Help me with my "offroad basics" mods list

rcadden

Well-Known Member
First Name
Ricky
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
814
Reaction score
1,402
Location
Fort Worth, TX
Vehicle(s)
2021 Hydro Blue Sahara Altitude
Build Thread
Link
Occupation
Marketing
July was mostly cosmetic upgrades that I could do quick/easy, but August I have ~$1.5-2K to get "offroad ready"

To be clear, by "offroad ready" I actually mean "recovery ready". I plan to stay mostly on the easy trails as a newbie to offroading, but want to be sure I'm able to help myself (or others) out. Included in this is steel bumpers. I want to do the bumpers in August first so the rig has time to settle and then for September I'll have a clear picture of the kind of lift that I need, etc.

So...here's what I've decided on thus far:
  1. OEM-style steel bumpers - I think I've talked myself into the KUAFU knock-offs on Amazon, based on this thread. I've probably researched bumpers the most out of any mod thus far, and just can't decide between full or stubby, so Modular seems to be the best option. I also don't have the funds for a legit MOPAR one, and I like that the winch is sunk down and it looks nice with a small bar and uses the factory fog lights. Plus if they suck it's Amazon so easy returns.
  2. Recovery Kit - this one seems like it has all of the basics and is pretty good quality. Any reason I shouldn't get this one, or another recommendation? I like that it's all together and not piece-mealed.
  3. Comms - I'm not ready for a full install, and have a few situations where portable radios would be handy, so I'm leaning toward these Midland hand-held to get started. Plus they're cheap enough that if I *did* decide to go full install later, I wouldn't feel like I'd sunk much into these. My understanding is also that since these are low-wattage, I wouldn't need to worry about a HAM license, correct?
  4. Safety - haven't fully decided on a fire extinguisher but will ensure I have one before I hit the trails. I also already have a first-aid kit, so don't need to budget for that.
  5. Air - I already have a tire pressure gauge with an easy release valve. I *might* could sneak in something like this Smittybilt, but was also kinda hoping that if I'm going to a legit offroad park, I'd be able to mooch air off someone.
  6. Winch - this is where I haven't really done *any* research and would love some insight. The Badlands winch from Harbor Freight seems to be the best overall value, but am I going to regret that? 12,000 seems like more than enough, and it has a synthetic rope, which I understand is the better option. Would this be a decent selection, given my noobiness and the unlikelihood that I'm going to do any more advanced trails? Do I even *need* a winch? At most I have ~$500-700 to budget for this, given everything else.
Based on my spreadsheet, I can do all of this for ~$1.7K not including tax/shipping. I'm totally comfortable installing the bumpers myself, and it seems like winches are relatively simple, especially if I'm doing it at the same time as the bumpers?

Unfortunately, my budget is pretty strict on this, and the closer I am to the $1.5K end of my range, the better for my marriage. :)

Again, this would just be enough for me to not be a total lame duck at an actual offroad park, and sticking to the easy beginner trails, since I'm a first-timer anyways.

UPDATE:
You all have been extremely helpful! Based on my anticipated usage and the guidance in this thread, I've made some adjustments to my plans:

1. Taking a fresh start to my bumper research. Requiring modular put me too much in a corner with options. I still want a sunken winch, OEM lights, and bar, but am open to just a full width, as long as the ends go "up", if that makes sense. There's a much bigger selection with these requirements, and it'll allow me to get one that has a decent winch support built in.

2. Going to push the winch purchase further down on my list - maybe next Spring. It sounds like it's much less of a requirement than I previously though, especially if I'm always hitting the trails with a buddy (or a few) and have a better quality recovery kit with me.

Thanks again for all of your tips and suggestions.
Advertisement

 
Last edited:

CWRUYOTE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2021
Messages
263
Reaction score
311
Location
CLE
Vehicle(s)
2021 JLURD
I just have a comment on the recovery gear. I prefer to buy once, cry once.

IMHO, if I'm stuck or trying to help others, I'll be relying on the very best gear I can get my hands on. I'd rather have bomb-proof recovery gear first, even if it blows out my budget for other things.
https://arbusa.com/recovery/kits/
https://www.aev-conversions.com/product/aev-recovery-gear-kits/

One other thought for you--I play on rocks, so I'm biased--have you thought about any protection underneath? I'm not sure what Saharas come with as far as factory skids, but to me, even a Rubicon is pretty minimal. After I get my lift, my full skids are going in.....
 

grimmjeeper

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 6, 2021
Messages
501
Reaction score
1,959
Location
Castle Rock, CO
Website
www.grimmjeeper.com
Vehicle(s)
2021 Wrangler, 1987 Comanche, 1997 F250
Build Thread
Link
Occupation
enginerd
I have those handheld radios as well. They work well enough. I also have this CB radio: https://www.amazon.com/Midland-75-822-Channel-CB-Way-Radio/dp/B00000K2YR It's flexible and lets you plug it in to the dash and use a mag mount or other "real" antenna. But it's always useable as a handheld.

I'm also in the buy once, cry once crowd. Having good recovery gear can make a difference. But something is better than nothing.

Also, depending on the trails you want to run, skid plates are a good idea.
 
OP
OP
rcadden

rcadden

Well-Known Member
First Name
Ricky
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
814
Reaction score
1,402
Location
Fort Worth, TX
Vehicle(s)
2021 Hydro Blue Sahara Altitude
Build Thread
Link
Occupation
Marketing
@CWRUYOTE appreciate the insight. It's definitely a fine line between trying to buy the best money can buy vs trying to keep within budget. I also tend to live by the "buy good quality now so you don't have to replace it again later". I see that your Arb link above has a "weekender" kit, which is probably a great option for me.

I've never done any offroading before, etc. This is literally my first 4wd vehicle, and 95% of the time, it's going to be used on pavement - driving my daughters to/from school, cruising around town, and the occasional camping trip (most likely, sadly, to a state park or similarly "civilized" area).

Being realistic (and having never done it before), I anticipate going to an offroad park or doing trails *maybe* 4 times/year. When I'm on those trails, I'm likely to be a total pansy, with the filter of "I have to be able to drive this Jeep *TO* the trails and *FROM* the trails back home. Also I want to keep the factory warranty and not have to waste money on repairs that I could be spending on mods/upgrades.

I'm not trying to be a pavement princess, and most definitely want to let the Jeep stretch its legs, but all within the confines above, at least initially.

It's admittedly a really weird place to be, especially in this community.

I haven't done any research on skids, nor do I have any on my mods spreadsheet just yet, but will definitely add them. Realistically, I'd guess between now and January, I squeeze in 2 offroad excursions, and both at an actual park. It'd likely be next year before I have the time/confidence to go to out to Colorado/etc.

Not sure if that's helpful context or not. This forum has been a godsend thus far.
 

MRH512

Well-Known Member
First Name
Matt
Joined
Feb 5, 2021
Messages
270
Reaction score
411
Location
Texas
Vehicle(s)
Wrangler Rubicon JLU
Vehicle Showcase
1
Regarding Air – I too had considered the Smittybilt compressor. But, after reading a number of
reviews, decided on the Viair 40045. It's a little more expensive, but the reviews led me to believe it's more reliable than the Smittybilt. I've been please with it so far.

<https://www.4wheelparts.com//p/viai...table-air-compressor-kit-40045/_/R-BKTN-40045>

Regarding the Winch, I have the Warn VR EVO 10-S. I often offroad with just friends in my Jeep, so a winch was essential for me. I've not used it for actual recovery yet but, for me, $800 is a lot cheaper than paying a recovery service...

A cable damper, <https://www.warn.com/winch-cable-damper-91575>, is also recommended if/when you add a winch for safety precautions when using it.

One thing to keep in mind is that the weight put on the line is not just equal to the weight of the vehicle. Conditions such as being stuck in deep mud will add "weight" and can impact your ability to recover. A snatch block is small addition that can (up to) double the capacity of the winch, <https://www.warn.com/winch-snatch-block-20000-88899>
 

Sheepjeep

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
671
Reaction score
674
Location
Ma
Vehicle(s)
01 xj, 04 Silverado 2500hd
the best recovery equipment you can get for your jeep is a friend with another jeep that you hit the trail with and ideally someone that knows what they are doing

and here my comments on your items

  1. with any bumper you get what you pay for, the more it costs generally them more steel is put into it, that bumper is fine, looks like the ome stock one, the big concern that i have for it is the winch plate i comes with, doesnt look good, but the nice thing about that bumper you could get any number of winch plates from other brands that will hold up. I have seen winches rip out of the cheep chines winch plates that look cool but do nothing. but at that price just get a proper non amazon bumper with proper d ring mounts. also i do not like with those style bumpers how you have to remove the bumper to service your winch i like bumpers where i can easily get access to the winch and can easily pull it out if i have to service it
  2. yeah that kit looks ok, you can get any tool bag and fill it up with stuff also for a similar price, there are a lot of people that get suckered into paying top dollar when the cheap stuff works just as good
  3. what radio type you get will depend on what people in your area like to use, there is a shift from cb to gmrs with in the last 5 years or so mainly driven by youtube overlanders, but a gmrs radio will not talk to a cb radio and visa versa so go with what your group uses, also for a gmrs there is a license you need to get i think it is $70 and good for 10 years but no testing like with ham
  4. good to have a fire extinguisher, it seems the big trade off is save space but blow your wad i 1 shot with thse element extinguishers or take up more space but in controllable bursts with a small traditional extinguisher
  5. take a air compressor with you i have been using this for years and it works just fine with my 35's not the fastest but works https://www.harborfreight.com/12v-150-psi-compact-air-compressor-63184.html
  6. really not know what trails you are going on this may be over kill for starters, i am a strong believer in get comfy with recovery with others before getting a winch because things can go really wrong if you do not know what you are doing with it. that being said the bad lands are good for the price but again like bumpers you get what you pay for in build quality and reliability, so i would say save up for a nicer winch, synthetic rope is nice from a safety and weight aspect but it is not as durable as steel. for a winch you want 1.5 x the weight of your vehicle so 9k Lb winches are minimum, but you do not want to go over 12k Lb else you can damage the jeep if you are really stuck
 

Some Random Guy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2020
Messages
624
Reaction score
812
Location
Washington
Vehicle(s)
2020 JLUR, 2018 Subaru BRZ
Build Thread
Link
Occupation
Comptroller
Don’t forget a winch plate! That cost might make a non-OEM style bumper more attractive because some don’t require a plate in addition to the bumper.
I have the HF winch, I’ve snapped 10k towstraps with it (not mine obviously, the idiot who was stuck and wanted me to try anyway). Everyone seems to love it.
As for air, the Smittybilt should do well. It beat my Viair in a real world situation.
 
OP
OP
rcadden

rcadden

Well-Known Member
First Name
Ricky
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
814
Reaction score
1,402
Location
Fort Worth, TX
Vehicle(s)
2021 Hydro Blue Sahara Altitude
Build Thread
Link
Occupation
Marketing
@Sheepjeep good notes.

For bumper, I was originally planning on the DV8 one (https://dv8offroad.com/collections/...jl-modular-front-bumper-with-bull-bar-fbjl-10) which seems to resolve your winch plate concern (and it's a name-brand) but I've gotten comments from a couple of locals about DV8 quality overall. They're carried by "the big boys" (4wp, quadratec, etc) so surely they're good, right?

I'd love it if I could hit trails without a winch - is that "acceptable"? And yeah, I don't intend to wheel alone - as stated, I'm completely ignorant aside from having watched a few hundred YT videos, but there's a big difference between watching a YouTuber do it vs actually doing it yourself. Had planned to tag along with a group from our local Jeep club for the first few, and again, going to actual parks vs heading out on my own in the wilderness.

@Some Random Guy appreciate the insights, as well. Another reason that maybe I shift back to the DV8 and just hold on the winch for a month or two.
 

CWRUYOTE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2021
Messages
263
Reaction score
311
Location
CLE
Vehicle(s)
2021 JLURD
Just FYI: My 2021 JLURD will be the first rig with a winch. (Warn ZEON 10s)

I've been playing on rocks (with others) since my 2000 XJ.
 

Tpom

Well-Known Member
First Name
Tyler
Joined
Sep 8, 2020
Messages
58
Reaction score
83
Location
Minnesota
Vehicle(s)
2021 JLUR, 2018 VW Jetta
@CWRUYOTE appreciate the insight. It's definitely a fine line between trying to buy the best money can buy vs trying to keep within budget. I also tend to live by the "buy good quality now so you don't have to replace it again later". I see that your Arb link above has a "weekender" kit, which is probably a great option for me.

I've never done any offroading before, etc. This is literally my first 4wd vehicle, and 95% of the time, it's going to be used on pavement - driving my daughters to/from school, cruising around town, and the occasional camping trip (most likely, sadly, to a state park or similarly "civilized" area).

Being realistic (and having never done it before), I anticipate going to an offroad park or doing trails *maybe* 4 times/year. When I'm on those trails, I'm likely to be a total pansy, with the filter of "I have to be able to drive this Jeep *TO* the trails and *FROM* the trails back home. Also I want to keep the factory warranty and not have to waste money on repairs that I could be spending on mods/upgrades.

I'm not trying to be a pavement princess, and most definitely want to let the Jeep stretch its legs, but all within the confines above, at least initially.

It's admittedly a really weird place to be, especially in this community.

I haven't done any research on skids, nor do I have any on my mods spreadsheet just yet, but will definitely add them. Realistically, I'd guess between now and January, I squeeze in 2 offroad excursions, and both at an actual park. It'd likely be next year before I have the time/confidence to go to out to Colorado/etc.

Not sure if that's helpful context or not. This forum has been a godsend thus far.
Based on what you have said here, I would be careful of falling into the hype of getting gear to get gear. Especially with a tight budget. Apart from the "offroad park or doing trails...4 times/year", your really not going to need a lot of gear. I would instead focus on some basic items, like a shovel, toolkit, maybe look into some recovey boards (spend on quality like ARB, maxtrax etc), basic recovery strap (ARB makes a pretty good snatch strap), basic air compressor...etc. then instead of buying a winch and skid plates, find a local beginner off-road course/class, pick up some reading material like Bob Wohlers books. Then even more importantly, get out and learn. If your going somewhere that will be more difficult, go with a friend that has more knowledge or check in with the local offroad club. You will find out what gear and vehicle upgrades you actually need, not waste money on things you dont. Just my .02. Your going to have a blast
 

Some Random Guy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2020
Messages
624
Reaction score
812
Location
Washington
Vehicle(s)
2020 JLUR, 2018 Subaru BRZ
Build Thread
Link
Occupation
Comptroller
Plates can wait until after the lift. I forgot to put that in my first response. I think most budget friendly skids reduce clearance, which can make things tougher if you’re not lifted.
I’m on 3.5 with no extra skids and plan to stay that way until the down season in “winter”.
 

Sheepjeep

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
671
Reaction score
674
Location
Ma
Vehicle(s)
01 xj, 04 Silverado 2500hd
@Sheepjeep good notes.

For bumper, I was originally planning on the DV8 one (https://dv8offroad.com/collections/...jl-modular-front-bumper-with-bull-bar-fbjl-10) which seems to resolve your winch plate concern (and it's a name-brand) but I've gotten comments from a couple of locals about DV8 quality overall. They're carried by "the big boys" (4wp, quadratec, etc) so surely they're good, right?

I'd love it if I could hit trails without a winch - is that "acceptable"? And yeah, I don't intend to wheel alone - as stated, I'm completely ignorant aside from having watched a few hundred YT videos, but there's a big difference between watching a YouTuber do it vs actually doing it yourself. Had planned to tag along with a group from our local Jeep club for the first few, and again, going to actual parks vs heading out on my own in the wilderness.

@Some Random Guy appreciate the insights, as well. Another reason that maybe I shift back to the DV8 and just hold on the winch for a month or two.
so DV8 is another company that just sells chinese white label products with their logo on it, they are better than the amazon no name, might get a better quality steel or powder coating might not but never great, but their mark up price over amazon is more paying for their marketing budget

i would say look at some of the offering from from jrc, lod, motobilt, they may be a few hundred more than the other knock off rubicon bumpers but after you factor in a good winch plate the prices are pretty damn close and you get a better quality product
 

Kreepin1

Well-Known Member
First Name
Kirk
Joined
Oct 27, 2020
Messages
441
Reaction score
610
Location
Central Illinois
Vehicle(s)
1982 CJ7, 2006 TJ, 2012 JKR, 2021 JLR
Build Thread
Link
You've gotten some great advice so far. Here is my take.

You need a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, two of the hand held radios you linked, a cooler with plenty of water and a 20' x 3" snatch strap. That's it - as long as you ALWAYS go with at least one other vehicle.

Since you have an Unlimited your next round of mods should be knobby tires and a small lift. After that skid plates.
 
OP
OP
rcadden

rcadden

Well-Known Member
First Name
Ricky
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
814
Reaction score
1,402
Location
Fort Worth, TX
Vehicle(s)
2021 Hydro Blue Sahara Altitude
Build Thread
Link
Occupation
Marketing
You've gotten some great advice so far. Here is my take.

You need a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, two of the hand held radios you linked, a cooler with plenty of water and a 20' x 3" snatch strap. That's it - as long as you ALWAYS go with at least one other vehicle.

Since you have an Unlimited your next round of mods should be knobby tires and a small lift. After that skid plates.
Much appreciated. The bumpers are in August - partially for aesthetics, but also partially so they can settle and give me an idea of how big (or little) of lift I need. Lift/level is planned for September, along with steps (for the wife).

My *current* plan is to just get some Rubi take-off springs and a 0.5" spacer lift/leveling kit. Should give me enough so that my stock 32"s don't look stupid. Trying to hold off on 35's until next year if I can.
 
Advertisement

Done Right LED
 
Advertisement
Top