I was flicking through an American magazine the other day while at the newsagent, as I’m always keen to see what 4WDers in other countries get up to. Now, it came as no surprise that I’d find dozens of adverts relating to 4WD products, hunting and 4WDs (or SUVs as the Yanks like to call them) go hand in hand. What did surprise me however was the weird and downright whacky gadgets available, some I have to admit I kinda thought were cool, others just left me shaking my head.

There was a hammock chair sort of a contraption that you shoved up the tow hitch of your truck and could swing away happily suspended from the back of your 4WD. Again, I was impressed. And I’d actually seen these in Australia last year. I have a feeling I’ll be seeing a lot more of these at campsites in the future. However then I saw the tent/camper combo that fits into the tub of utes and converts that space into a mini camper. I thought heck, add the hammock chair and you’ve got yourself one enviable setup when next at the Deni Ute Muster!

My attention was then stolen by a moulded contraption that fits across the front of your 4WD in which are mounted five spotlights, all contained in a sort of carbon fibre looking “pod”. I must admit it had a very Dakar kind of a feel to it but then I got to wondering two things; how the heck do you open the bonnet to check on your air filter and what happens when you dance with a big red roo at 110 clicks? The answers to both of those questions had me moving along.

Next was the camo wraps. Have you ever seen these? Through the magic of science and that technology stuff, it’s now possible to completely wrap your vehicle in some sort of plastic, not unlike wrapping your school books back when you were a kid. Of course, there didn’t seem to be any colour nor pattern choice except camo (though there were a dozen different camo patterns to choose from). Imagine parking up at the top of a hill in the High Country to jump out and admire the view only to spend the next 20 minutes looking for your bloody truck!

Then things got down right ridiculous. The next advert I bumped into was written in the form of a joke, something of a prank but I secretly suspect for the majority of people who would buy such a thing, it would actually be used on their own rigs and not as a joke. I’m talking about something I would never have even guessed existed – none other than a spray can of mud. Yep you just read that right. So if you want to look like you’ve been out on the tracks but instead just couldn’t face leaving the coffee shop and stayed for one more soy, decaf, low fat latte then you could (in the secrecy of your own driveway) hit your rig with a can of mud then proudly drive down the main street like you’d just tackled the CREB and won. The mind boggles…

I also noticed that the Americans take cargo liners to the next level. We might spray a bit of Line-X in there or maybe put a set of drawers, nope not our Yank mates. They’ve got cargo liners that look like you would need to go on a three day course to use. Mostly made of canvas, these things fill the rear of your rig with pockets, flaps, buckles, ropes, shackles, mats, straps and holes. Not sure where to put that jar of pickles you just bought? Trust me, there will be a cargo liner with a pickle pocket somewhere for sale in the USA.


Now look, before I get a flurry of emails form my mates overseas – I’m not having a go, really I’m not. Heck it’s thinking outside the square like this that I’m a big fan of. In fact I’d go so far as to say I’d love to see some of these products available down under. Can you imagine rolling into your next campsite with your Real Tree camp wrapped truck on LED flickering rims with a tent in your tray and a hammock sticking out of your tow hitch and your jar of pickles safe in pocket 346A of your cargo liner? I tell you what, if you weren’t the envy of every camper there then I don’t know what’s wrong! Of course if that doesn’t get their attention, there’s always the can of spray on mud hey…

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