When you want to take the whole family into the Great Outdoors for an off-road or camping adventure, the Jeep Wrangler is an excellent choice of vehicle.
It is rugged enough to handle rough terrain that is inaccessible to cars but offers a spacious interior and enough seats for everyone. However, with so many people along for the ride, you may need more storage space.
Hitch a trailer
A trailer dramatically increases the amount of camping equipment and other gear you can take on your road trip. However, when choosing your trailer and loading it, it is important to know your Jeep Wrangler’s maximum payload, GTWR (gross trailer weight rating), and GCWR (gross combined weight rating).
You can obtain this information from your Jeep Wrangler owner’s manual, the Jeep website, or the Jeep dealership where you purchased your vehicle.
Each Jeep Wrangler model is rated to carry a certain maximum payload and to pull a specified maximum trailer weight. For example, the 2020 Jeep Wrangler 4-door 2.0L Turbo Engine with eTorque can handle a payload of 1,360 lbs., tow a trailer up to 3,500 lbs., and has a GCWR of 9,300 lbs.
This means you cannot safely drive this jeep while pulling a trailer that holds more than 3,500 lbs. or with a payload exceeding 1,360 lbs.
From this example, it’s clear you can carry triple the maximum load of your Jeep Wrangler by hitching on a utility trailer. When the whole family joins you on a road trip, you’ll be glad of the extra capacity.
Especially if you decide to take along tents, kayaks, and other equipment to enjoy a camping adventure in the Great Outdoors.
When loading your trailer near its maximum, a weight-distribution hitch can be used to spread the load over all your axles.
This prevents the rear of your jeep from sagging, which can lead to a reduction in traction and steering control. To protect your trailer and its valuable contents, invest in a hitch lock.
Make use of your Jeep Wrangler’s exterior space
If you don’t want to pull a trailer, or you need more storage options for your Jeep Wrangler, you can make use of your jeep’s roof to hold a rooftop cargo carrier box.
Note that this would not be suitable for one of the soft-top Jeep Wrangler models. Also, not all rooftop boxes are compatible with the Jeep Wrangler’s fiberglass roof, so make sure you purchase a cargo box with suitable mounting.
Alternatively, a rooftop basket can be used for storing luggage of all shapes and sizes as long as it can be fastened down with straps. When loading a rooftop basket, it is important to ensure that the weight is evenly distributed.
Rooftop bags are another storage option. They offer more protection from the elements than a rooftop basket, are more aerodynamic, and offer simple and easy access. However, you may not be able to squeeze in some more bulky items of equipment.
If you are not pulling a trailer, you can attach a hitch cargo carrier to the back of your jeep. A hitch cargo carrier cannot carry as much weight as a trailer, but it is easier to drive a jeep with a hitch cargo carrier than with a trailer attached.
However, with your Jeep Wrangler, you must ensure the spare wheel either does not prevent your chosen hitch cargo carrier being mounted or is relocated elsewhere on your jeep.
Load your Jeep Wrangler carefully
Once you’ve decided where you’re going to store all your gear, it is important to load your Jeep Wrangler carefully. Heavy items should be distributed evenly to keep your jeep and trailer balanced. This will help with your jeep’s traction and steering.
When you are going off-road with a heavy load, you can benefit from the use of a steering stabilizer. This is a device that moderates the side-to-side movement of your Jeep Wrangler’s wheels to enable smoother steering.
Ensure the gear you pack doesn’t exceed the weight limitations of the storage equipment you use. Avoid placing heavy items over fragile light objects.
And pack anything you might need in a hurry or frequently during your road trip in an easily accessible location. When packing, make a list (mental or on paper) to remind you where everything is stored so you can easily find it when you need it.