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2019 Overland Expo West: Glamping Yachts to Trucks With Cots

It's not about grinding your machine over the grisliest chunks of rock or through the deepest mud chasm; overlanding is about getting out there—way out there—and experiencing the backcountry. Whether that means financing a motorhome capable of monthlong off-grid stays or outfitting your daily driver with enough amenities for a long weekend away from pavement, the 2019 Overland Expo West was the place to be.

In its 10th year and with the largest turnout to date, Overland Expo West set up basecamp in Fort Tuthill County Park just outside Flagstaff, Arizona. Upwards of 1,500 vehicles and 300 motorcycles brought 22,000 participants to the show, where 405 exhibitors (a 30 percent increase from 2018) displayed goods and 135 media outlets broadcasted the excitement. Showgoers were treated to food and drink, adventure gear available for purchase, and an array of educational courses designed to teach newcomers the ropes and sharpen the skills of seasoned adventurers. Participants were also reminded of the upcoming Overland Expo East, held in Arrington, Virginia, in October of 2019.

Four Wheeler's 2019 Overland Adventure concluded at the show, and we proceeded to explore the aisles of vehicles and the record-setting crowds in search of the wildest adventure-ready creations. Read on for a look into the fun we had at the 2019 Overland Expo West.

Hunting Rover
This Land Rover Defender 130 was custom-built by Heritage Driven as a hunting rig with a few goodies packed into it. Among the list of modifications were the LS3 and 6L80 transmission, Dynatrac ProRock 60 and 80 axles for the front and rear (respectively), ARB Air Lockers, 5.38:1 gears, and custom 3/16-inch steel skidplates across the bottom. The rear suspension boasted a combination of RuffStuff trailing arms, Fox shocks, and custom fabrication. The real treat was the winch-operated game lift in the rear and custom sliding storage in the bed.

Sherp
Each of the 63-inch tires under this monster can be run with no air pressure. The Sherp has a turning radius of 8.2 feet, is powered by a diesel Kubota engine, holds almost 80 gallons of fuel, and it floats.

Destination Frontier
Nissan showed us that adventure vehicles can be built on a budget. For the estimated $40,000 cost, Nissan squeezed in a 3-inch lift kit, bumper, skidplates, and rock sliders from Hefty Fabworks; 33-inch tires on American Racing AX201 wheels; a CVT Mt. Shasta rooftop tent; a Warn ZEON 10-S winch and recovery gear; a Dometic electric fridge; and more into a new Frontier.

14-Slot Wrangler
This is Mark Tetreau's daily driver—a frankenJeep whose tub is made from portions of six Jeeps, and it's all mounted on a Ram chassis. He began the project before four-door JKs were even imagined, giving his creation a 131-inch wheelbase, 5.9L 6BT Cummins, 4:1 Atlas transfer case, and 5.31:1 gears with Eaton Detroit lockers front and back. As a nod to the combination of many Jeeps in one, the grille has 14 slots, the tailgate is made up of two CJ-7 tailgates spliced together, and all four half-doors are front doors from various Wranglers.

Tellu-rowdy
With accents in the color of an American one-cent piece, overhead gear storage, and a recessed Warn winch up front, this Kia Telluride is ready for adventure.

Diesel Van
Diesel Conversion Specialists brought a van to the show hiding a 12-valve Cummins under the hood, a four-wheel-drive conversion, and Super Duty axles.

CodeX
In the weeks before the 2019 Overland Expo West show, Dynatrac's Tony Carvallo sliced a new Jeep Gladiator in two (right behind the driver seat—hardtop, frame, and all), worked some magic, and then drove the machine from Michigan to California. That magic included swapping in a 6.2L Hemi Hellcat V-8, fitting a PCOR Box from Patriot Camper to the rear, and wrapping the rig in a color we've heard described as Tactical Banana.

Biodiesel Cruiser
Steven Ploog and his partner embarked on a journey driving biodiesel Land Cruisers from Panama to the Darian Gap shortly after Overland Expo West. His rig carried 43 gallons of 30 percent hand-blended biodiesel. His goal was to plant trees along the way and spread the word that biodiesel-powered machines are attainable and simpler than you might think.

Wayout There
Jeep's Wayout Gladiator concept incorporated everything you need to get to a remote backcountry campsite, even if that means crawling over a few rocks and diving into a creek to get there. The Gladiator's buildsheet includes 37-inch tires, a sliding Decked system for the bed, ARB onboard air, higher Rubicon fender flares, and a carbon-fiber-encased steel rack to support the rooftop tent.

Megaraptor
What began as a '16 6.7L Turbodiesel Ford F-250 has turned into a 600hp Raptor-esque off-road camping machine. Though it is not a true Raptor, the body kit, hood, panels, and lights sure give it a convincing look. Living accommodations include an '18 n Camp Cirrus 820 in the bed, while the truck sits on 46-inch Michelin tires, MRAP wheels, and a 4.5-inch ICON lift kit.

Electric Camper Truck
Powered by a 180-kWh battery pack, the Rivian R1T has enough battery power to cook on the electric stove and keep camp lit for a week while still sending a total of 750 hp to the wheels (one electric motor at each). The truck has a 400-mile range, an impressively stocked camp kitchen, and can tiptoe through 36 inches of water. Is this the future of 4x4s?

Troopy
The sleek carbon-fiber design of Maltec's '90 FZJ80 caught our eye, and we imagined the simplicity of crawling from the driver seat into the comfortable and spacious living quarters in the rig's rear. The entire vehicle weighs 5,070 pounds, carries 47 gallons of diesel, and has an AGM battery with a split-charge system.

Overland-bulance
Bevan Walsh rolled into Overland Expo in an ambulance—in a good way! The '07 Freightliner was converted to four-wheel drive and sits high on 46-inch tires and MRAP axles with 840 watts of solar power, a 7.5 kW diesel generator, 66 gallons of water storage, and 100 gallons of diesel on board. His rig is capable of traveling every road he wants to drive, even if that means just going that extra mile to the best camping spot.

Camper Van
Simple and old-school 4x4-conversion coolness emanated from this '72 Econoline in the Sportsmobile camp.

SAS Sequoia
Derek Miller believes his to be one of three Sequoias with a solid-axle conversion, and it was hauling camping gear and mountain bikes to Overland Expo. His Ford Super Duty axles have 5.38:1 gears, hold on to 40-inch Toyo tires, and are hung under the rig by a three-link front and triangulated four-link rear suspension. The 2.5-inch King coilovers give the Sequoia 14 inches of travel in the front and 16 inches in the rear.

Uncon-van-tional
You don't see many Toyota Siennas with lift kits, nor do you see four-wheel-drive Chevy Astros looking this clean. Journeys Offroad manufactures lift systems for these vehicles so you can breathe some off-road life into the family grocery toter.

The Terrable
New Legend 4x4 is known for making old International Scouts new again, but sometimes old Scouts are better left looking old. The Terrable might not have many matching body panels or a fancy engine under the hood, but it can still journey across the country and grab attention from across the interstate.

Towering Transit
Using BDS and Fox components, Van Compass lifted this Ford Transit enough to fit 35-inch Milestar Patagonia tires.

Custom Cruiser
In addition to the custom winch bumper and fender guards, solar panel-adorned Alu-Cab rooftop tent, and 40-inch tires, Mudrak Custom Cruisers outfitted this rig with a utility box, swinging spare tire carrier, onboard air, and a place to store a chainsaw.

Hands-On Training
One of the many cool facets of Overland Expo: the off-road courses and classes. This means participants can be more than just spectators.