2022 Editor’s Choice: Can-Am Defender Max Limited With Tracks

The coolest rig we drove all year was a Gucci Defender with tracks.

What makes a Defender Limited even better? Tracks.Justin W. Coffey

We had no shortage of excellent machines pass through our hands this year, but for my money, only one earns top spot as the coolest: A 2021 Can-Am Defender Max Limited. I know how that sounds. Sure, the big-boy Defender is as comfortable as they come in Limited trim, with excellent materials, power windows, heat, and air conditioning, but otherwise, there’s not much to write home about. That is, unless you find yourself in the midst of a late-season snowstorm in northern Montana and the rig’s equipped with a set of Can-Am tracks.

The tracks are heavy, but easy to install.Justin W. Coffey

That storm dumped more than a foot of heavy, wet powder on the Lolo National Forest, effectively skunking our plan to explore the Idaho border. Our pair of non-tracked Defenders quickly ran out of steam once they high-centered in the snow. Fortunately, Alpine Falls Ranch had a set of tracks on hand, and that meant we were some of the first people of the season to break trail to the border. Because the crew at Alpine had already done the legwork to prep the rig for tracks, it took us less than an hour to swap from the factory wheels and tires to treads. Once done, we trailered the big Defender to the snow line, loaded up a chain saw and a few other necessities, and rambled ever higher up the mountain.

Breaking trail usually means clearing a few downed trees.Justin W. Coffey

Those wide treads act like snowshoes, keeping the Defender up on top of the snow rather than letting it sink in. They also take considerably more power to turn, and effectively gear the Defender down. That makes it a slow, steady machine. As close as most mortals will come to steering a tank through the unreal wilderness of the Sawtooth Mountains. We pressed our way into places that looked like they’d never seen another human. Just a few hawks circling high against an impossibly blue sky while veils of snow blew from one peak to the next, all of it ours to behold because of the machine behind us.

If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is.

Where are we going? Anywhere we want.Justin W. Coffey

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