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
I love my high-lift jack. But others do as well, and mounted in the bed of my truck makes an appealing target for thieves. Therefore, I need to lock it up. I looked into the locking knob/handles for the mounting system I purchased, but they're pretty pricey. I needed a cheaper solution, which led me to peruse all the chains and locks I've pack-ratted away in the garage for years. Long story short, here's what I ended up with. Is it ideal? No, not really. A determined thief could still cut the chain, bolt-cut the lock or hacksaw the tie-down loop in the bed. And I've now got a chain taking up some of the tie-down loop space. Oh, and the chain is going to rattle around in the bed as I drive down the road. But this solution is very inexpensive and should serve my needs.
I've owned a Hi-Lift jack for more than a decade. In all that time, I've only used it a couple of times--but it saved my bacon in each of those situations. Ergo, I insist on carrying this huge jack in my primary off-road vehicle at all times... ...ah, but the Gladiator is not a big vehicle, and my jack is the monster 48" X-Treme version. In the old F250, I easily stored this unit and all its ancillary gear in the toolbox that was mounted in the bed. But the (much) smaller Craftsman box I'm using on the Jeep is far too small to hold the jack. I've distributed the various ancillary jack support gear throughout the under-seat storage areas in the cab and in the toolbox, but the jack itself presented a problem because of its length and weight. This is not something you want to just have banging around in the backseat area of the truck. The solution I ended up with was an (expensive) set of mounting brackets I purchased via Amazon. Yes, I could have fabricated somethi