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The “Behind the Wheel” series is an up close and personal look at authentic brands and their owners, in the exciting world of Overlanding and Vehicle Supported Adventure. Today we’re sitting down with KP, Founder of Zero Declination

Let’s Dive in! 

Zero Declination

KP, great to chat with you today. Let’s start with your background and what led to the creation of Zero Declination. 

Hello Andy, it’s nice to be here. I grew up on a farm and in a small town, so was always interested in trucks and off-roading, but in my early 20s I was bit by a travel bug. It didn’t take long for me to combine the two pastimes and that turned into a PanAm trip from 2016-2019. 

When I got back from that trip, getting a “real job” sounded pretty terrible so I started Zero Declination with the goal of helping others outfit their rigs for true, long-term adventure travel. My background is mostly in full-size American trucks, and I find they make an excellent overland platform, so that’s our specialty. 

zero declination, OEV, Overlanding, overland,

So, Zero Declination is an interesting name, what’s its origin? 

So, it can mean several things, but in this context it’s a point on the map where true North and magnetic North align with one another. 

Give us some insight into what you and your team do at Zero Declination. What brands and products you currently distribute and why? 

I gravitate toward very high quality, well built, but simple products. I like things that just simply work, right out of the box and our product mix reflects that. Our flagship line is definitely the truck camper, chassis mount expedition trucks, and aluminum trays made by Overland Explorer Vehicles. We also love Battleborn Batteries and Victron electrical componentry. I’d say we’re most well-known as a high-end electrical shop, focused on lithium batteries and solar installations. We also sell and install MITS Alloy products as well as Skinny Guy campers

Are you planning on any additional products and if so, can you tell us about them? 

Currently, in-house, we design and sell a few of our own products, including the very popular Reico Titan quick release jack kits. I’ve got a few more ideas I’m working on in the queue, but nothing ready for primetime. Yet!  

Well, I’m certainly grateful that the industry expansion has allowed me to make a living helping others do something that I personally love. I’m not sure there would have been the demand for our products or services ten years ago. That being said, I’m typing this from Baja Sur right now and I’ve NEVER seen so many American rigs in places that were once pristine, and absolutely remote. It’s definitely a give and take. 

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Looking into your crystal ball, where do you see the category going as it evolves further? 

Oh man, I wish I knew. I realize this sounds ridiculous coming from a guy who literally owns an overland shop and sells accessories, but I truly hope we see a focus shift away from accessories and aesthetics, and back to the roots of travel and exploration. 

As a passionate overlander yourself, what’s been your favorite trip you’ve taken, and do you have somewhere special on your bucket list destinations yet to visit?

My favorite trip so far has to probably be a moto trip in South America. I bought a cheap KLR from a guy on Facebook Marketplace and rode it from LaPaz Bolivia, through the altiplano, the Atacama Desert, and Patagonia to Ushuaia. The motorcycle wasn’t very reliable, so my breakdowns and subsequent fixes resulted in a ton of great adventure stories and amazing interactions with locals and travelers alike. Motorcycle travel is wonderful because it really exposes you to the elements and environments you’re traveling though, but still allows you to cover miles when needed. 

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Finally, any funny trail stories you can share with us? 

Oh man.. so many, but my favorite is probably the time I setup camp inside an abandoned warehouse near Porvenir Chile. I’d hung my hammock from the motorcycle to a beam inside the building, hung my helmet from the handlebars, and fell asleep facing the open door and a view of the Straight of Magellan. I woke up in the middle of the night. With the fork, bars, and suspended helmet, my motorcycle looked exactly like some sort of skeletal terminator nightmare bearing down on me. I literally screamed and fell out of my hammock before I woke up completely and realized what was happening. I slept great the rest of the night though, and it’s still one of my all-time favorite camp spots. 

zero declination, OEV, Overlanding, overland,

Thanks for spending time with us today, KP. Hope to join you one of these days, down south. 

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Raised in beautiful but rainy England, Andy moved to the sunny climes of Southern California in 1995 and hasn’t looked back since. Two and half decades working in the outdoor, bike and surf industries has given him a thirst for adventure and living life without a ceiling. When not working on the website, he can be found surfing Californian beaches, or in remote mountain or desert areas, either primitive camping, mountain biking or embarking upon vehicle assisted adventure in the backcountry with one of The Adventure Portal rigs.