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Make Mine a Maverick: A Family-Friendly and Trail-Ready Side-by-Side

The Can-Am Maverick Trail 700 DPS is an all-purpose side-by-side for everyday adventure.

Make Mine a Maverick: A Family-Friendly and Trail-Ready Side-by-Side

(Wheels Afield photo)

This article was featured in the Spring 2024 issue of Wheels Afield. Pick up a copy of the issue here.

Early in life, I established a simple mantra for my many vices. When I sell something, I replace it with a like object. For example, when I sell a gun, I replace it with a gun. When I sell a motorcycle, I replace it with one. But in this case, I broke my own rule. Having a few similar-sized adventure bikes, I found only one was necessary within that particular category. So, going totally against my DNA, I traded a two-wheeler for a four-wheeler in the form of a family-friendly, yet trail-ready UTV.

Enter the Can-Am Maverick Trail

With the side-by-side industry fully committed to building wide-stance, long-travel-suspension speedsters pushing past 200 ponies or the luxurious, full cab, heated/air-conditioned units costing as much as a new Jeep Wrangler, why would I opt, instead, for the Can-Am Maverick? Quite simply, it was a task-specific purchase. Like when buying motorcycles, each bike has a specific task, therefore, all the more reason for owning more than one. Given my need for a unit that can travel on many of the trails restricted to vehicles 50 inches wide, is light enough to be hauled by my Toyota Tacoma, has an extensive dealer network, vast aftermarket support, and is relatively affordable, the Maverick Trail 700 DPS checked all of the boxes. The small frame side-by-side also addressed several other points I was shopping for. I needed a machine that was rugged and reliable. I was first exposed to how well-built Can-Ams are while spending several hunting seasons in Canada. Checking baits, moving hunters to and from stand sites, and hauling out bear and moose across muskeg and beaver dams destroyed many lesser machines. Yet, Can-Am ATVs and UTVs keep putting the miles of muck and mud behind them.

Being from the Midwest, I find myself spending my spare time outdoors. Whether hunting, shooting or riding, having the right equipment for the chosen experience is paramount to just how enjoyable that pastime can be. I’ve found moving treestands and hauling camping gear has suddenly become part of the journey, not just the destination. The trip into and out of the woods is not a necessity, it’s also part of the fun. We have all heard it, life is too short. So why not have fun riding through it?

Can-Am Maverick at campsite
The Maverick's wheelbase is narrower than many standard UTVs, giving it an all-access pass to many of the nation's width-limited trails. (Wheels Afield photo)

The Basic Build

The Maverick Trail 700 DPS was the canvas for this particular build. The Bombardier Recreational Products online site is an excellent place to start when shopping for a Can-Am. You can take full advantage of their offerings for adding quality parts to Can-Am vehicles with the factory design and engineering to back it. For my companion and I, there are necessities and niceties to be had. Rock sliders and front and rear bumpers are a must-have, along with the skidplates and A-arm protectors that instill confidence when bouncing off trees and rocks. It’s not a matter of if you’ll need protection and armor, it’s a matter of when, and you’ll be happy you upgraded your build.

Extra ground clearance and a smooth, responsive suspension are also a necessity. The Maverick’s overall stats are pretty good, given the class of machines it competes with. Still, with aftermarket wheels and tires by Pro Armor, along with the premium Elka Stage 1 Suspension upgrade, life just got a bit better with a smoother ride on all sorts of trail conditions. Okay, maybe that is more of a nice-to-have, but if there is a must-have for any UTV, I would ensure it has a quality winch and recovery straps. Getting a motorcycle stuck in the mud is one thing, but a 1,500-pound side-by-side with added weight and suction from a mud bog can leave you and your family stranded miles from a potential recovery.

Can-Am Maverick in front of tent
The Maverick sports a stylish appearance, yet offers a family-friendly, comfortable ride. (Wheels Afield photo)

To check off some other nice-to-have accessories I opted for a roof, windshield, lights and mirrors. Whether cruising down a dusty road or navigating a technical trail at night, these optional items may become necessary the first time you ride without them.

With all of these upsides to the Maverick Trail, there are a couple of chinks in the body armor. What is a positive on one side is also a negative on the other. The narrow stance really is excellent for maneuvering between obstacles. The downside would be that of off-camber stability. The solution is quite simple. Go slow(er).

Another area of angst is storage space as the Maverick Trail is fitted with a diminutive bed that won’t hold much beyond a medium-size cooler or Texas-sized deer. Although there are plenty of solutions for mounting racks and gear on the roof or in and above the rear bed, this can adversely affect your center of gravity, hampering handling and increasing the odds of a rollover. My storage solution is quite simple.

Say Hello to Compass Cart

Compass cart
(Wheels Afield photo)

If you spend enough time on the trails, it is not unexpected to see UTVs sitting with their wheels pointing into the heavens on the side of an off-cambered trail. This situation can be avoided by either slowing down or understanding load placement and shift versus center of gravity. Some units are made to haul gear. Others are made to haul ass. Rarely do you get one that does both. As mentioned earlier, the Maverick Trail is designed to be narrow, and to compensate for this, the fine engineers at BRP increased the wheelbase length a bit, but still kept the unit tight and tidy, thus lacking bed space.

Compass cart
Designed for E-bikes, UTVs and ATVs, the Compass Cart adds cargo capacity to the Maverick Trails. (Wheels Afield photo)

New to the off-road trailer space, the Compass Cart serves many of my camping, hunting and yardwork needs. It converts from a hand cart to trailer that can be towed behind an E-bike or ATV/UTV. For over-the-road travel it can easily slide onto its complementary cargo carrier when transporting from home to trail. This very cool designed cart has limitless uses either in the field or on the trail. Its unique suspension minimizes problems when navigating uneven terrain. The lightweight aluminum construction is easy to maneuver and can handle loads up to 400 lbs., depending on tire selection. It’s also a perfect fit for my MTM Case-Gard Mule Gear Crate.

Compass cart hooked to Maverick
(Wheels Afield photo)

The Destination 

Building out your truck, motorcycle, firearm, or, in this case, a UTV is a very personal endeavor. You assess your needs and approach each build as a specific solution to those needs, with a few wants thrown in for fun. Sometimes, the solution is having an all-around general build that does everything good but nothing great, like the Kawasaki KLR 650 in the world of adventure bikes. For me, the Maverick Trail falls within these parameters. It does everything I need, from hauling out trophies from the field to riding trails through the hardwoods with a cart full of camping gear. Whatever the needs may be, build it how you want it.

Recommended


Can-Am Maverick side
(Wheels Afield photo)

2023 Can-Am Maverick Trail 700 DPS Specs

  • Type: Side-by-Side UTV
  • Engine: 52 hp Rotax ACE, 650cc
  • Transmission: Drive CVT; 2WD/4WD auto-lock differential
  • Front Suspension: Double A-arm w/sway bar; twin tube gas shocks
  • Rear Suspension: TTA w/sway bar; twin tube gas shocks
  • Ground Clearance: 10 in. (stock tires and wheels)
  • Brakes: Dual disc front and rear
  • Cargo Box Capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Towing Capacity: 1,500 lbs.
  • Wheelbase: 90.6 in.
  • Weight: 1,271 lbs.



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