Modifications are exciting, especially when your build is designed to accommodate a 7,000 mile 3 week off road trip through Moab and Rubicon. I have three badges from Moab, and I plan to pick up another four to six. Then off to Rubicon to hit the infamous Rubicon Trail.
Rubicon Trail is a trecherous 22 miles of endless boulders, fording, climbing, and descending. Its a three day trip, including two nights of camping. To do this kind of trip, you need a vehicle that can accommodate a fridge, a cooking stove, a decent tent and sleeping bag, 5 gallons of drinking/washing water, 4 extra gallons of gas, a set of tools, and some spare parts to deal with any repairs or emergencies.
Communications, first aid, and recovery stuff is needed too. For communication, I have small but powerful CB and GMRS radios, and a couple handhelds for technical spotting.
I have a compete first aid kit, not from Walmart/CVS. For recovery I have all the stuff needed to winch myself or someone else out of tough spots, and a Hi-Lift to deal with flats or other sticky situations.
Basically you want to survive the trip without being a burden on others, and not be eaten by bears.
One of the most important build decisions is your rear bumper and tire carrier. A couple of my wheeling buddies recommended DirtWorx, a one man shop owned a professional fabricator. This guy designs and makes custom offroad and overlanding solutions serious wheelers and overlander folks. He is highly regarded, which means a lot.
I called the guy and we went over what I was looking for. The bumper and spare tire carrier has to distribute the weight across both ends of the bumper and lock securely. It has to accommodate a 35″ spare, a couple of 2 gallon RotoPAX fuel containers, a horizontal mount for my Hi-Lift X-Treme 48″ jack, and it needs to have a couple of recessed 2×2 LED backup lights. I kind of thought I was pushing my luck with the LED stuff, but he was like “Sure, no problem”. Wow!
His work is shipped unfinished, so after researching optinos, I decided I’d spray it myself with black Rust-Oleum sealer first, then spray over that with black Rust-Oleum metal paint. This seems like the easiest finish to manage over time, and I should be able to do that in my garage. Famous last words, right? 🙂 He contacted me a couple days ago to say he’d be shipping out the bumper and tire carrier before Christmas.
He sent a few pictures of his work. Its amazing what a professional fabricator can do. He’ll send more pictures of the tire carrier before he ships it out. Once I get those pictures I’ll post them here.
Here it is with the wheel carrier, which will hold the two RotoPAX fuel container and the Hi-Lift jack…I’m stoked!