December 19, 2023
Midland partner, April Russell, otherwise known as Jeep Daisy, runs Midland GMRS two-way radios for reliable communication on the trails.
She shares how she got involved in off-roading, what it's like to be a female on the trails, and how communication is vital to her success outdoors.
Russell grew up in South Carolina, the daughter of a body shop owener.
“I watched him with a lot of builds. As far as the body shop goes, he would take cars that were wrecked. Some of them were worse than wrecked. Being able to take vehicles, redo them, and make them completely brand new always made an impression on me," she said.
She specifically took note of the different Jeep builds- noticing the parts and the paint colors.
While she pursued a career in education, Russell was inspired to take things to the next level with her 2018 Jeep JLU.
“I went to school and became a teacher. I just had in the back of my head, what I watched growing up and everything that I saw. I thought, I can take a Jeep and I can build it myself. I don’t have to have a shop. I can use my own garage, I can get parts and pieces to make something unique, make it my own.
She didn't let the potentially intimidating nature of a build hold her back.
“Everyone in the shops, it was all guys. I never really thought it was something I could be interested in. It always piqued my interest. I wanted him to be proud of something I had done that was similar to what he had done.”
As Russell worked on her build, off-road became a natural fit. She hasn't let a primarily male-dominated sport deter her from taking on new challenges.
“There aren’t as many women as there are men. For the most part, the men have been encouraging. They are more than willing to help, train, show us the ropes.”
As her daughter Amber gets more involved in off-roading, she wants her to know anything is possible.
“Women can do this just as well. Getting on these trails as a woman, sometimes the only woman, completing obstacles is just the best feeling in the world.”
Russell began sharing her experiences with the build and off-roading on social media about five years ago. Since then, it's grown exponentially and as of December 2023, she had almost 60,000 followers.
“I think it has grown because I am a female and you don’t see as many women outdoors camping, hiking, and off-roading. Connecting with other females in this sport has been so special," she said.
She keeps in contact with dozens of women she's met through off-roading, saying they have built relationships that transcend the sport.
Beyond building connections with other women, Russell said the entire Jeep community one of the most supportive, encouraging group of people she's ever met.
For her, the trails In South Carolina bring a sense of belonging.
“Here locally in South Carolina there is a park called Gulches Off-Road. They have trails up to level nine. I love that one because you can see everything from easy to extremely difficult. It’s a Jeep Badge of Honor Park as well. I feel so at home there.”
As she looks to conquer more trails, there is one location in particular that's caught her eye.
“My goal is to get out to Moab. That is my dream destination. It is on my bucket list”
When working on her build several years ago, Midland and Russell connected about the importance of GMRS two-way radios on the trails.
“I’ve been growing alongside Midland. Midland taught me a lot about the importance of communication.”
Russell said the MXT575 MicroMobile® Two-Way Radio has been her favorite GMRS two-way radio she's used.
“I love the MicroMobile. It’s one set up, in the Jeep, it’s there all the time. When I’m caravanning, even if I’m not on the trails, you can still keep in touch with everyone.”
Russell expanded her Midland communications set up to include the MicroMobile® MXAT01VP 7.5 dB Gain Grand Vista™ Fiberglass Antenna System. She also installed the SPK100 External Speaker when it was released in summer of 2023.
“The newest product I’m using is the speaker. That’s been really great to have. With being able to hear clearly, I only have to have it on volume level one. It works so well and is so loud.”
For her, GMRS two-way radio communication is all about safety.
“In the five years that I have used everything Midland, I have just felt safer on the trails, caravanning, and campgrounds! I can’t imagine not having Midland on my possession, in my Jeep.”
A concept she said she's passing onto her daughter.
“Being able to communicate with someone when you don’t have cell service, that’s everything. For me, it’s Amber because she’s new to Jeeping, you get on a trail and you can’t just rely on your cellphone.”
Beyond that, GMRS two-way radios have made everything easier for her on the trails.
“When you’re Jeeping you don’t want to stop and have to make a phone call. It’s just easier to push a button.”