The Ultimate Adventure isn’t really about comfort. We don’t stay at fancy hotels all week, eat catered meals every day, or hire trail hands to stack rocks if your rig won’t make the climb or to fix broken parts for you. It’s more like four-wheeling, camping, and being dirty for five to seven days at an off-road camp with your buddies. Some days may feel like a death march, but we doubt you’ll hate it, especially if you are open to adventure and definitely when you realize that you’ll be back at work a week later. You won’t know where you’re going, but if you can let someone else tell you how your day is going to go and you’re just along for the fun, you’ll be fine and probably see stuff you’ve never seen before.
That said, there are a few things you can do to make your vehicle more comfortable. We prefer an open vehicle to an enclosed cab. This allows you to see more, experience the road and scenery better, and really get to know the terrain and environment we’re wheeling in. Yes, you’ll get dirty and wet and there will be a lot of wind noise and you may get suntanned, but believe it or not, that is fun. We’re not saying a cab is bad, but tube doors or half doors or no doors at all really make the trip fun. An open cab also allows floorboard and firewall heat to escape better than a cocoon of a cab.
Air conditioning and heat aren’t a bad idea, but running them with the windows down is the more dignified way on UA. That way you won’t get dirty looks from your fellow adventurers who don’t have A/C. Plus, mud can quickly clog A/C condensers, and we always find mud. Floor mats, firewall insulation, and any way to help the heat escape from the engine compartment without entering the cockpit are great ideas.
As for camping, everyone has their own level of comfort. The more gear you bring, the more gear you have to carry and the longer it takes you to set up and tear down camp. Be sure you know how to set up your tent and gear before you come on the trip; you’re not going to want to learn how to do it in the dark and rain the first night. If you’ve never gone to the bathroom in the woods, figure it out before you come on the trip. If you don’t know how to cook over a camp stove or manifold, then don’t expect a hot meal. If you need to wash your face every day, then integrate a water can, cooler, or jug into your vehicle storage system. If you think you want to drink a beer, then you better be of age, be in camp, not be driving, and do it responsibly. If you need coffee daily, learn to make it; we won’t be visiting Starbucks every morning. If you need to do illegal drugs, stay home; you’re not welcome on the trip.
We’re not going to kill you on the trip, but you will be roughing it and taking care of yourself a fair bit. Our kit usually includes a small tent or camp hammock, a sleeping bag, a small sleeping pad, a few changes of clothes, boots, sandals (for hot road days or mud slogging), rain gear, a sweatshirt, a small camp stove, food, and plenty of water. You need to stay hydrated, as our trip is usually in the middle of summer and often sees triple-digit temperatures.
The Chosen Few
Ultimate Adventure is not an easy event to come along on, but it’s not impossible either. You apply, we pick about five readers, and you come on the trip. But what exactly are we looking for when we chose the readers?
First of all is a cool truck. We like oddballs, bright colors, and something that looks like it has proven itself off-road before. We’re not saying that a black Jeep Wrangler won’t get chosen, but a shot of a bright orange Dodge Carryall with a few dents and dings on a gnarly trail usually gets the judges more excited. Bright colors show up in photos better, and ultimately we’re looking for an exciting group of trucks to showcase in the magazine.
We look for variety. Even if the trip is sponsored by an OEM, we’ll still pick readers with a variety of trucks. We’re not looking for five identical white trucks; variety makes the event more fun. For example, this year we chose a long-wheelbase Samurai and a TrailBlazer partly because they were unique and different.
We also look at your personal experience, and again we want a variety of backgrounds. A doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, a contractor, a burger flipper, a college student, a farmer, a magazine writer…We’re looking for a variety of ages, occupations, and experiences to make a well-rounded group.
The same goes for vehicle hardware. We’re willing to invite just about any make and model truck with just about any setup or upgrades, but if we read about your 1,800 ft-lb diesel engine, 44-inch tires, and light-duty Dana 30 axle, we may question your preparedness. If there’s a built Dana 30 with a four-banger and some 35s in the picture of you wheeling deep in the Canadian forest in a lightweight yet properly stocked 4x4, we will be more likely to pick you.
And again, paint it or wrap it in a bright color. Orange, red, yellow, light green, and electric blue all show up better than brown, black, or dark gray.
Want to Go?
There you have it, plenty of info to dwell on as you begin building your own Ultimate Adventure vehicle. That ought to you keep you distracted from the daily grind, whatever yours may be. Now go to this website, read the rules, fill out the form, and send it in: www.4wheeloffroad.com/ua13_app. We may just be calling you next spring to join the adventure.
720 SW 34th Street
Chris Durham Motorsports
4320 Aerotech Center Way
484 County Road 113
9335 Stevens Road
505 N. Cleveland Ave.