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5 Critical Jeep Upgrades for Overlanding and Off-Roading

Morgan Quarry – 27th & 28th Nov 2010” by Allshots Imaging is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

The Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator are two of the most famous platforms for overland vehicle builds. 

The old-school design, good looks, and relatively comfortable interior make for a truck that can tackle the most challenging trails available while also being able to manage itself on the road.

As you can imagine, due to the popularity of these two trucks, one can make plenty of Jeep upgrades to ensure these vehicles work perfectly on expeditions.

This article goes over some of the most common Jeep Gladiator upgrades and Jeep Wrangler upgrades to help you make the proper choices when building your truck.

Table of Contents

Jeep Upgrades – Have a Functional Storage Solution

cargo dog wrangler pic2

A storage solution for your gear is one of the most important Jeep upgrades in any overland build. As travelers, we need space that is easily accessible, allows for proper organization, and keeps our gear safe.

In the case of the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator, you can use a product like Cargo Dog to achieve these ends…

cargo dog 1

This ingenious system takes the place of 40%, 60%, or 100% of the rear seat in a Wrangler or Gladiator and replaces it with a cargo box that inserts into the footwell and creates a flat floor. This serves as the perfect spot to put gear on top, have a flat floor to sleep on, or use as a storage compartment for gear you use less often.

In other words, this isn’t just a storage solution – it’s a means of making the back of your Jeep far more functional for overlanding and off-roading trips.

cargo dog wrangler pic4

This in-floor storage solution has many amenities that make it even more functional. For example, each compartment inside Cargo Dog has lighting to make finding your gear much easier after arriving at camp late at night. 

Additionally, each compartment has a robust locking mechanism that gives you peace of mind that the gear inside is safe when you’re not with the vehicle. The low-profile, incognito design of Cargo Dog helps hide the fact that it’s a storage system full of potentially expensive items, too.

cargo dog 3

On top of all that, Cargo Dog is made here in the USA from rugged and durable products. This storage system is something that will serve you for years and years to come, and serve you well. Heck, it’s even easy to remove if you need the back seats in your Jeep for your next trip.

Cargo Dog is the perfect product if you need more space out of your Gladiator or Wrangler. Don’t take my word for it, though. Visit Cargo Dog to learn more about this fantastic Jeep upgrade, and use our coupon code 4WD10 to get ten percent off!

Jeep Upgrades – Beef-Up Your Suspension 

4WD Suspension

Photo by Bulgnn via iStock

One of the best Jeep upgrades you can make is to the suspension components. Contrary to popular belief, upgrading your suspension doesn’t just lift a vehicle. It also increases the truck’s payload while providing better ride quality and more resistance to fade. 

Shock performance fades when the oil inside the system gets too hot. Aftermarket off–road suspensions come with larger shock bodies that can take more oil. This means that it takes longer for the fluid to boil and lead to shock fade. 

On overland trips, suspension systems go through hell since our trucks have to navigate rough terrain while also carrying a heavy load. So, it is crucial to have a system that provides better payload, off-road performance, and fade resistance. 

Image Credit: Fox

Of course, a suspension upgrade also gives a raise in ride height. For overland builds, we suggest going for a two-inch lift. A two-inch lift keeps most components close to their factory position, which eliminates the need to upgrade other peripheral parts.

A four-inch lift is a good choice if you want to hit tough trails along the way. However, you will need to do further upgrades related to geometry correction.

Our favorite suspension brands are Fox (shown above), Falcon, and Old Man Emu. These brands make quality suspension systems that ensure your Jeep performs as good as possible on your trips. Avoid the cheap brands, as sometimes the upgrade can be worse than the factory option!

Jeep Upgrades – Tires 

BF Goodrich all-terrain

The next item on our Jeep upgrades is the rubber. Tires are one of the most important parts of a 4WD. Good quality tires provide grip and puncture resistance – two crucial attributes when in remote locations. 

The Jeep platforms have plenty of wheel arch space so you can easily go up to a 35-inch tire. This gives differential clearance while also lifting the vehicle one or two more inches (depending on your stock tire size). Since new Jeeps have a low-hanging chassis, this upgrade makes a significant difference for off-roading. 

Sadly, tires are one item that has gotten more expensive over the past few months. However, they are crucial to the functioning of a 4×4. Therefore, going for good brands with long-term durability and performance is essential. These brands include BF Goodrich (like the K02’s shown above), Toyo, Nitto, and Cooper

Jeep Upgrades – Protection 

Image Credit: ARB USA

In many cases, Jeep upgrades also include protection. For example, steel front and rear bumpers help take the hits when coming down or driving up steep obstacles. 

Aftermarket units like the one pictured above by ARB increase clearance, provide built-in recovery points, and give space for mounting a winch. 

If you want to take it a step further, you can install undercarriage protection that covers the diffs, frame, and transmission, ensuring that nothing gets damaged if you happen to run out of clearance.

Jeep Upgrades – Have Peace of Mind with a Winch

Image Credit: WARN

The final item on the Jeep Upgrades list is a winch. A winch can be a lifesaver. If you’re alone or even with mates, it’s incredible how effectively a winch can recover you from sticky situations. 

 If you’re bogged to the doors in mud or slip into a ditch next to a cliff, a winch will secure and recover you (and your pride and joy) effectively.

 It may be an expensive upgrade but, in some cases, having it is priceless.

 As with the other Jeep upgrades listed here, we recommend nothing but the best. In our opinion, that means investing in a Warn winch. With decades of experience and dealers in many parts of the country, you can easily purchase and maintain your winch. 

 Final Thoughts

Jeep upgrades can turn an ordinary 4×4 into an extremely capable tourer. Jeeps have one of the largest aftermarket scenes, making this task extremely easy to accomplish. You can do anything with these vehicles, from overlanding to extreme rock crawling, provided you install the proper Jeep upgrades.

If you have questions regarding Jeep upgrades or anything else off-road or overland-related, head over to the forum section of our page to get answers!

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