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Crawling the Aisles: Combing the 2018 Easter Jeep Safari Vendor Show for Wheeling Wares

Posted in Moab Experience: 2018 on May 8, 2018
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Photographers: Ken Brubaker

There’s no denying that the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, is a pinnacle of off-roading adventure. The event serves up a massive collection of guided trail rides, but also includes special features like the Vendor Show (aka Jeep Expo). It happens near the end of the weeklong event and gives attendees an opportunity to get up close and personal with manufacturers and retailers that have cutting-edge innovations for your off-road needs.

Held the Thursday and Friday before Easter at the Old Spanish Trail Arena, the Vendor Show draws a mind-boggling number of companies from all over the globe. Just about every off-road accessory you can think of, including suspensions, tires, lights, winches, interior, and exterior accessories, can be found in the rows of vendors.

We joined the enormous crowd of off-road enthusiasts at the 2018 Vendor Show for sizzling BBQ, vendor booths, and new products, all with the picturesque La Sal Mountains for a backdrop. Whether you were there searching for a new driveshaft, an addition to your T-shirt collection, or a photo next to your favorite 4x4 rig, the Vendor Show was the place to be. Here’s a tour of some of the new and noteworthy surprises we found.

We spied a set of Yokohama Geolandar X-MT tires on a Jeep at the Yokohama booth. The tread blocks resembled gnarled boulders and were spaced far apart. The sidewall markings read 40x13.50R17 LT. No word yet on when we can expect these in the showroom or which sizes will be available.

Hard Korr Lighting folded out their 200-watt Solar Mat and told us how this single device can power a whole campsite of gear including portable refrigerators, lights, and solar showers. The panels fold down to the size of a briefcase and are durable to withstand being out in the elements. Check out hardkorrlighting.com for more illuminating products.

Exposed Racks allows JK Wrangler owners with soft tops to carry kayaks and other gear on top of the Jeep, without endangering the windshield. The racks bolt directly onto the Jeep’s rollbars and when installed, still allow the soft top to close completely. Visit smsparts.com for more info.

Torq-Masters introduced the Infinity Series Axle Shafts for the Dana 30 axle found in ’07-’18 Jeep JK Wranglers. They are made from 4340 chromoly steel and come with a lifetime warranty. A very appropriate product for the Jeep Safari, as we’re certain plenty of axleshafts were broken during the week. Check out torqmasters.com for more details.

We declined the offer to test the Hitch Hammock on site for fear we would spend the entire afternoon napping. Not only did this trailer hitch device suspend a hammock, but it also functioned as a cargo rack and adjustable camping grill. Hitch-hammock.com has more information about this product.

The new U-joint from Spidertrax (spidertrax.com) is larger than the 1480-series joints normally found on axleshafts and is crafted from 300M alloy steel for higher resistance to fracture and impact. The new design has eliminated the snap ring and replaced it with a mechanical locking mechanism, meant to keep the ears of the axleshaft from spreading under load. The U-joint caps are elliptical in shape and are designed to mate with Spidertrax yokes. Keep an eye out for these in the future.

Tired of your wiper blades only acting as squeegees? This blade, dubbed The Power Wiper, follows the arc of a conventional wiper and reciprocates over its 1/2-inch pattern 42 times per second. The blades are said to replace existing wipers and begin their reciprocation when the windshield wash cycle is activated. Visit powerwiper.com for more on these wipers.

Since 1993, Mac’s Custom Tie-Downs has been making tie-downs for spare tires, vehicles, and more. This blue strap is designed to keep your oversized spare tire planted wherever it’s mounted, without the worry of it bouncing out. Visit macscustomtiedowns.com for more information.

ICI brought a JL Wrangler fitted with the Magnum Standard Series front bumper. There was plenty of space to fit a winch and a variety of off-road lights, while still allowing for tire clearance. For more and a look at other off-road products, check out icionline.com.

Who can pass up an offer of more power for the JK Wrangler? Sprintex showed us this supercharger for the ’12-’17 3.6L Wrangler engine, which claims to bump power to 302 hp and increase the torque output to 307 lb-ft. Sprintex says the supercharger is fully integrated and does not require any additional modifications. More details can be found at sprintexusa.com.

The sPOD Bantam is a tiny (4x4 inches, 1.125 inches thick), clean, and safe way to manage 12V and 24V accessories, without interfering with your vehicle’s CAN bus system. The system features eight inputs for your lockers, lights, air compressors, and more. Controlling the Bantam can be done through a customizable smartphone app. Visit 4x4spod.com for more information.

B&M Racing & Performance showcased a shifter stick for the ’05-’18 six-speed manual Jeep Wrangler that is designed with improved bends and is said to add leverage to your shifting pattern. The 3/8x16 thread pattern accepts your favorite shifter knob as well. Go to bmracing.com for more.

Flowmaster showed us a replacement for the quiet whisper that is the sound of the stock JK Wrangler exhaust. This dual-tip muffler setup will add some rumble to your commute or your days on the trail. Go to flowmastermufflers.com for an exhaustive list of products.

Jeep owners might be familiar with the delay between stomping the gas pedal and the engine delivering its power. The Pedal Commander claims to remove that delay, giving your JK the drive-by-cable feel you want. Pedalcommander.com has more on this item.

Westin showed us new armor for the JL Wrangler. The WJ2 Full Width bumper comes with a bull bar, winch mounting tray, and spaces for off-road lights. The JL also showcased the Triple Tube Rock Rail Steps that had already demonstrated their rock-sliding capabilities on the trail. For more, check out westinautomotive.com.

MaxBilt displayed new round Trail Tail lights as well as a reverse light/license plate light combo. Both lights use LEDs and make for great visibility on the road and in the dirt. Maxbilt.com has more useful off-road gear.

Christian Hazel, editor of our sister magazine 4-Wheel & Off-Road, spied what appears to be an Ultimate Dana 80 rear axle for the JK Wrangler, paired with the Ultimate Dana 60 frontend. He reported back giddy over the kingpin knuckles, high-steer arms, and super-heavy-duty U-joints in the front and the 40-spline axleshafts packing the rear housing. Watch for these axles in the future for both JK and JL Wranglers.

Hauk Designs showcased a number of products for the JL Wrangler including the River Raider Expedition Snorkel, which only requires one 3-inch hole to be cut through the JL’s plastic cowl panel. Haukoffroad.com has more new JL goodies.

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