November '19

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18 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2019 parking lot of most shops full of adven- ture travel rigs, and still leave money to fund overland excursions for all of them. Lifted trucks may make you an off-road shop, but overlanding requires thorough knowledge of the outdoors. There are plenty of off-road shops throughout the country that lift trucks/SUVs all day long and install larger wheels and tires. Overland outfitters, as many are des- ignated, may also do the same as far as installing lift kits, wheels and tires, but they don't stop there. Overland enthusiasts want to know where to go for a trail ride, if there are any fire warnings in the areas where they want to travel and camp, and who in the vicinity might want to accompany them on an overland journey. Your shop, as the expert in adventure travel in your market, needs to know about some of these things, or at least have good relationships with local groups that can point overlanders in the right direction. Changing weather conditions, access to public land, areas that should be avoided— this is all part and parcel of what overland customers expect from outfitters in their areas when they visit your shop. It certainly helps if you are a partici- pant in adventure travel yourself and can speak on the subject with some degree of authority. Perseverance, as opposed to perfor- mance, determines what modifications overlanders want. Certain products are valued by both off- roaders and overland enthusiasts, such as winches, Hi-Lift jacks, recovery boards, auxiliary lighting, aggressive tires, lower gears, manual transmissions and increased wheel travel. But, there are very few that need a built LS engine for their overland vehicle, or want an intercom system or a full roll cage—both highly desired by off-roaders. Compare that with a refrigerator-freezer, privacy shelter, cassette toilet and camping stove—some of the myriad items that an overland customer may expect you to stock, or at least have ready sources where you can obtain them. Can you name and recommend the leading overland brands and their attri- butes, just as you do drivetrains and optimal suspension setups? MORE TO LEARN If you're seriously thinking about getting into overlanding, you'll also want to be knowledgeable about grills, auxiliary power systems, solar power, truck bed storage sys- tems, rooftop tents and adventure van con- versions, to name just a few of the popular product categories in that niche. On the surface, it may seem that exper- tise as an off-road retailer will serve you well in the overland category. But, don't be mistaken—adventure travel will require knowledge of a much broader range of topics than you may be accustomed to as a 4x4 shop. It is dedication to living an outdoor lifestyle that gives outfitters an advantage when dealing with the community, which consists of a coalition of off-roaders who like to camp, and campers who venture beyond the boundaries of established campgrounds. The latest Ram-based build from MULE is a calling card wherever it goes. MULE Expedition Outfitters is an adventure travel business headquartered in the Pacific Northwest. Overland teardrop trailers like this one from Sherpa Trailers are rapidly gaining popularity. Toyotas, both new and vintage, are sought-after platforms for building an overland rig. ORLG F-ROADG VS.

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