by John Zent - Tuesday, August 17, 2010
It’s been my good fortune to be the first to shoot and hunt with some of the finest new guns introduced over the last 20 years, but perhaps I just topped all that. What’s really got me revved up is that I might have been the first person outside the manufacturer to splatter mud over a spanking new 2011 Ram Outdoorsman.
AmericanHunter.org (yours truly) was there for the truck’s first public unveiling this past weekend at the Professional Outdoor Media Association conference in LaPorte, Indiana, and then I was first in line for a test-drive. To say the least I was keen upon taking the wheel of a short-bed 2500 demo model powered by a Cummins diesel engine for a spin over a muddy test track on Indiana’s Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife Area. The run was quiet, smooth, and comfortable (okay, luxurious) even while I bulled through some serious muck without the slightest hint of bogging down. The front seats were big enough for NFL linemen, and the back plenty spacious enough for three teammates and a bird dog. Oh, I “christened” the interior with a little dirt and wet grass but the mud/slush mats dispelled any worries.
Prior to the ride I took a good look at the innovative RamBox and other cargo storage components. Twin locking RamBoxes built into the bed sidewalls will secure multiple long guns and other gear. The boxes even have lights. Our test truck was equipped with a new item, the Mopar RamBox Holster, that essentially provides an instant gun or fishing rod rack. Underseat compartments also provide secure, out-of-view storage for handguns and other valuables.
Word has it that the Outdoorsman was designed by diehard hunters and fishermen who just happen to hold day jobs as Ram engineers. It shows. Along with all the hunter-friendly features, they didn’t overlook priorities like ruggedness, power, and offroad capability that have made the Ram one of America’s most enduring pickup lines. Along with 1500 (half-ton), 2500 (3/4-ton) and 3500 (one-ton) versions, it comes in 2WD or 4WD, in several different cab configurations and short- and long-wheelbase models. Towing upgrades include limited-slip differential, high-capacity cooling, an integrated trailer-brake controller and available rear backup camera. There are way too many models, powertrain options, trim packages, and other really cool touches to cover in detail here, but rest assured we’re arranging to borrow a Ram Outdoorsman for an extended test-drive and so a full report is coming soon.
Back at the staging area, I couldn’t help but notice how my drive had muddied the shiny, new dream truck. But in this hunter’s eyes, that just made the Ram Outdoorsman even better.
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