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.
One of the key aspects of safely towing a trailer is making sure the tongue weight is correct. While that can sometimes end up involving guesswork, Leap Innovations offers a better way. Weigh Safe is a trailer hitch scale that measures tongue weight. The scale will also make it easier to properly distribute weight when loading the trailer.
Expand Crossover Toolbox
This toolbox from Armaxa has a lot more to it than the average container for equipment. The Expand Crossover Set does have two removable toolboxes, but in addition to that, there are two modular head racks, as well as a crossover box. The removable components can attach in multiple configurations atop the crossover box lid. They lock in place and detach through the use of releases. There's also a drawer in the crossover box so you can access tools when there are attachments mounted to the lid.
Bully Dog GT T+ for Toyotas
There aren't many companies out there that make tuners for Toyota Tundras and Tacomas. In fact, outside of what Toyota Racing Development, there is one: Bully Dog. Seen here is the GT T+, which offers four tuning levels for a variety of needs. You can log data to see what your truck is doing, and can load that performance data online as well.
Bully Dog Technologies
Extreme Outback Recovery Kit Pro
If you are going to venture into the great outdoors, you need to make sure you are prepared for anything. You don't want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere. That's why Extreme Outback has put together the Recovery Kit Pro, which includes many of the safety items you should have in your vehicle on journeys into the woods. Included here are recovery straps, shackles, gloves, a shovel, chain, LED headlamp, machete, whistle, red safety triangle, and pulley block, all of which fit into the included storage bag.
Extreme Outback Products
The AeroBox is an alternative to the traditional toolbox or cargo organizer. The AeroBox is a removable storage area for the back of the truck bed, which is said to improve vehicle aerodynamics, thanks to the shape of the box and the fact that it is a rear-mounted unit. The AeroBox uses dock-and-lock side panels, which make it easier to secure and remove, and it also has integrated wheels.
Rugged Ridge X-Clamp Mounting System
Rugged Ridge has created a new way to mount items to tubes that are 2-1/4 to 3 inches in diameter. A vehicle owner can clamp lights, antennae, cameras, or whatever else a creative truck or SUV owner can think up. This mounting system uses X-clamps, which you rotate to fit the tube. Then you pivot each mounting bracket until it's where you want it. The system is available in black or silver.
Lincoln Roll Cage Gloves
This is a set of gloves made to take the place of two sets. Lincoln's Roll Cage gloves are said to be strong enough to handle welding and rigging. The gloves are made of cowhide, and are sewn with Kevlar thread. In addition, the gloves are enhanced with extra, tough knuckle protection.
Ironman 4x4 Total Traction
This is an easy way to get out of trouble once a vehicle gets stuck in sand, snow, or mud. Called the Ironman 4x4 Total Traction by Tred, this recovery device can help anything from an ATV to a truck. The units use hex nodules for better traction and a four-channel design for strength. It also comes with features like an integrated shovel and handles.
The Busted Knuckle Garage -- maybe the best company name at SEMA -- has come up with a single-digit glove that helps you make sure you can retrieve small metal items you may have dropped, and can help make sure you don't drop them in the first place. The magnetic finger tool has a strong magnet right at the fingertip.
The Busted Knuckle Garage
EZ Connector S77
This company makes electrical towing connections, including this new system. Like others the company makes, this one is waterproof, corrosion-free, and has a breakaway design. The new S77 also incorporates camera circuits in the same connector, so older trucks can use an aftermarket camera on the back of a trailer. It works with 2000-and-newer Fords and GMs, plus newer Dodge/Ram, Toyota, and Nissan trucks. Also available are T-connector versions for fifth-wheels and goosenecks. It uses neodymium magnets to hold the plug and socket together, not a latch.
EZ Connector Inc.
Jeep TDI Truss Member
OK, so swapping a turbodiesel in place of a gas engine isn't just a question of using this one part, but we certainly support a company that at least wants to make the process easier. This truss member from Coty Built, allows someone to install a Volkswagen TDI engine into a Jeep chassis, and lets the owner to keep all the Jeep accessories. The same company also has a transmission adapter package that will connect that engine to the Jeep transmission.
HPA Motorsports/Coty Built
RetroSound Bluetooth Radio
Do you own an older truck, but want to be able to play your iPod? The RetroSound Newport is a 1.5-DIN radio that offers a direct-fit solution. This head unit, which is compatible with 1982-2002 GMs and 1975-2000 Dodge vehicles, includes built-in Bluetooth, has a dual-color display, two USB ports, and also comes with a subwoofer output.
Retro Manufacturing LLC