AWOL Gear Roundup #9

jackery rooftop tent with solar panels at CES 2024

Here are two cool concepts from CES, and Jackery’s solar-paneled RTT looks like it could be coming to market eventually. Super Pacific has a new way to put a tent on your van, Mazda toys with off-road designs, and I found two wildly fun (and different) cars, plus new gear for adventuring. Here’s what’s new:

  • Jackery solar rooftop tent
  • LG Bon Voyage
  • Super Pacific Cloud Cap
  • 2024 Mazda CX50 offroad SUV
  • Sierra Echo EV dune buggy
  • Red Bull RB17 track car
  • Swarovski AI-powered binoculars
  • LifeStraw Solo filter
  • Camelbak Titanium Bottles
  • Altra Lone Peak 8 trail shoes
  • National Parks requiring rezzy’s in 2024

Jackery Solar Rooftop Tent could power your camp

jackery rooftop tent with solar panels from CES2024

Introduced at CES 2024, Jackery’s Solar Rooftop Tent uses slide-out solar panels to generate up to 6kWh of power per day. A fixed solar panel on the top plus four slide-out panels generate 1000W of solar. It’s a concept for now, designed to be a complete off-grid solution tailored for overlanding that would charge up the included 1,264Wh power station…and more if you add them.

In the meantime, their 1000Wh solar generator kit provides plenty of juice and quick charging for easily adding off grid electricity to any build.

LG Bon Voyage Camper Trailer Concept

LG bon voyage camper trailer concept from CES 2024

Another CES treat comes from LG, who used their Bon Voyage camper trailer concept to showcase just about every type of technology they make. The back opens up to reveal a wine bar, and a dinette slides out to one side with an induction cooktop and cooler tray. A flip-down table on the other side reveals a flat screen TV.

The door has an integrated touchscreen to control the features. The kitchenette has a mini fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. Next to that is a full wet bath, and throughout the habitat are speakers. It’s purely a concept, but it’s remarkable how much stuff they packed into it while still leaving room to move! (video here)

Super Pacific Cloud Cap Pop-Top camper van kit

super pacific camper van pop-top tent conversion with pass-through opening to inside van cabin

Want a pop-top camper van with a rooftop tent you can enter without having to climb outside your van? The new Super Pacific Cloud Cap is that tent, with an extra long 110″ length leaving room for a portal to drop into your van.

It comes with mounting kits for Ford Transit and Mercedes Sprinter vans (other models coming soon), which include a gasket to seal the hole between van and tent. It measures 110×56, with a 6″ height when closed, opening to 58″ tall at the front. The outer edges use T-Track beams for accessory mounting (rails, awning, lights, etc.), and it comes with a 4″ thick Exped MegaMat Duo mattress. MSRP $12,200, weight is 225lbs.

Mazda’s CX50 looks like an offroad crossover/SUV, but is it?

2024 mazda cx50 crossover SUV with offroad trim package

Mazda’s not the first name that comes to mind for overland or off-road, but they’re calling the new CX50 SUV “off-road ready”. I’ve seen one in person; it’s striking, with an aggressively low, wide stance, so here’s the deets: Better trim levels get you active AWD, four drive modes, a turbocharged engine (256hp, 320 lb-ft torque), and 3,500lb towing capacity. Those numbers drop off precipitously w/o the turbo, tho.

So, what makes it “off-road”? The Meridian Edition has the cosmetic hood patches, side rocker nerf bars (not actual rock sliders), and 18″ alloy wheels with 225/60R18 all terrain tires (vs 245/45R20 all-season tires on the others). So, mostly (very good) looks, with better tires, but 0.1″ less ground clearance (8.5″ min). Probably a lot of fun on dirt roads, but not ready for the backcountry.

Sierra Echo adds Fox Suspension to E-Dune Buggies

Sierra Echo electric dune buggy EV with Fox adjustable suspension
Click any image to enlarge.

The upcoming Sierra Echo is an all-electric hypercar that’s at home on pavement and dirt, having raced Pikes Peak by Lucy Block (Ken Block’s wife). They just announced a partnership with Fox, spec’ing the Fox 2.5 QS3 shocks, which give you three position adjustments to adapt to the course.

They open for pre-orders now, starting at $39,900 and running up to $84,900. The main difference is power. Base model has 150eHP & 80mph top speed, the Echo R-Spec and Block editions have 280eHP and 100+mph top speed, and hit 0-60 in 3.8 seconds (vs 5.5). They’re all RWD only.

Red Bull RB17 hypercar track racer

red bull advanced technologies RB17 track car limited edition

Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT) is the energy drink company’s special projects division that fueled massive R&D dollars into deceased founder Dietrich Mateschitz’s interests…like air racing, Formula 1, sailing, etc. Now, RBAT leases their knowledge and massive computing power to brands like BMC Bicycles for product development.

Now, they’re also using it to create their first in-house product, the RB17 track car. Designed to be the best time attack track hypercar ever developed, it’ll have a V8 hybrid engine developing over 1,100bhp, full carbon-composite tub, and an F1-worth ground effects & aerodynamic package. Only 50 will be made for a cool £5 million each.

Swarovski Optik AX Visio binocs can identify objects & snap pics

swarovski optik ax visio smart binoculars with AI bird and animal identification and object tracking

The new Swarovski Optik AX Visio are the world’s first smart binoculars to use AI to identify more than 9,000 birds & animals, with an integrated camera to capture pics and video of them that connect to your smartphone to share them on social media.

Or, pair it with their app to mark an object, then hand the binoculars to a friend and they can follow the arrows to see what you spotted. The device is updated through the app, and an open architecture lets others build apps for them, too.

LifeStraw Solo filter attaches to any water bottle

lifestraw peak series solo pocket-sized portable water filter removes bacteria and parasites

The LifeStraw Peak Series Solo is their smallest portable water filter yet, measuring just 5.1″ long (130mm), so it literally fits in your pocket. Use it like their original and sip directly from any water source, or thread it onto standard water bottles, which you can easily fill anywhere.

It comes with their membrane filter to remove 99.999% (or more) of bacteria, parasites, microplastics, silt, and other other debris from up to 2,000L of water. There’s no carbon filter for taste, though. A 3L/minute flow rate lets you quickly fill up larger packs and additional bottles, too. MSRP $29.95.

Camelbak Podium Titanium Bike Bottle & Cocktail Shaker

camelbak titanium and stainless steel insulated bike water bottles

If you’re over plastic, Camelbak’s new Titanium Podium Bike Bottles let you sip safely, but by tilting instead of squeezing. Its double-wall vacuum insulated design keeps your drinks way colder than even their best insulated plastic bottles, without condensation.

The only downsides? It’s 236g (about 3x heavier than a 21oz plastic bottle), and it’s $100 for an 18oz bottle. Too much? They also have new stainless steel Podium bottles in 18oz and 22oz sizes for $35-$40.

camelbak horizon stainless steel tumbler cocktail shaker

I’ve never understood why standard cocktail shakers are so hard to keep from leaking when I’m shaking them. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, or maybe they suck. Either way, the new Camelbak 20oz Horizon Cocktail Shaker promises to be leakproof, and it’s vacuum insulated to keep stuff cold.

The lid has a built-in strainer, a screw-on cap doubles as a jigger with measuring marks, a silicone base keeps it from sliding off the table, and it’s all stainless steel with powder coat exterior. MSRP $40.

Altra Lone Peak 8 trail running shoes

2024 altra lone peak 8 trail running shoes with foot-shaped last and zero drop

The new Altra Lone Peak 8 keeps their wide, foot-shaped last and zero-drop design but gets a refined upper for better fit with more durable materials to better protect your foot (and last longer). The lacing has multiple options to help you customize the fit and tension.

Underneath the footbed is their Stoneguard to keep pointy rocks from jabbing you, and Gaitortrap mounts let you add gaiters to keep skree out. The MaxTrac outsole and aggressive lugs are extra grippy, even on loose terrain. 25mm stack height offers the right mix of cushioning and ground feel. MSRP $140.

These 10 National Parks will require reservations in 2024

person relaxing on a fallen tree over water at glacier national park

More National Parks are moving to timed access and reservations for entries to either the whole park or popular trails. Some reservations require a small fee to make, in addition to any park entrance fees. Here’s the quick list and details:

  • Acadia – Cadillac Summit Road (May – Oct)
  • Arches – entire park (April – Oct)
  • Glacier – select roads (5/24 – 9/8, 6a to 3p)
  • Grand Teton – backcountry overnights (year round)
  • Haleakala – sunrise park entry (3a-7a, year round)
  • Muir Woods – entire park (year round)
  • Rocky Mountain – entire park (5/24 – 10/20)
  • Shenandoah – Old Rag Mtn (March – Nov)
  • Yosemite – entire park (Feb. weekends, 4/13 – 10/27)
  • Zion – select trails (year round)

Check each park’s website for reservation opening dates, some have already started and you’ll want to get on it. (via TheTravel)

Best Vehicle Recovery tools & gear

using recovery straps to pull my van out of soft sand

Check out our complete guide to vehicle recovery, with tips on how to get unstuck, tow a vehicle, use your winch, and more. We cover every product category, break down pricing and features, and answer all your questions.

Field Notes

Big Deals

Wandering Thoughts

I finally added most of my photos from Overland Expo East, check out the roundups for Reader’s Rides, vehicle builders, and gear & accessories.

Ron and I also posted our story from overlanding from Yuma to Ajo, AZ on El Camino del Diablo. It was a great trip with an overnight stay in the middle of the desert, and the turn-around point of a 16-day road trip with my son.

There’s lots more stories to come from that trip, and more great guides to help you plan your own trips, build your vehicle, and choose the best gear.

Thanks for reading,

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 55 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)!