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Seen at SEMA

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine


Miles of aisles at the world’s largest automotive aftermarket-equipment event showcased the latest products for your tow vehicle

It started in 1963 when a handful of automotive businesses formed what was then known as the Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association, or SEMA. Today, SEMA stands for Specialty Equipment Market Association, representing a far broader spectrum of products than speed equipment alone. The association’s annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas is the largest automotive-equipment event in the world, with more than 2,400 exhibitors, and 140,000 buyers and media representatives. The mega show covers 2.5 million square feet of exhibit space and features more than 1,500 one-of-a-kind project vehicles. The bad news is that it’s a trade-only show that’s closed to the public.

Beautifully tailored Covercraft DashMats protect vinyl surfaces in vehicles from damaging sun and eliminate annoying glare. The company specializes in
custom-vehicle and RV covers.

The good news for those not in the business is that, outside the convention halls, many of the amazing specialty vehicles are on display. As the show winds down on Friday afternoon, thousands gather in bleachers and along the parade route, as all manner of super cars and trucks rumble out to the SEMA Ignited event just across the street. Food stands and live bands add to the carnival atmosphere.

We spent four days walking the miles of aisles looking for new items that may already be available at your local auto-parts and RV stores. The unique products the industry invents are always amazing. Who would guess that you could use a battery-powered hand drill to pull 1,000 pounds up a ramp? And can you imagine a ball mount that tells you the hitch weight of your trailer at a glance? We can’t possibly show you everything — we’re not even sure if we saw it all — but here you can get a glimpse of some of the products that caught our eyes. All you need at the end of the show is a foot rub.

For full-size trucks or vans, the innovative Decked Storage System (1) incorporates two bed-length drawers that roll out to provide easy access to tools, equipment and additional gear. The deck of the storage system is built from recycled high-density polyethylene co-molded to a steel sub frame, providing a 2,000-pound load capacity; drawers are claimed to hold up to 200 pounds. The storage organizer is weatherproof and can be configured to accommodate tie-downs or rack systems.


Yakima’s LoadWarrior (2) is a good solution for all the camping stuff there’s never room for. The rooftop rack fits round, square or factory crossbars right out of the box and can carry up to 140 pounds of gear on the rooftop of your vehicle, according to the company. An optional LoadWarrior 18-inch extension kit expands cargo capacity by 40 percent. The rack is made of weather-resistant heavy-duty steel, and a custom wind fairing is included for noise reduction. Locking brackets are sold separately.

Yakima Products


Long the world standard for transporting gas, diesel or water, NATO-style containers are now available again in the United States. The Wavian Jerry Can (4) is the first EPA/CARB/DOT/OSHA-compliant military-spec steel fuel-can system in North America, according to the company. The cans
are available in 5-, 10- and 20-liter
sizes in red (for gas), yellow (for diesel) and blue (for water).

Wavian USA

The BD Diesel TapShifter (5) gives owners of the Ford 6.0-liter diesel access to all five gears with the tap of a button, allowing the user to gear down during hill descents and lock out overdrive for hill climbing and curvy roads. It also utilizes the factory variable-geometry turbocharger as an exhaust brake for added retarding force. The kit comes with a mini gear display, new Ford OE shift lever, wiring harness and all related installation items. It’s designed for 2003 to 2007 Ford F-250 and F-350 models with the 6.0-liter Power Stroke V-8 and is compatible with most tuners, according to BD.

BD Diesel Performance


A convenient single-use bottle of Amsoil Diesel Injector Clean (3) was introduced to round out the company’s line of premium diesel additives. The new 8-ounce size is ideal for applications treating 15 to 20 gallons of fuel. Amsoil Diesel Injector Clean is formulated with a concentrated alcohol-free chemistry that is said to provide optimized performance in diesel applications. It removes perform­ance-robbing deposits found in fuel injectors and the combustion chamber.

Though not a brand-new product at this year’s show, we appreciated the Weigh Safe Drop Hitch (6), which features a built-in scale that measures trailer hitch weight. Available with 4-, 6-, 8- and 10-inch adjustable drop bars, the ball mount comes with 2-inch and 25/16-inch stainless-steel balls.

Weigh Safe


The Bolt Receiver Lock (7) locks trailers, bikes and equipment with your car key and now comes in models for all trailer-hitch receivers. The unique Receiver Lock — and all other Bolt locks — can be coded to your vehicle ignition key, keeping your keychain uncluttered.


The Craftsman 20-Watt Rechargeable

LED Light (8) is designed to offer a versatile lighting option, with hands-free and cordless operation. The light is weatherproof for indoor and outdoor use, and comes equipped with a charger and a rechargeable 6,600-mAh lithium-ion battery.


The Transfer Flow Hauler (9) in-bed auxiliary fuel-tank system offers 100 gallons of extra diesel-fuel capacity at a reasonable price. Available for 2000 to 2015 full-size Dodge Ram, Ford and GM diesel pickups with 8-foot beds, the tank is constructed of aluminum diamond-plate and mill-finish aluminum, and is fully baffled to minimize sloshing and maximize tank strength. It operates with Transfer Flow’s TRAX 3 fuel-monitoring system that automatically transfers fuel from the auxiliary tank to the truck’s main tank at predetermined levels. A dash-mounted LCD screen shows fuel-level percentages in each tank.

Transfer Flow


Torklift’s HiddenPower Battery Mount (10) is designed to hold an auxiliary battery under the vehicle with a no-drill installation and works for all types of Group 24, 27 and 31 12-volt batteries. With quick-disconnect electrical connectors, the system attaches to the truck’s frame and connects to the vehicle’s charging system.

Torklift International

The new Armor All Outlast Brake Dust Repellent (11) (previously called Armor All Wheel Protectant) forms an invisible barrier that is said to last up to four weeks. The product demonstration at the SEMA Show was impressive. Powdered dust and even sticky drops of honey slid off when the test rim was tipped sideways.


Dash cams are becoming increasingly popular for recording and storing everything that goes on in front of the vehicle as you drive. The amazing video quality of the new DOD RX400w Dash Cam (12) in all light conditions is produced by the combination of a 3-megapixel CMOS sensor and a Japanese-made six-element glass lens. DOD dash cams are built into an ultra-thin clip-on rearview-mirror replacement with an optional rearview camera.

DOD Tech Canada


Warn’s Drill Winch (13)
turns a mere handheld power drill into a portable, versatile pulling tool. With a capacity of 500 pounds (1,000 pounds double-lined), the device can even pull a small vehicle onto a trailer, according to the company.

Warn Industries


 The new Odyssey Performance Series Battery uses the same thin-plate pure-lead technology as the Odyssey Extreme Series but with a slightly lower SEMA---Odyssey-Performance-Seriesreserve capacity and cranking amps — and a 20 percent lower price. All other features remain the same, including an expected service life of three to 10 years and a four-year full-replacement warranty.

Odyssey Battery


New Hellwig LP-15 Helper Springs for the 2015 two- and four-wheel-drive Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon are rated up to 1,500 pounds. The kit SEMA---Hellwig-Spring-Helperincludes four multi-leaf springs that bolt onto the top of the factory leaf pack on either side of the axle U-bolts. The U-bolts can be adjusted to change the rate of the helper springs, allowing the user to match them to their specific loads or to level the vehicle for improved handling, braking, better ride and aesthetics.

Hellwig Products

WD-40 EZ-Reach
has an attached 8-inch flexible straw that bends and SEMA---WD-40-EZ-REACHkeeps its shape, allowing users to get around corners and crevices to deliver WD-40 Multi-Use Product exactly where it’s needed.


Stayhold Cargo Organizers

SEMA---STAYHOLDcome from Ireland and have small dividers that attach with hook-and-loop fasteners to any carpeted surface to keep groceries or other equipment and toys from sliding around in the back of a pickup or other vehicle.


Lund’s AVS Aeroskin II Hood Shield
is designed to flow with the SEMA---Lund-deflectorcontours of a vehicle to pro­vide the ultimate protection from bugs, dirt and stones. Aeroskin II applications include the 2015 to 2016 Ford F-150 and the 2014 to 2016 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra. The hood shield installs without drilling holes using 3M automotive-grade adhesive.


The Du-Ha Tote Box is a portable, lockable storage case that can be carried SEMA---Du-ha-Tote-Box-003in the back of a pickup or SUV, or an RV basement compartment. A locking track can be installed with two removable ¼-inch bolts. The Tote Box can be loaded with tools, jumper cables, and camping or fishing gear — it even doubles as a legal gun case in most states, according to the company. The case slides out for easy access and can roll around on its built-in wheels.


Griot’s Fine Glass Polish
can be used by hand or with a tool like Griot’s 6-inch SEMA---Griots-Glass-PolishRandom Orbital Polisher equipped with the company’s synthetic Glass Polishing Pads. We actually tried this before the show, and it left the glass amazingly clear and smooth. The polish removes spots you normally see on the vehicle’s windshield, sunroof and side windows that are hard to feel with your fingernails.

Griot’s Garage


The CarGo Apron is an innovative SEMA---CarGo-Apron-1cargo liner you can leave in your van, SUV or hatchback, or easily store until you need it. The woven-polyethylene liner has flaps that go up the side walls and rear seat backs inside the vehicle to keep the cargo area clean.

CarGo Apron


SEMA---Truck-Covers-1The sleek new Truck Covers USA American Truck Rack can quickly be reconfigured to extend over the pickup’s cab to hold kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and other long equipment. A lower secondary cargo level over the bed can also be added when needed.

Truck Covers USA

Quick Fist Clamps
are one-piece rubber SEMA---Quick-Fist-Tie-Downs-003clamps available in sizes to fit around anything from a flashlight to a bulky electrical cord, a hose or even an LP-gas cylinder. Each clamp can be attached with one bolt or screw to make securing items easy.

End of the Road


Whether it’s taking a load of camping gear on an adventure or a pile of trash to the dump, TuffTruckBag keeps the dirt out of SEMA---Tuff-Truck-Bag-003your nice clean truck bed and the rain off your camping equipment. Heavy-duty rings and four bungee cords secure the bag to the bed. When not in use, the bag stores in —what else? — an included tote bag.

Tuff Truck Bags

Considering all of the things that we need to wipe clean in our lives — eyeglasses, smartphone screens and lenses, GPS aSEMA---Invisible-Lens-Wipes-001nd computer screens, camera lenses, binoculars, telescopes and mirrors — we were glad to see the new 20-pack of disposable Invisible Glass Lens Wipes. We now keep a box in every vehicle, as they soon become addictive.

Invisible Glass

The SXT Tonneau Cover from ATC is there when you SEMA---ATC-Tonneau-Cover-in-a-Bag-002need it and gone when you don’t. Each interlocking section is removable and can be stored in the supplied bag, so you can keep it in your truck or leave the sections you don’t need at home. The covers are made of aircraft-grade composites and aluminum with an automotive finish.

ATC Truck Covers

Westin Automotive’s Thrasher
step running boards are constructed from one-piece stamped steel and have indented louvers that make for rugged styling. They come with a vehicle-specific mount kit and feature injection-molded bracket covers.

Westin Automotive

Gary WescottGearGear for Your TruckTravel Trailer Gear

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