The Most Interesting Overlanding Innovations of 2020

Badass off-roaders, functional trailers, and problem-solving rooftop tents: here's what caught our eye this year.

this year in gear best overlanding innovations
Gear Patrol

This story is part of our end-of-year series This Year in Gear rounding up the most notable releases of 2020. For more stories like this, click here.


2020 was a huge year for the world of overlanding. The pandemic precluded air and sea travel for many, and escaping civilization alone became an ideal way to travel. Not surprisingly, overlanding — which had been a burgeoning trend — exploded in popularity.

Below are some of the overlanding developments we found most interesting over the last year — whether new and more capable vehicles, innovative trailers or just a great rooftop tent.


Bakcou Storm Electric Hunting Bike

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eBike Generation

Presented by eBike Generation

If you're a hunter, you know the feeling of trekking for hours carrying heavy equipment, only to arrive at your location already tired. But that doesn't have to be the case. The Backou Storm Electric Hunting Bike is an electric hunting bike that won't scare off wildlife, as it's completely silent. It's a full suspension ebike that makes use of the best mid-drive motor on the market, the Bafang Ultra, which offers 160Nm of torque and plenty of power for heading up steep fire roads and hills. Plus, it will travel more than 40 miles on a single charge and can carry a 300lb rider plus a fully loaded trailer of gear.

Price: $5,398

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Australian Off-Road Sierra ZR

this year in gear best overlanding innovations
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Australian Off Road produces, as the name suggests, incredibly robust, Outback-ready off-road camping trailers. The Sierra ZR offers a cheaper, pared-down version of AOR's mobile bunker Sierra, offering the same functionality and off-road readiness without the built-in sleeper compartment.

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Bollinger B2 Chassis Cab

this year in gear best overlanding innovations
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Bollinger unveiled a chassis cab version of its B2 electric pickup. A truck with 614 horsepower, 668 lb-ft of torque and 15 inches of ground clearance sounds like overkill for fleet use (its intended purpose), but its 5,000-pound payload rating could make it an ideal base for a badass electric overlander.

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Earthcruiser EXP

this year in gear best overlanding innovations
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Based on a Mitsubishi Fuso commercial truck, one wouldn't call the Earthcruiser EXP sexy. But what the EXP lacks in the looks department, it makes up for with capability, including features like a custom 4x4 system and 11 inches of ground clearance. It's one of the few vehicles out there that can follow a Jeep Wrangler up a rock course and offers a bathroom (though don't try and use the latter while doing the former).

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Ford Bronco Sasquatch 2-Door SEMA Concept

this year in gear best overlanding innovations
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Ford launched the Bronco to great fanfare this year. It's a beast on the trail as-is, but this two-door Sasquatch package from the 2020 SEMA Show highlights a key feature: modularity. With easily swappable front fenders and rear quarters, a Bronco owner can use their rig as intended off-roading on the weekend, then transition back to the stock look for the Monday-to-Friday grind.

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GehoCab Fiete

this year in gear best overlanding innovations
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Off-roading RVs are great, but they don't have the same maneuverability as your favorite off-roader. German company GehoCab came up with a solution: cutting your favorite off-road SUV off at the C-pillar and replacing the trunk with a super-lightweight carbon camper shell. The conversion will work with the Jeep Wrangler, the Mercedes G-Wagen, the Land Rover Defender and even the new Bronco.

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GMC Hummer EV

this year in gear best overlanding innovations
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LeBron James may be the ideal celebrity to endorse the new GMC Hummer EV pickup. The Hummer's power, athleticism and versatility will redefine what capability means for pickup trucks. It will be as quick as a Porsche, more formidable off-road than a Jeep Wrangler, offer better range than the Hummer H2 did with its 32-gallon gas tank — and not use a drop of gasoline.

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Ineos Grenadier

this year in gear best overlanding innovations
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Jaguar Land Rover wouldn't sell Jim Ratcliffe the tooling to build new Old Defenders. So the head of Ineos created his interpretation, the Grenadier, with help from G-Wagen builder Magna Steyr. It will use BMW engines (and maybe hydrogen fuel cells), a ZF transmission and axles, and look as much like an old Landy as it can get away with.

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Jeep Wrangler 4xe

this year in gear best overlanding innovations
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Jeep revealed a new plug-in hybrid version of the Jeep Wrangler, the Wrangler 4xe. It will make the Wrangler an even better overlander. The 4xe retains the Jeep trail-rated capability, it adds about 100 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque over the stock V6 and it will earn an estimated 50 mpg-e (miles per gallon equivalent) while packing a 25-mile EV only range.

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Land Rover Defender 110

this year in gear best overlanding innovations
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We finally drove Land Rover's all-new Defender this year. It was worth the wait. Its looks will polarize, and it's not the body-on-frame agricultural vehicle of yore. But it is exceedingly capable on-trail, as all Land Rovers are. And few overlanders shift more easily to being an everyday luxury car.

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Lexus J201 Concept

this year in gear best overlanding innovations
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The Lexus LX 570 is a rebadged Toyota Land Cruiser, so Lexus could have slapped on a roof rack and some chunky tires on one and called it an "overlanding concept." Instead, Lexus partnered with Expedition Overland on an overhaul that included supercharging the engine to 550 hp. And the J201 was not just for show; Lexus entered it in the Rebelle Rally.

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Mobi Nomad Mobi X

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Australian company Mobi Nomad's Mobi X trailer packs most of the functionality of home, including a kitchen, bathroom, and potential sleeping for up to six, within a small off-roading ready trailer footprint, all for a reasonable price.

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Ram 1500 TRX

this year in gear best overlanding innovations
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The Ram 1500 TRX includes an underhood graphic of a T. rex clutching a dead raptor. That says what you need to know about this truck's intent. Its supercharged V8 puts out a staggering 702 hp, which propels the more than three-ton truck from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds. It's also capable and comfortable.

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Talus Expedition Gear VenturePack

this year in gear best overlanding innovations
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Camping trailers are supremely functional, but many people don't want to tow them. The VenturePack from Talus Expedition Gear offers full camping trailer functionality, but fits inside a truck bed. It's also cheap enough that you could buy it, a well-equipped Ford Ranger and a great rooftop tent — and still come in under $50,000.

Price: $13,750

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Thule Tepui Foothill Rooftop Tent

this year in gear best overlanding innovations
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Rooftop tents are excellent. The trouble with most of them is, they take up your entire roof rack, eliminating it as a place to store gear. Thule Tepui's newest tent, the Foothill, folds into a 24-inch footprint, leaving the other half of the rack for bikes, surfboards or other gear.

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