Meet Elise Bent and Mercedes Lilienthal. Competitors in the 2018 Rebelle Rally.

Meet Team #179: the Free Range Dames

We are two women who competed in the 2018 Rebelle Rally, the first offroad navigational challenge of its kind in the United States. The course spans over 2000km from Lake Tahoe to San Diego over 7 days of competition. Elise was the navigator and Mercedes was the driver in the built 2012 Toyota Tacoma you see above (provided courtesy of Bomber Products). In the Rebelle Rally, no GPS is allowed, only old-school map and compass, making it one of the toughest and most unique challenges. Learn more about us and our journey by reading more below:

Elise Bent

Elise is a passionate explorer with an insatiable curiosity. She grew up in a family of outdoor sports enthusiasts who nurtured in her a thirst for learning and adventure. Elise strongly believes in “making it happen;” achievement comes from a combination of grit and simply taking the first step. Elise is a freelancer specializing in geospatial applications, web development and also helps her husband Josh with his business, Bomber Products. Recently, Elise co-founded Big Sky Overland Rally, the first overlanding event of its kind in Montana. When she’s not ripping around the continent in an overland vehicle, you can find her hiking, skiing and kayaking in the Montana wilderness.

You can follow her travels and adventures at @elise.bent or


Mercedes Lilienthal

Mercedes is a Portland Oregon-based freelancer and adventurer who specializes in all things related to vehicular adventure travel. She, along with her husband Andy, run Crankshaft Culture, an automotive website dedicated to “getting out there” (no matter what type of vehicle you own). Currently in their stable, they have two right-hand-drive turbo-diesel Mitsubishis: a 1989 Delica Star Wagon (aka The Space Tractor) and a 1992 short wheelbase Pajero. In addition, they have two customized subcompact daily drivers. Mercedes, a dual citizen of the United States and Germany, loves to travel. Her most recent trips include exploring New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and many of the western states.

You can follow her travels and adventures on Facebook and Instagram @crankshaftculture and @mercedes_lilienthal

Read More:

OutdoorX4 - Article Series

"I’ve known Elise through overland rallies and events. During the last few years Elise and I become friends and hoped someday we’d compete in the Rebelle Rally together. This year, the dream is becoming a reality! I’ll be the driver and Elise the navigator."

New Doc 2018-07-26

4WD Magazine

"We’re not exactly sure what to expect, other than an epic adventure." Click above to read the whole article!

The Gearhead Project Podcast

In this episode, we talk about the countless hours behind the scenes, doing the grunt work. Dealing with the not-so-glamorous nuts-and-bolts of the affair. Looking fear and uncertainty straight in the eye—and making progress no matter what.

“We had the privilege of catching up with Team Free Range Dames at the NW Overland Rally in Plain, WA. After a short conversation with Elise, seeing her passion along with her genuine persona, we knew having her and her partner Mercedes on the podcast was something you would find great value in. ” Click above to see the shownotes and take a listen! 

The Off-Road Podcast is a show for anybody that loves getting off the highway with their rig.  We don’t judge here, having an adventure off-road is all the matters. In this episode, Offroad Podcast talks to the Free Range Dames. 

Meet our 2018 Sponsors:

Bomber Products is a vehicle outfitter located in Bozeman, MT. They provided the built  2012 Tacoma we will be driving for the Rebelle Rally, a recovery gear kit as well as a generous grant to help cover our admission fee. 

The ShiftPod is brought to you by Advanced Shelter Systems, a company that also builds quick deploy shelters for displaced people and natural disaster responders such as firefighters. The ShiftPod’s insulating properties and quick setup make it a perfect choice for the Rebelle Rally! We are thrilled to have ShiftPod as one of our major sponsors!

Leitner Designs is the creator of our Active Cargo System as well as a sponsor of our team. Leitner Designs is dedicated to engineering the most innovative products that are manufactured exclusively in the USA.

Tommy’s Window Tinting provides a multitude of Window Tinting | Clear Bra | Vinyl/Print Graphics Commercial and Residential Design Services. Their craftsmanship, quality, and level of professionalism is bar none. Tommy’s provided a full wrap, vinyl logos and window tinting on the Tacoma. 

Crankshaft Culture

Crankshaft Culture is a blog and media outlet about vehicles, adventure, and culture. Crankshaft Culture is providing team media exposure and donating a portion of their merchandise sales towards our team.  

Overland Cruisers, our official Team Mechanic, is a Toyota specific mechanic shop in Bozeman, MT. Overland Cruisers will be donating their top notch services to ensure that our rig is in tip top shape for the Rebelle Rally. 

MAK Graphic Design

MAK is a freelance designer and illustrator working full-time from the road. Her work ranges from apparel graphic art, illustration, branding, typography, packaging, Ad design, and social media management. Check out her work at & IG @makwashere
MAK designed our team logo and some of our awesome merchandise. 

Drink Tanks

Drinktanks is a proud supplier of custom engraved Team Free Range Dames growlers and pint cups! Their products are double-walled stainless steel, dishwasher safe, have leak-proof closures, are BPA free, and have lifetime warranties. Check them out, they will be releasing new product in time for the Holidays. They are keeping us hydrated!

Pull Pal

“The best winch is useless without something to hook onto!” 

In the Desert terrain of California and Nevada, where the Rebelle takes place, there won’t always be trees, other vehicles, or other good winching points. Pull Pal has donated their latest product version with the light-weight spade for us to use during the Rebelle Rally. 



Warn Industries is the world’s most recognized brand in off-road products such as hub locks and vehicle recovery winches. The company designs, manufactures, and markets a full line of off-road equipment and accessories that enhance the performance of four-wheel-drive and powersport vehicles. Warn Industries is supplying as-needed recovery gear and accessories to Team Free Range Dames.

Tribe One Outdoors is the creator of premier bungee and attachment systems. They are providing us with an assortment of their products to help us keep our gear secure and organized during the Rebelle.