For most adventurers, side-by-side wasn’t part of the typical outdoor quiver. But that’s changing. Thanks to new models that are more nimble, more powerful and more family-friendly than ever before, these vehicles are quickly becoming essential pieces of equipment for the outdoors, enabling everything from mountain biking to skiing to overlanding. Don’t you believe us? Read on to see some of the many adventure hats a side-by-side can wear.
The ultimate access vehicle
If you’re a mountain biker, climber, or hunter, you know a thing or two about driving up endless dirt roads to get to the goods. Step into the Can-Am Defender MAX: With seats for six people, all-wheel drive and plenty of ground clearance, the last stage into the hinterland is much faster, easier and more pleasant.
“We see a number of people who have discovered how easy it is to use vehicles like the Can-Am Defender MAX to access their favorite adventure spots,” said Philip Henderson, Can-Am’s global content lead. Case in point, mountain bikers can toss bikes into the bed of the Can-Am Defender MAX or add a tow bar to turn them into a next-tier, fuel-efficient shuttle vehicle.
The fast and light overland rig
Anyone looking for an overland upgrade to a stock truck or SUV knows that costs can quickly spiral out of control. Another option is a vehicle like Can-Am’s Defender Pro XT HD 10, which rolls off the showroom floor with a limited-slip differential, nearly 30cm of travel, 30cm ground clearance, full skid plates and a 4,500 pound winch. With an MSRP of $ 20,799, the Defender Pro XT isn’t cheap – but it is a compelling and affordable alternative when you consider the performance-to-cost ratio. In other words, the price of the upgrades required to add similar features to a pickup truck or SUV could easily exceed the price of a stock Defender Pro XT.
“We’re really proud that models like the Defender Pro can be brought from the dealer to the harshest places in the world,” says Henderson. Thanks to the 6-foot bed and the weight capacity of 1,700 pounds, the Defender Pro can transport camping and adventure equipment into the hinterland for several days like a traditional overland rig. Or opt for the Can-Am Defender Max, one of the many four-seater models, and you have plenty of room for the family and everything you need for a few nights under the stars.
The personal snowcat
Backcountry skiers and drivers have long viewed snowmobiles as a tool for getting to the best of terrain. But there is one major disadvantage: everyone needs their own sled. When the Can-Am Defender is equipped with Can-Am’s Apache Backcountry LT Track System, it turns into your very own snow groomer. A Defender with the Apache system is easier to drive than a snowmobile and is designed for more people. It offers a quick and efficient way to get into the hinterland.
Family-friendly adventure mobile
While the Defender is a tool that enables adventure, Can-Am’s Maverick X3 is an adventure. With up to 195 horsepower, a whopping 22 inches of bike path on a trophy-car-inspired chassis, and 30-inch tires, the Maverick X3 enables the kind of safe, but fast, desert and alpine driving you’ve seen on TV. But while the Maverick X3 has what it takes to mount the fun meter in a key location in the desert – from the Glamis Dunes in California to the trails outside of Moab, Utah – you don’t have to be a pro to get one to drive. And even better, because the Maverick X3 comes in multiple four-seater options, everyone in the family can enjoy the exhilarating ride.
How to get started
It might be daunting to jump into the world side by side, but Can-Am makes it easy. Vehicles can be rented for test drives at locations across the country, and the company also offers guided side-by-side adventures as part of its Uncharted Society program. “We want everyone to have access to the adventures these vehicles make possible, even if they’re not ready to buy them,” says Henderson.
Ultimately, Can-Am hopes its vehicles are a means to an end, and that end is adventure and community. If vehicles can help people experience the world and come together in the process, then they are doing their intended tasks. “We all need to be able to move away from what is consuming us every day and go outside to have meaningful experiences with our families and friends,” says Henderson.
Can-Am is a BRP trademark. BRP is a global leader in the world of powersport vehicles, propulsion systems and boats. The Can-Am off-road vehicle range includes side-by-side and off-road vehicles that perform above average regardless of the task at hand, from hard-working utilities to exploring the world in a high-performance machine built specifically for everything.