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Trail Technology: Plug In, Charge Up, and Get Ready to Wheel

Posted in Features on February 21, 2019
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Photographers: Courtesy of Manufacturers

Leaving the pavement in the rearview mirror doesn’t mean your electronics have to stay at home. It is a brave new world for anyone looking to enhance the off-road experience with screens, cameras, and things that beep and buzz. At the touch of a button, you can activate a suite of cameras to act as digital trail spotters, summon rescuers to your precise location should an emergency occur, and access a seemingly endless trove of smartphone and tablet programs to increase the utility of your rig. With so much technology, the hassle becomes keeping your devices charged up and full of power while off the grid—and there are even ways to do that. We dove deep and compiled a collection of some fascinating trail-related tech items. Read on to see some of what’s out there.

BlackVue DR750X-2CH

Tech Talk: BlackVue added LTE functionality to the already popular dashcam model. By adding space for a SIM card, you no longer need a wireless connection installed in the vehicle to connect to the cloud.
More info: blackvue.com

Insane Audio DD2001

Tech Talk: Made to fit into any vehicle compatible with 2-DIN stereos, Insane Audio’s DD2001 is solid-state (no moving parts), ready for front- and rear-facing cameras, and even accepts Bluetooth connections. The 7-inch screen is perfect for running apps, browsing music, and operating the onboard NavEngine trail maps.
More info: insaneaudio.com

Tazer Lite for JL

Tech Talk: Plugging this tiny module into your Wrangler JL’s OBD-II allows you to adjust for up to 41-inch tires, aftermarket axle gear ratios, disable TPMS, and even disable auto stop-start, among many other things.
More info: zautomotive.com

Dometic PLB40

Tech Talk: Instead of wiring a second battery to power your electric cooler when the rig is parked at camp for a weekend, let Dometic’s PLB40 keep you charged. The lithium iron phosphate battery can be recharged while you drive and can supply 40 hours of power to your cooler, 12V devices, or USB accessories.
More info: dometic.com

Wrench iD+

Tech Talk: We know you hate dragging the entire tool bag under the rig when you forget if that darned bolt is 12 or 14 millimeters. Identify bolts from 1/4 to 2 1/8 inches and 6 to 54 mm, and also measure inner diameters from 1/2 to 2 19/32 inches and 12.7 to 66 mm.
More info: wrenchid.com

TabNetic Pro 90

Tech Talk: With powerful neodymium magnets and an easily adjustable swivel ball housing, the TabNetic Pro allows you to mount your tablet securely to any vehicle or any surface, without the fear of it falling or being jarred loose. These magnets mean business and will not let your device slip, no matter how bumpy the road.
More info: mobarmor.com

ARB LINX Vehicle Accessory Interface

Tech Talk: Gone are the days of dials and gauges haphazardly drilled or suction-cupped to your vehicle’s dashboard. ARB’s LINX has created a sleek touchscreen interface to customize and control all your off-road tools. Out of the box, LINX includes modules to manage front and rear lockers, operate one air compressor, engage air suspension, monitor batteries, and track speed through satellite connection. The control hub can be stowed out of sight and the Bluetooth-enabled display can be mounted seamlessly to the dash.
More info: whatislinx.com

Wireless Charger Retrofit

Tech Talk: FreedomCharge MAX lets you increase the power on your existing wireless charging station and boost penetration for charging through thick phone cases. Available for many popular 4x4s, the triple-coil technology can charge at 5, 7.5, or 15 watts, and it is compatible with Apple and Android phones.
More info: brandmotion.com

ViAir 450P-RV Automatic Air Compressor

Tech Talk: Onboard air—in a bag! Operate this portable tire inflator for up to 40 minutes at a time and inflate tires up to 150 psi while the machine pumps air at a rate of 1.8 cubic feet per minute. For reference, the company’s site claims fill times for a 37-inch tire are just over four minutes, and just shy of three minutes for a 33-inch tire. The kit weighs 13 pounds and includes a gas station–style inflation gun, 45-degree extended chuck, battery clamps, and a handy automatic shut-off function.
More info: viaircorp.com

WBU-2000 Wireless Front and Rear Auto Camera System

Tech Talk: One screen, live views of the front and back of your vehicle—all without wires or drilling. Set up the cameras to function strictly as a backup camera, or monitor both the front and rear simultaneously as you drive.
More info: whistlergroup.com

Magellan TRX7 CS

Tech Talk: This off-road database does it all, short of sending faxes. It features turn-by-turn navigation on trails and on the streets, a built-in 5MP camera, 7-inch touchscreen, and is loaded with 160,000 off-road trails to display over the 3D base map. The unit attaches to your vehicle with either a 3.3-inch suction cup or a 1.25-inch rail mount, and it is sealed from dust and water to IP67 standards.
More info: magellangps.com

Daystar GMRS Radio Kit for JK Wrangler

Tech Talk: Outfit your JK Wrangler with a GMRS kit that fits between the sunvisors to make sure the view out the windshield is not obstructed. Comes with a two-way radio receiver, a high-output dual antenna with mounting hardware, all necessary switches, and a 5-watt handheld receiver. Signals are said to send and receive for up to 13 unobstructed miles and units are resistant to mud, dust, water, and shocks.
More info: daystarweb.com

CURT Echo Wireless Brake Control

Tech Talk: CURT says it’s the only mobile brake control. The receiver plugs into your vehicle’s 7-way connector and pairs with Apple and Android Bluetooth-enabled smartphones via Curt’s downloadable app. Store information for multiple trailers at a time for easy transfers between loads and vehicles. The Echo is compatible with two to four trailer brakes, works seamlessly with ABS and cruise control functions, and allows for calls to be received while the app is running.
More info: curtmfg.com

Goal Zero Yeti 150

Tech Talk: The Yeti 150 is the smallest in the lineup of power stations designed as an alternative to gas-powered generators. The Yeti recharges via wall outlet, 12V cigarette port, or through any of the company’s solar panels. The Yeti can recharge cameras, laptops, and phones with its two USB ports, AC inverter, 12V car port, and 6mm port. The unit contains an AGM lead-acid battery, will survive hundreds of charge cycles, and weighs 12 pounds.
More info: goalzero.com

Gaia GPS App

Tech Talk: Pack your entire adventure into your smartphone or tablet with the off-road maps of the Gaia GPS app. Subscribers can download public land data, including campsites, parks, Forest Service borders, satellite imagery, and nearby hiking trails. Enhance route planning by adding weather maps and precipitation forecasts. Waypoint marking, route recording, and sharing add to the utility packed into this valuable app.
More info: gaiagps.com

Spot X 2-Way Satellite Messenger

Tech Talk: Sometimes bad things happen, and an emergency outside of cellular coverage can prove deadly if you or your party is not adequately prepared. From a disabled vehicle deep in the backcountry to a medical condition, make sure you can contact the appropriate services should the need arise. Spot X lets you connect to search and rescue teams via S.O.S. signal to any cellular number with predefined text messages. The device can track your position every 2.5, 5, 10, 30, or 60 minutes depending on subscription plan, and it can communicate your location to family and friends. Spot X includes a Google Maps interface for navigation with compass and waypoint functions, and it can also link to social media outlets. Each unit has a 2.7-inch backlit screen, full QWERTY keyboard, 240-hour battery life, and carries an IP67 water- and dust-intrusion rating.
More info: findmespot.com

Banks Power iDash Super Gauge

Tech Talk: Don’t just monitor your vehicle’s performance—define it! Whether it’s your tow rig or trail toy, keep tabs on up to 20 parameters (depending on your vehicle), all available through the OBD-II port. Choose from 100 engine parameters to log to the micro SD card, program the display to indicate optimal shift points, and expand the device’s versatility with the expanding line of density, temperature, and voltage sensors. The 2 1/16-inch-diameter unit fits most gauge mounts to make positioning in your vehicle simple. Also translates error codes into plain English, so you know what’s ailing your vehicle before it goes to the shop. Shown with the Derringer Tuner, sold separately.
More info: shop.bankspower.com

SS-6 Six-Way Touchscreen Sport Switch

Tech Talk: Centralize the controls for horns, lights, or other 12V accessories without the need for additional fuses, switches, or leads. The waterproof aluminum and glass touchscreen, solid-state control box, and OEM-style connectors are simple to install and perform in all conditions. The control panel can be mounted anywhere in the vehicle, and the unit comes with 24 laser-engraved adhesive stickers to label each function.
More info: procompusa.com

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