In the last installment, I talked about how Four Wheeler magazine and I have gone down separate trails in subject matter. Today, I want to show you what I think the perfect off-road/adventure magazine would be.
Let’s call it “Asphalt and Two Track” for now. The title lets you know immediately the range and scope of the topics, plus its familiar enough due to Road and Track magazine.
When it comes to subject approach, I’m going to steal very heavily from RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel magazine. Their main subject is travel; short distance, long distance, and international. Everything other article featured supports the travel feature through vehicle tests, maintenance, aftermarket features, news, and editorials. This is the exact same system I’d use for Asphalt and Two Track.
The non-spoken other main-topic would be how you can do most of these adventures in a box-stock vehicle. Modifications are fun and exciting in their own right, but if you absorb years of the average off road magazine, you’re going to think you need lockers, winches, and big tires just to get down a graded gravel road. This magazine would dispel that notion and show how many opportunities there are for people to explore in their family vehicle.
The locations would be a mix of the familiar and exotic. From your semi-local logging roads to the cross continent expeditions; everything would be covered to not only give you dreams of going there, but give you places you could realistically get to on a weekend or day trip.
Logging roads and off-roading would make up about 70% of the travel section. The other 30% would focus on adventures you can have on the road. When I first read Australian 4WD magazine, I was blown away at how they would do a snippet on a small town near by the trail they were exploring. RoadRUNNER features these places in a reverse ration in their magazine. It’s wonderful because adventure comes on the road as well as off it. Seeing locations new to us, enjoying great eats, and finding trophies in the back country stores is also part of the adventure.
Dedicated off road magazines seem to miss this and while I have found some stories like this in Truck Trend magazine, I find their focus to be too scattered and random to truly enjoy.
A trivia/entertainment piece could be done on Roslyn, Washington aka Cicily, Alaska.
To help out the reader decide how harsh the trip is, there would be a scoring scale created to judge from. It would be a practical/common sense scale. Instead of a five star rating or white diamond/ black diamond scale; it would feature vehicles.
A road trip would rate a Subaru Outback
A graded gravel road, Honda CRV
An ungraded gravel road, Ford Explorer
Muddy dirt two track/logging road, Chevy Silverado Z-71
Heavy deteriorated path with rocks and other obstructions, Jeep Wrangler
Just by seeing the silhouette of the vehicle described above, you would instantly know how hard the road or trail would be.
All other stories would support the travel stories in one way or another.
The news would feature new vehicles coming out, new accessories to make travel better or easier, new rules and regulations, environmental concerns, and things similar in nature.
Vehicle testing would not only show on road performance, but off road as well. Plus real world costs for replacement/wear items such as wiper blades, brake pads, and filters. (Maybe more, but I can’t think of them all right now) Mileage would also be a big component here. You can’t properly plan out your adventure if you don’t know how far you can go on average with a tank of gas.
Tire tests could be done as well to show you the benefits and trade-offs you have with each type of tire, giving you the information to find the best one suited to your adventure and driving style.
Travel trailers and slide in campers would also be tested here. Some people don’t want to or won’t be able to sleep in a hotel or rented cabin. Travel trailers and slide in campers need to have their strengths and weaknesses shone to let you know which is best for you.
Other accessories such as GPS, Emergency radios, safety equipment, first aid, and all other items that provide a means to the end would be featured as well.
Experiences at proper off-road driving schools would not only help out editors wring out the best of any vehicle tested, but also let you know if it’s worth the money spent or if you even need it. (A feature of the Tread Lightly program is a no-brainer as well.)
There could even be a “build” article on how to outfit your vehicle for the style of adventures you choose. (A simple insert of the author’s vehicle and its features could accompany every travel article as well.)
This is the magazine I’m looking for. This is what I want to read about; exciting places, high adventure, and new experiences. Articles and features that make me want to get out of the house and down the road.
What do you think? Am I the only one who is looking for something like this, or would you like it as well? What would you add or subtract? What would you change? What would you like to see? What would make you want to go out and have an adventure of your own? Throw it down in the reply and let me know.