Sometimes, the best vehicle for a job is not the top-of-the-range vehicle you want but rather the vehicle you have. But, what do you do when your vehicle is not well supported by the aftermarket industry, you struggle to find a roof rack or a winch bumper, but you have technical skills? Well, you make your own, and when people start asking where they can purchase that unobtanium, you sell them yours, build another, and before you can say “powder-coated aluminum” you have a budding business. This is how Baseline Overland came to be, and this is the story of one unlikely vehicle becoming more than it was ever intended to be.
The GMC Yukon XL Denali is not considered a typical everyday overlander, but with a large family of six, Peter Clark has found that the most popular vehicles fell short as they simply didn’t fit the whole family for camping excursions and mountain bike races. The 4runner, Tacoma, and even the full-size Ram Power Wagon with bench seats are not up to the job.
Working with what he already had, Peter slowly and stubbornly built out the family hauler into a capable overland rig capable of fitting his very tall family. An assistant coach on his high schooler’s mountain bike team, they have camped for every race for the last three seasons in addition to their regular outdoor outings and needed a base vehicle up to the task.
The Chevy Suburban and the Yukon XL Denali are not easy vehicles to outfit, there is very little aftermarket support for these trucks, but they have their merits: legroom for six, cargo room, payload, and in the case of the Denali, 400 HP from a 6.2L V8 that gets decent mileage for a lifted tow vehicle.
After providing the basics for off-road travel, an Icon-equipped lift, and larger all-terrain tires, Peter set his sights on finding a way to take advantage of its biggest unused asset – the massive roof space. Since the options were extremely limited, Peter built his own aluminum roof rack. Following a year of testing and multiple requests, he considered the plight of fellow GM SUV owners and decided to put his roof rack into production and started Baseline Overland in Boulder, Colorado.
The next hurdle was finding a winch bumper. The bulbous plastic stock bumper was routinely at risk of being torn off on trails, so Peter took a second leap and modified a bumper from Chassis Unlimited, to their astonishment. The winch bumper exceeded expectations, and Chassis Unlimited agreed to incorporate the changes and manufacture their only SUV-specific bumper to date and make Baseline Overland a dealer.
No vehicle build is ever finished, it seems, but the Yukon fits their needs as a travel vehicle and has taken them all over Colorado, California, and Wyoming. Glacier National Park and more mountain bike races are coming up; this Denali will be sure to raise more eyebrows along the way.
- 2007 GMC Yukon XL Denali with 6.2-litre V8 AWD, Stock G80 rear end, new six-speed transmission
- Roof Rack – Baseline Overland
- Front Bumper – Chassis Unlimited
- Warn EVO 12S winch (12,000-pound with synthetic line) Factor 55 flat link
- Icon 2.5 adjustable Coilovers at 2.5-inch lift front
- Icon rear shocks
- Cognito Upper Control Arms
- Dobinson 2-inch lift rear springs
- Air Lift helper bags for towing or loaded with 6+ bikes and gear
- SDE magneride and autoride delete kit
- Redarc Tow-Pro Elite trailer brake controller
- Optima Yellow Top Battery
- K&N cold air intake
- JET Performance Throttle Body
- 33-inch Goodyear Ultra-terrain tires
You can find out more about the Baseline Overland roof rack and winch bumpers at www.baselineoverland.com
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