What's the best part of the SEMA show? For us, there are two high points: the hundreds of cool vehicles displayed all over the convention center, and the new products. Our team went through all three halls of the huge show, and whittled down a rather impressive group of new products to give you the 25 best new items we saw there. Some aren't on sale yet, but this should give you a good idea of what's coming in 2014.
SnugTop's newest cap was inspired by some of the commercial products the company offers, but with adventure in mind. The Outback has a lot of potential uses for outdoorsmen, with convenient Suburban-style barn doors, plus the capability of holding additional gear on top with the available rack. Its struts make the doors easy to open and close. The flat, vertical walls offer plenty of space for cargo -- or for a person who might want to camp in the back of the truck.
Firestone's Ride-Rite system is now available for 2009-2014 Ford Raptors. This system, which doesn't require any drilling, uses already existing holes as mounting locations. This doesn't make the Raptor more of a niche, off-road-only vehicle; rather, it helps with work and road duty, improving ride and handling. As a part of the company's Sport-Rite line of air helper springs, it can support up to 3000 pounds (as long as that doesn't exceed GVWR).
Firestone Industrial Products
Falken R52 Heavy-Duty Tire
This is a tire designed for hard work, built to handle the demands of heavy-duty light truck use. The rigid, notched-rib tread helps Falken's R52HD with all-season traction and stability in wet and dry conditions; the tire is designed to provide both under heavy loads. It has a three-ply sidewall and wide grooves to help resist hydroplaning. It's currently available for 16-inch wheels.
This is one of the most innovative products we saw at SEMA this year. The Shark Kage is a bed-size multitool, serving as a ramp, toolbox, bed extender, work table, cargo cover, and structure for a sunshade. It mounts to the tailgate to prevent slipping. Unfolded, as a ramp it can support over 1500 pounds. With a stand, it can serve as a work bench. Rolled up, it's a secure toolbox. It can also help prevent motorcycle theft. There are four models with varying widths and load capacities, and units are designed to work with most pickup bed widths.
If you own a truck cap, but want a smart, secure way to stow small gear, Leer has come up with a solution: the Leer Locker. This storage system is mounted to the underside of the cap's roof, and slides to make it easy to access tools, parts, camping equipment, or whatever else you may want to store there. When the Locker is slid into place, it is far enough back that prying eyes can't see it.
RockStar Mud Flaps
Agri-Cover debuted its Rockstar hitch-mounted mud flaps at SEMA. These are designed to help reduce the rocks and road debris that could hit and damage boats, trailers, and campers. The mud flaps mount to a 2-inch receiver hitch, and can easily be installed and removed. Its frame contours to a truck bumper and comes in corrosions-resistant smooth mill finish or diamondplate. The flap itself uses half-inch-thick rubber; its smooth finish is said to withstand temperatures up to 250 degrees F, while being made to resist buildup of mud and ice.
Pro Comp Wheels
Pro Comp introduced a new wheel at SEMA, its 5035 Predator Series. This is part of the company's Motorsports line of wheels. The 5035 has a tough off-road design, with bolts along the rim, surrounding a five-spoke center. The black wheel was made using low-pressure castings, helping keep the wheel lightweight while still being strong.
Anyone who wears Carhartt apparel knows that the company's jackets are rugged and tough. So it makes sense for Covercraft to partner with Carhartt to offer seat covers that have that same level of durability. These machine-washable seat protectors are made from Carhartt's duck weave fabric and have triple-stitched main seams. They use storage pockets with Carhartt rivets and have a water-repellent finish.
Lock and Load
Whether you are heading out on a road trip or off to the job site, you want to secure gear yet keep it easy to access. Torklift's Lock and Load is a cargo tray has a tool-free locking system that keeps cargo secure. The 28x23-inch tray fits into a trailer hitch receiver, and can stay there while you use whatever's in it. That means that if you need to bring a generator or tool box with you, you can keep it in the tray, yet it's still convenient to access while staying under lock and key.
Jeep's decision to replace the 3.8-liter V-6 with the more powerful, more efficient 3.6-liter Pentastar made the Wrangler much faster than it used to be. Now, Magnuson's supercharger kit for JKs equipped with the Pentastar can make the Wrangler faster yet. According to the manufacturer, the kit delivers 25-percent more horsepower and torque in 2012-and-newer JKs throughout the powerband, yet still provides OE-like fuel economy (depending on how you drive).
McHitch Automatic Trailer Coupler
You aren't always going to have a buddy with you to serve as a spotter while you hook up your trailer. The McHitch automatic trailer coupler makes it easier to get the job done when you're flying solo. It also provides a solid link between the tow vehicle and the trailer, making the ride quiet and smooth. The product is from Australia, but you can order it online.
McHitch Automatic Trailer Couplers
61 2 63522533
Titan Spare Tire Tank
This clever system from Titan makes use of space that would otherwise go to waste. Any truck that uses larger-than-OE wheel-and-tire setups can't (shouldn't) use the OE-size spare. In many cases, those truck owners end up carrying the larger fifth wheel and tire in the bed. Titan has a use for that space where the spare used to be: This is a 30-gallon tank made to mount in that spot under the bed. The tank pictured here is for 1999-and-newer diesel pickups, and uses a pump controller for safe fuel delivery.
Titan Fuel Tanks
Bestop's RoughRider spare-tire organizer is another example of a smart way to utilize spare-tire space, but in this case, it works around the existing location of the tire. This organizer works around a spare that's mounted on the back of a vehicle (read Jeep), providing exterior storage for smaller items, such as recovery equipment and tools. There are units available for 30- to 40-inch spare tires. The bags are made from heavy-duty fabric, and are removable if you want to take them with you further down the trail on a hike or to the campground.