Sending a large group of internet TV stars, influencers, and enthusiasts on a ten day journey across the western United States hitting some of the most exciting terrain the country has to offer is harder than one might think. From providing parts that can withstand long road miles and extreme off road obstacles to helping make sure this adventure is even financially possible between hotels, food, and production gear is no easy task. Each one of these partners stepped up in ways beyond imagination and from everyone on the 2019 Trail To SEMA crew: thank you! None of it would be possible without these incredible partners listed in this article. For those looking for the toughest, most reliable aftermarket parts for your off-roader that are made by and for this community, look no further, these are the partners and brands of Trail To SEMA:
Even before Trail To SEMA, PowerStop had always been about empowering adventure. That’s we’ve stuck with Trail To SEMA since its inception and always look forward to this time of year where we get to get out of the office and onto the obstacles with those who appreciate it the most leading into the most exciting automotive aftermarket trade show in the country, SEMA. The Trail also provides the perfect opportunity to test and improve the Z36 Truck & Tow Upgrade Brake Kit on some of the most difficult obstacles in the country. Superior stopping power and braking control on the west coast highways we endured and King of the Hammer trails such Sledgehammer gave much needed peace of mind on the grueling, exhausting 10-day circuit. That doesn’t mean we can’t wait for next year, though!
Brand new partner for 2019, Milestar Tires, prides their Patagonia M/T on being designed to be at home rock crawling, exploring the desert, mud bogging, playing in the dunes, or a casual drive through mountain trails. This fits right in with PowerStop’s principle of being the perfect upgrade, no matter what or how you drive. It was a natural partnership. Whether it was the off-road beating the M/T’s took on LiteBrite’s JKU and Kris’ lead TJ crawler, or the Gen-1 Ford Raptor production vehicle that put an impressive 3,000 desert lake bed and interstate highway combined miles on the odometer in 10 days, they stood the test and performed great in any terrain. Oh yeah, and they are a steal at this price!
New partners are always welcome on the Trail, but even more when they “change the game” like Rigid did this year. The leader in off road LED lighting helped us light up Chocolate Thunder in Hammer Town for the first ever night-run on Trail To SEMA. The new 360 Series round-format LED lights were shown off on Tiffany Stone, Ian Johnson, and trail leader Kris Miller’s Jeeps. You really don’t have to see Trail To SEMA to know that Rigid Industries is a leader in the off road industry, though. They are a regular on the podium at off road races such as the Mint 400 and Baja 1000, seen on top placing Trophy Trucks belonging to drivers like BJ Baldwin and Andy McMillin’s. Rigid also graciously invited us over to see their office in Arizona where we learned how to build our own lights and took home some swag.
We’re extremely grateful for the partners that have stuck with us over the years and Vision Wheel is the perfect example. There was a good variety of Vision lines ran for 2019 with more than half of the drivers using four different wheels that all proved to be successful. The 398 Manx Forged Beadlock seen on Nate and Kris’ Jeeps were tested for 4 time Baja 1000 overall winner Rob MacCachren, so it makes perfect sense why those Jeeps were able to take some of the hardest lines of the whole trip. For the Official Amazon Feature’s sake, we’re thankful they both stand up to heavy abuse and still look great on camera!
Lubricants and fluids are many times the unsung hero of a vehicle, but add aftermarket parts and some heavy abuse into the equation and good fluids become a necessity. Thankfully, Lucas Oil has been a part of this adventure for three years now and their products are nothing short of the best. We needed a little Synthetic 75-W90 gear oil diff top-off after a break and some parts replacement, and even used Toolbox Buddy to get rid of annoying squeaks on the lead Jeep’s solid joints. We know Lucas Oil has our backs for preventive maintenance and fixing whatever problem arises us mid-obstacle.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” as the saying goes. Good thing we had Traxxas on-board for 2019 as a new partner for after-hours shenanigans that live up to the “rugged, powerful, and ready for fun!” description. The TRX4 Sport is a realistic RC crawler that really rivals the life-sized vehicles on scale terrain. We even put on a Traxxas crawling competition on our own course made up of used Jeep parts! It was the perfect way to cap off the last day of wheeling in Sand Hollow, Utah during our party at Dixie 4Wheel Drive.
Strongest axles on the planet is an understatement. RCV Performance equipped participants Georges, Bleepin Jeep, Dirt Lifestyle Nate, and Busted Knuckle would agree. You may have seen Busted Knuckle take his Mega RZR to flight while we were in Sand Hollow, and there’s a reason he felt comfortable pushing his rig that hard, and it was because he trusted the strongest axles on the planet! Lead Jeep TRLJP 2.0 ran out of time before the trip to install his RCVs, and regrettably broke a traditional Dana 60 U-Joint on Chocolate Thunder. We know that wouldn’t have happened with RCVs!
RETRAX BED COVERS
This Trail To SEMA rookie partner helped behind the scenes more than the videos will show. The production Ford Raptor was outfitted with a Retraxpro XR bed cover that retracted and locked, allowing us to securely haul everything we needed to film ten days of an off road adventure across four states. Luckily, we didn’t see any rain but the Johnson Valley lake bed was a breeding ground for dust and dirt. The Retraxpro XR kept everything clean, now only if we could say the same thing about the cabin of the truck…
Installing aftermarket parts onto 4x4s can allow them to do some pretty amazing things. Sometimes, though, those modifications can create other problems. Light bars have become a fixture on so many off road vehicles, but the cooling fins on the back can cause an annoying (and very loud) whistle. Aerolidz was born of a mission to “kill the whistle” with their light bar covers. Seen most prominently on Marvin Stammel’s Jeep (Jeepster McJeepface), they also add an extra layer of customization to any build with their customizable inserts… and looking cool is half the battle.
Our friends over at HP Tuners joined us for a second year in a row and in a different way than the other partners. Alyssa and Jay Payson proved once again that HP Tuners are active members of the off road community committed to pushing it’s boundaries by joining us with their own highly modified Jeeps. Jay’s supercharged, stretched JK and Alyssa’s Hemi powered JKU with one ton axles have impressive hardware, but software is the name of the game for them. The HP Tuners MPVI2 engine/transmission tuner operates through the OBD-II port allowing the user to adjust the factory computer to compensate for aftermarket parts for more power and even fuel efficiency. Alyssa has also been earned the nickname of “Trail Mother” helping make sure no one went hungry on long trail days, too! Thank you!
REVKIT is a new partner for this year, and the first media partner Trail To SEMA has had. For the uninitiated, REVKIT is an online community of off-roaders that tracks and features vehicle builds and media. It’s easy to find your favorite 4×4 build and see what parts make it run and even bounce some ideas off other enthusiasts. There is currently a Trail To SEMA 2019 Group on REVKIT where you can go and connect with your favorite players and their builds from this year’s trail. REVKIT also kept the Las Vegas spirit present on-trail with REVKIT-branded poker chips used to make “friendly wagers” with. Stay tuned for a final REVKIT-count to see who won!
ICON VEHICLE DYNAMICS
Last but certainly not least, Icon Vehicle Dynamics joined us for the third year. Finding a better suspension system that can take the obstacles of this trip and the amount of road miles we did will be hard. The bolt-on systems are adjustable to any terrain, allowing you to push your Jeep further. Georges Brown had the Stage 8 system (warmly referred to as the “the ocho”) on his JLU that could comfortably double as a daily driver for commutes and a beast out on the high speed desert lake bed we encountered in Johnson Valley.
Be sure to follow all the partners and players of Trail To SEMA 2019 for continued coverage and media surrounding the trip leading up to the official feature coming soon!