A few weeks ago, I took the plunge and bought a brand-new vehicle—a 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. Unlike my previous vehicle purchases, this one is clean and pretty, it isn't filled with rust, and the paint isn't faded beyond recognition. I intend to keep this new vehicle looking as good as I can while still using it for its intended purpose. To do so I'm taking a few steps to ensure it stays in good shape—starting with a good coat of wax.
This past September while on one of my multi-day motorcycle rides, I awoke from a restless sleep, unzipped my tent door, and came face to face with an all too common and very unpleasant prospect––cramming my feet back into the wet, stinky boots I had been wearing for the many days prior. I have great boots, don’t get me wrong, but clomping around camp in them leaves much to be desired. Okay, I can already feel many of you reaching for your keyboards to fill the comment box full of witty barbs. I get it––I’m about to suggest you invest in what amounts to camp slippers, but hear me out.
A few weeks ago, the world finally got a glimpse of the new Jeep Renegade at the Geneva Auto Show. Not much was known about this new vehicle prior to launch, but it did garner a sizable amount of interest long before the official unveiling. With the popularity of small off-roaders on the rise, the question must be asked, do these vehicles have a place in overland travel? Are these novelties masquerading as off-road trucks, or has the penny finally dropped and consumers now aware of what they need over what they want. A quick stroll through the technological advances plugged into the Renegade is clear proof Jeep is not just offering the illusion of off-road performance. What will consumers do with the Renegade and how does it impact the future of overland travel?
Photo: Caleb Knight
This is an multi-part post written by Jeremy Knight about his 2013 adventure on the Rubicon as a first-timer.
Rookies on the Rubicon, Part 5
Midnight Buggies at Martini Tree
via West County Explorers Club: Later on that evening, after an wonderful, restoring swim in Buck Island Lake, a dinner of hot-links with sliced tomatoes and onions on hoagie rolls (with sweet mustard), and a beer or so, we decided to walk down the hill, towards the Big Sluice Box. A challenge that we would not be able to by-pass. It was twilight, so we took flashlights to explore what we would be forced to drive the next day.
Turning around, at this point, was out of the question. We did not have the appetite to return the way we had come—that wasn't going to happen. That would also be admitting defeat and wasn’t going to happen either.
We had walked just past the second switchback, when we began to see lights flashing up through the tunnel of trees, way down the trail below us. Soon, we heard music and then we could hear voices. It sounded like a party, except that it was moving up the hill towards us rather quickly.
Good things take time, and years after the idea was first proposed, the Mountain Khakis and Overland Journal Tonto Trails Alpine Expedition Sweepstakes is finally a reality. The grand-prize is a package valued at over $18,000, but designed to provide a priceless experience. The winner plus guest will win a 6-day/5-night alpine overland adventure with Tonto Trails in their customized Jeep JK. Traveling over the iconic trails of the high mountains of southern Colorado, the winners will visit Telluride, Silverton, Lake City and Ouray. Packed into the Jeep is a collection of prizes every overlander would love to have as their own. Visit the link below for more information and your chance to win this trip of a lifetime.
Has Every Map Available - Hema. While this is not the origin of the company name, it is an adage that many Australian tourers would consider to be pretty true. So the car that needs to travel to all these destinations needs to be a beast of a car. That is where the Hema Map Patrol comes in. As the name suggests, it is a Nissan Patrol. A 2012 DX 3.0L diesel ute to be exact, and it has all the gear on it to go to the most remote places in Australia and come back again every time. To do the job, the car needs to be pretty much bulletproof.
ARB is renowned for having tough-as-nails equipment and that is where it began. Flipping through the catalogue, Hema began with body protection; bull bar, scrub bar and side steps, all going to help protect the car from damage when traversing rough tracks. Tucked into the front of the ute is a Warn 12000lb winch and 2 IPF spot lights. Keeping rubber on the track is an important part of any off-roading adventure, and to maintain that, the car has got a full Old Man Emu suspension. This also lifts the car about 2” which gives room for a set of 33” Cooper ST Maxx tires on Dick Cepek DC-2 wheels. The engine on this beaut of a car has a few additions. A snorkel is necessary to ensure the engine is sucking in clean air in the outback's dusty conditions or when they hit some of the wetter areas of Australia. A Steinbauer diesel chip along with a 3” exhaust gets the little 3L engine pumping out 190hp and improves the fuel consumption.
The adventure motorcycle market is rapidly becoming one of the most competitive segments in the motorcycle industry. With KTM and BMW both completely revamping their pinnacle offerings, and enjoying record sales in the process, many other brands are playing a desperate game of catch-up. Yamaha recently announced a number of critical improvement in their 2014 Super Ténéré in an attempt to woo buyers who have previously slipped through their fingers.
Despite lagging sales, few would argue the Super Ténéré is anything less than excellent. In its brief history it has won many an ardent fan, most quick to praise its reliability, balance, quality of construction, and rider comforts. If there have been any objections, those might be commonly attributed to the sizable weight of the Super Ténéré and perhaps an absence of a few bells and whistles buyers expect of a current big bike.
A couple years ago, perhaps suffering from a severe case of bikepack fever, I purchased a Salsa Fargo frame to serve as a project bike for Expedition Portal. It turned out to be one of the more enjoyable bicycles I have ever had the pleasure to ride. What I thought would only be a novel diversion from real bicycles evolved into a deep love of the Fargo with its seemingly endless possibilities. As winter arrived, my steel Fargo was replaced with Salsa’s new flagship model, the 2014 Fargo Ti.
Building on the success of their previous titanium Fargo, Salsa set out to relaunch the model with a handful of significant refinements. Most noteworthy is the redesign of the fork, now called the Firestarter. Constructed of carbon fiber with a sculpted shape worthy of wolf whistles, it is the one update to the Fargo which I feel has made the most noticeable difference to the ride quality. The new fork features 15mm thru-axle dropouts, a full carbon steerer, and to the applause of every adventure rider, Anything Cage mounts now positioned on the forward aspect of the fork blades. That latter refinement is a smart evolution of the Anything Cage as it moves them out of harm’s way should they, or the bag they contain, inadvertently contact the rotating wheel. The new frame and fork combo is also now corrected for a 100mm suspension fork for those wanting to push the Fargo into more technical turf.