A white 2021 Jeep Gladiator is shown being loaded with a quad after leaving a New Jersey Jeep dealer.

Let’s Go Jeepin’

Your local Jeep dealer has much to offer as far as off-roaders go, but which features should you be on the lookout for to make your Jeep a true king of the trail? And, what modifications might you need to make your Jeep off-road ready?

Just picture your perfect day on the off-road. You’re driving down the trail and you’ve got your windows rolled down, jams blasting through the speakers. You’re watching the dust roll off the wheels behind you and your life is perfect. Now, really fast: What vehicle were you driving? I’m guessing it’s a Jeep!

Whenever I hear someone talk about going off-roading or trail driving, they say something along the lines of, “Want to go Jeepin?” or, “Where’s the closest Jeep trail?” Jeep’s have become the quintessential off-road vehicle. Here are some of the best off-road models this beloved brand has to offer this year.

2022 Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is just built for the trail. Jeep knows that is what most people are buying them for. The 2022 versions are available with an upgraded windshield to withstand all manner of off-road debris. The frame of the 2022 models is built to be both flexible enough to ride rough roads but strong enough to be incredibly protective in the event of an accident.

2022 editions are also available with a modification package—each of which help make off-roading even more enjoyable. Jeep gave the Wranglers incredible suspension to soften the ride and give the Wranglers the best-possible traction. 2022 Jeep Wranglers are just made for off-road adventure enthusiasts.

A white 2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is shown driving over rocks.

2021 Jeep Gladiator

I never really envisioned a Jeep as a truck before, but they do look good! The Jeep Gladiators offer drivers much versatility, including the ability to remove the roof and doors. This allows you to make your off-road trip an amazing breath of fresh air. Because it’s a truck, the Gladiator has the advantage of giving you more room for supplies and gear that is going on the trails with you. The truck configuration is really almost identical to the Wrangler, but with a cargo bed, so you get the best of both worlds. It is a win-win for team Jeep drivers!

2020 Jeep Cherokee TrailHawk

The name of this one really does indicate how well Jeep manufactured this particular vehicle to perform on the trails. It’s not a TrailChicken or a TrailDuck—it’s a TrailHawk—and boy, does it live up to that name. It’s fast and capable on the trails, able to handle the swift ups and downs, the steep inclines, and sharp turns. The 2020 is one of the better versions because it comes at a slight price cut, but it still includes the newer safety features that improve both on- and off-road travel. Like its namesake, the TrailHawk glides smoothly over the ground, making your Jeep trail rides an absolute dream!

A blue 2022 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is shown kicking up sand on a beach.

Make a Jeep Even Better!

Most Jeeps come perfect for the trails right off the production line, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make them even better! There are some fun additions you can add to your Jeep to make them even more capable on the trails.

The first is a GPS/Navigation system. Obviously, this is entirely optional—and it’s more relevant in older used models than in new ones that can connect to your phone’s map and driving applications. However, if you’re not planning on adding the upgraded trims that come with the Jeep navigation system, or if you’re driving an older vehicle that cannot connect to your phone’s applications, I highly recommend that you add GPS to your Jeep. This is just because no matter how amazing your vehicle is, it cannot help you get “un-lost” if you don’t have one! We don’t know about you, but can definitely say for ourselves that getting truly lost on the trails is not our favorite pastime.

Another consideration you should make is whether or not your Jeep should get a lift. If you’re planning on doing any rock crawling or just going down bumpy trails that have juts and dips, which most off-road trails do have, then this is a must-have! It gives your Jeep, well, a lift! These lifts make your Jeep more capable of handling these bumps and ridges and far less likely to bottom out and rub the underside of your Jeep. For an added bonus, make sure your Jeep includes underbody protection, or request it as an upgrade directly from a Jeep dealer.

Along with a lift, you’ll want to consider a bumper guard or push bar. These allow the front bumper some extra protection and are a great buffer from small trail rocks that you may not see till you’re working your way over them! The push bars protect the paint and the integrity of your Jeep’s front bumper on more than just the trail, so it’s a really solid investment to make.

Next are tires! Most run-of-the-mill, all-season tires are just not meant to be jabbed a thousand times by sharp rocks or other trail debris. Jeep does offer off-road specialty trims that come with upgraded tires, which go by several names, depending on the model and year: the MOAB or Willys Sport, for example. If you’re buying a used base model Jeep, though, be sure to invest in a good set of off-road tires!

Now amphibious cars are, in general, not really a thing—but that doesn’t mean we can’t try, right? If you’re going Jeepin’ right after a really good storm or you know that there are big ol’ puddles to splash through, something you may want to consider is a snorkel. The snorkel functions as a breathing straw for your Jeep’s engine because—we all know that water and gas engines Do NOT mix. So, to avoid water flooding your engine and having to take a trip to the mechanic, you’ll want a snorkel. The snorkel isn’t a tool you’ll need for every trip, but we think they look kind of cool and definitely expand any Jeep’s off-roading capabilities.

Tools of the Trade

So you’ve got all the modifications and they’re installed on the Jeep you’ve hand picked to be perfect for the trails. Now you’re ready to go! Well…not quite. There are many considerations to make when you’re taking any vehicle off the road and into the great wilderness. One thing you should definitely have on board with you is a kit to change your tire. Even on the best-maintained roads, there’s a risk of popping a tire. So you can imagine that on a road covered in pointy rocks, changing a tire or two may be necessary. You should always have at least one spare tire and the tools to change it. If you’ve gone ahead and upgraded your wheels, be sure to check the lugnuts and make sure that your TIRE CHANGE BAR still fits!

Basic maintenance out of the way, if you’re about to leave the road and hit the trails, we also suggest you carry extra fuel with you. While Jeeps get great gas mileage, it is easy to lose sight of how far you’ve gone and get lost in thought when you’re just out enjoying nature.

If you’re planning on going off-roading with a group of people, something that might be fun to add to your Jeep is a CB radio. While we live in an age of technological advancement, sometimes stepping back into the more “retro” realm is actually a better call. CB radios equip your entire caravan of Jeeps to connect on the same radio channel and communicate. Even better, it keeps your infotainment system open for playing music and running navigation!