Top Overland Builds of the 2021 SEMA Show
Many people thought that overlanding was just a fad when Toyotas and Jeeps equipped with roof-top tents, traction boards, roof racks, and fridge/freezers first appeared at the SEMA Show. Much like the double-row light bar, some thought overlanding would fade away, but those predictions have proven to be wrong as overlanding is now more popular than ever. Proof of that popularity was the staggering amount of overland builds at this year’s SEMA Show. Here are a few that caught our eye with their extensive modifications and attention to detail.
Lance Enduro Overland Camper Trailer with Custom VW Atlas
Long known for high-quality truck toppers and travel trailers, Lance Camper enters the overland space with its new Enduro overland camper trailer. The concept trailer rides on a Timbren independent suspension setup with beefy all-terrain tires for better ground clearance. The single-axle design and length of 18 feet makes it compact and maneuverable, while composite construction gives it a weight of just 2,700 pounds–light enough for even modest SUVs to tow. The Enduro sleeps up to six with its king-size bed, two bunk beds, and a Roofnest Falcon XL roof-top tent. An exterior galley with Truma fridge-freezer and Camp Chef stove is the perfect spot to cook meals. The Enduro even includes a shower and cassette toilet with heated water and air. Two 100AH lithium batteries and twin 190-watt solar panels provide power for the comfortable self-contained camper.
For SEMA, the Enduro was paired with a custom VW Atlas. The Atlas is ready to hit the dirt with an H&R suspension clearing Maxxis AT tires wrapped around Black Rhino wheels. KC Hilites Flex lights provide plenty of illumination. Extra storage comes from the Front Runner Slim Line II roof rack equipped with Front Runner storage boxes. In the rear, a Truma dual-zone fridge-freezer keeps things cool.
Many are familiar with and have lusted after the original EarthRoamer. Based on Ford’s beefy F-550 Super Duty chassis, the OG EarthRoamer was gigantic in proportions, capabilities, and price tag. For its latest model, EarthRoamer decided to turn it up to 11 with the new EarthRoamer LTi. The major innovation of the LTi is that it uses a camper body that is made entirely of vacuum-formed carbon fiber. Using what may be the largest carbon-fiber structure known to humanity shaves off an estimated 1,500 lbs. over the previous model.
EarthRoamer didn’t just switch to carbon fiber and call it a day. The new shell is taller for more room and features frameless windows for a sleeker look. EarthRoamer expanded the capabilities of the LTi as well with a massive 1,320-watt solar array and an 11,000-hour lithium-ion battery system. With its huge dimensions, the LTi can carry 95 gallons of diesel, 100 gallons of fresh water, and 40 gallons of grey water along with all your friends and their friends, too. It cost as much as a house, but the LTi is as big as one and can take you to a lot cooler places.
Ford Raptor Prelander
With the Instagram handle Tacodust, you might think that Jason Denney likes Toyota Tacomas or tacos. You would be right on both, but Denney recently ditched his overland Toyota Tacoma for a Ford Raptor. Wanting to combine the go-fast capabilities of the Raptor with the camping setup of his Tacoma, Denney merged a prerunner with an overlander to create a prelander.
Raptors are capable in the rough in stock form, but a Camburg long-travel system with King shocks dramatically increases the speeds in the bumps. A host of KC Hilites lights allows the party to continue after sunset, with 37-inch General Grabber AT tires wrapped around KMC wheels providing traction. The bed of the Raptor uses an SDHQ Chase Rack to secure a full-size spare, a Dometic fridge, and a Pro Eagle jack. Once at camp, Denney can pop open the Go Fast Camper, hop in his jammies, and be ready for bed in under five minutes.
Land Cruiser Bandeirante FJ-45 Crew Cab
Crew cab FJ-45 Toyota Land Cruisers are not easy to find, and the Bandeirantes are even rarer. Toyota ceased production of the venerable FJ-40 Cruisers in 1984. But, Brazil didn’t get the memo and kept producing the FJ-40 and 45 all the way until 2001, calling them Bandeirantes. Many Bandeirantes came with Mercedes Benz engines because things work differently in Brazil.
This FJ-45 Land Cruiser Bandeirante is ready for any overland adventure with an Old Man Emu suspension clearing 35-inch Maxxis Razr MT tires. In the unlikely event that it ever gets stuck, a Warn Zeon 10-S winch is ready to pull the big Cruiser free. A Nomadic roof-top tent mounted on a Freedom Bed Rack from Overland Vehicle Systems provides a comfortable place to sleep. The Bandeirante also pulls a Goat Overland Trailer for extra room for gear and bikes. It might not have all the creature comforts of a modern vehicle, but the Bandeirante more than makes up for that with style.
Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-75 Troopy
Overlanders are dreamers by nature and this sweet Land Cruiser FJ-75 Troopy has us dreaming of hitting the road and possibly never coming back. The Old Man Emu suspension and BP-51 shocks would make that long journey a smooth one and BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires on Method wheels should keep things flat-free. Up front, the beefy ARB bumper with a stout Warn winch is ready to pull the rig out of any sticky situation.
Unique to this FJ-75 Troopy is its Mulgo Pop Top conversion. Instead of simply mounting a tent on the roof, the Mulgo replaces the entire roof. With the top popped, there is plenty of room to stand up, move around, and change clothes, making for a comfortable camping experience. A lower profile also produces less drag for better fuel economy. All of the tasteful modifications help make this Troopy capable of spending lots of time off-grid or on a very long road trip.
Building an extensively modified overland vehicle without going overboard is a delicate balance. But, this 2020 Toyota 4Runner has everything it needs for remote travel and camping while still being clean and functional. The most visible modification is the AluCab roof-top tent equipped with low-profile Sunflare XPLOR solar panels mounted on a Prinsu roof rack. An array of KC Hilites Pro 6 lights illuminates the darkest nights. Protection comes from an ARB Summit front bumper, CBI rear bumper, and Westin sliders. Handling the bumps is a Total Chaos suspension system with Radflo shocks that clears the way for the 33-inch Firestone tires on 17-inch Mayhem wheels.
Organization and storage for long trips are vital, so the 4Runner uses a Dobinson drawer system. Mounted to the top of the drawers is a Dometic fridge freezer on an Easy Slide slideout. Additional AluBox boxes offer more storage. There is even a QuietKat RidgeRunner E-bike mounted on a Thule rack if you want to zip around camp.
1964 Jeep M677
With only 500 made for the USMC and Navy, this Jeep M677 is one unique overland build. Instead of bolting on a slew of readily available aftermarket parts, almost everything had to be hand-built for the Jeep Forward Control. The modification list seems endless, but powering the Jeep is a Chevy 350 cubic-inch V-8 with a Holley fuel injection system. Custom leaf springs with Sway-A-Way shocks make enough room for 37-inch Falken Wildpeak tires on Raceline wheels. The original interior was junk and replaced with a new one using seats from a Jeep JK. Giving the M677 overland cred is the mandatory roof-top tent and awning from HIT.
There are lots of other modifications that are hard to spot on the M677. Hidden away in a hand-built storage panel is a remote welder, and a York onboard compressor hides under the cab with an air storage tank behind the rear bumper. The amount of thought and time that went into building the Jeep M677 is staggering, but the result is a rare overlander that turned lots of heads at the 2021 SEMA Show.
Full-size builds are definitely trending in the overland community as the larger trucks offer more cargo capacity and cabin room than any mid-size platform can match. From the popular YouTube channel Last Line Of Defense, Matt Pfieffer is well-known for his Toyota Tacoma, but he super-sized his latest overland build with this Ford F-250 Super Duty Tremor. The result of his effort is a big truck that can go almost anywhere while hauling plenty of friends and gear.
Instead of lifting the truck, Pfieffer went with a Fab Fours fender system, making enough room for 39-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrains on Black Rhino wheels. Bumpers from Fab Fours protect the nose and tail of the big Ford and hold a full-size spare in the rear. Getting into the iKamper roof-top tent involves a bit more climbing than his Tacoma, and we are not sure how anyone reaches the Pelican storage boxes on the Front Runner roof rack, but a Cargo Ease bed slider makes access to the Dometic fridge easier. The Tremor is capable in stock form, but Pfieffer expanded upon that capability with the right modifications while making the Super Duty more versatile.
Photography Provided by SEMA
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