Outfit Your Truck For Off-Road Adventure

It doesn’t matter if you travel cross-country on month-long excursions or only have time to take weekend getaways with the family, your pickup truck can be outfitted for it all.

This Unimog U500 featured a Pangea Lifting Roof from Global Expedition Vehicles. (Courtesy John Cappa)

This Unimog U500 featured a Pangea Lifting Roof from Global Expedition Vehicles. (Courtesy John Cappa)

Years ago, we called it camping. Coleman tents, coolers, and cooktops were what most of us started with and what many of us still use.

Today, an entirely new vehicle and product niche has been created to cater to what is known as overlanding.

It’s still the same off-road adventure, but now the compact specialized gear and vehicles make it easier than ever to explore both on- and off-road.

One place to see what’s new in the off-road camp-gear industry is the Overland Expo West held annually in mid-May at Mormon Lake Lodge in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The May 2014 event was enjoyed by over 8,000 attendees from 39 U.S. states, six Canadian provinces, and 12 countries on five continents.

The 7th annual Overland Expo West is scheduled for May 15-17, 2015.

A second Overland Expo, the 1st annual Overland Expo East will be held at the private Taylor Ranch in Fletcher, North Carolina, 8 miles from downtown Asheville, North Carolina, October 3-5, 2014.

Pick Up Trucks attended the May 2014 event while testing the 2014 Ram Power Wagon and drooling over old trucks and equipment in the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town.

There was everything from efficient ice chests that keep food cool for weeks to $500,000 turnkey 4×4 campers ready for overseas adventure.

The rigid frame makes Lance a good choice when venturing off-road. Many different sizes and floor plans are available. (Courtesy John Cappa)

The rigid frame makes Lance a good choice when venturing off-road. Many different sizes and floor plans are available. (Courtesy John Cappa)

A Unimog U500 featured a Pangea Lifting Roof from Global Expedition Vehicles. The two-story camper has all the amenities of home and more, including two queen-sized beds, a microwave convection oven, teak wood paneling, composting toilet, heater, air conditioner, 140 gallons of fresh water, and a flameless diesel cooktop.

The Global Expedition Vehicle Turtle camper features a toilet, shower, sink, a dining area, and pretty much all the accessories you’d find in a modern day on-road camper. The Turtle can be mounted to the chassis of a Ford F-450 or F-550, Ram 4500 or 5500, or one of several other medium-duty 4×4 trucks.

Four Wheel Campers specializes in building durable aluminum-frame slide-in pop-up campers for pickup trucks. The top and waterproof fabric walls collapse for travel, offering more overhead trail clearance. There are many different models available that fit mini-trucks, half-ton, three-quarter-ton, and one-tons, and even flat beds.

If you’re into rooftop tents, James Baroud offers many hard shell tent and soft tent models that can be fitted to a roof- or bed-mounted rack. The elevated, collapsible hard-cased tents get you up and away from critters and fold up easily. Hard shell tents are available in numerous product lines including the Discovery Series (Discovery Evolution, Discovery Extreme Evolution, Discovery Space Evolution), Explorer Series, Grand Raid Series, and Evasion Series.

The XPCCamper replaces your pickup truck bed with a functional utility camper. The company offers campers for full-size and compact pickups. If you want more than just a camper, the company can create a complete turnkey package with bumpers, tires, wheels, and more, to make sure your truck is ready for any obstacles.

The Malayan HT from Tiger Adventure Vehicles replaces the bed of your pickup with a camper structure. (Courtesy John Cappa)

The Malayan HT from Tiger Adventure Vehicles replaces the bed of your pickup with a camper structure. (Courtesy John Cappa)

Hallmark Campers brought out several models of slide-in pop-up campers. Unlike many other campers, these can be ordered with different interior colors and other options.

Lance has been building America’s most popular truck campers since 1965. They feature a sturdy aluminum frame with pieces that fit together like a puzzle. The rigid frame makes Lance a good choice when venturing off-road. Many different sizes and floor plans are available.

The Host RV Mammoth triple-slide is a truck camper first. The spacious floor plan leaves little to be desired. At 3,360 pounds, you need quite a truck to haul it around, though. Host RV offers other camper sizes as well.

There wasn’t a big turnout of GM vehicles at the Overland Expo, but we did spot the Malayan HT from Tiger Adventure Vehicles. The Malayan HT replaces the bed of your pickup with a camper structure and features more headroom than some other Tiger conversions.

Details

The Global Expedition Vehicles Turtle camper features a toilet, shower, sink, a dining area and pretty much all the accessories you'd find in a modern day on-road camper. (Courtesy John Cappa)

The Global Expedition Vehicles Turtle camper features a toilet, shower, sink, a dining area and pretty much all the accessories you’d find in a modern day on-road camper. (Courtesy John Cappa)

Overland Expo/Exploring Overland

Overland Expo is the world’s most unique event for do-it-yourself adventure travel enthusiasts, with hundreds of session-hours of classes for 4-wheel-drive and adventure motorcycling, inspirational programs, the Overland Film Festival, roundtable discussions, demonstrations, food, and a large expo featuring over 150 vendors of adventure travel equipment, camping gear, bikes, vehicles, and services.

The 1st annual Overland Expo East will be held at the private Taylor Ranch in Fletcher, North Carolina, 8 miles from downtown Asheville, North Carolina, October 3-5, 2014.

The 7th annual Overland Expo West is scheduled for the Mormon Lake Lodge in Flagstaff, Arizona, May 15-17, 2015.

Address: 3400 E. Speedway Blvd., Suite 118-138, Tucson, AZ 85716

Website: www.overlandexpo.com

Worth Pondering…

The ultimate camping trip was the Lewis and Clark expedition.

—Dave Barry

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