You’ve read my laments many times in this publication about truck owners who haul nothing but air, so I dared to put my money where my mouth is and put our latest Truck of the Year straight to work.

The first order of business was getting it dirty. Family friends have built an incredible tree house on their property in Northern California, and it’s only accessible by a steep and, at the time, muddy dirt road. We saved a few buck not optioning the Rebel off-road trim level or even a limited-slip rear differential, but it was no matter. Dropping the truck in four low to reduce wheel speed was all it took to climb right up the greasy hillside.



Back home, it was time to get to work. I’m hoping to get my yard on the Theodore Payne Foundation Native Garden Tour next year, and it needed to be in tip-top shape when the application window opened. Part of the strategy: a fresh layer of mulch from my local green waste recycler. Yes, I know you run the risk of introducing invasive seeds with that stuff, but I’ve never had an issue with it, and the Ram had no issue carrying it. Because it’s still wet, a cubic yard of fresh mulch fills the Ram Box–equipped bed to the rails and puts a serious dent in the payload capacity. No matter, neither the suspension nor eTorque V-8 powertrain cared much about the extra weight.

Complementing the mulch was a fresh layer of decomposed granite on the bocce court we built, which has settled over the past few years. Pickup truck payloads can be notoriously difficult to calculate as you account for the endless cab, bed, powertrain, and equipment options, but a cubic yard of decomposed granite comes in just shy of our truck’s maximum.

After I’d cleaned it up, fleet manager and car tester Erick Ayapana came looking for the keys. Our 1949 Kurtis Sport Car needed to go back out our test facility at California Speedway after having its old Ford flathead tuned, and the treasured antique had to go by way of enclosed trailer. This time, with 30 feet of car trailer and one 70 year-old sports car hanging off the rear bumper, the Ram again made light work of the load. We’d previously used the company’s old F-350 diesel dually to move the Kurtis around, which was clearly overkill, in retrospect.

Fresh off towing and hauling, photo boss Brian Vance borrowed it for a nine-hour each way road trip up to Reno. In his case, he was hauling children in car seats, a task made easy by the monstrous Crew Cab. You need to spend six figures to get a sedan with comparable leg, hip, head, and shoulder room to this four-door truck.

The truck wasn’t back long before I set off on another road trip, this time to Sequoia National Forest for a quick camping trip. For my money, there’s no better truck for a drive-up campsite than one with a Ram Box; they’re the perfect size to store everything from camp chairs to axes, tarps, and other dirty equipment you may not want in the cab. Pop up the rear seats, and you have a massive pass-through cargo space to rival any crossover or SUV you can stack floor to ceiling with gear.

Finally, Jonny Lieberman hauled a sectional couch one weekend, and it’s already reserved by photographer Brandon Lim for moving day. Hauling air? Who’s got time for that?

Read more about our long-term 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie:

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