As the weather gets warmer, outdoor adventures become more frequent – including awesome off-roading excursions in your Jeep. Make sure the wilderness is no match for you Jeep by gearing it up with the proper equipment. Here’s a checklist to make sure your Jeep is an off-road monster taking the rough terrain by storm.
Disclaimer: This is a guest post from Timothy Zahl of CARiD.com and is not sponsored or paid for in any way. We just really thought the article kicked ass.
No such thing as an impassable rock. Jack up your Jeep with tires and rims designed for off-roading to raise height and ground clearance, enabling steeper ascent and descent in off-road terrain, while easily climbing obstacles. The bigger and tougher the better. Make sure to add even more height to your Jeep with a suspension lift to make sure your tires don’t rub against the fenders, and to increase wheel travel ability through greater articulation. With all this added height, you’ll also need a lift getting into your vehicle – try installing rocker bars that will provide a step and also protect the body.
Better safe than sorry. On your off-road exploration through mud bogs, sandy hills, and streams, its only a matter of when, not if, you’re going to get stuck. Equip your Jeep with a powerful winch to pull it free – getting stuck should be a part of the adventure, not the end of it. Install an off-road bumper as well, that will not only keep your Jeep protected in the roughest terrain, but serve as a great mounting spot for a winch.
Also, most Jeep bumpers are available with integral grille guards/brush guards, with are terrific for protection and mounting lights. But remember – a large diameter tire may not fit on the stock spare mount, so consider an off-road rear bumper with a swing-away tire mount.
Visibility is key. You need to be able to see the terrain and obstacles around your Jeep when off-roading. First, equip your Jeep with custom doors that allow for better visibility – there are a few different types:
Half doors maintain more of a factory look and give a bit more protection than the others. They are built from impact resistant ABS thermoplastic with a reinforced internal steel frame. These doors allow the open-air experience without the exposure of driving with no doors, and will protect your passengers from dirt/rocks kicked up from your wheels, and will keep things from falling out of your Jeep.
Element doors give the same open air feeling and great visibility you get running with no doors, but with protection from their steel tube construction, and increased utility from multiple options that will enable you to carry additional gear in storage bags, mount mirrors, or even create a full door with lower enclosures and fabric upper doors.
Trail doors have a steel tube construction with a mesh insert for added protection. They provide great visibility, as well as shedding a fair amount of weight. The mesh insert is open enough that you still get the sight lines and sense of openness, but provides some protection and a sense of security – especially when you’re on the downhill side of a steep traverse. These doors latch tightly, so they don’t rattle, and install in seconds.
All of these doors are completely interchangeable with your factory steel doors; you can switch back and forth easily, and will provide that amazing sense of freedom and connection to the land you’re driving through.
Secondly, install off-road lights on your Jeep to see obstacles and trail conditions near and far. But first, there are a few things to consider:
Construction: look for lights in a sturdy housing with shatterproof polycarbonate lenses.
Shape: There are both round and square off-road lights, and many off-roaders use a combination of both. However, round lenses contain a reflective surface with the filament located at the focal point, which throws a more powerful light pattern than a lens with a square or rectangular shape.
Bulb technology: There are different types of light bulbs available based on what you’re looking for.
- Halogen bulbs are mostly used for headlights and fog lights, their increased light output increases driver visibility in darkness and inclement weather.
- LED lights are very insensitive to vibrations, can be installed in harsh environments, and last the life of the vehicle. They also run cool, give more light per supplied watt, and light up much quicker than incandescent light.
- HID lights use high voltages and a mixture of xenon gas, mercury and metal halides to create brighter and whiter light than that of an ordinary lamp.
- Xenon bulbs increase light efficiency over halogen bulbs by providing more light and consuming less power. The light they produce is also whiter and more similar to sunlight.
- Driving lights help you see further ahead and to the sides of the trail.
- Pencil beams are tighter and more focused for seeing even further into the distance.
- Cornering beams help you see to the right or left
- Flood lights create large areas of illumination
- Fog lights have a wide beam pattern that lights up a pathway close to the ground.
Choose the lights that are right for you and mount them on your Jeep for optimal visibility.
If you’ve got all this gear checked off, then your hauler has officially completed its transformation into an off-road warrior. Have fun, be safe, and tear it up.