Easiest Backup Camera Ever
The Master Lock Plug 'N Go Backup Camera is a brilliant yet simple design. You simply mount the screen stalk anywhere it fits and plug the cord into a power port for your cockpit convenience. While we always check for kids and such before we back up, mounting this unit in the engine house made it way nice to watch the trailed Jeep following us down the road. In fact, it's the only way to see anything behind the house, even with mirrors.
The camera is in a self-contained unit with a heavy-duty magnet. This easily keeps it secure for most uses, but it can also be permanently mounted for harsh trails or rough roads. The flat-four connector plugs piggyback into the trailer socket, supplying power and ground without any extra wiring. It also fits inside your vehicle's receiver hitch and can lock with a locking pin. We figure another adapter would allow us to mount the camera underneath for video on the go if we so desired. For around $199 it's a pretty handy device.
Garmin Nuvi 265WT
GPS navigation has advanced significantly in the last 10 years and is much more affordable and easy to use. There are literally hundreds of small GPs navigation units available, and we spent the better part of a week researching the best affordable ones. The problem with choosing a system is that there are only minor differences between the devices yet huge price differences. Finally we chose a Garmin Nuvi.
We found that the Garmin Nuvi 265WT (WT stands for widescreen and traffic) was the easiest to use. After turning the unit on, the user is given a choice to either enter a destination address or just use the map, which simply shows where you are at all times. The deciding factors in favor of the Garmin unit were live traffic updates, the ability to update the maps via computer, voice control, being able to download different vehicle icons (such as a big 4x4), and Bluetooth. We found our Nuvi uncomplicated to use and have become very fond of it.
The only issues we found was that dragging the map around with the touch screen didn't work as easily as it should have, small ads popped up in conjunction with the live traffic updates, and the screen would sometimes not let us zoom out. We purchased our Garmin Nuvi 265WT at Costco for $189.
Information: Garmin Ltd., 913.397.8200, www.garmin.com
Trail D-Vice Clamp Down
Trail repairs just got easier because Mac wants to lend a hand. The new Trail D-vice from Mac's Custom Tie Downs is a simple lightweight vice and anvil that can be slid in the receiver hitch of your 4x4 (or tow rig) for a sturdy place to hold parts that need to be worked on.
A vice or anvil is great for changing axle U-joints, bending metal, and clamping stuff as you cut it down or weld it together. The Trail D-vice is lightweight at only 16 pounds, and we definitely recommend securing it solidly while four-wheeling so it doesn't bounce around inside your truck. Another option is installing a receiver hitch onto your trailer somewhere so you can clamp stuff during in-camp repairs.
Information: Mac's Custom Tie Downs, 866.371.5175, www.macscustomtiedowns.com
The 4-inch vice jaws can be opened up to 81/2 inches, perfect for installing U-joint caps. The vice is also handy for holding shock's while rebuilding them during in the field testing, but we'd add some aluminum or brass soft jaws.
The 5/8-inch-thick steel pad behind the vice is a good little anvil for beating on things like tie rods, wheel hubs, and suspension parts. The Trail D-Vice retails for about $160.
While you may think a winch belongs on the front of your 4x4, having a winch in a bag can be handy. New from Superwinch, this diminutive 2,000-pound-rated winch is the hot ticket for all those small pulling projects or accidental stucks you encounter. Simply attach the 8-foot remote and longer power leads to your battery with the supplied clamps, and hook the winch between puller and pullee for a quick retrieval with the 49 feet of 5/32 cable.
While not designed for heavy-duty recoveries, this compact unit can be stowed away for that rainy day when you slide off the road and just need a little tug to safely recover your ride. It comes with attaching straps, a shackle, and a remote lead as well as power leads-and, oh yes, the bag! The whole kit and caboodle retails for about $199.
Information: Superwinch Inc., 860.928.7787, superwinch.com
If your truck sits atop 2 1/2-ton Rockwell axles and you're looking for a better way to steer the massive axleset, then Old Town Customs has a part for you. OTC's newly designed high steer arm can be used on either the driver- or passenger-side knuckle and is composed of 1-inch steel. Each arm ($125) comes bare and is fitted with a grease fitting, an antisheer bracket, and Grade 9 hardware. The arms also come in pairs ($250) or as part of an OTC fully hydraulic steering kit.
Information: Old Town Customs, 936.462.3945, www.oldtowncustoms.com
Tired of thieves, crooks, and other lowlife dirtbag scum-sucking bucketheads steeling stuff out of the bed of your truck? Master Lock has just released its Truck Bed U-Lock, which is designed to fit in stakehole pockets or be attached to the welded tie-down points. Then a hardened steel shackle can be clamped to hold a cable or chain that you have run through your tools, spare tire, dirt bike, or the collar of the fearsome pit bull who lives in the bed of your truck. For $50 it's added security against bandits.
Information: Masterlock, 800.464.2088, www.masterlock.com