We recently disconnected from the world (and our technology) and disappeared up to Rock Creek up in the Mammoth Lakes area at the foothills of the Sierras. About a 5 hour drive from Los Angeles, 4 humans and 2 dogs went to go play in the woods! It dumped snow the first night we got in, but luckily it started after we were tucked away in our cabin - and the NOTpuppy, Bucky was lucky to catch his first taste of snow (which he LOVED jumping chest deep into) and the last snow of the season. The highlight was definitely good times with good friends and a chance to watch the dogs run free - frolicking through the streams and meadows till they just couldn’t handle anymore… which resulted in coming home and sleeping for a few days! Along the way we also found some amazing jerky, delicious pie, and had a near catastrophe with some flying carrion. Take a peek at the adventures (and a taste for what the NOTFZJ80 will hopefully lead to!) on the next page!
We’ve been intrigued ever since Heimplanet (the guys behind the amazing inflatable geodesic tents) dropped hints at a car tent in an email recently… and then THIS popped up on their instagram, which filled me with curiosity to know and see more! Luckily, I ran into this Autoblog piece which features it front and center! So what is it? The press release describes it as “…a newly developed concept called the “Q3 camping tent,” which with a wind load rating of up to 70 km/h is also suitable for harsher weather. The tent structure can be removed from the supplied bag and set up in roughly seven minutes: roll it out, pump it up and the free-standing tent is ready. It can even be fastened to the open rear hatch of the Q3, if necessary.”
Take a peek at the details on the next page ~ all i’m wondering now, is if an inflatable rooftop tent is a NOTFZJ80 possibility…
“GO TO EXTREMES. BRING BACK PROOF.” This ad for Front Runner Outfitters sums up the potential and lifestyle of overlanding wonderfully! And this is just one of may stunning visuals they have. Honestly, one thing that has struck me when researching all things overlanding, both online and in person, is the lack of usability and branding/identity in communications. So many of the websites seem to be surprisingly difficult to navigate, and even when you figure out which products you are interested in, it isn’t the easiest to find exact dimensions/weights, vehicle compatibility, and i’ve run into lots of dead ends following links. This definitely feels like a very forum driven industry when it comes to trying to find reviews and detailed comparisons… So it has been a breath of fresh air to find Front Runner Outfitters.
According to the press page, “Front Runner is a 14 year old South African based company founded by a team of engineers, designers, outdoor enthusiasts and professional off-road drivers.” Their tiki themed booth definitely stood out amongst the Arizona landscape of our first Overland Expo adventure… and their ‘Go to extremes. Bring back proof.’ ads are just fantastic. Additionally, as a newcomer to overlanding, their one-sheet Vehicle Specific Brochures (including a Toyota Land Cruiser 80 one that looks a lot like our white NOTFZJ80) definitely helps me visualize the possibilities MUCH more easily! Take a peek at the next page to see some of the fun goods we found, the FJ80 one sheet, as well as more of their great ads!
I think i’m experiencing Overland Overload? Here at NOTCOT, we’re nothing if not thorough when we get into obsessive research mode! So it should be no surprise that once we watched tons of videos, acquired our NOTFZJ80, and even shared lots of fun design inspiration in overlanding gear (in a week!)… that when i realized Overland Expo was only a 7 hour drive away in Flasgstaff, we had to hop in the car and go see it all in person! And WOW, if you’re at all curious to not only see and touch all things overland in person, but also talk to both brand reps and overlanders who are camped out in their custom rigs… it is the place to go!
On the next page check out everything we found - from more Land Cruisers, Land Rovers, Unimogs, Jeeps, and more of every vintage/color… to every variations of rooftop tents, pop up and pop out kitchens, survival gear, hammock pods, and so many happy dogs…
Life is all about balance ~ and it should be no surprise that the more time we all spend glued to screens (yes, phones count), the more we need the great outdoors! As you may have heard, between our endless 3D printing/soldering/etc. recently, we impulse started the NOTFZJ80 Project. While Shawn has been sharing endless Overlanding videos, forum discussions, and most excitingly — the gear, i’ve been fascinated by creative design solutions we keep finding!
The world of Overlanding is all new to me. Wikipedia defines it as: Overlanding is self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. Typically, but not exclusively, it is accomplished with mechanized off-road capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping, often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and spanning international boundaries. I grew up with my first few cars being SUVs. When living in LA, SD, and SF, throwing everything in my car and spontaneously moving or roadtripping was never out of the question. I love the idea of your car being ready to handle anything and take you anywhere and back.
Overlanding fits nicely on the spectrum between luxury hotel jetsetting and backpacking around the world… in that spot that is more luxurious than camping, more self sufficient than glamping, as equipped as an RV, but everything is more efficiently packed, multifunctional, and far more capable to get you through just about anything… it’s the perfect combo of man/machine teaming up to explore the outdoors to reach amazing remote spots. What i didn’t expect was how many fascinating design solutions pop up around the basics of what you can fit in/on/around your 4x4 vehicle, and how much of a fun designer project the process can be! Take a peek on the next page at some of the fun gear/setup possibilities i’ve been learning about while we research it all…
Just home from epic road trip holiday adventures from the beach, across the city, offroading through the desert, up into the mountains to find the snow and back ~ truly testing the Audi 2014 Q7 TDI. We found ourselves heading from CA - NV - AZ - UT and back again! Also had fun checking out the Jordanelle Reservoir, Olympic Trials, and making time lapse videos of the drive.
Just back from Nashville for a wedding, and between obligations, we ran around and discovered some fun spots from Headquarters Coffee filled with delicious localness, to Peter Nappi’s stunning boot store, Bang Candy’s Boozy Caramels, the Marathon Motor Car building filled with creatives and more.
Phew! What a whirlwind of a weekend it has been in Seattle. Check out delicious food, incredible coffee, endless apples, so many craft brews, a peek in the Boeing factory, a look inside the Rem Koolhaas Library, timelapse vids, and more inspiration.
One of our favorite discoveries in Seattle - Boeing Factory Tour in Everett, WA! It’s only about 30 minutes north of Seattle, and the sheer scale of the space and the planes and the factory in motion is mind blowing.
Phew! Reminder to self, no more red eye in, fly home in the evening trips… We just did a day trip to Indianapolis, getting in at 5:30am and flying home at 7:30pm… which means we were back in LA in under 24 hours. While we were there for a very specific purpose (hanging out with Butler Blue III, the bulldog mascot of Butler University, and checking out his Blue Mobile - more to come on that soooooon!) we also got to run around and see a bit of Indy! From watching the sunrise, to a delicious breakfast at Patachou, my first drive-in experience (Mug ‘n Bun!), my first architectural salvage (wow!), finding “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Space Rays” signage in a random yard, discovering locally made goods at Homespun and more… check it all out on the next page!
On another OR product… The Scrubba caught my eye for it’s playful branding, packaging, and concept. The idea is that when you’re on the go (and washing machine free) you can use this enhanced dry sack to wash your clothes nearly as effectively as a washing machine, and far more effectively than hand washing. Basically The Scrubba is a dry sack with a built in washboard, air vent (think beach ball valve), and a non slip bottom. Toss in your day or two of clothes, some soap, some water, and scrub away for 30 seconds to 3 minutes, then drain, rinse, hang dry! Simple, right? Perfect if you’re backpacking… or even a mom on the go with some kid messes at the beach/etc? Paired with a hairdryer that can pull from the car battery, you might even be able to wash and dry smaller things quickly for on the road emergencies?
The packaging (by Happy Studio Co) and design are super cute as well… the logo, well, i can’t seem to stop seeing a maxi-pad of sorts… and the concept, it is fun! It works! But part of me feels like it could have been designed simpler? Is it really so different than using a dry sack you already have? And maybe some dryer balls, etc instead of a built in washboard? But i do like the idea as an alternative to hand washing, even when at home, to get a more effective clean, use less water, and have less of a splashy, soapy mess. Take a peek at The Scrubba details on the next page!
p.s. See more of our Outdoor Retailer Show adventures here!
Catching up on pictures… here’s a peek at the Instagrammed inspiration from San Diego time. From Comic-con 2013 to the awesome signage at the Torrey Pines Glider Port… views from Mt. Soledad to tacos at Oscar’s… and fun art, toys, and portraits from the man behind Mr. Toast… see it all on the next page!