FOX 2.0 IFP SHOCKS
If you’ve ever seen an off-road racer barreling through rugged terrain at ferocious speeds, there’s a good chance the vehicle they’re driving is outfitted with Fox suspension. They’re one of the largest brands in off-road racing, and regarded by many around the world as the best. The problem, if you could call it one, is that their shocks have traditionally been a bit of overkill for what most 4X4 tourers do. With the launch of the new 2.0 IFP shocks, Fox is finally available for those of us who spend more time on corrugations in the outback than we do airborne in the Dakar Rally.
After six months and 15,000km of testing at Unsealed 4X4’s American ‘office’ (which varies between Moab’s slick rock, Colorado’s alpine tracks, and California’s desert) I’ll say that I’ve been quite happy with Fox’s offering. The heavy-duty aluminium body isn’t just great for heat dissapation, it’s also great for those who drive in rust-prone beach environments as it won’t turn to Swiss cheese after a few outings. You also get Fox’s legendary valving technology and experience, along with a race-derived internal floatation piston monotube design.
The hard chrome-plated, heat-treated alloy steel shock shaft has proven tough enough for the environments I’ve tested it in, which aren’t easy; but I’d be happier if the shock came with some kind of protection as standard for the shaft (Fox sells an optional Roost Shield Kit.)
Starting at $140 per shock. Available in Australia from Double Black Offroad.
EXOFFICIO BUGS AWAY CLOTHING (SHIRT TESTED)
While I’m not trying to offend any of our readers who happen to be entomologists, I would like to state something clearly: insects suck – and the ones that bite you suck even more. I’ll try almost anything that’ll keep the mozzies and other insects off of me. ExOfficio’s BugsAway® line of clothing makes a bold statement, claiming that it’ll repel mozzies, ticks, ants, flies and midges for up to 70 washes, without having to put on bug spray.
How does it work? ExOfficio starts with their excellent, comfortable outdoor wear, and then treats it with permethrin, an insect repellent and insecticide which is the active ingredient in Insect Shield®. This essentially turns you into a walking bug-free zone. I’ve had a few BugsAway shirts and I can report they work, and it most certainly isn’t a gimmick. When paired with your favourite brand of bug repellent, they work even better. So far, I’ve given my BugsAway about 30 washes, and it’s still kicking today.
While ExOfficio’s gear is perfect for camping, some of their designs are just as welcome in the city. The added bonus of BugsAway becomes apparent when you randomly end up at a mozzie-infested venue, and there’s no bug repellent in sight. I’ve found absolutely no drawback to the BugsAway lineup.
ExOfficio’s Bugsaway Collection is available for men and women and offers a wide selection of shirts, pants, jackets hats, and even socks. I’d recommend trying on the clothing before purchasing, as the fit can be a little bit generous.
Prices vary depending on the item. exofficio.com
WATERSHED WATERPROOF BAGS
We fit snorkels, differential breathers, and wading bras to our vehicles, all in an attempt to overcome the damaging effects of water. However, when it comes to our gear, little effort is given to protect it from getting wet. Why? Because waterproof storage is usually either heavy and bulky, or cheap and fragile, so it’s not exactly practical for 4X4 touring.
US-based Watershed comes in somewhere in the middle of those two. They offer a tough-as-nails waterproof bag with the durability of a hard-sided case, without the fragile tendencies of most dry bags. I’ve been relying on their products for the last 18 months without complaint, and I’ve been impressed to say the least.
The biggest fear with spending the money on a waterproof bag, obviously, is that you’ll puncture it and render it useless. Short of stabbing my two Watershed duffels with a knife, I’ve subjected them to everything that can make them fail – in other words, I’m not gentle with them. One of my bags, Watershed’s Colorado model, has survived over 100 flights as checked luggage, and it’s still waterproof today. The Colorado is the perfect size for 4X4 enthusiasts who frequently travel and want to ensure their belongings arrive safe, secure, and dry, no matter if they’re fording a creek or flying to parts unknown.
Prices start around $100, depending on the size of the bag.
You can find a local dealer here. drybags.com/dealer-locator.php