Road Test Of The 29′ Basecamp Edition

Wanderbox Outpost 29 with mountains in background
Road testing the Basecamp in Lavender Canyon (Utah) with North Six Shooter in the background.

The high desert plateau around Moab, UT offers some of the best terrain we know of to test the on and off-pavement capabilities of our Wanderbox units, from the iconic remote red rock towers and escarpments around Castle Valley, to the dirt roads following the buttes along Indian Creek, to the often snow-covered 12,000+ foot peaks of the La Sal mountains rising just above the town.

The remote desert formations, secluded primitive campsites and steep, winding dirt roads around Moab were our destination during the two days we tested the highway and off-pavement handling of the new Basecamp Edition. These tests just covered driving and maneuvering; future tests will address other aspects like systems and components usage, environmental extremes, etc.

Below is an overview of where and how we put this Outpost 29 Basecamp 4×4 through the paces to go out farther and stay out longer.

Two views of the front of the Wanderbox Outpost 29 in Moab
The 41″ tires and LiquidSpring suspension on the test unit combined with the 18″ high exterior locking storage drawers provide 19″ of ground clearance in standard drive mode. Up to 4″ more clearance is gained with the touch of a button when more clearance is needed for rougher roads or creek crossings.

Features/Options/Specs as Tested

  • Outpost 29 4×4 – 29′ total length, 12′ 2″ height, 99″ width, ~18,700# (dry)
  • $299,999 base price + $104k Options & Add-Ons = $404k as equipped
  • 2023 Ford F-600 XLT regular cab, 6.7L PowerStroke diesel, 205″ wheelbase
  • Dual factory fuel tanks (40+26 gal) plus auxiliary (60 gal) = 126 gals total
  • 19″ ground clearance at drive height with LiquidSpring hydraulic suspension
  • Hutchinson 20″ beadlock wheels, Michelin Z-Force 335/80R20 41″ tires
  • EOG fender flares, Buckstop bumper & sway bar, Baja Designs light bar
  • 150 gal Fresh, 75 gal Gray, incinerator toilet with 30 gal Black (future-proof)
  • Dual Nomadic X2 DC A/C units, 40,000 BTU AquaHot diesel heat/hot water
  • 10 each 200-watt solar panels (2000w total), 24 kWh lithium battery bank
  • North/south front bed configuration, Starlink HP in-motion satellite internet
Overhead view of Wanderbox Outpost 29 with solar panels
The new spare tire mount and locking rear storage boxes that are now standard on all Wanderbox adventure vehicles.

Testing Environments and Experiences

Highways & Bi-Ways

  • We drove ~1800 total miles (entire trip to Flagstaff and back including Moab area stopover), up to 80 MPH on straight/flat four lane, and traversed many very curvy two lane roads, up to 6% grade.
  • The highway ride of the test unit with the Ford F-600 chassis with LiquidSpring hydraulic suspension is, well, something you have to experience to appreciate the feel of. The more-nobby-than-usual on/off-road Michelin Z-Force tires make slow-going on paved roads a little rough at first, but once you get going, the ride smooths out nicely. They add a slight hum when driving the speed limit, with some of our other tire options being less rough and noisy.
  • We achieved ~10 MPG at an average speed of 65 MPH, overall. Our experience is that MPG of our rigs is very driver dependent, and better MPG ratings require a lighter foot than some of us have 🙂
  • Acceleration and breaking are excellent with the 6.7 turbo diesel and larger brakes of the F-600, and although we didn’t tow anything, we like to drive in Tow/Haul drive mode when the roads are hilly, for the hill assist that automatically downshifts when you tap the brakes.
Dirt road with switchbacks
The tight and steep switchback on Kane Creek Rd. Photo copyright Royce L. Blair.

Forest Roads/Washboard Roads/Switchbacks

  • There are a lot of fairly rough gravel and Bentonite clay roads around Moab that are their own animals when getting Back of Beyond (an area just outside Moab) and beyond, and the Outpost test unit got down these roads effortlessly, as expected. Most were driven in 2H with a few spots where we switched into 4H, mainly for fun. The shift-on-the-fly of the Ford Super Duty works great, and shifting becomes second nature after a little while.

  • We navigated some steep and tight switchbacks on our trip, including Kane Creek road on the way to Hurrah Pass, seen above. The turning radius of the F-600 with the EOG fender flares and front wheel well cutout kit and Buckstop heavy duty sway bar is great, with no rub side to side at all with the 41″ tires. The 205″ wheelbase of the 29′ Outpost is long enough for a couple or small family to vacation or live comfortably, but short enough to get most anywhere you want to go.

  • With the harsh desert climate subjecting the terrain to great extremes of heat, rain, snow and ice, washboard roads are a fact of life on the high desert plateau of the Moab area. I like to say there are two ways to drive them, basically slow or fast. We tried both on our test and the heavy duty off-pavement inspired design and construction of the Wanderbox withstood these with grace, maneuvering over the incessant washboard bumps and ruts that would tear the particle board construction of a traditional Super-C motorhome apart.

4×4/Mud/Sand/Snow

  • The EOG fender flares and wheel well cutout kit and Buckstop heavy duty sway bar that were installed on the test unit performed great in moderate 4×4/off-road testing. We like to say the 4×4 capabilities are mainly for not getting stuck in mud or snow, but in fact with the right off-pavement Options and Add-ons, the Outpost is a worthy off-road vehicle given its size and weight.
  • It rained while we were testing in the Moab area so we got to have some fun testing the Outpost on some muddy roads that made the Blue Beacon truck wash later worth every cent. There was still a decent amount of snow at the higher areas off the La Sal Loop Road near Geyser Pass, so we had a little fun in some of the light snow-covered dirt roads off the main loop road.
  • We found a few areas by Indian Creek Falls down Lockhart Basin Road south of Moab where there was some fairly deep sand to test the large tires, but not deep enough to air down/up using the Viair onboard air unit, or bust out the traction boards.
Wanderbox driving through Mason Draw Campground
The forest roads above Moab in the La Sal mountains let us test the 41″ tires in both mud and snow.

Summary

  • Overall, as expected, the test unit performed very well. As designed, it got us off the beaten path and to the cool places we like to drive and camp, and back home again.
  • Note the test unit was outfitted with several of our Options and Add-ons that make it more off-pavement capable than our stock units.
  • As always, whenever driving off-pavement, study up on where you are going and stay well within your experience level or bad things could happen. Fun is fun until it isn’t, so be safe and don’t commit to that rough dirt road until you scout it first with your mountain/e-bike, and you’ll be around to try a different Road Less Traveled next time!
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