For those who didn't see it, I asked readers to complete a small, unofficial survey and send it in so we could get an idea of their interests. This helps us fine-tune OFF-ROAD and produce a magazine you'll like even better. Most of the categories produced no surprises and are tallying about like we figured they would; some others have been a surprise.
For instance, in the "What do you like to do with your vehicle?" category, number one, by far, is trail riding/exploring. Number two is camping. In fact, we've received very few surveys back that say something else. Note that I said "very few." If yours was one that did say something else, your preferences have been noted, so don't worry. It looks as if lots of you like to actually use the truck you build! We will continue to provide backcountry destinations for you to take your vehicle to. The trails/roads may allow fast dirt road travel, or they may require some slow four-wheeling, but they'll all be places the average person would have some trouble getting to. We'll start doing a few features aimed at camping, too, but be aware we are a truck magazine so will continue to write about what we know best.
Another popular category of interest is mudding. We've been falling down a bit on mud coverage because we don't have any freelancers in the areas where mud is big. If any of you who are into the mud scene know how to take great photos, get in touch with us. Whether we have any takers on this invitation or not, we'll try to get more mud coverage into OFF-ROAD.
You who like prerunners were heard from, too. We will continue to give prerunner trucks the coverage they deserve. In fact, you may have noticed we've upped the coverage, because prerunners are sweet. They're engineered well, because, if they weren't, they'd fall apart in the desert. We're dedicated to prerunners. We're also coining a new word - trailrunners. Trailrunners are prerunners with four-wheel drive. They'll still be able to move on fast dirt roads, but they'll also be able to hit the trail and do some slower four-wheeling with the utility vehicles (Jeeps, Land Cruisers, and so on). Kevin Blumer's Project TrailRunner Ranger is aimed more at the prerunner side of things, but it will have four-wheel drive. I plan on something skewed the other way for myself - fast and competent on the dirt roads but very competent on the trail, too.
Our racing aficionados were a smaller, but vocal, group. We'll continue to cover racing, with at least one race per issue. We also plan on continuing coverage of grassroots racing, including, but not limited to, JeepSpeed, ROR, MDR, and the mud races that are getting so popular (any freelancers out there?).
You also indicated you like the buyer's guides, new products, and reviews of new products in each issue. This wasn't a surprise, as the New Products section in every automotive/truck publication is almost always the favorite department. We will also continue to cover what I like to call real trucks. These are the trucks you drive and use all the time. In this issue, check out the Towing Buyer's Guide, which we included because we know that many of you not only use your trucks off-road, but also use them to get your toys and other things off-road.
I see OFF-ROAD magazine as a three-legged stool. One leg is real trucks and trail riding, camping, and so on. The real trucks won't be beaters most of the time, though, as we'd like to show you great-looking trucks that actually work in the backcountry. You may, however, see a few beaters on occasion. The second leg is prerunners and trailrunners, their tech, and places to take them. The third is competition, such as racing and other events, where you push the outside of the envelope with your vehicle, or read about someone else pushing the outside of that envelope. Besides the Big Three subjects, you'll continue to see some coverage of off-road alternatives and other things that are off-road-related.
Thanks again for taking the time to complete the survey and for the kind comments on our new look.
In closing, those of you who are in a far-off, hostile land and are reading OFF-ROAD in your spare time, and even taking some precious sack time to fill out our survey, deserve our thanks and recognition. I know from experience that sometimes when sitting in a foreign land, just picking up a magazine from home and seeing the everyday things in it, even brand names and advertisements, will bring home close like nothing else can - except, of course, letters. Thanks for your commitment. Know that you're in our prayers for a safe and quick return so you can start hauling through the desert, blasting through that mud hole, or trailing up to your favorite lake and campsite again - OFF-ROAD magazine will be here to help you do that!