Last weekend I found myself walking around the closing hours of the Overland Expo West at Mormon Lake Lodge near Flagstaff.
We’ve been to Mormon Lake before. This was less of an adventure. There was plenty of wind, and a stampede of vehicles had done no favors to the lakebed the event is held on, but it was really just walking around looking at cool stuff people are trying to sell.
There are a lot of other seminars and events at the Expo, but we lacked the time/money/interest in those. The event is really aimed at high income off-roaders, (or Overlanders, as they prefer) and people who would like to join that community some day. I’m a hiker who wore a shirt that I literally bought at a thrift store 10 years ago. Nonetheless, there were a few things that caught my interest. In descending order of cost:
There were a LOT of these little trailers in various forms for sale. The one pictured is the TCTeardrop, and we (my wife and I) liked it the best of all we saw because there were two doors, and actual room for people inside, while still having the tradition pop-out kitchenish thingy in the back. Many models crowded the sleeping area with additional storage until you basically had little more than a paneled bivy to sleep in. I can think of better means to haul gear. I would buy this thing to actually sleep in.
They have all sorts of things you can buy extra and attach to it, including a three sided awning that the displayers had set up as a bathroom.
Many of the people displaying the products were actually living in them over the run of the expo, which is kinda cool and kinda creepy – like an open house with the rental tenants still living there.
We had been shopping for a good family tent, and had bought one for the camping trip that ended in our Expo visit, and almost kicked ourselves when we came across this thing. The Shiftpod is both durable, large, quick to set up, and provides unprecedented temperature control. We didn’t see it set up, but the rest we can testify to firsthand. Alas, it would have cost four times our budget anyway.
(We bought a Eureka Copper Canyon 6, and were perfectly happy with our decision until…)
Finally the item we came closest to walking out with under arm, the Solavore solar oven.
We may eventually own a solar oven. BUT the immediate problem is that while a solar oven can’t quite do everything a propane stove will do, a propane stove/oven combo, for the same money, would do everything a solar oven could do – even if you got back to camp after dark.
But they were baking cookies with it on a fairly cold day. And those cookies were tasty.