Check-In Day, Wasilla, Alaska: Ultimate Adventure 2019 #UA2019

    Just Getting Here Was an Adventure

    This year marks the 20th anniversary of Ultimate Adventure, so Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road editor Christian Hazel wanted to do something special to celebrate the occasion. For those who are unfamiliar with Ultimate Adventure (UA), it is Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine's flagship event. The premise of Ultimate Adventure has always been to run what you brung. Hardcore rockcrawling and trails one day, followed by hundreds of miles of road driving to the next destination. All with no trailers allowed! If your rig breaks during the week-long adventure, you have to figure out how to fix it and get back on the road. Being self-sufficient and knowing your vehicle are critical to success at Ultimate Adventure.


    And where do they value that pioneer spirit more than anywhere else? Alaska. After going to the Northeast corner of the United States last year, and visiting 47 of the 48 states in the Lower 48 over the past twenty years, Ultimate Adventure has finally made its way north, to Alaska. We aren't looking for gold or moose meat though. The two dozen 4-Wheel & Off-Road readers, sponsors, staff, and cronies at UA are on a search for the toughest wheeling, most remote locations, and the beautiful scenery that Alaska is famous for.

    Despite starting all the way up north, nearly half of the participants for UA drove their vehicles to the event rather than bringing them to Alaska on a trailer. Perhaps most impressive was reader Rich Fredricks, who recently rebuilt the engine in his Bronco and drove all the way from Virginia. Driving 4,250 miles in a vehicle with a three-speed automatic transmission and no overdrive is definitely an adventure, and that was just to get to the start of the trip! It is only going to get even more interesting from here. Parts stores may hate us for working in their parking lot, but you will love the creativeness and sense of adventure that UA delivers year after year.

    Check back each day at and follow #UA2019 for the latest updates from Ultimate Adventure 2019!

    Most participants are already well into the adventure by the time they reached the starting point for the 2019 Ultimate Adventure, having driven across Canada to get to the kickoff point for this year's event. The first participants arrived in Alaska on Wednesday, with the last arriving Saturday afternoon. No late comers this year!

    The "cronies" are the guys who come on UA every year to help spin wrenches and pull winch cable. They spend their own money and burn through their vacation time to hang with us, and we couldn't be prouder to call them our friends. You can't pull off a trip of this magnitude each year without having the support of the cronies and the sponsors.

    Sam Gillis and Keith Bailey inspected each vehicle on the trip to ensure that they met all of the safety requirements. These include parts like locking differentials, roll bars, and recovery points front and rear. They also check for items such as fire extinguishers, seat belts, and first aid kits in addition to the other requisite items like 35-inch tires, front and rea lockers, and so on...

    This year's official Ultimate Adventure vehicle is old Crony Trent McGee's International Scout. Trent was tasked by editor Hazel to plan the route for the trip this year, which the two of them will lead in the Scout. It has a Cummins R2.8 turbodiesel under the hood, an Offroad Design Magnum transfer case system, Ultimate Dana 60 crate axles, and Fab Fours bumpers with Smittybilt's newest winch on the front. And to go with the IH Scout build this year, we picked up an old friend as a sponsor, IH Parts America, which supplied many Scout-specific upgrade and replacement parts.