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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

The Best of 2022

When the end of the year rolls around, I often wax poetic about how quickly time flies. It seems like 2022 just started, yet here we are, about to end it!

But, aside from that, I spend this time of year reflecting on the products I’ve tested and reviewed. Some of the gear I test is pretty terrible. Most is perfectly fine. But other gear truly sets the bar in terms of innovation, functionality, usability, and so forth.

Below are some of the products that stood out to me in 2022 – and that I suspect will continue to make a positive impact on the industry in 2023!

Table of Contents

Ultimatron Lithium-Ion Batteries

ultimatron 1

I upgraded the AGM batteries in my Turtleback Expedition trailer a while back to lithium batteries. This year, I upgraded again to a new set of lithium batteries that have proven time and again to be one of the best investments I’ve made to my overlanding setup.

I have dual 100ah Ultimatron batteries in my rig to power the lights, water pump, and other onboard systems, as well as to charge my numerous devices. Since these batteries have superb storage capacity, no memory effect like AGMs, and they charge quickly to boot.

On top of that, these Ultimatron batteries have extremely high stability under heavy loads and there’s no risk of fire or explosion. You don’t need to do a full charge and discharge cycle, either. Instead, you can run them down by 15 percent, 50 percent, or all the way to zero, and they’ll bounce back with no ill effects.

ultimatron batteries in turtleback

The best feature of these batteries, though, is the ability to monitor them via Bluetooth on my phone. Combined with the built-in battery management system that prevents overcharging and short-circuiting (among other things), these batteries are battle-tough and ultra-reliable.

Add to that a long service life of several thousand cycles, and you have a winning combination of features. And with various capacities available, including 150Ah180Ah, and 200Ah, you can easily outfit your rig with the best battery for your needs!

Learn more about Ultimatron batteries

Cargo Dog Jeep Storage System

cargo dog wrangler pic5

When you think of the necessities for overlanding, you probably think of food, water, and power as some of the most important items. But you also need enough storage space for your gear – and functional, easy-to-access storage space at that!

If your adventure rig is a Jeep Gladiator or Wrangler Unlimited, you’re in luck because Cargo Dog makes an innovative Jeep storage solution that will revolutionize the way you store gear in your Jeep.

cargo dog 2

The concept is simple, really – remove the backseat of your Jeep (all or part of it – up to you!) and replace it with Cargo Dog. The in-floor design ensures you maximize the storage space in the floor of the Jeep while maintaining an incognito presence in the back of your ride.

As you can see in the images above and below, the result is a flat floor that’s ideal for storing more gear for your trip, giving Fido a place to curl up and rest while you’re on the road, or giving you a place to catch some Z’s if need be.

cargo dog 1

Depending on the configuration, you can have up to three individual storage cubbies, each of which has LED lighting and a lock. Keep valuable items like your camera or tablet inside, or use it for more practical items like clothing, recovery gear, or supplies for your dog.

Whatever you decide to store in Cargo Dog, it will be easy to access – something you can’t say for gear you keep on a roof rack! Speaking of easy, installing Cargo Dog is a breeze – in just a few minutes, you can remove the backseat and replace it with Cargo Dog. It really doesn’t get any easier!

cargo dog wrangler pic2

As we all know, storage space is at a premium when we’re camping and overlanding. Having innovative products like Cargo Dog helps maximize storage space and do so in a way that’s functional and safe without hampering your ability to quickly take it out and replace the back seats when needed.

Jeeps are incredible vehicles, but storage isn’t necessarily their forte. You can solve that issue with Cargo Dog – as many other people have already done! If you want to get outfitted with Cargo Dog today, use our 4WD10 coupon code to get 10 percent off!

Learn more about Cargo Dog

Tailgater Tire Table

tire table 29

Though the Tailgater Tire Table might not be the sexiest item on this list, it’s one of the most frequently used among my gear. I use this table every single time I camp, and I use it for a variety of purposes – meal prep, eating meals with my son, and to get work done while I’m on the road.

The Tire Table comes in various sizes, including a regular-sized black aluminum version that’s just under six pounds. The table’s other features include:

  • 23″ W x 29″ L x 1.5″ D
  • Holds up to 50 lbs.
  • Fits most tires 14″ and larger
  • Retractable leg for additional support
  • Aluminum construction
  • Powder-coated finish

Installation of the table is easy, too – just hook it over your vehicle or trailer tire, deploy the leg for added support, and you’re ready to rock! There’s no tools required, either.

No matter how uneven the terrain, you’ll have a level table. There’s no more hunting around for a level spot to set up a big table, nor do you have to maneuver a clumsy folding table around. It’s the best of all worlds!

Learn more about the Tailgater Tire Table

Planar Heaters 2kw Portable Heater

planar heaters 2kw portable heater

I’m a sucker for fall and winter camping…

I grew up in upstate New York, so I’m used to cold weather. But I don’t have many opportunities to go cold weather camping in Southern California, so I have to head north into the mountains to get my fix.

But, I don’t want to be cold the whole time, either, so I bring along a Planar 2kw portable diesel heater. Full disclosure, I have a 4kw diesel air heater in my Turtleback Trailer that I use for my rooftop tent. But the 2kw portable heater is in the mix for trips when I don’t take my trailer. I also use it to provide heat in the tents for friends and family.

planar heater

There’s a lot about this heater that make it a worthy entry on this year’s list. For starters, it comes in a bright yellow crushproof, weather-resistant case that’s easy to see and can take a beating. It’s also easy to maneuver with the large integrated handle.

Of course, the real benefit of a diesel heater like this is that it produces instant, warm, dry air. Even on the coldest, wettest fall days, this heater does an incredible job of keeping a tent toasty warm – and without condensation.

wired remote for portable heater

There’s a safety factor to appreciate about this heater, too. Since the unit sits outside the tent and the warm air is ducted into the tent, there’s less risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.  It also comes with a silencer, so it offers quiet operation as well. Nice!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this heater runs on either diesel or kerosene for added functionality. There’s also a remote to adjust the heater’s settings, that way you don’t have to get out of your sleeping bag to make adjustments in the night. With all these features, it’s easy to see why this bad boy is on my list of the best of 2022!

Learn more about the Planar Heaters 2kw Portable Diesel Heater

ALP 1000-Watt Propane Generator


Power generation is a must for off-grid travel, and while some folks need a huge 2,000-watt (or more) generator, I don’t. If you have moderate power needs, the ALP 1000-watt propane generator is a great option.

What I like about this generator is that it’s compact and lightweight, measuring 18-1/4”L x 10-1/4”W x 14”H and tipping the scales at around 30 pounds. I can set it up in just a few moments with a one-pound propane tank, or I can run it off a 20-pound tank if I need long-lasting power.


Speaking of, a 20-pound tank gives you around 60 hours of runtime – plenty for a long weekend! The fuel efficiency of propane certainly helps in this department. Likewise, since propane burns more cleanly, I don’t have to worry about carbon buildup in the generator like I would with a gas one.

Moreover, I don’t have to worry about spilling gas everywhere or stinking up my truck bed with gas fumes. That in and of itself is worth the price of admission!


Another fantastic feature of this generator is that it’s whisper quiet – less than 52 dB – so you don’t have to worry about disturbing everyone at camp while it’s running. In fact, you can stand next to the generator while it’s running and easily carry on a conversation. Not all generators can claim that!

Learn more about the ALP 1000-Watt Propane Generator

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