Artie has been amazing and reliable adventure buddy. Dawn and I love seeing his bright Orange glow when we come back to a parking lot after a day in the mountains.
The Jeep Renegade Trailhawk is not a Wrangler Rubicon, or a Sportsmobile. However, for the forest service roads we venture down its a very capable truck for our needs. We've only twice gotten stuck. One was due to poor judgement when I drove into snow that was too soft and high-centered the whole Jeep. The other was with friends and were just trying to see if we could get up a steep hill and up a log. I think if I had gunned it or didn't have so much gear in it at time it could have done it. But this was just a for fun thing. There was actually no reason to go that way, there was a perfectly easy road we could have gone around this section.
The one thing we were struggling with was our camping setup and bringing gear. We never take passengers in our vehicle so we decided that the back seats were really in the way. Lots of other vehicles have after market kits to replace rear seats with flat panel systems and access hatches. A "Rear Seat Delete" package does not exist for for the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk so we made our own.
This is the completed platform. You'll notice we cut the cup holders out of the arm console and made a spot for tissues. These are both easy to access even when driving. The whole thing comes by removing two bolts if needed for repairs or accessing the fuel pump. Before assembly we put down some rattle trap. The foam of the seat absorbed a lot of noise and this helps with that.
The platform has a lot of room underneath which we access from the sides and and it gives a nice large flat rear cargo area for loading in gear.
One thing I would do differently, is not paint the platform with bedliner. We've scratched helmets and goggles on the rough surface. We plan to resurface it with a rubber mat.
We also added Maxtrax to our recovery kit. They would have been great that time in the snow, but they'll be really useful as ramps when we need that extra bit of ground clearance.
When we go camping, we bring 5 grocery store jugs of water. Sometimes we refill existing jugs, sometimes we buy new ones. All of this creates plastic waste and it is not ideal to work with jugs of water instead of pressurized water like we had on the boat. Easy fix, buy a tank, hook up a pump and you have a portable water system. (see pic above.)
iPad Dash Mount
In the RV we used an iPad for navigation. That RV was from the 80's so it didn't have a big screen or navigation, but even the Jeep with its own screen doesn't have good integration with the iPhone and Apps.
The main issue was where to mount the Ram Mount attachment. Again, there is no turnkey solution for the Renegade so I had to design something. I started with the Ram Mount ball on the back of the center console air vent but that placed the screen really high, almost cent of the windshield. The approach I'm currently using is this prototype wedge I fabricated in the shop.
This wedge tilts the ball forward which then enables the iPad to be lower. The main issue is the Ram Mount arm has limited mounting angles. Since I've made this, I've also been thinking about using an piece of 90 degree aluminum so the ball is mounted horizontally. But as-is, I'm going to use two arms and see how that goes on my next trip. Even if we stick the wedge, it will be redone to be the full width of the Ram Mount track and painted black or CNC'd out of black UHMW plastic or Delrin.
1UpUSA Bike Rack
We recently bought gravel bikes and need a way to mount them that would hold up off-road.I won't go super into details, 1UP has a great website. But the rack doesn't wiggle or make any noise at all. So far we love it. I might add a swing-away arm and\or a adapter to raise it up some. We'll see if that is needed after the next trip.