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Essential Gear & Upgrades

We know there are varying opinions regarding gear, manufacturers, etc., but here are a few toys we've tested out and feel good about passing along for you to try.

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NWOL members... if you'd like to share your favorite gear, we'd love for you to submit a quick synopsis with an image so we can add it to our page. We can also link to a video if you'd like to submit one for us to host on our YouTube channel.

Scroll to the bottom of the page for a few tips to help you get noticed. 

 
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REFRIGERATOR

Dan Cronin: ARB Fridge/Freezer

There are many options for portable 12 volt refrigerators when overland traveling. I use a unit from ARB Australia. The ARB 10800472 Fridge Freezer- 50 Quart. that is a 50 qt, 12 volt DC/120 volt AC unit that has proven itself to be a reliable and robust platform.

After years of using an ice chest and dealing with "ice melt" floating chicken syndrome, a low amperage, 12 volt system really ROCKS!!!

NWOL_Overlanding Off-Road ARB Refigerato

FRIDGE COVER

Dan Cronin: ARB Fridge Jacket

Whether you are traversing the deep equatorial desert heat, or exploring the greater Northern hemisphere where colder temperatures are the normal climate, having a thermal jacket for your portable fridge is an absolute must!

 

ARB make a great product and their ARB 10900013 Canvas Travel Bag for 50qt Fridge Freezer is no exception.

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PROPANE STOVE

Dan Cronin: Mountaineer Stove 

When adventure calls, you say, “Bring it on.” You need a camp stove that can keep up with you. The Mountaineer is a Matchless ignition, a folding three-sided windscreen, and a suitcase-style latching lid make this stove your perfect camping buddy. With full aluminum construction, the Mountaineer is both lightweight and durable, so you can bring it everywhere. You can also add leg accessories to make it a standing stove at a tailgate party or backyard barbecue. Gear up today with the Mountaineer. 

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ROOF TOP TENT

Carrie Davis: Autohome Air Top Tent

For a girl who thought she'd be fine never sleeping in a tent again, this thing is awesome! I love feeling like I'm in a fort.

 

The fabric is thick so there's not loud or cold wind and I don't wake up drippy from condensation. The best bonus, our bed is more comfortable than many Airbnbs we've stayed in. Love it!

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S-POD

Dan Cronin: SPOD 6 Switch

Electrical wiring can really be a hassle when you are accessorizing your vehicle.

 

Whether it's lighting, an on board air compressor, Etc., choosing the right system is crucial to preventing a rats nest of wiring headaches. The Spod Jeep Jk 2009-2015 Double Light 6 Switch All Red - 600-0915LT-LEDR

NWOL_AT Overland Equipment Two Level Com

COMBO SLIDE

Dan Cronin: AT Overland Slide

The AT Overland Combo Fridge/Stove Slide is great. it conveniently tucks the dual burner Cook Partner stove under the fridge platform.

 

The ball slides are super beefy and the main body is powder coated black. It can hold pretty much any mid-larger size portable fridge.

NWOL Overlanding Last US Bags Camping Ge

STORAGE BAGS

Stefanie Cavanaugh: Last US Bags

 

Last US Bags!!! I love all of their gear.

 

They have several different styles of bags, all of which are high quality, super durable, and made in the USA. I have many of their bags and I’ve not been disappointed yet.

 

Great company with a great product. Check them out!

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HAM RADIO

Dan Cronin: Kenwood HAM Radio

There are a lot of mobile HAM radios out on the market. Yaesu, Baofeng, Motorola, ETC.

 

I chose the Kenwood TMD-710G with APRS because of Kenwood's quality and longevity.

 

Some would argue there are better brands, but this unit does what I need it to do, all the time.

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RACK

Dan Cronin: Front Runner Rack

Throughout the years, I have not only made a few roof top racks of my own, but I have also given in to purchasing some as well.

 

I like the Front Runner platform because it is very versatile, comes with a lot of accessories and is fairly light weight. You can also easily extend the length as you see necessary. 

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HEADLIGHTS

Dan Cronin: Vision X Headlights

After I bought my 2015 Jeep JKU, everyone told me that the first modification was to change the headlights to an LED based option. 

 

I did a LOT of comparison shopping and although Vision X was not the cheapest, in my opinion, it had the best light pattern output. The Vision X 9895291 7" Round Vortex LED Headlight with Low-High Halo is an amazing product. Not made in China.

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BED LINER

Dan Cronin: Bedrug Jeep Liner Kit

Another fantastic modification to my Jeep was installing the Bed Rug, mud ready premium liner.

 

The Bedrug Jeep Combo Kit CBRJK114 fits 2011+JK Unlimited 4 Dr (Includes Front and Cargo Kit) has a breathable synthetic under layer that will not mildew or rot. And is waterproof. The top layer is a textured rubber skin that resists wear and if fully functional with the stock Jeep seats.

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DOOR STEPS

Carrie Davis: Kargo Master Side Steps

For a girl who could be classified as height challenged, these things are amazing. I feel like a kid again - climbing the monkey bars. It's shocking how sturdy they are.

 

They also work great for drying towels and washcloths, lol. I originally thought these were just jewelry, but now they're one of my favorite things. 

 

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ROAD SHOWER

Carrie Davis: The Road Shower

I know some people are completely comfortable with a little built up dirt & grime, but this girl just likes to be clean. I love this little beauty. It takes the stress out of being on the trail and not having access to "my definition of" comfortable facilities.

I also love that we're able to quickly rinse things off when we're out. An air compressor is definitely a value add. 

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TIRE DEFLATOR

Dan Cronin: ARB Deflator 

All those who have off-roaded on dynamic terrain, whether it be mud, rocks, sand or snow. It is always recommended that you air your tires down.

 

A great solution that ARB makes is this handy unit. It makes deflating and inflating your tires back up, very quick and painless.

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ROCK LIGHTS

Dan Cronin: Vision X LED Rock Lights

Oh night wheeling, how we love you so! Do you have or have you installed a set of under side rock, or UFO lights? They're pretty cool!

 

They are not only useful at night for driving over articulate terrain in the dark, but make a great, indirect lighting feature for the camp site. I'm happy with this very functional toy. 

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DROP TABLE

Dan Cronin: Front Runner Dropdown

We would all agree that having usable flat space while on the trail is almost necessary - but the challenge is not taking up prime real estate.

 

There are many options out there in the Overlanding retail world, but if you are short on time and need a great, easy to install option, this gem from Front Runner is a fantastic choice.

 

It's definitely seen its fair share of bacon and eggs, thus far.

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TRAIL JACK

Rich Cronin: Hi-Lift Jack

For me, it gives piece of mind just having this as part of my recovery arsenal.  It has a huge range of action unlike scissor, bumper, or bottle jacks. It's a good way to lift the vehicle body yet still leave tires on the ground if needed. Can be used horizontally to push or pull body parts like crushed doors or roll bars. It has a LOT of strength with a great range of motion while being a simple mechanical device with only a few moving parts. I recommend this over the other three I mentioned. 

NWOL Overlanding CVT Trailer and Awning

TENT/TRAILER

Stefanie Cavanaugh: CVT Tent/Trailer

I love my CVT tent! It’s my own little tree house in the forest. I have the Mt. Rainier Extended Summit Series and it has more than enough room for 2 adults and the puppers. Plus with the annex, there’s an added space to hang out in during rainy camping days.

 

Its easy to set up and more comfortable than a ground tent. I admit, I also have the CVT trailer and awning. I’ve had such a great customer experience with CVT and the fact that they are right out of Bend, OR makes them my #1 choice and high on my recommendation list.

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TIRE MOUNT TRASH

Carrie Davis: Trasharoo Off-Road Spare Tire Trash Bag

Back to the clean-freak in me... this thing is fantastic! I absolutely love that it doesn't take up space and we don't have garbage smellin' up the rig. It also helps us be conscientious about the amount of waste we're producing; when it's all in one place, it's impossible to ignore. 

I like that it's a cool way to promote cleaning up after oneself out on the trail.

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PORTABLE BATTERY

Kryin Field: Venture Volt Portable Battery

As a bit of a tech geek, this little baby is beyond helpful. It's not only great at keeping phones or other technology charged up, it has even powered the NWOL fridge when we needed it to. 

 

Apparently, this was created for folks that suffer with Sleep Apnea; it's powerful enough to keep the snoring at a minimum along with healthy breathing for multiple days. It's pretty impressive!

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WINCH

Rich Cronin: Smittybilt Winch & Big Foot Synthetic Winchrope

I have a Smittybilt 10,000 lb winch with synthetic rope. Installation was a little difficult due to its weight & size - and access to fasteners underneath.

 

I chose synthetic line for safety should it ever snap. It's lighter and stronger than steel wire and non- corrosive. Synthetic line is SO much easier to unspool, lighter, and has no memory (wanting to stay coiled). Fellow Jeeper helped tospool the line on under tension. 

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LED LIGHTS

Dan Cronin: Vision X LED Light Cannon

Single LED CG2 Light Cannons take lighting to uncharted territory with incomparable distances.  The industry-leading Luminous Big Chip LED and Iris Reflector throws a violent blast of light that penetrates the night up to 3,500 feet.  Heat Management System:
Advanced circuitry and aluminum heat sink design ensures maximum light output during sustained periods of use..

NWOL_Overlanding Camping Volcano Grill.p

VOLCANO GRILL

Carrie Davis: Volcano Portable Grill

Honestly, I bought this to take to the beach, parks, etc. - but it has proved to be a faithful friend out on the trail. I love that it uses gas, wood, or coals and it's super easy to set up and put away. I'm a geek for organization, so I love how everything fits neatly in the case. The most impressive thing has been - being able to use it as a "gas powered" bonfire when there's fire bans. This thing has not only been cooked on for hours, but it has warmed many for hours too!  

NWOL Overlanding Camp Toilet with Dispos

PORTABLE TOILET

Carrie Davis: Clean Waste Toilet

Okay, we're back to hygiene! The fist thing my people told Dan was, "You better figure out a way for Carrie to get clean and use the restroom if you ever want to get her out on the trail!" I have to admit, they were right - and hats off to Dan for doing an excellent job finding this toilet. It's easy to set up and keep clean with its disposable bags. The lid is great for the clean geek in me, but it also works great as a bench when changing clothes, etc. This is a win!

NWOL_Overlanding Camp Toilet Pop Up Priv

PRIVACY TENT

Carrie Davis: WolfWise Pop-Up Tent 

Two things; this was necessary for a girl like me who needs her privacy for bio-breaks. I know some of you are perfectly comfortable poppin' a squat with a good shovel in hand; but that's not me. 

And... as much as I love our RTT, it can be a little challenging to get dressed in, so this has been great for changing clothes, especially if we're a little extra dirty or wet from playing in the river, etc. This little guy definitely earns its keep as storage is minimum on the trail. 

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SHOVEL

Dan Cronin: Krazy Beaver Spiked Shovel 

Here is a great combo shovel/pick from Krazy Beaver. This unit has an adjustable length handle and a series of picks on the tip of the spade blade.

 

The blade is fire engine red and the handle is safety yellow so it can easily be spotted in the snow and dirt if you set it down.

 

The handle, staff and blade are made form sturdy materials and stand up to a myriad of elements and punishments.

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SHOVEL GUARD

Dan Cronin: Krazy Beaver Shovel Guard

This unit is an inexpensive safety feature for the Krazy Beaver Shovel. It is made from fabric inlaid durable rubber.

 

It is a little bit of a challenge to install it and most people don't use it, but if you have children and are concerned about those "devil horns" on the tip of the shovel, this might ease your mind a little.

This brings me peace-of-mind with my pal Charlie (Golden Retriever) in the back of my rig.

 

NWOL Overlanding Greenworks 16-Inch 40V

Aaron Kravik: Greenworks 16-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw

When wheeling in the Pacific Northwest, often times you need a saw. The Greenworks 40v electric chainsaw makes for the perfect trail saw.

 

No carrying around separate fuel and 2 stroke oil. No hard starts. Push the button and start cutting.

 

Comes with a 16" bar, 4Ah battery, charger, carry bag, and bar sheath for around $200. Can't beat that! 

NWOL_Overlanding Front Runner Camp Kitch

UTENSIL SET

Dan Cronin: Front Runner Utensil Set

Speaking of Frontrunner again, this is a very tidy way to organize your camp kitchen utensils.

 

What I like a lot about this set is that you can hang it up with the use of stainless steel carabiners attached to the enclosure. It also has a useful Nylon flap to protect your utensils while not in use. You can even add your favorite knives, bottle openers, cutting boards, etc. I added a set of 3 small bamboo cutting boards for different types of food prep.

NWOL_Overlanding Lodge Campfire Cast Iro

SKILLET

Dan Cronin: Lodge Cast Iron Skillets

Here's some advice; If you are carrying around Teflon coated pans for cooking on the trail, throw them in the garbage and get some classic cast iron.

 

Now I know there is an argument by a lot of people out there that say that they do not like all the weight of a cast iron pan.

 

There is some merit to that, yes. However, the cast iron will last through YEARS of punishment if taken care of. No joke.

NWOL Overlanding Winchline UTP Multi Hit

Aaron Kravik: Winchline UTP Multi Hitch

Hitch receiver shackle mounts are a dime a dozen, why is this kit different?

 

Well for one, Winchline is a local company based out of Fife, WA.

 

Second, this recovery point rotates so that the shackle can be oriented horizontally or vertically. The working load limit of a shackle drops significantly the farther away from a straight pull that you get.

 

The fact that you can change the orientation gives you many more options for a safe recovery. 

NWOL Overlanding ARB 12V On-Board Twin H

AIR COMPRESSOR

Dan Cronin: ARB 12-Volt Onboard Twin Tankless Air Compressor

ARB has been making tried and true, overlanding accessories for decades. Beginning with their ARB "Roo Bars" brushguards, they have since started a line of fully functional off-road accessories, From roof top tents, portable refrigerators and air compressors.

 

We employ this dual pump ARB air compressor because you can run air power tools, air up your tires, or pressurize your Road Shower. It also assists in activating your ARB Air Lockers, as well.

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HORN

Dan Cronin: Hella Horn Kit

Let's just start with FUN! I have always been a fan of Hella's products. Engineered well, made in Germany.

The HELLA 003399803 Supertone 12V High Tone/Low Tone Twin Horn Kit is stout. This dual tone hi/low horn is no exception.

 

Very robust, weather resistant, always works. I like that part. Plus it is a great option than your vehicles stock horn.

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WATER STORAGE SYSTEM

Dan Cronin: Front Runner Water Tank With Mounting System /45L:

 

This compact and sporty 45L / 11.9 gal Water Tank includes mounting brackets for the Slimline II Roof Rack. Built strong and off-road tough, the Front Runner 45l Water Tank is a perfect solution for water storage when space is at a premium.
 

Includes brackets necessary to mount the tank.

NWOL Overlanding Little Red Campfire Pro

CAMPFIRE ALTERNATIVE

Stefanie Cavanaugh: Little Red Campfire

This thing has been great, especially with our PNW weather and the wet wood it leaves us.

 

Who doesn’t need a little propane fire you can cook over and get some heat from. Of course nothing beats an actual camp fire, but this has been nice to have. Super portable and self-contained.  I even found an adapter to run off the small 1lb tanks. Bring on the heat!!!

NWOL_Overlanding Front Runner Jerry Can

JERRY CAN HOLDER

Dan Cronin: Front Runner Locking Jerry Can Holder

 I have two of these bad boys mounted on my Front Runner platform/rack which allows for ample water and gas storage. They not only mount securely, they keep the cans secure as well. 

I opted for the plastic jerry cans, so there is virtually no noise to speak of. I also found a 4-piece lock set with a single key which proves to be helpful. 

PLASTIC JERRY CAN

Dan Cronin: Scepter Eco Jerry Cans

I'm really enjoying the plastic option. They are lightweight and they don't bang around on the truck or when utilizing them, nor do they rust. 

They are made out of industrial grade plastic, are UV resistant, have a child resistant closure, super durable, and most importantly, don't taint the water with a plastic taste or smell. I'm really happy with these.

ENAMEL DISH SET

Carrie Davis: Ozark Trail Enamel Dish Set

I just like these... I think it's the vintage look and feel that reminds me of my childhood. I really like that the plates double as bowls, they're deep enough to eat something sloppy without pouring over the sides. The coffee mugs are my favorite, again... nostalgic. The flatware, ehhh, it's inexpensive - but it comes in a nice roll-up case. You could easily swap it out for something better. Ours works fine, so we're gonna use it until it gives out. Plates also work great under paper plates if you don't want to do dishes. 

TENT TRAILER

Keman Stevenson: HEO T3 Tent Trailer

The trailer tows like a dream. My little Nissan Frontier hardly knew it was even there. Set up on site took less time than any tent I've owned; once in place, it felt stable. Its 96” by 56” floor has more than enough room for two.

 

The tent fabric is thick. All the seams are sealed with a silicone-type tape and the stitching is well done, everything fit nicely. Hooking it back up to the truck with the “Lock-N-Roll” hitch was very simple. I love this little trailer! Can’t wait to get back out for more adventures.

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