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FRONT RUNNER ON THE MOVE: NICK TORTAJADA

FRONT RUNNER ON THE MOVE: NICK TORTAJADA

- May 05, 2023

Nick Tortajada is a professional photographer and adventurer who has made a name for himself amongst the outdoor community. With a passion for travel and exploration, he has collaborated with leading brands to create stunning visual content across various platforms. Nick assumes various roles on projects, including director, content creator, photographer, and influencer, depending on the scope of the project. His diverse clientele ranges from tourist bureaus to footwear makers, this provides him with an endless source of inspiration and motivation.​


© Nick Tortajada

For over 9 years, Nick’s work has taken him around the world. He thrives on challenges and continuously seeks to learn and perfect new techniques, creating imagery that ranges from informative property shots to lifestyle, destination, food and beverage, and social media content.​


What is your travel style and philosophy for car-based adventures?​

I've traveled over 7,500 miles in the past year, mostly a mix of longer expeditions and shorter weekend missions. I prefer a loose plan so I can be flexible and open to discovering new adventures. I’ve kitted out my rig so that I'm prepared for anything that comes my way.​


© Nick Tortajada

Tell us a bit more about that rig?​

I drive a 2019 Quicksand Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road. I chose it because it's super reliable, durable, and badass off-road. It's also nimble without being stingy on storage space, and the color had me at hello! Toyota’s have a great global reputation as overland rigs. ​


© Nick Tortajada

Can you give us a brief rundown of the kit you have on your Tacoma?​

I have a Slimsport Roof Rack with the LED Light Bar, a Slimline II Bed Rack with endless configurations, a Pro Thru Axle Bike Carrier Power Edition with super secure mounts for my mountain bikes, Wolf Pack Pros, a Typhoon Bag, Front Runner Expander Chairs with a storage bag, a Roof Top Tent with Quick Release system, a 1.4 M Easy-Out Awning with Quick Release system, a Pro Water Tank with Tap, GoPro MountsStratchits, LED Headlamp, a Camp Kitchen Utensil Set, and a Rotopax Mounting Plate. It is my home away from home. 


What are your top 5 favorite spots you've ever parked your rig?​


© Nick Tortajada

A local spot near Canyon Lake, Arizona​

It offers a stunning view of the lake and is pretty isolated. Plus, there's a hiking trail that takes you up to the highest vantage point of the entire lake.​


© Nick Tortajada

Schultz Creek Trailhead in Flagstaff, Arizona​

This site gave us direct access to all the MTB trails, so you can just wake up and start shredding. ​


© Nick Tortajada

City of Rocks National Park, Idaho​

It felt like we had the entire park to ourselves and spent the entire day rock climbing the super clean lines. It doesn’t get any better than this. ​


© Nick Tortajada

Four Peaks OHV Area, Arizona ​

It's a massive area and it's easy to find your perfect spot to view the highest mountain in the Phoenix area. Catch it at the right time of year and the peaks will be covered in snow, which further enhances the experience. ​


© Nick Tortajada

San Juan Mountains, Colorado ​

These great-to-explore mountains consist mainly of volcanic rock, they offer crisp mountain air, total solidarity, and insane views. 


© Nick Tortajada

What's the biggest challenge you've ever faced on an overland trip, and how did you deal with it?​

A few years ago, I was traveling in a 1988 VW Westie when it blew a head gasket on our way out of Yosemite. It was difficult to find someone who knew how to work on the Frankenstein VW with a converted Subaru engine, but luckily, we were able to shack up at a friend's house in Sacramento and explore the area while it was being repaired. Although we had to cancel the rest of the trip due to costs and time lost, we adapted and rolled with it.​


© Nick Tortajada

Where are you planning to go on your next adventure, and what trips have you planned for 2023?​

I'm heading to the California coast for a mountain bike getaway in the Montana de Oro State Park before the summer heat shows up. The sandy beaches and hills make it a truly beautiful place to bike in. I'm also planning a trip around the Blues and Brews Festival in Telluride, Colorado this September, which will probably include climbing a via ferratta, mountain biking, and exploring more of the San Juans. 

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