Being an adventure tourism guide wasn’t on the list of things Jake Quiñones was considering when he was choosing a career. But he decided to follow his passion and started New Mexico Backroads, one of the premier overland-touring companies in the American Southwest.
“When I was getting started, my friends were just a bunch of rock crawlers,” says Jake. Now, he’s an expert in the rocky deserts of New Mexico, leading large groups across challenging terrain. Each of his clients gets a 40-page manual to help them “quickly” learn the ropes. Jake prioritizes experience, training and guidance with the goal of enabling his clients to eventually plan and execute their own overlanding trips.
“Starting out, I just gave my services away,” says Jake. “I wasn’t even covering expenses. Lucky for me, I started making more right moves than mistakes.” Jake became an expert in the permitting process for access to state and national lands, while also using his long standing contacts with local officials to ensure his clients are safe while off the beaten path. Jake deploys a deep knowledge of the landscape and lifetime of experience on the trail to quickly teach his clients what to do when they’re far from help.
One of the biggest game changers for Jake was switching to a Dometic CFX 40W. “In terms of comfort and helping me work effectively, that fridge is the most important thing on my rig,” says Jake. “It changed everything… I was able to double my trip time and increase the storage capacity of my Jeep – it was a giant leap forward.” He pities the people who are stuck with an ordinary ice cooler: “Ice is their Achilles heel. You’re constantly worried about it. Rough roads, all that ice sloshing – it just destroys your food.”
For a trail guide who depends on a powered cooler to feed his clients, the Dometic CFX 40W offers the durability and reliability Jake needs. “It sounds like a luxury,” he says, “but once you have it, you’re never going back. Supporting a crew of eight for four days – without this fridge, I couldn’t do it.” His CFX allows Jake to make one of his favorite dishes, an authentic New Mexican steak and green chili dish that makes the end of the trail feel like a four-star restaurant.
“Anyone who doesn’t have one of these powered coolers has to be leaning toward one,” says Jake. It’s even allowed him to take longer personal trips, exploring new trails for his clients, and roads he’s never been on. “That’s the real joy of it, you know,” he says. “This isn’t just my job, it’s what I love to do. Every two months, I throw my bike and my favorite chair in the back, and just get lost. It’s awesome. It recharges me and makes all of my client trips feel fresher.”
If you want to keep up with Jake and his overland-touring life, check him out on social media: instagram.com/newmexicobackroads and on the web: newmexicobackroads.com