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The 2021 Overland Expo West Had the Craziest Factory Vehicles and Passion Projects Out There

Ask anyone to define overlanding and they’ll tell you something along the lines of “self-reliant travel to remote destinations where the journey is just as rewarding as the destination.” Every year, Overland Expo showcases the best go-anywhere products and vehicles that the industry has to offer. Despite the copious amounts of gear on display, it’s no good if you don’t have the proper steed to fit it to. Whether that’s on two wheels, four wheels, or no wheels, below you’ll find the craziest factory vehicles and passion projects that caught my eye at the 2021 installment of Overland Expo West.


Cars & Trucks


New Legend 4×4

While most of you will know about the original Ford Bronco or Chevy Blazer, the International Harvester Scout doesn’t share the same recognition, which it duly deserves. However, despite its relative lack of popularity, it was one of the pioneering Off-Road SUVs built in America. Based out of central Iowa—near the birthplace of the original Scout—New Legend 4×4 aims to respectfully bring modern functionality and flair to the Scouts of old.

This beautiful red example is a Legend-spec build, where the team spares no expense in crafting the best vehicle possible. The process starts by restoring the original body shell, which New Legend then uproots from its chassis and transplants onto more modern bones. Under the skin, the vehicle then gets a modern engine and drivetrain components—this example is now powered by a Cummins diesel motor.

Beneath the flashy exterior and updates, vehicles also receive re-upholstered interiors that are clearly a cut above what would have come from the factory. In a world with driverless systems and electric propulsion creeping into the automotive industry, these vehicles strip the act of driving down to its purest form. A breath of fresh air if you ask me.

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Honda Passport Trailsport Rugged Roads Concept

I was looking forward to finally getting up close and personal with the updated Honda Passport Trailsport in person. Coming into the 2022 model year, the Japanese automaker introduced the Trailsport trim-level to highlight the off-road capabilities of its light trucks and crossovers. Starting out, the factory vehicle will receive a more rugged-looking front-fascia—injecting it with some of the Ridgeline’s aesthetics. With the Passport being the first vehicle to receive the special treatment, it also gains machined 18-inch wheels, burly tires, extra ground clearance, and stark orange accents throughout.

overland expo

Matthew Crisara

overland expo

Matthew Crisara

While the launch of the new sub-brand is great, this Rugged Roads concept vehicle is different gravy. The Japanese automaker teamed up with expert overlander and YouTuber Jon Tuico—a.k.a JonDZ Adventuring on YouTube—to build an aspirational vehicle, showcasing the new Passport Trailsport’s off-road acumen. Under the skin, it gains a J-Sport lift kit, Firestone Destination A/T2 all-terrain tires, and stainless-steel skid plates that shield the fuel tank and oil pan. From the exterior, the vehicle gains roof carriers, a Roofnest Sparrow XL rooftop tent, two recovery points at the front (painted in stark Trailsport Orange), and a Dirt Complex tow-hitch tire carrier.

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Hunter RMV Predator II

overland expo

Matthew Crisara

As military vehicles are built to go essentially anywhere, it’s no surprise that they can make for brilliant overland runabouts. RMV’s (Remote Minehunting Vehicles) have rapidly become a booming genre in the industry. This version from Hunter RMV is supremely capable but does come in at an eye-watering asking price of $335,000.

Weighing in at a whopping 22,600 pounds (empty), this beast isn’t what you’d call light on its feet. As I assume that “empty” means dry weight, that number is definitely subject to change after brimming the 113-gallon fuel tank—allowing for 800 miles plus the reserve tank. Once you arrive at your destination, the vehicle has space to sleep two to three adults, bathroom and kitchen accommodations, and 600 Ah of battery capacity (fed by a solar array on the roof).

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Motorcycles


Harley Davidson Pan America

overland expo

Matthew Crisara

overland expo

Matthew Crisara

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, Harley Davidson built an adventure motorcycle. From a brand that’s previously been the go-to for cruiser and touring bikes, the Pan America certainly has everyone’s attention. While it looks like nothing else Harley has built, the American motorcycle giant stuck to its roots in the powertrain department, fitting the ADV with a 1,250-cc V-twin engine, offering up 150 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque. Variable valve timing and dual-overhead cams improve the power delivery of the engine, optimizing low-speed torque and high-rpm horsepower.

overland expo

Matthew Crisara

All of the bikes at the Expo were fitted with Harley’s “Special” package, featuring tubeless-spoke wheels, a center stand, crash bars, skid plates, an Ӧhlins steering damper, tire pressure monitoring, and heated grips, among other premium extras. However, the two clear party pieces with the flagship pack include the “Daymaker” adaptive headlamp—a lean-sensitive light system that projects toward the apex of each corner—and adjustable ride height, which means the Pan America will lower itself whenever you come to a stop.

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Honda Motorcycle Trio

Having been in the game since the late 1940s, Honda knows how to build a great motorcycle. This year at Overland Expo, the Japanese automaker pulled out all the stops with an Africa Twin, Trail 125, and Monkey on display. While I initially expected Expo-goers to flock to the Africa Twin, most of them ended up throwing a leg over the smaller bikes at the tent. Maybe everyone had been tired of seeing countless BMW GS bikes packed to the gills with adventure gear?

overland expo

Matthew Crisara

Whatever the reason, it’s clear that Honda understands how to make a bike that will put a smile on your face. Having continuously manufactured the Super Cub—the most-produced motor vehicle in history—since 1958, it’s clear that they know what they’re doing when it comes to motorcycles big and small. While the Africa Twin packs a burly 1,084 CC parallel twin, the more pedestrian Trail 125 and Monkey models each have air-cooled single-cylinder 124.9 CC engines.

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Volcon Grunt Electric Motorcycle

Electric motorcycles are quite a hot topic these days. However, for one reason or another, they haven’t really caught on in the same way that EVs have in the automotive world. That said, with the ability to easily swap batteries, the Grunt has every opportunity to be a fantastic overland two-wheeler. The electric motorcycle startup describes its latest machine as an innovative, easy-to-operate electric motorcycle that allows people to experience outdoor adventure.

overland expo

Matthew Crisara

Starting at $7,995, the Grunt isn’t road-legal, and I don’t think that’s such a big deal. So many bikes at the expo were designed to be carried on the back of your four-wheeled rig, and this is one of them. After getting to your campsite, the Grunt will be able to take you an additional 75 miles—with both 2.0-kWh batteries onboard—through tighter trails that your primary vehicle could never fit through. With no need to worry about a clutch or gears, it allows just about anybody in your bubble to enjoy the brilliance of two-wheeled transport.

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Miscellaneous Rigs


Redtail Overland RT110

With countless rooftop tents on display, which were all nearly inseparable in the aesthetics department, the RT110 (110 inches long) stands out from the crowd with its carbon-fiber construction and dual-pane windows. Looks can be deceiving, but the inside of this beast is as capable as the outside is elegant. If you opt for the flagship Summit model, you’ll have access to interior lighting, heating, ventilation, and AC battery charging—the onboard electrical system features 380 watts of solar and a 60-Ah lithium battery pack.

overland expo

Matthew Crisara

overland expo

Matthew Crisara

With no fabric panels to speak of, setup and tear-down can take just 30 seconds. When you’re ready to leave your campsite, the walls cantilever together into a neat package that’s just 10.5-inches tall. Redtail also says that you’ll be able to keep your bedding in the camper while it’s closed, which is huge when you get to your campsite after a long-haul adventure. While the Summit-spec RT110 camper starts at $31,500, the base model—which lacks any of the ancillary functionalities like heating, ventilation, and charging—will set you back $21,500. Very expensive, but you get what you pay for.

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Pull Kitchen Longitude

The overlanding industry has taken to creating extremely well-thought-out solutions to common issues we experience while adventuring. Cooking is an interesting one, as it generally requires a considerable amount of gear that needs to be unpacked to get going. That’s why this slide-out solution from Pull Kitchen caught my eye. After hard-mounting it to the bed/trunk of your vehicle, you can deploy the Longitude in a matter of seconds, giving you access to two burners, lights, and a sink, along with plenty of counter space and storage.

overland expo

Matthew Crisara

Installation and removal can be completed in a matter of minutes, making the Pull Kitchen ideal for weekend warriors that commute to work using their overland vehicle. Apart from the easy installation, one clear trick of the Longitude is its self-contained sink system, which is powered by a DeWalt cordless drill battery. At $4,495, it isn’t cheap, but many enthusiasts would pay a whole lot more than that to gain such a neat and capable cooking solution.

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