These are challenging times, with hardly a week in 2020 passing without a notable disruption to normalcy. However, there are also wonderful joys that have transpired, like reconnecting with family, or the daily acts of kindness and sacrifice from public servants, neighbors, and medical professionals. Recognizing this, our team sought out a small way to give back. This resulted in identifying a local (to Prescott) caregiver that braved daily challenges to help patients at a local hospital. We decided on Bree, who had recently purchased a Jeep Wrangler to escape city life and explore further into the backcountry. We also contacted Extreme Terrain to see if they could help with outfitting Bree’s Jeep, and their marketing team jumped at the opportunity to make a difference.
While a 2-door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon might seem unconventional as an overland vehicle, it is ideal for Bree as a solo traveler, adventurer, and white water kayaker. She packs light, and needed a place to secure her boat, while also having the ability to drive technical terrain in search for the perfect campsite or basecamp. This project also gave our team the opportunity to work with new products that have a slant toward affordability, while still having durability for remote exploration.
This is how Bree’s Jeep looked the day we started turning wrenches:
We all pulled together to outfit the Jeep at the Expedition Portal HQ, installing the front and rear bumpers in one day. The rack was installed a different day. As with most Jeep accessory installs, it is fairly straightforward, although the instructions were admittedly lacking.
Part of the fun of any project is working with others to see the progress, lifting, prying, and bolting new gadgets on a vehicle. I noted a few things I liked about the Extreme Terrain bumpers, including the robust recover points and all powder-coated surfaces. We used the factory fog light wiring to power all of the LEDs, as they draw less than the incandescent stock bulbs.
With everything mounted up, we took it into the field and captured Bree’s first technical terrain experience, disconnecting the sway bars and locking the differentials to make sure everything was working. Her glee in experiencing the capability of her Jeep made it all worth it.
The modifications focused on the front and rear bumpers, along with the roof rack for carrying camping equipment and outdoor gear.
This all-steel front bumper provides wide coverage for an animal strike, but also robust impact protection for the trail. The sides of the bumper angle upwards, improving clearance.
The bumper is also modular, which would allow for repairing individual components, and eased installation. The bumper even included screw-pin C-shackles, driving lights, and an LED bar for trail illumination. The light output surprised us, particularly given the value of the bumper.
There is a grill guard which is mostly cosmetic, and would not hold-up well to an animal strike (although it may help deflect the impact). The grill guard also blocks access to the winch controller, so we needed to relocate the connector. Minor issues, but worth noting.
The rear bumper is a serious piece of trail kit, securely mounted to the frame in multiple locations
It also incorporates a two inch receiver and two rated recover points (again, the shackles are included). The metal angles and folds improve the departure angle, but also strengthen the span and corners.
The roof rack was a critical modification for Bree, as the interior space of the Jeep needs to be used for camping gear, and her boats are typically too long to fit inside.
The rack took a bit more work to install, mostly due to the complexity of aligning all of the mounting points, spans, and crossbars. There was also some hardware interference considerations, which were solved with a grinder. Once everything is tightened up, the rack is impressively sturdy, and would easily take the weight of a roof tent, etc.
With all of the accessories installed, Bree took a much-deserved vacation to Colorado, giving her a chance to rest from the long hours in the hospital. She worked so hard to help heal others, we were glad to see her have the chance to be in nature, where the best kind of healing is often found.
Bree’s Jeep, all loaded up for a week in the Colorado backcountry.
Editor’s Note: This was not a paid project or advertorial. Expedition Portal received no compensation for the project.