AWOL Gear Roundup #4

storyteller overland hilt 4x4 adventure truck with camper bed

This week we have a couple of rad truck campers, a concept camper van, and some nifty lightweight camping gear for those walking or biking things in rather than driving. And Polartec has an exciting new plant-based material that could replace petroleum-based plastics! Here’s the best new gear and gadgets this week:

  • Storyteller Overland HILT
  • Super Pacific Switchback XT
  • Citroen retro camper van
  • Old Town e-pedal kayak
  • Nemo’s winter sleeping pad
  • RECCO rescue belt
  • Gerber camp meal kit
  • Polartec Biolon
  • Gossamer Whisper shelter

Storyteller Overland HILT adventure truck

floorplan and details of storyteller overland hilt 4x4 adventure truck with camper bed

Better know for their Sprinter van conversions, Storyteller Overland’s new HILT adventure truck is an offroad beast of a camper. The rig starts as a Dodge RAM 5500 w/ 6.7L diesel, puts it on a LiquidSpring hydraulic smart suspension that automatically adjusts to the terrain 1000x per second, and swaps the bed for a carbon fiber-and-kevlar-reinforced composite camper shell.

1325W of solar panels recharge a 16.8kWh Li-ion battery bank with dual 3000W inverters, with KC Lites all around. The cabin floats on a “Zero Torsion Subframe” to allow the truck’s frame to flex naturally for optimal traction without torquing the camper. A modern “spa like” interior sleeps four, with full bath, kitchenette, and closed cell acoustic/thermal insulation. Preorder pricing starts at $446,322.

Super Pacific Switchback X1 truck bed camper shell

super pacific switchback x1 offroad camper shell for pickup truck beds

Built in the US with US-source materials, the Super Pacific Switchback X1 truck camper uses an alloy base with aircraft rivets, MOLLE-lined side & rear panel doors, and off-road ready design and construction. On top is a clamshell tent with fiberglass-over-honeycomb shell and weatherproof acrylic-impregnated marine-grade textile tent with no-see-um mesh windows.

That tent shell is invisible to radio, so it won’t block signals from roof-mounted antennas, and all hardware is 6061 billet aluminum with stainless steel mounting bits. MSRP $12,995 to $13,495.

Citroen retro camper van is like a rolling Airstream

This Citroen Type Holidays concept camper van is a stylized version of the French brand’s SpaceTourer, with a pop-top tent, kitchenette, and sleeping for four by converting the rear bench seats into a bed, too. Word is this is just a teaser for an upcoming line of camper vans that’ll actually hit dealers. (via Robb Report)

Old Town ePDL+ adds electric pedal assist to its kayak

old town ePDL electric assist pedal kayak with motor

Old Town’s new Sportsman BigWater ePDL+ kayak puts a motor in their pedal-powered propeller insert, giving you an assist when you want it…and amplifying your efforts. Put it in “turbo” mode and you’ll get to the good fishin’ spots faster. Like a Class 2 e-bike, it also has a throttle. Put it on “cruise control” mode and just sit back while it pedals for you. MSRP is $5,999, preorder for early 2024 delivery. (video here)

Nemo’s new sleeping pad has the highest R-value ever

Inflatable sleeping pads typically lack the insulation to keep the ground’s cold from seeping up and basically floating you on a sack of frozen air. The new Nemo Tensor Extreme Ultralight Mounteering Pad changes that, with four layers of metallic, thermally reflective internal baffles in a 3.5″ thick pad for an R-value of 8.5, the highest on the market.

The exterior is bluesign-approved nylon, with a thicker, more durable bottom to protect it from rough ground. It comes in four sizes/widths with a pump sack to fill it quickly without getting your breathe’s moisture vapor in it, and it has a lifetime warranty. It’s 425g (500g with stuff sack), MSRP $249-$279. (video here)

RECCO Belt & Backpack rescue reflectors

recco rescue reflectors on a belt and backpack tag

RECCO’s rescue reflectors are standard safety equipment for backcountry snow athletes, but they work year ’round anywhere that rescue teams use their system (which is many places). The RECCO Belt 125 and Backpack Tags are easy to add on, need no batteries or charging (it’s a passive reflector), and make you easier to find if you get lost, hurt, or stranded. The belt is great (I have one), with a bit of elastic so it moves with you, perfect for active outings.

Gerber Gear Around Camp Kit

gerber gear around camp kit with lightweight utensils, hatchet and multitool with modular tongs

Gerber Gear’s new Around Camp Kit ($100) combines their ultralight ComplEAT spork and spoon with a non-scratch spatula (which combines with the spoon to create tongs), their Armbar Corkscrew multitool, and tri-point mini hatchet for cutting food. Basically, everything we need for the camp meals we’re actually going to cook IRL.

Polartec Biolon bio-based Nylon could change the game

active people wearing polartec biolon plant-based eco-friendly nylon

Polartec Biolon is a plant-based, eco-friendlier nylon that’s the closest yet to virgin Nylon 6,6, which is the industry gold standard for performance. Its production has a 50% lower carbon footprint, and it’ll be used in their Power Shield weatherproof membranes and Power Stretch Pro performance fabric starting this fall. This matters because it reduces fossil fuel-derived plastic material without giving up the performance we all want.

Gossamer DCF Whisper ultralight tent is just 277g

They’re only making 100 of these $499 ultralight shelters, and you’ll want to add their 142g Whisper poles to prop it up (trekking poles work, too), but the 9.8oz DCF Whisper is about the lightest “tent” you can find. There’s no floor, but a mesh lower surrounds it to keep bugs out.

The upper is a bio-based, water-repellant material with waterproof zipper and taped seams to help keep you dry. Dyneema reflective strings stake it out (you’ll need to BYO stakes, too).

Small Bites

Big Deals

Wandering Thoughts

I’m headed to Overland Expo East this morning and will be posting a lot of pics to our Instagram, follow us there for the latest offroad goodies. I’ll share a recap of the most interesting things and trends in next week’s recap, too.

Yesterday, I was testing a new road bike and climbed to an overlook in West Virginia only to find a Toyota meetup, where one of them was driving the new Tacoma that’s not even out yet. It’s nice, and I totally want one. And everyone in our group of 10 was all of a sudden wishing they were going to the show with me.

Being amongst a group of folks who are really into something can be contagious. It’s fun sharing their (and our) enthusiasm, if only vicariously. They were totally digging our bikes, too. It’s why I invite my friends to join me on rides or trips, even if I know they’re only superficially aware of whatever it is I’m doing. Because get enough superfans together, and the air gets buzzing.

The flip side is this: Next time someone invites you along to something they’re excited about, say yes. You never know, you might dig it! At the very least, you’ll be entertained (probably) and make your friend super happy.

Have a great weekend,

adventurous way of life logo illustrates travel and van life ideas

Adventurous Way of Life covers the best new gear, gadgets, and tech for those who dig the outdoors, health, fitness, camping, cooking, overlanding, vanlife, and the adventurous active lifestyle. Subscribe here to get our periodic newsletter recaps by email.

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About Tyler 66 Articles
I'm a serial traveller and road trip lover who's crisscrossed the US so many times I've lost count. I've owned cars, SUVs, wagons, vans and a 37' class A toy hauler RV, and I've customized them all! I love the open road and getting off the beaten path to find new adventures, mainly traveling with Kristi and the kids to explore the world on our own two feet (and, usually, two to four wheels)!