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A Community Lifeline, Built on BFG

A Curious Search & Rescue Start

Shimmering greens and blues of the aurora borealis dance overhead, casting an ethereal glow on Paul’s Ford Super Duty F-350 XL truck, which is purpose-built for every kind of search and rescue operation you can imagine. For most, the northern lights are a breathtaking spectacle. But for Paul Service, a volunteer with Halifax Search & Rescue (HSAR), any beauty here is tinged with urgency. A call had come in: an elderly hiker, out berry picking earlier that day, was missing, alone in the punishing Nova Scotia landscape. Unknown to Paul, a family of bears had roamed through this very area of the woods the night prior.

From inescapable cold to hurricanes and widespread forest fires —the wilds of northern Canada can test the limits of even the most experienced outdoorsman. When someone is reported missing, Paul and his team of volunteers spring into action, hoping for the best possible outcome.

As dawn breaks, the search narrows in on a small lake surrounded by forest. As the orange vest-clad rescue team circles the tall trees around the shoreline, Paul’s eyes flicker across the water, where a rowboat eerily floats. It was just a boat, drifting in the still darkness. No rower. No paddles. But, descending the steep, dark hill, Paul and his brave team of volunteers hoped it held answers…

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Volunteers to the Rescue

HSAR is a 100% non-profit, volunteer organization with more than 150 active members on call around the clock, every day of the year. Their stated mission? To bring a lost subject home, under any circumstance, as quickly as possible. Since its inception in the 1970s, not one member of this dedicated team has received a payout for their duties — ever.

The team's roots stretch back over fifty years when an initiative to organize a search for a missing person over half a decade ago marked a pivotal moment. Unfortunately, the outcome of the search wasn't what they had hoped for, prompting a collective decision to formalize their efforts. Today, boasting 150 active members, the team stands as the largest and busiest search and rescue organization in Atlantic Canada, a testament to their commitment to serve their community with unwavering dedication.


Paul's team covers hundreds of square kilometers of terrain including every square inch of forest, coastline, and pavement in the Halifax area. It's common for them to be on the search for hikers, hunters, children, and senior citizens at any time of year. If anyone is missing or in need of evacuation, HSAR is on the scene.


"You hear the concept of family, but it really is a family we have...We have doctors, lawyers, students, we have a veterinarian...everybody that wants to come together and help when somebody's missing or when somebody's injured in the woods. We are there when that call comes in." – Paul Service, Chief Director of HSAR

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Each step of this evolution wasn’t random—every innovation along the way was a purposeful step to improve the off-roading experience.

"We didn't go out and say ‘hey we need to build a tire to make it look cool.’ No. There's actually a legitimate need for people with heavy duty trucks that are going off-road and up and down gravel." – Brandon Sturgis, Global Product Manager at BFGoodrich® Tires

And so, two iconic tires were born.

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Since its launch in 2014, the KO2 has become one of the world’s most iconic tires because it does so many things, so well.

“[It’s] got really tough sidewalls that can actually go off-roading, that you can air down, you need to go through snow, and relatively quiet on the road. I mean it's just that do-it-all kind of tire.”

If KO2 was a person, who would it be?

“The KO2 is your dad. Your dad does everything. Your parents make things happen. They do everything for everybody. And they do it without complaint.”

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It’s not difficult to figure out what the Mud-Terrain T/A® KM3 is designed for — it’s right there in the name.

But this purpose-built tire isn’t just a mud tire.

“It is good in the mud, but we didn't just focus on mud, we focused on slow-speed rock crawling as well. People like to do all sorts of crazy off-road stuff with this tire, but they drive it onroad a little bit as well. It needed to be capable of all of that “

If KM3 was a person, who would it be?

A pro wrestler. He's a badass. He's all ripped and muscular. And just like you can see that the KM3 is purpose built for mud and rock, you can see that he's purpose built for wrestling.

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These tires didn’t earn their reputation easily. They’ve proven over the years to be some of the toughest tires on the road.

“We're a little bit different in the all-terrain space because we really focus on sidewall durability and toughness.”

In fact, they were so focused on sidewall durability and toughness, they had to invent new technology just to test it. The way most companies test their tires is with a machine that pushes a plunger into the tread. Then, to test the sidewalls, they just turn the tire sideways. But that’s not how punctures happen in the wild.

"Tires are moving, then they hit something on the side and that's what rips the sidewall, so it's a different mechanism for how the sidewall gets damaged.”

The team at BFGoodrich Tires knew they couldn’t put their name on a tire without knowing that the tire was as tough as people needed it to be. Not in a testing lab. But out in the real world.

“We were so hell-bent on improving the KO2 and really making it legit that we came up with our own sidewall durability splitting test."

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When it came time to develop the KM3, though, they had to step it up even more. “We built the KO2 to have tough sidewalls. But the KM3 has even tougher sidewalls.”

Brandon recalls a moment in Baja when the KM3’s toughness was put to the ultimate real-world test. A tire designer was testing a prototype of the KM3 out in Baja, when they hit a massive hole.

“Boom! It ripped the wheel off the car. It was that big and they were going that fast."

“They went and found the wheel and brought it back, looking at the tire and they're like, ‘we think the tire's fine.’ So they put it on another wheel…and kept going."

After that, the tire wasn’t a prototype anymore.

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When it comes to choosing the tire for your truck, do you go with the KO2 or KM3? The parent who can do it all, or purpose-built pro wrestler? According to Brandon, “it really gets down to what you plan on doing with your vehicle day in and day out.”

The KO2 offers excellent traction in mud, snow, and gravel, while maintaining good “road manners”—a quiet ride and more steering precision than its mud-loving sibling. The KM3’s design offers better traction in mud and rock than the KO2, but when it comes to on-road performance, “you're gonna have to sacrifice that a little bit with KM3 to get that off-road performance.”

Said another way, the KO2 is the everyday, do-everything parent that will take care of you. The KM3 is the purpose-built pro wrestler, who can kick but off-road, but will be a bit rougher around the edges to live with as an everyday driver. 

Which brings us back to the question: Which tire wins in a head-to-head battle? Well, it turns out the answer is up to you and what you’re building for. 

If you’re spending a lot of time in mud or in low-pressure rock climbing, you might opt for the KM3. But if you plan on driving through snow, need good on-road manners, or just need a tire that excels in most any condition, KO2 is likely your winner. 

So, what are you building for?

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