First: I love my decked system. It's really good. I like how much equipment I can store and the super easy access to everything. But there are a couple of downsides to the unit. First, is that when the drawer is extended (out), I can't use the tailgate as a pseudo workbench, which is what I typically do when at a remote location like our cabin. This is one of those "duh!" moments; I should have realized it. The fix is to find some other surface to work from and/or carry/build some kind of portable work table with me. The second issue is what I call the "bed depth" issue. The decked unit takes up about 12-inches of useable depth in the bed. This means things that one could just toss in the back no longer are really secure when driving down the road. In fact, there's only about 4-inches of effective bed depth for containing a load that I put on top of the decked drawers. The solution to this latter problem is to build a headache bar and side rails that
Purchased and installed a second-generation Decked drawer system for the Gladiator. Unit came damaged from the factory (the shipper evidently used it for pinata duty). Long story short: I managed to get the system installed, and Decked is sending some replacement parts. Overall, I'm quite pleased with the unit. Will need to build a headache rack to protect the rear wind from items I carry on top of the unit, plus I'm going to build some side rails ("stake bed style") to keep stuff in side-to-side.
As mentioned before in this blog, one thing I'm still getting used to with the new Jeep is how little cargo space there is. We're going up to our cabin this coming weekend, and we're bringing two full-grown adults to accompany my wife and myself. Four people are a tight squeeze in the vehicle's cab, which means all of our combined gear, cooler, etc. that normally would live in the back seat area will have to ride in the truck's bed. Combined with highway, bumpy washboard dirt roads, and of course rock crawling... well, stuff can leave the bed on its own accord if not properly secured. To address this issue, I purchased a heavy-duty cargo net that I'll keep in the toolbox and use in instances like this upcoming weekend jaunt. The unit I purchased was a Mophorn 50"x66" heavy duty cargo net that came with four tied down straps and carabiners. It's probably too big for typical loads (e.g., coolers and such) but I erred on the side of too big, rather th
Last year, we installed rainwater collection gutters and tanks on the house. That was step one: capturing the water. But then the question arises of how to actually access and use the water. Some of our watering needs are downhill from the tanks, so gravity does the work. But other areas, like our front balcony, where my wife keeps a lot of plants, are a full 10ft higher than the water tank. There are a number of options available to us, including everything from just hauling the water via buckets, all the way up to sophisticated submersible electric pumps. In the end, we went old school, taking a cue from the type of hand pump we use at our cabin. This pump was purchased online by my wife. I then built the wooden stand and plumbed it into the tank. Works great. Next up will be a similar setup on the backyard water tank. Living in the desert (in the middle of a drought), you can never have too much water storage....
An indispensable recovery tool every serious offroad vehicle should carry is a good shovel. I've only had to use a shovel once in an emergency off-road situation--but it was truly needed that time. Unfortunately, the shovel I had at the time was a tiny "fold-up" camp model that I kept in my truck's tool box. It was way too small for the job at hand, taking close to 30 minutes to dig us out of a sandy rut that should have taken, at most, 5 minutes with a properly sized tool. So... for the Gladiator, I decided it was time to carry a bigger implement for the (hopefully rare) times when I will need it. I chose a modest 36-inch model that we already had sitting unused in a shed. The bad news is that because of the constraints of the tool box size on the Gladiator, I can't keep it locked up inside. Instead, I have to keep the shovel in the truck's bed. The solution I settled on is to use a "quick fist" rubber tool mount that is screwed directly into the si
Took the Gladiator off-road for the first time this fourth of July weekend. Specifically, we drove up to our family cabin, which requires some pretty serious 4x4 capability (and, if I do say so myself, some driver skill). The route includes everything from mountainous 2-lane blacktop, to 65mph posted highway driving, to long washboard dirt roads, to deep sandy sections and wash-running, to steep & technical rock crawling and narrow single-track roads. 4x4 high, low, locked... you name it, it requires it. Very diverse and challenging..... and the truck handled it all with aplomb. On this inaugural run (literally, my first time ever driving a Jeep off-road), the things that stood out to me include: Nimble . Compared to the old monstrous F250 Crew Cab, this Gladiator feels like a sports car. It's much narrower and easier to maneuver in the tighter sections of the trail. Downright fun to drive. Sway-bar Disconnect. Wow. The ride quality off-road once the sway-bar was disconnected
I need a means of airing-up and down when off-road, plus fixing flats, etc. I.e., I need an air compressor to carry with us in the truck at all times. So which one did I end up with? To answer that, we have to start with the requirements: Quality . Foremost, I wanted something high-quality that will last me my lifetime. Of course, price was a factor, but I’m also a big believer in the time-tested adage that when buying tools you can “cry once or multiple times”. Portability . I wanted something portable. I will primarily take my Gladiator off-road and on trips, but occasionally will take the wife’s Jeep (when it shows up). In other words, I don't currently need something permanently mounted under the hood of the truck; rather, I want something I can move from vehicle to vehicle as required. Capacity . I may end up running larger tires in the future, so wanted something that could grow with me as my tires changes. It’s overkill a bit, but I decided I wanted something capable of