Outdoorsman carving out big niche for Ram

Ram conducted a survey among its heavy duty pickup owners and learned that 47 percent hunt, 57 percent fresh water fish, 33 percent salt water fish, 36 percent own power boats and 37 percent tow camping trailers. Overall, 62 percent of full-size pickup truck owners hunt, fish or camp.

They also asked the owners “what features would they like to see in a truck.”

Fred Diaz, president and CEO of Ram Truck Brand was more than eager to provide the response.

“They answered ‘more capability, more room for my gear and ready to hit the trail. And make it affordable.’” Diaz said.

So what does Ram do with that information?

It comes up with a special edition pickup truck that takes all of the features most useful to hunters, fishermen, campers and boaters and packages them into one model.

Appropriately, Ram has named this special pickup edition the Ram Outdoorsman.

With a base price starting at $28,350, the Ram Outdoorsman is available in 1500 (half ton), 2500 HD (3/4 ton) and 3500 HD (1 ton) models as well as regular cab, quad cab, crew cab and mega cab body styles.

It’s also available in rear- or four-wheel drive configurations, as well as short- and long-wheelbase.

What makes the Outdoorsman unique is the fact that it includes trailer-towing upgrades, interior and exterior convenience features, lighting enhancements, all-terrain tires and underbody protection, as well as a unique exterior appearance package.

In short, you’re ready to hook it up to a trailer and head off into that favorite spot in the wilderness the minute you drive off the dealer’s lot.

It has everything you need for towing.

It has the underbody protection and tires needed for getting off the paved road and into that favorite hunting and fishing spot.

It even has tow hooks, fog lights and special headlights for off road driving.

And yes, there’s lots of “nice” features that are designed to warm the heart of any outdoor enthusiasts, like remote start that allows you to start the vehicle and have it warm up (or cool down) after a day of hunting or fishing.

There’s lots of room to stow gear.

Heck, you could even bunk down overnight in my crew cab Outdoorsman test vehicle.

One of my favorite features is the optional RamBox Holster, designed to fit within the two unique locked, lighted and sealed exterior storage bins located inside the bed rails.

For a mere $205, you can convert the RamBox storage bins into a holster for two rifles or shotguns or six fishing rods with reels.

Guns are held securely in place with elastic retention straps and flexible ribs while the fishing rods are held in place by uniquely tooled slots and retention flaps.

The holster easily transfers from gun holder to fishing rod and reel holder by rotating stanchions, which may be relocated to accommodate various length guns and rods.

If you enjoy the outdoors, the Ram Outdoorsman is an absolute must for the test drive list.

Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.