The Ultimate Adventure is serious fun and serious business. It takes time, planning, and a fair amount of dough to make this weeklong wheelfest a reality each year. Contrary to what some may believe, we are not cruising around in corporate helicopters and living the highlife here in magazine land. Like any media business model, we need an audience (you) and sponsors to keep things afloat.
To sponsor the UA means you are dedicated to wheeling and supporting our industry. Historically, many of our gracious sponsors have used the UA as a testbed for new products like tires, suspensions, and drivetrain products. And unlike the disconnected suits that run Wall Street, our industry titan’s actually play in the dirt like the rest of us. We are grateful for all of their help, and ultimately we all benefit from their participation.
Presenting Sponsor & Official Vehicle: Jeep
For over 70 years Jeep has provided wheeling enthusiast with incredible build platforms and showroom-ready wheelers. For this year’s UA the off-road legacy brand signed on as the official presenting sponsor and title vehicle. Teamed up with Jeep, we were able to take one of Jeep’s newest offerings, the ’12 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, and create a one-off JK (aka the Off-Roadster) to lead our adventure. Staffed with outdoor enthusiast, Jeep also sent two engineers along for a little R&D and R&R. It’s great to see a company that genuinely cares about off-road enthusiasts, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for the brand that continues to set the off-road benchmark.
Official Tire: Nitto Tire
Coming back for the second year as the official tire of the Ultimate Adventure, Nitto Tire continued to be a great fit. With a huge product line spanning the Grappler namesake, Nitto has shown dedication and enthusiasm for both the competition and recreation sides of the wheeling world. With Nitto’s latest 40-inch Trail Grapplers fitted under the Off-Roaster, the JK had no trouble digging up traction. Like last year, all rigs running Nittos made it through the treacherous week of wheeling without a single tire failure. This is no easy task and a record we and Nitto would love to see continue.
Official Recovery Rope: Bubba Rope
Whether it was a slick hillclimb, a sandy ridge, or a huge rock ledge, the Bubba Rope crew had some type of recovery strap for each occasion. We’ve had excellent luck with the original Bubba Rope in the past, and this year we got great use out of the new Tree Hugger line when we needed a safe winch point. Given the swampy and wet terrain on this year’s Pacific Northwest tour, we were sure glad the Bubba Rope crew signed back on! Like the shirt says, they are more than just your average mudder’s rope!
Official Fenders: GenRight
The factory Jeep Wrangler JK fenders leave plenty to be desired. The stock plastic isn’t the most heavy-duty, and the rounded design isn’t particularly useful for setting down your favorite trail beverage on. Fortunately, GenRight has a simple and lightweight solution for your stock fender woes with its aluminum fender set. GenRight offers a full line of steel and aluminum armor, and these guys were nice enough to come out to the UA and demonstrate how well their product line works. We’re happy not only to have the great aftermarket support, but it was nice to have a stable place to rest our suds at the end of the day!
Official Transfer Case: Offroad Design
Making big look good for well over a decade is the Watson family at Offroad Design. Each year companies use the UA as a testbed or proving grounds for new products. One of this year’s now production-ready devices being put under pressure was ORD’s Magnum Underdrive gearbox. We gave you the exclusive on the underdrive system in the Oct. ’12 issue (“Magnum Box”) and are happy to report that the new-to-market gear system worked flawlessly on the trip.
Official Fabricator/Build Shop: Hazzard Fabworx
Each year we dream up some over-the-top rig to build for the UA and then have to find a shop crazy enough to accept our challenge. Taking on a UA build means more than just providing labor; the shop has to absorb crazy deadlines and deliver never-before-seen ideas like cutting in half a Jeep that’s literally brand-new! This year’s official fabricator, Hazzard Fabworx, was up to the challenge. With Luke Shuman and Rocky Dorame hard on the job, in just a few months they hammered out the over-the-top JK we call OJ or the Off-Roadster (“OJ the Ultimate Orange Jeep,” Aug.-Dec. ’12). The guys were even nice enough to come on the adventure to make sure the week went trouble-free, which it did. Great job, guys!
Official Axle: Spidertrax
A quality axle set is one of the most important and best investments that you can make under a vehicle. With the Spidertrax axle company moving locations, the crew was unable to attend this year’s UA, but they still showed their support by coming onboard as the official axle of the build. The custom Spidertrax housings under the Off-Roadster performed flawlessly all week, and the rear-steer axle gave the two-door Jeep the nimbleness it needed to make it through the trails virtually damage-free. From wheel spacers to builder-friendly axlehousings, Spidertrax has a host of American-made axle products.
Official Winch: Warn Industries
Warn, the UA’s longest standing sponsor, has been proving out its parts and winches on our trip for over a decade. This year was particularly special, as we got to see firsthand Warn’s headquarters and meet the men and women who manufacture the fine American-made products. With a wide range of winches, accessories, and topnotch recovery gear, Warn continues to sustain its legendary quality. Like years before, we and the majority of the crew used our winches almost daily and were happy to have Warn along to help.
Official Armor: Synergy Suspension
Losing an engine midweek was only a minor setback for the Synergy crew, as the UA team was able to pull together and get their rig back moving. As the official armor of the event, Synergy fitted the Orange Jeep with dual front winch mount bumpers, skidplates, and beefy rocker guards. All of the armor did its job, and not even the boulder-lined trails could crumple the heavy-duty protection.
Official Suspension: Zone Offroad Products
Offering quality and affordable components is a mainstay for the Zone Offroad Products brand. Using the company’s nicely dialed Jeep MJ on the trip, the Zone crew continued to R&D and prove out future products in the ultimate weeklong torture test. An ever-growing brand, the Zone product line is extremely diverse. With Zone’s JK prototype long-arm fitted under the Off-Roadster, we were happy to report that the suspension worked flawlessly and remained trouble-free throughout the week.
Zone Offroad Products
Official Retailer: Off -Road Power Products
When you need a place to purchase your off-road goodies, Off-Road Power Products is a great place to start. As the official retailer for this year’s adventure, the OPP crew were always eager to lend a hand or try and round up a part for those in need. The guys at OPP are also big diesel enthusiast, which was very apparent by their 4BT-powered JK and the triple-turbo Cummins diesel Ram that hauled around our film crew all week. So the next time you are in the market for a new off-road widget, be sure to give these fun-loving guys a call.
Off-Road Power Products
Communication on the trail and road is crucial when you have a group as big as ours. CB radios work great, but it’s nice to have something a little more mobile when you are trying to spot a rumbling rig from outside of the vehicle. Rugged Radio was nice enough to set up an Ultimate Adventure channel for the guys on the trip and lend us handheld race radios for the week. Theses rechargeable handhelds were a great help and worth checking out if you are looking for an easy way to keep in touch with your buddies on the trail from both inside and out of the vehicle.