So you’ve obtained a Jeep Wrangler and you need to start an overland build. Overlanding is an unimaginable way of life, however there are some vital issues, distinctive to Jeepers, that must be taken under consideration when constructing out a Jeep Wrangler for this objective.
I reside the overlanding life on the day by day. I’ve finished the research and hope you’ll take the time to read this. Hopefully I can save you some heartache and some coin in the process.
You need to know this can be a Jeep-specific article. When you’re in search of common info and my thoughts on overlanding, contemplate testing these other articles I’ve written:
There are extra articles when you poke round my website. But for these contemplating overlanding in a Jeep Wrangler, the remainder of this text is particularly for you.
Observe: this article is restricted to the JK, JKU, JL, and JLU fashions. Should you’re constructing a Jeep Wrangler JT (Gladiator), then this article might have some points of interest for you, however a few of it won’t apply.
Assessing the Obstacles
We all know the Jeep Wrangler is a remarkably capable off-road car with an unimaginable historical past.
However the Jeep Wrangler wasn’t designed with overlanding in mind.
The three major drawbacks for the Jeep Wrangler platform are:
- Payload capacity
- Cargo area
- Gasoline financial system
A good friend of mine on one of the forums I frequent summed it up greatest when he stated, “The Jeep Wrangler is among the most capable automobiles (if not probably the most capable) ever constructed that may take virtually nothing anyplace.”
He was proper.
Although the Jeep Wrangler can take you just about anyplace you need to go, the payload capability (how a lot weight you possibly can carry), cargo capability, and gasoline financial system are probably the most vital limiting elements for using this platform as an overlanding car–by comparison to other options on the market.
The excellent news is the Jeep Wrangler is probably the most modifiable car on the planet. This can be a recreation changer. Why? As a result of in the event you’re intentional about your Jeep Wrangler overlanding construct, then you’ll be able to have an unimaginable platform that’s superior in functionality to most others.
Merely put, with cautious thought and consideration, a Jeep Wrangler can arguably be probably the most capable platform on the planet for an epic overlanding journey. (All the Toyota guys are rolling their eyes right now.)
The easiest way to start out, when contemplating a Jeep Wrangler overlanding construct, is to deal with the drawbacks I discussed above. You must work out the right way to get previous them successfully, economically, and effectively as you build out your Jeep.
So let’s get began.
Obstacle #1: Payload Capacity
What is the payload capability of the Jeep?
In a word: subpar.
In case you are actually new to automobiles normally, “payload capability” refers to how a lot weight your car can carry–including passengers and cargo.
More technically, it’s a calculation of the maximum payload, which equates to the gross car weight score (GVWR) minus the car’s curb weight.
Relying on the yr, model, and trim of your Jeep Wrangler, your payload capacity may be anyplace from an abysmal 800 kilos to an virtually respectable 1310 pounds. You’ll need to verify by yourself particular person mannequin, as I can’t cowl them all right here.
But for instance, the payload capacity of our 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon is 1179 pounds. This means EVERYTHING we’re carrying, together with passengers, additional water, gear, instruments, restoration gear…actually every part…can’t exceed 1179 pounds.
To place this in perspective, a 2014 Toyota Forerunner has a payload capability ranging from 1495 to 1700 pounds! At its base capacity, a Forerunner would give us 316 extra pounds to play with. On the excessive end of that spectrum, we might have a whopping 516 kilos extra.
However personally, I’d slightly have the potential and modifiability of my Jeep. For those so inclined, you will have the choice to tow an off-road trailer. Many Jeep overlanders do. So the Jeep platform versus some other platform is a trade-off, depending on what you want to have the ability to do.
The query that begs to be requested is: Can I improve the payload capacity of my car?
The brief reply is not any.
There are some who will argue this response. But the fact is you possibly can’t really improve payload capability in a car, without potential issues and considerably harmful issues. You must plan your Jeep Wrangler overlanding construct across the payload capacity your specific car is rated for.
The good news is that it’s potential to have a really nice Jeep overlanding construct with all of the gear that you must have, and to do it nicely, so long as you propose accordingly.
You could have choices.
The ideas I’ll provide in the remainder of this article will help you in making the appropriate choice the first time.
Jeep Overlanding Build Tip #1: Should you’re purchasing a Jeep with an overlanding construct in thoughts, then think about getting the very best payload capacity Jeep you will get, and make sure it has a towing package deal. These two issues are extra essential than the color of the paint. Even in the event you aren’t planning on towing a trailer now, chances are you’ll change your mind sooner or later. So once more, think about the payload and towing package deal when making your purchase.
Obstacle #2: Cargo Area
I joked concerning the cargo area of a Jeep Wrangler in my tongue-in-cheek article, Shopping for a Jeep Wrangler: Should I Do It?
However the actuality is cargo area in a Jeep is considerably missing.
That is where we really get into the protips for building out a Jeep Wrangler for overlanding.
We’ve established that payload capability and cargo are two essential drawbacks to overlanding in a Jeep. So how can we make it work?
The straightforward reply to the issue of payload capacity and cargo area is backpacking gear.
Think about it.
Backpackers are a particularly hardcore subset of the outside group, rather more so than us Jeepers. These trailblazers actually carry every little thing on their backs up trails we couldn’t even dream about touring in our Jeeps. Their payload capacity depends upon their power and their cargo capability is at an absolute minimal, but they should pack in (and out) the whole lot they need for their journey.
This implies their gear needs to be:
- Very lightweight
- Extraordinarily compact
- Exceptionally durable
This revelation is a recreation changer for Jeepers.
Whenever you really give it some thought, backpackers would snicker on the “problems” we Jeepers have with our overlanding setup. Are you able to think about if a backpacker might carry 1179 kilos value of drugs?
Whenever you really think about it, we now have a ton of room by comparison to our backpacking counterparts, and we will carry far more in weight than they will.
So why not build out your overlanding arsenal utilizing their gear? Is sensible, right?
Now I will say that due to the top quality, mild weight, and smaller footprint of backpacking gear, it’s expensive stuff. But should you’ve read any of my articles, you recognize that I’ve a “Buy as soon as, cry as soon as” philosophy in relation to gear.
Don’t skimp whenever you’re making your decisions on gear.
On the finish of the day, you need your gear to final; you need it to take up as little area as potential in your rig; and also you need the load of your gear to be as mild as potential because of payload restrictions.
Backpacking gear is the magic bullet, the solution to our first two main points as Jeep overlanders.
Jeep Overlanding Build Tip #2: In relation to overlanding gear you’re including to your arsenal, solely purchase backpacking gear. Not tenting gear. There’s a difference. Use what you’ll be able to with what you could have once you’re getting began. But as you substitute gadgets or buy new ones, opt for backpacking gear. It can prevent area and weight.
This leaves us with yet one more impediment, and that is gasoline financial system.
Impediment #3: Gasoline Financial system
No matter how much gasoline your Jeep can maintain, all Jeep fuel mileage sucks.
It is a reality.
The good news is that this disadvantage could be mitigated, as properly.
Although I haven’t talked about any particular gear anyplace on this article, I will make one exception right here.
I’m a huge fan of the Titan Gasoline Tanks Trail Trekker II exterior gasoline tank. It holds 12 gallons of extra gasoline on a grounded tank that attaches to the tailgate.
It has been a recreation changer for us.
What this means in easy phrases is I can go from an empty tank of gasoline to over a half tank of gasoline in six minutes, using this Jeep modification.
Now you don’t have to use the Trail Trekker II. You’ll be able to go for Rotopax which numerous people like using, or you possibly can even use an old-fashioned Jerry can. But no matter you do, when you’re going off-grid for extended durations of time, then ensure you have some method to carry additional gasoline.
Jeep Overlanding Build Tip #3: Carry additional gasoline. Keep in mind that not only you, but your whole gear and gear, stay in the Jeep. When you run out of gasoline, you’re going to need to hoof it to get some. So moderately than have that challenge, contemplate this a main want on your Jeep overlanding build.
Different Issues for Your Jeep Overlanding Construct
Off-road house on wheels
With the three main drawbacks of a Jeep Wrangler overlanding construct taken care of, all the things else is pretty straightforward.
Aside from what I listed above, I highly advocate you contemplate the following as you’re creating your construct:
- Upgraded shocks
- Upgraded coil springs
- Good raise package
- Upgraded differential covers
- Upgraded axles
- Off-road tires
- Aluminum bumpers, entrance and rear
- Aluminum fenders
- Skid plates
- Exterior lighting
There’s a ton you are able to do together with your Jeep Wrangler overlanding build to make it good for you and your loved ones. Be happy to comment with any questions or for recommendations on particular products.
We’ve personally gone slightly crazy. However this is what we actually take pleasure in doing. So for us as full-time travelers, it’s not just our interest, however our way of life.
In the event you’re interested, you’ll be able to read about our private Jeep Wrangler overlanding build right here.
Closing Thoughts on Jeep Overlanding
Let’s face it. You really solely need water, shelter, meals, heat, and sleep with a view to survive. (I coated an intro to overlanding on this article which you’ll be able to read here.)
However who needs to only survive, right?
The overlanding way of life is concerning the enjoyment of it all.
There are few things I take pleasure in more on this life than overlanding in my Jeep. I really like this platform for the journey we’re on, and I’ve but to discover a place I need to set up camp that I can’t get to. (Though I’m still wanting.)
When you’re a fellow Jeep overlander, or considering the life-style, I’d respect for those who’d drop me a comment under. We love to attach with different overlanders (Jeepers and non-Jeepers) everywhere in the world in our travels.
Get to know us. We’d love to get to know you.
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Until next time, maintain it soiled and wheels aspect down.
~ Eric, Brittany, and #LittleNomad
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