I spent more than two months agonizing over what platform to buy (or make!) for my 2020 Jeep Wrangler Sport S two door build. Most of my buddies recommended Goose Gear, but 99% of them never bought or used that brand. So they were basing their recommendation on what they Googled or on some really expensive marketing campaign Google decides to SPAM you with during your browser session. So I started reaching out to folks who actually do overlanding, and the responses I got were pretty diverse. Its out of scope for this blog post, but the take away was, don’t be fooled by fancy ads.
I looked into making a platform out of plywood. A buddy at work connected me to someone who has all the tools needed to cut a platform out of wood. I started to get large cardboard boxes from the local U-Haul, to create a template. I’ve got to tell you, trying to make a platform template out of carboard is about as much fun as having your naked body dragged over broken glass.
I was about to give up and splurge on a boutique priced Goose Gear platform. But I couldn’t make myself pull the trigger. I don’t mind paying more for good stuff, but I think its stupid to spend $650 for a piece of coated plywood. Not my idea of rugged and reliable, given how coatings can fail, and how even the best coated wood won’t do well if moisture gets through a crack. There just had to be a better solution out there, so I kept looking.
Then one day one of my buddies sent me a link to American Adventure Lab’s solution. After beating my head on my desk for not finding them when I was searching, I took a look at their products. Well hello there! Their platform is made of thick CNC’d aluminum plates. Now that is durable! They offer their platform solution in bare aluminum (my preference), as well as some powder coated colors. They have their own proprietary mounting solution, but you can also buy tie down adapters.
So I ordered the platform in bare aluminum, and I added 8 of their Single Stud Tie-Down Rings. I plan to screw down my IronMan4x4 twin drawers, and I plan to use the tie down adapters to add some reinforcement, and to secure some other stuff that I plan to schlep on my June trip to Moab>Rubicon. The box arrived today, and as expected, it was at most 30 pounds unwrapped.
The platform being the foundation to my build, and the time I spent researching, collaborating, whining and bitching, etc., I don’t mind saying I was excited to open the box. The product was very nicely packaged. It came with some very well designed instructions, technically accurate and in color! Wow, this is already exceeding my expectations!
Here are some pictures. I’ll post again once I start the install.