters, to the accessories supporting those rigs. If you like off-roading, camping or old-fashioned road-tripping, it'll be hard not to find something you like.
Before jumping into the gallery, here are a few new product highlights from around the show:
XPCamper V4 XPCube
When XPCamper introduced its XPCube two years ago, we knew that it could be built on a variety of truck platforms beyond the Ram 2500 it debuted on, but we didn't immediately imagine something as big as what XPCamper showed this year. The latest XPCube is built atop a Mercedes 917 truck chassis, making for a pretty large, burly (and brightly colored) expedition vehicle. The customer-commissioned build won't be finished for another few months, so it was mostly just an empty shell, but based on a few renderings we looked at, it should be a comfy, capable machine.
Tepui Hard Shell Tent
Tepui is best known for its fold-out roof-top tents, but the main attraction at its booth this year was the pop-top Hard Shell Tent. The Santa Cruz, California-based company made a last-minute decision to bring a prototype of the Hard Shell out to the expo for a sneak peek. It's similar to other two-person pop-tops on the market, but with an emphasis on sleek, low-profile construction and ease of use. The laminated fiberglass-shelled tent pops open and drops closed with little effort thanks to the gas strut system inside. The Velcro-secured tent fabric makes it easy to switch between different weights, such as three-season and four-season. We didn't pull our tape measure out, but it definitely looks lower profile than other roof tents, both when deployed and when packed up during driving.
Tepui plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign for the Hard Shell later this year. It estimates pricing between US$3,500 and $4,000.
Though there are a few ground tents scattered about, Overland Expo isn't really the place to look for camping tents not of the vehicular roof-top variety. So any large ground tent will stand out. But the Shiftpod really stands out, its reflective outer fabric and 12 x 12 x 6.5-ft (4 x 4 x 2-m) polyhedron shape screaming out for attention. That fabric is a four-layer composite construction that's designed to provide better insulation, reflecting sunlight and keeping warm air inside in the cold. The big tent supposedly sets up in just two minutes.
The Shiftpod is described as an emergency and festival shelter, and we're not sure it's a great fit for the overlanding market, where vehicle-mounted modules and tents rule the day. The $899 preorder price (which includes a $300 discount) makes it clear why Shiftpod's people have to at least try to sell it to a group of folks that spend big, big money on camping and recreation.
This year's Overland Expo West lacked the cold, snow and muck of last year's infamous outing, but it did have its fair share of fierce wind, reminding folks why they prefer the security of an insulated aluminum or composite wall (or at least thick roof tent canvas) over thin, flapping ground-tent ripstop. We saw every shape and style of wall imaginable, and a few we wouldn't have imagined.
You'll find all of them in our photo gallery.