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Equipping a Jeep Gladiator for Camping/Boondocking

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Since transitioning from a Wrangler to a Gladiator, I've been outfitting it for my trips into the wilderness. From the racks I've put on, to the cargo bay, to the interior, to the GPS, this is how I've done it.

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Equipping a Jeep Gladiator for Camping/Boondocking

  1. 1. Into The Wilderness Outfitting a 2020 Jeep Gladiator. for Boondocking and Camping
  2. 2. I’ve been hitting remote areas for years and camping. I like to keep off the beaten track and rarely stay in formal campgrounds. Lately, with a surge of popularity, most campgrounds are fully booked and crowded. With my previous Jeep Wranglers, and now my 2020 Jeep Gladiator, I prefer to do what is called “dispersed camping.”
  3. 3. The goal is to have all the supplies you need to be self-sufficient for at least a week or two. To be able to set up a tent camp site, or, when desired, to sleep in the vehicle. This also equips the vehicle as ‘bug-out’ transport.
  4. 4. I have a presentation on transitioning from a Wrangler to a Gladiator and the differences between the two vehicles HERE. You can sign up for my newsletter (free books about once every six weeks and more info) or check my web site. I also have a number of free slideshows on survival on the website along with other interesting material.
  5. 5. I have a Rugged Ridge winch on the front JCR bumper. It has a synthetic rope, which I prefer over steel cable. If using a steel cable you should use a dampener to prevent it whipping about if it snaps. I’ve used the winch often to clear forest roads.
  6. 6. I have 2 JCR Racks. A JCR half rack on top of the cab and the JCR full-bed rack. These are both key modifications for storing gear and outfitting. For the cargo bed, I have an Undercover Swingcase Truck Storage box on either side. I’ll have images of all on following slides, along with what’s in each.
  7. 7. The JCR full-bed rack allows me to mount all my Rotopax on the sides: 4.5 gallon gas 3.5 gallon gas 1.5 gallon gas 2 two gallon water cans I can mount all those on five Rotopax mounts on the outside of the full bed rack. I have five mounts, but I can double each mount using the deluxe mount, thus carrying 10 Rotopax if I want.
  8. 8. Something to keep in mind with gas containers. They need to be vented with changes in temperature and sunlight. I often see photos of Rotopax or other gas cans mounted on their side. First, it’s going to leak. Second, you can’t vent when it’s like that. You need to have the spout facing up. Not venting wears out plastic and eventually, it will break, which is not fun when it’s full of gas.
  9. 9. I have two hose carriers and two pieces of 5 inch vinyl fence post mounted on top in the back to carry supplies. I also carry two, flexible 100 Watt solar panels to use with a GoalZero Yeti 400. These conveniently slide between the cab and truck bed with a perfect fit and are essentially invisible but readily accessible. A HiLift Jack is attached to a step bumper in the rear that is in the hitch.
  10. 10. I bought a Smartliner for the bed. And Smartliner floor mats. I added a dead pedal since I have an automatic. BTW— all Amazon links are affiliate but I donate all proceeds to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which educates the children of my fallen Special Operations comrades.
  11. 11. Top view: 2 Two gallons Rotopax supply cases on half rack along with Go-Treads and chocks for winching 5 inch vinyl fence post, caps on either end. Hose carriers, locked,
  12. 12. From left to right, viewing from the rear: Top left vinyl has: Complete 2 person tent. Top left hose carrier has: Water filter; solar panel cables; tow strap; fire starter Top right hose carrier has: Extra bike gear; seasonal supplies; for long trips, it’s where I carry numerous field rations. Top right vinyl has: Camping trap and a bug net. Tie downs. Both fit over entire cargo bay with gate down.
  13. 13. The two Rotopax storage containers on the half rack above the cab hold: list on next page.
  14. 14. The two Rotopax storage containers on the half rack above the cab hold: I know it’s hard to see in the photos so here is a partial list of what’s in them and always on top: Emergency rations; snares; emergency radio; emergency blanket; poncho; 550 cord; first aid kit; emergency water packets; splint; thumb chain saw; Quik-Clot packet; and more. In essence part of a grab-n-go bag (I actually have one in the passenger seat well when I leave)
  15. 15. I carry two 100 watt flexible solar panels between the cab and cargo bay. As you can see, you can barely see them, but they are easily pulled out and deployed. Presentation on solar panel HERE. The Yeti 400 makes everything from inflating tires to having a small fan, a light, recharging power tools, and more, so much easier!
  16. 16. Interior: One of my goals was to keep the seats clear of stuff. Not only for passengers, but also for my dogs. To outfit my 2 door Wrangler with the gear Im listing for the Gladiator, I had to take the back and passenger seats out. I also custom built a bed to stretch the entire right side of the interior. Everything was really tight and it required constant repacking.
  17. 17. Interior: Another goal was to NOT have all that gear on the Gladiator when I was at home, but to be able to load and unload quickly. I keep all the gas and water Rotopax and swing containers along one wall of the garage, leaving the cargo bay free for my kayak, bike, groceries, etc. The two emergency supply Rotopax on the cab half- rack always stay on, but I lock them to the rack. The two hose carriers and vinyl fencing containers stay on all the time since they aren’t in the way. I can pack for a trip in less than five minutes.
  18. 18. On the back driver’s seat there is: Smittybilt seat cover holding various tools for easy access.
  19. 19. On the back passenger seat there is: Smittybilt seat cover holding power bars, batteries, Leatherman multitool, ear protection (for the range), binoculars (on back of headrest), lots of zip ties and more.
  20. 20. In the left back passenger’s foot area: GoalZero 400. Extra battery linked in parallel. It’s currently plugged into the very convenient plug at rear of middle console.
  21. 21. In the left back passenger’s foot area: GoalZero 400. Extra battery linked in parallel. It’s currently plugged into the very convenient plug at rear of middle console.
  22. 22. In the cargo area under the rear seat: Tyger auto-shovel (very useful multitool), jack, splint, tie downs, trauma pak, duct tape; jumper cables; warning triangle; warning flasher; and underneath is a .22 Henry survival rifle and ammo.
  23. 23. Under the back seat there is: Air compressor. Note it plugs into the Yeti GoalZero. I deflate my tires any time I go off road. The basic rule of thumb is 25% for off road; 35% for rock crawling; 50% for sand. The compressor allows me to get to highway pressure when I come back to civilization.
  24. 24. In the cargo area under the rear seat: Plug in air compressor; running shoes; socket set; small USB powered fan (for cargo bay camping hot weather); booster battery with cables; heavy winch gloves; three snatch blocks; battery powered gas siphon.
  25. 25. Behind the left back seat there is: Crow bar; battery powered drill and bits/drills; folding saw; hammer; assorted other tools.
  26. 26. Behind the right back seat there is: Winch controller; a collection of bolts, pins and other widgets I’ve found useful to have backups, such as for sway bar connects.
  27. 27. The “cockpit”. Using Apple car play I can bring up my favorite map app: GAIA. I hook my iPad on a bracket to the right of the regular display. I usually have two different Gaia overlays on the two screens, showing different things and scales. The iPad runs off the USB dash outlet while my cell phone is hooked to the center console USB outlet to run Apple play and stay charged.
  28. 28. Location Apps There are several topo map Apps you can get. I’ve used a number over the years but the best one I’ve found is Gaia. The basic app is free and then there is a premium membership. Gaia allows you to layer various types of maps, such as National Forest Service Roads with Topographic with Public Lands, and adjust it to your preferences. The premium, which is discounted 20% via my affiliate link, is $32 for a year, but for the number and types of maps you get, it is definitely worth it. (All proceeds from my affiliate links, including Amazon, go to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation).
  29. 29. Location Apps One useful thing to using any map app is to download the map tiles you want to use beforehand (for when you’re out in the wilds with no signal) and learning how to use the app before you need it. Gaia also sends interesting and useful email updates on various outdoor activities that are very informative from outdoor experts.
  30. 30. To the left is an example of some of the many maps you can download and use. You can have multiple maps on screen at the same time, adjusting them as you need. In this case, I have the US Forestry Service Map at max along with USFS roads and trails along with public lands. I can bring up hidden layers as needed. Also note the Historic Topo for 1930 which is fun to play with. You also have National Park Service Visitor, topo maps, streets maps, weather and more. They even recently introduced latest satellite imagery, which is by far, the most up to date layer. There are dozens of different types of maps available to premium members.
  31. 31. On top of the dash, I have my GoPro mount, and to the right, a Blavor solar battery power bank with cables. I use this to charge the GoPro and any mini- USB/USB-C devices. Held in place by Velcro.
  32. 32. I have a map case hung on the passenger seat. Holds bear spray, water bottle, waterproof phone cover; assorted cables. And, yes, maps. I never rely 100% on GPS. Nat Geo map and then state topo maps. Slideshow on maps on my free page.
  33. 33. I have a map case hung on the left side rear passenger headrest. It holds more topo maps; toilet kit; windshield cleaner; body wipes; etcetera. You can also see the first aid kit between the right side headrest and the bar.
  34. 34. I take my dog with me and she owns the passenger seat. I put one of her dog beds there. The problem was she ‘spilled over’ at times when adjusting and even knocked the shift out of drive. I use wire shelving now, inserted between the passenger seat and shift console to brace her bed. She likes that set up as it gives her support. (dog bed not in this picture!)
  35. 35. I have an Undercover Swingcase Truck Storage box on either side. Pull the yellow lever and it swings back to you. Brilliant. Left case contains sleeping gear, Right case contains food and cooking supplies.
  36. 36. Note the kayak handle and padded mat I’ve added to the inside of the tailgate. Easier on the knees and a grip for getting in and out.
  37. 37. Left swing case has: Sleeping gear: air mattress; poncho liner; pillow. Right swing case has: fuel; stove; meals; coffee and hot chocolate; pans, utensils. Trash bags.
  38. 38. In the front left of the cargo bay I have more wire shelving fixed to the side. Inside is the cloth container for the roof panels— this helps them from getting banged up and scratched when taken off. Also a camp chair. On the outside of the wire shelving is a bunch of bungi cords and velcro straps. Always have a use for those. Also an axe on the inside of the rack middle panel.
  39. 39. My previous Wranglers had both soft and hard tops. I spent years doing the annual transition of taking off the hardtop and putting on the soft. Honestly, I prefer the hard top with panels. You don’t have the totally open experience of the soft top down, but the trade off in terms of security and ease is more than worth is in my opinion. I thought I’d miss the soft top option, but I haven’t at all. It’s quieter and more secure and I can pop the panels off and put them in their soft case in the cargo bay (another advantage over the Wrangler where they had to go inside the limited space).
  40. 40. Like with the Wrangler you can put on a rack and then put a pop up tent on the top. Personally, it’s not for me for several reasons: The ladder is dangerous to transit in the middle of the night. My dog can’t climb it. The tent is always up there. Makes it harder to claim a camp site without putting a tent on it. The pop up wouldn’t allow me to put the four tubes and two cargo containers up top that carry essential gear that would have to go elsewhere.
  41. 41. I sleep in the cargo bay when I don’t set up a tent. In fact, I prefer sleeping there. I use either a mosquito net or a tent shell which drapes over the JCR rack completely and the tailgate which I put down. My dog and I can sleep quite nicely back there. Also we can set up and tear down in just a few minutes. I store the bug net/tent shell (and my poles and tent interior in case I want to set up) in the containers on top of the rack. Hose carriers are available on Amazon— used by RVers to store their waste hose, but can be used for storage. You can put a lock on them.
  42. 42. For a while I used six-inch PVC capped on either end to hold supplies. I realized that five-inch vinyl hurricane fence posts are a much better option. They hold a lot more, have flat sides, and are actually cheaper than PVC and the caps. They also attach more easily by drilling through and using bolts to attach to the JCR rack. Secure attachment is key when you’re doing off- roading.
  43. 43. The cargo bed. Here it’s set for sleeping. In this case I’ve removed the two swing cases which is done very easily, but it works with them in it. Sleeping pad, poncho liner (sleeping bag for colder weather), dog bed, pillow.
  44. 44. I bought a Spot-X satellite messenger. I spend a lot of time in the Smoky Mountains and often don’t have a cell signal. With the Spot-X I can maintain contact with home. Out west, it’s a must have.
  45. 45. This is just an overview. My set up is constantly adjusting as I learn more from various trips and experiences. It’s tailored for the things I like to do. I have a separate presentation on car preparedness that’s generic. Questions, comments, suggestions, email me at bob@bobmayer.com Free books and more info on my web site: www.bobmayer.com Enjoy and stay safe out there!
  46. 46. More Free Information I constantly update free, downloadable slideshows like this on my web site for preparation and survival and other topics. FREE SLIDESHOWS Also, I conduct Area Study workshops for those interested in properly preparing for their specific circumstances.
  47. 47. The guide on the left is the complete preparation and survival guide. The one on the right is a pocket-size manual with just the survival portion. Useful in your Grab- n-Go bag, car and kitchen drawer. SURVIVAL GUIDES
  48. 48. The Book "The best preparation guide available, bar none. A must have for anyone concerned about man-made and natural disasters. Mayer points out that preparation is key and he walks the reader through it, each section building on the one before. From page one, I felt more prepared. Get it!" Assembly Magazine.
  49. 49. New York Times bestselling author, is a graduate of West Point and former Green Beret. He’s had over 80 books published, including the #1 bestselling series Green Berets, Time Patrol, Area 51, and Atlantis. He’s sold over 5 million books. He was born in the Bronx and has traveled the world. He’s lived on an island off the east coast, an island off the west coast, in the Rocky Mountains, the Smoky Mountains and other places, including time in East Asia studying martial arts. He was an instructor and course developer/writer for years at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School which trains Green Berets and also runs the SERE school: Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape. www.bobmayer.com

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