September '18

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24 THE SHOP SEPTEMBER 2018 In foreign countries, Land R o v e r s , M e r c e d e s - B e n z G-Wagens and Toyotas have proven themselves nearly indestruc- tible, and for that reason preferences have carried over here, too. Also rising in popu- larity is the Lexus LX570, which shares the same chassis as the Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series. These models can often be found with fewer miles on the odometer, and maybe none of them have been off-road. With the exception of the Jeep JK and Ford Raptor, no other domestic brands or models were among those noted by the shops we interviewed, in sharp contrast to the many truck or off-road shops we have surveyed over the past decade where Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, and Ram prevail (along with Toyota Tundras to a lesser degree). Despite building targeted off-road models, domestic brands are not currently being modified in discernable numbers by the overlanding community. HAPPY CAMPERS Perhaps this has something to do with findings from the RV Industry Association (RVIA), which concluded that "there are more campers than ever before" and that "camping is making inroads into every ethnic group and age category in North America." Millennials (ages 19-35) are a driving force, comprising 44 percent of new campers and making up more than a third of all campers. Outdoor recreation is an important part of what campers want, according to the study, and camping is viewed as a means of strengthening rela- tionships, reducing stress, increasing phys- ical activity and helping combat obesity. From the people to the parts, your shop should be familiar with many of the prod- ucts popular with adventure travelers. Lift kits, for example, not only provide clear- ance for larger tires to gain greater traction and control, but can also be used to bal- ance the vehicle and stabilize its center of gravity with the use of roof or bed racks, rooftop tents and/or cargo areas filled with storage containers or cabinets, a refrig- erator/freezer, camping equipment, first aid kit and extraction devices like ActionTrax. The selection of wheels and tires popular in the overland community is less show and more go in that smaller-diameter wheels are paired with as much rubber as possible. Track width may not be a factor for lifted street-driven trucks or SUVs, but can be the difference between clearing obstacles or not when going overland. The popularity of other accessories can be based on personal preference. While fabricated bumpers may provide additional clearance and steeper angles, for instance, the added weight may make some designs less desirable. Aluminum, although more expensive, is often preferred. Another important aspect to keep in mind is that, in general, adventure travelers are intelligent, resourceful and affluent. They do their homework, read overlanding print and online magazines, attend and participate in local and regional events and have a good idea of what products and brands will work A good crowd gathered around the campfire at the Northwest Overland Rally (NWOR) in Washington. Varia- tions on the adventure-travel theme—this one with a tent attached to the enclosure and dual lad- ders. All the right equip- ment—rooftop tent, auxiliary enclosure and a shower/privacy stall. Crossing Over

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