The crew at Nokian Tyres, a Finnish-based company with an earned reputation for building stout winter rubber, is venturing further into all-terrain conditions – both literally and figuratively. Called the Outpost, this new family of tires are targeted at owners who tend to use their vehicles for typical daily duties but also toss their rigs into adventure situations on the weekend.
Starting with the Outpost AT, we find a symmetrical and non-directional all-terrain tire with an aggressive tread pattern designed for use on large SUVs and light trucks. The tread design of these tires incorporates features like the cleverly named Canyon Cuts, a biting edge which form at the intersection of the tread blocks and tire shoulder to make the most of that area and add grip. Nokian has engineered aramid (think Kevlar, but without the trademarked name) into the sidewalls of its tires in the past, but the Outpost AT will incorporate that material underneath the tread surface as well. This should provide great puncture resistance for those times when you fail to see those sharp rocks littering your favourite off-road trail. Speaking of sidewalls, that bold outward-facing pattern offers some tractive properties in certain aired-down situations in addition to bringing a style that customers in this segment seem to enjoy. This variant is set to be available in LT-metric and P-metric sizes, ranging from 15- to 22-inch wheel diameters.
Next up is the Outpost APT, designed for owners of crossover vehicles and SUVs who want a comfortable commute but also enjoy hitting some off-road adventures on the weekends. Its tread pattern includes trick Gravel Guards in its centre channels, for example, designed to fling away small rocks and prevent what’s known in the industry as stone drilling. Aramid fibres appear in the sidewall on this tire, while the tread block and sipe designs are intended to provide stability in foul conditions without beating you up on dry pavement. Like its brother, it wears the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol. In a neat twist, the Outpost APT has two different sidewall designs – one fairly muted and the other more expressive – allowing owners to choose their own adventure in terms of how ‘off-roady’ they want their vehicle to look.
Here’s a Canadian connection: part of the five-year development of these tires included some long-term testing in the northern regions of British Columbia, putting an exclamation point on the notion that Nokian is bent on producing tires which are a good fit for this market and not simply brought part-and-parcel from what they produce for other regions. It’s a smart play, since these tires – particularly the AT – will appeal to customers looking for replacement rubber on vehicles like overlanding rigs, an increasingly popular off-road pastime on which enthusiasts are not afraid to spend money.
Nokian has plans for the Outpost to be produced at its North American factory in Tennessee at some point in the future and aims to double its sales in our market within the next five years. By extending its technology and marketing chops to the popular all-terrain segment, they’ve a good chance of achieving that goal by drawing in new customers and capitalizing on popular buying patterns. Nokian Outpost tires shop.