October 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm #2019
I just recently got back from a 1500 mile trip with my custom 2014 BCT Fort XL. The objective was the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park, running support for a group of mountain bikers. We also spent a night in Arches NP, and explored around Moab quite a bit, but the crown jewel was the White Rim Trail. For anyone who has not done the trail before (this was my first time), it’s a ~110 mile off-road loop on punishing and rocky terrain with lots of exposure to sheer cliffs, steep climbs, off-camber weather-worn trails, narrow passes, and challenging descents. As Canyonlands NP describes it as a “moderate off-road trail,” I naively thought my Ford Raptor would make it an easy ‘Sunday drive,’ that I would drive ahead of the bikers each day and set up camp for them in advance. In actuality, the Raptor’s width and overall length of my truck with the trailer, combined with the rugged terrain/trail conditions, provided for some of the most challenging and exceptionally dangerous driving I have ever done. The bikers were always in front, while I was typically in 2nd gear or 4-low, navigating tight hairpins, extremely narrow passes, and highly threatening cliff exposure. In our 4 days in the canyon, I was the only one we saw towing a trailer. Many other bikers and drivers pulled me over for conversations about the trailer, typically departing in relief that they didn’t have to endure the trail with my long and wide setup. I feel confident that I pushed the capabilities of my truck, my driving skills, and the Fort XL. Knowing what I know now, I would not run that trail again with a truck as wide and long as mine, but aside from that I think if I had a much smaller wheelbase, wheel track, and tighter turning radius I wouldn’t have a problem towing the Fort XL again. I’m extremely grateful that the trailer I brought was a BCT Fort XL. Anything less rugged or built to less of a standard would have been a much different experience.
The trailer handled exceptionally, and I still can’t believe that once I got back on pavement that nothing was rattling, squeaking, or pulling my truck around. Despite seeing it get airborne several times from popping over large rocks, I was amazed at how well the interior contents stayed put, and how nothing rattled apart on a trail that grinds your molars. It is pretty amazing, actually, looking back at everything I dragged our poor trailer through (at speed), and how well it rolled with the punches and continued to ask for more. My biker group was thrilled with having a pull-out galley to cook dinner and breakfast on, and the rear awning provided shade options in a desolate area that has none to provide naturally. Not to mention the wife and I got to sleep in the Tepui RTT every night, off the ground with a mattress! Overall the trailer provided a lot of resources for my group, and despite my unreasonable expectations and torture it handled everything with ease.
Pics or it didn’t happen! I didn’t get shots of the extreme technical/dangerous spots as I had other priorities at the time, but here’s some scenic ones.
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