Winter 4x4 Accessories: Stuff To Make The Cold Months BetterPosted in Features on December 19, 2016
If you are like us, then you probably love your 4x4 because of its versatility. No one can deny that 4x4s are the multitool of the vehicular world. Most 4x4s can hit the trail, or head to the grocery store, push a plow, tow a boat, haul a load, or commute to work in rain, shine, sleet, or snow. There is probably no better time of year to enjoy the versatility of your 4x4 than during the winter months. Facing the elements is no big deal to a properly equipped 4x4, and the fact that these rigs can be used to get us to work or home safely and then used for play on the weekend is akin to grabbing your multitool, unfolding that sawblade or screwdriver to make something work, and then later unfolding that can opener, to help you relax once the job at hand is done. Winter can be harsh, but with the editorial staff at Four Wheeler at your back, you can get through come what may. Check out these parts, tools, clothes, and accessories that will help you get work done and play despite the frigid weather.
Hot HeadWhat it is: Heated Windshield Washer Kit
Who makes it: LMC Truck
What it does: Cleans ice, snow and more from your windshield with heated washer fluid
It’s a fact if you live where it freezes, ice, snow, sleet, and more are going to become one with your vehicles windshield. The solution is hard work scraping and scratching in hopes of clearing a peephole, or work smarter and use LMC’s Heated Windshield Washer Kit. This innovative tool heats your washer fluid to a temperature of 125-135 degrees for quick effortless removal of frost, snow, ice, and more. The heated washer fluid insures clog-free nozzles for a consistent spray pattern that can also be used year-round to remove dirt, bird droppings, bugs, grime and more. The kit installs inline between the windshield washer reservoir and spray nozzles. The heater connects directly to your rig’s battery with the included wiring. The kit includes a mounting bracket, hardware, and instructions.
Info: LMC Truck, 800/562-8782, lmctruck.com
Operator HoodieWhat it is: Reactor FZ Hoodie 2.0
Who makes it: 5.11 Tactical
What it does: Keeps you comfortable despite that biting wind
When a company uses words like “key tactical functionality, sidearm concealment, abrasion-resistant fabric, and a classic look and feel with modern engineering” to describe their product, it gets our attention. OK, so we are talking about a hoodie and not an arctic survival suit or a LEO bulletproof vest, but winter doesn’t always mean temperatures in the negative teens and 20s, and most of us don’t take small arms fire all the time. For those cool days of winter and chilly winds of spring and fall, a hoodie like the Reactor FZ Hoodie 2.0 from 5.11 Tactical is perfect. You can be sure this purpose-built hoodie is utilitarian and durable to keep you warm, just what we ask of our vehicles and clothing.
Info: 5.11 Tactical, 866/451-1726, 511tactical.com
Preheating With A/C PowerWhat it is: ZeroStart Heating Products
Who makes it: Phillips & Temro Industries
What they do: AC 120V-powered heating products to warm up your rig before you drive it
Phillips & Temro Industries and their ZeroStart Heating Products allow you to preheat and warm your vehicles interior, battery, engine, and more. The ZeroStart Battery Blanket (pictured) features Thinsulate thermal insulation to maintain battery temperature in cold weather. The unit warms the battery core to 60-70 degrees above ambient temperature for quick starts and comes complete with a 30-inch grounded cord. The unit is available in three sizes. The ZeroStart Heat Magnet is a 200-watt unit with a built-in thermostat that maintains optimum temperature (does not exceed 250 degrees). A Quick Grip handle protects hands from heat. The 900-watt ZeroStart Interior Car Warmer is ideal for light-duty and recreational vehicles. The unit mounts on the floor or under the dash and mounting brackets are included. The 3,000 Btu heater’s dimensions are 7 by 4 1/2 by 2 3/4 inches with a 7 1/2 foot cord. The 50-watt ZeroStart Pad Heater has a pre-applied adhesive for easy installation, measures 3 1/2 by 1 1/4 inches, and has a 6 ft. cord.
Info: Phillips & Temro Industries, 952/941-9700, phillipsandtemro.com
On Like A Pitbull And A Rope ToyWhat it is: The Pit Bull PBX A/T Hardcore Tire
Who makes it: Pit Bull Tire
What it does: Provides traction on-road and off, winter, fall, spring, and summer
The PBX A/T Hardcores Tire is Pit Bull’s distinctive answer to meet your daily on-road use without sacrificing key off-road functions you’ve come to expect from a Pit Bull tire. With a unique six-rib design and Three Peak Mountain Snowflake rating for the best year-round traction, this tire, made in the USA, helps your weekend warrior or tow rig grab the terrain like a pit bull holding a rope toy. If you’ve never experienced this, know the dog has already won the tug-of-war before it started.
Info: Pit Bull Tires, 800/645-2006, pitbulltires.com
Hardy Softyhard TopWhat it is: Trektop Pro
Who makes it: Bestop
What it does: Keeps the weather out like a hardtop but allows open air enjoyment like a soft top
Blurring the lines between a hardtop and a soft top, the Bestop Trektop Pro Hybrid combines hard glass side and rear windows with a durable, yet lightweight, fabric exterior. The easy-lift rear glass hatch is like a factory hardtop, but it’s lighter than a hardtop. Sliding glass side windows allow for extra ventilation and the rear hatch and side window panels are easy to install or remove like a soft top. The rear glass hatch has gas struts and integrated defroster connector plus mounting points for an optional rear wiper motor assembly. With the side panels and rear glass removed, Trektop Pro mimics a safari or bikini top for open air driving. The top includes hardware, door surrounds, rear arch module, side windows, and a safety glass hatch with built-in defroster grid. Also available is an optional Window Storage Portfolio to store the side window panels and rear hatch glass. The Trektop Pro also features Bestop’s Limited Lifetime Warranty.
Info: Bestop, bestop.com
Mini DesertWhat it is: The Mojave Heater
Who makes it: Flex-a-lite
What it does: A mini heater that works just like an OEM heater
The Mojave Heater is designed to simplify the task of providing heat and comfort in your rig. Producing 12,000 Btu of heat, the compact size, ease of installation, and simple operation make it the ideal heater for a vehicle that never had one, or where the bulky factory heater has been removed. The design offers several mounting options, and an optional plenum includes adjustable louvers and a flange for defroster ducting. The Mojave gets it heat from the hot water in your vehicle’s cooling system (just like an O.E. heater) but has the advantage of fitting into a wide variety of confined spaces. It’s small enough to mount under dash or under a seat, there is no need to locate hard-to-find O.E. heater parts, and the unit measures only 10 1/8 by 9 by 5 inches.
Info: Flex-a-lite, 800/851-1510, flex-a-lite.com
Bed = Lock BoxWhat it is: Titanium Roll-Up Bed Cover
Who makes it: TruXedo
What it does: Keeps the stuff you want in your bed, safe and the stuff you don’t want, out
Keeping the effects of winter and prying hands out of the bed of your truck is no simple task. That is unless you have the Titanium premium hard roll-up tonneau cover by TruXedo. This tonneau cover offers superior durability, security, and protection of a metal tonneau while closed and full bed access and ease of use that TruXedo soft rolling covers are known for. Using aluminum slats that are bonded to UV resistant, industrial grade leather-grain vinyl, TruXedo creates a unique look with superior strength and low-profile fitment. This unique construction will keep snow from building up in the bed of your truck and can be secured simply by unrolling the cover and locking your tailgate. Also the Titanium is made in South Dakota and offers a three year warranty—details we like to see!
Info: TruXedo, 877/878-9336, truxedo.com
Wintertime Night VisionWhat it is: Ion Yellow LP Series LED Lights
Who makes it: PIAA
What it does: Yellow LEDs that cut through the dark without the glare of white LEDs
The 2,800K pure-yellow output of the LP270 and LP530 Ion Yellow LED lights is said to be far less reflective than standard white light output allowing you to see through rain, fog, and snow. This technology gives drivers an advantage in a variety of harsh conditions that many of us will encounter on-road and off this winter. Made from only the highest quality components, both the LP270 and LP350 lights feature an ultra-durable aluminum housing with a near indestructible poly lens. Both lights are 10g vibration rated to withstand any terrain. The small size of both lights, either LP270’s 2 3/4 inches, or the slightly larger 3 1/2-inch LP530s, are perfect for Jeep pillar mounts, OE fog light replacements, and lower bumper mounting. Both lights feature a 30-degree driving beam pattern, while the LP350’s also feature a SAE compliant 65-degree fog pattern. All PIAA light kits come complete with preassembled wiring harness (a major plus), which include a lighted switch and relay.
Info: PIAA, piaa.com
An Off-Road Ready Dry BagWhat it is: Adventure Bag Dry Bag
Who makes it: Off-Road Solutions
What it does: Keeps your critical items dry when outdoors
If you spend any time outdoors, hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, four-wheeling, and so on, you know the value of keeping certain items dry. Add in winter weather and that becomes all the more important to comfort. We’ve used dry bags for years in open-topped vehicles, but not all are created equally. The Off-Road Solutions Adventure Bag is a compact waterproof storage solution that is packed with features to suit any active outdoor activity, whether it’s kayaking, hiking, or off-roading. Made of 500D polyester material that is further enhanced with a durable PVC coating and fully welded seams, this bag offers a 100 percent watertight seal. Available in five different colors, the ORS Adventure Bag has multiple anchor straps and D-rings for securing additional gear or for attaching the Adventure Bag to a rollcage, seatback, or any other convenient tie-down point in a 4x4, canoe, kayak, UTV, or bike. There are also shoulder straps that can be used in either a vertical or horizontal orientation to convert the Adventure Bag into a convenient backpack. The exterior includes a bungee net for additional external storage of items that can get wet.
Info: Off-Road Solutions, ors4x4.com
Interior Preservation LinersWhat it is: DigitalFit FloorLiners
Who makes it: WeatherTech
What it does: Keeps your 4x4s carpet clean despite rain, mud, slush, and snow
The guys from Summit Racing Equipment reminded us of one of our favorite winter weather products for preserving the value of your 4x4 and your sanity, namely durable and great looking floor liners from WeatherTech. These new DigitalFit FloorLiners are rubberized thermoplastic protective coverings designed using precise digital laser measurements of interior surfaces, ensuring a perfect fit for your application. These floor liners are manufactured out of high-density, tri-extruded material for incredible strength. Special channels carry fluid and debris to a lower reservoir for minimal fluid movement while driving. The DigitalFit FloorLiners also offer easy cleaning over the doorsill—no need for removal to get that dirt out.
Info: Summit Racing Equipment, 800/230-3030, summitracing.com
Plow SnowWhat it is: HTX V-Plow
Who makes it: BOSS Snowplow
What it does: Turns your 4x4 into a snow moving machine
BOSS Snowplow continues to expand its 1/2-ton and light-duty truck line with the HTX V-plow blurring the lines between a lightweight, light-duty unit and a heavy-duty professional grade plow. With today’s contractor and homeowner in mind, BOSS built the HTX V-plow with just the right amount of steel in exactly the right place for the best combination of strength and weight. Available in mild steel, the HTX V-plow features a full moldboard trip design to minimize plow and truck damage when encountering obstacles. The HTX V-plow comes outfitted with a steel moldboard, reinforced with diagonal cross-bracing, and formed bottom channel for increased blade rigidity. The HTX V-plow also comes standard with the BOSS SmartLight™3 headlight system, the first 100 percent LED lighting system with Ice Shield Technology that nearly doubles the lighting output of traditional halogen systems.
Info: BOSS Snowplow, 800/286-4155, bossplow.com
Not Your Average Seat CushionWhat it is: Heated Seat Cushion
Who makes it: Genuine Hotrod Hardware
What it does: An easy-to-install and use inexpensive heated seat cushion
If you’ve ever been in a vehicle with heated seats in the bitter cold, your butt has told you that this radiant heat is a good thing. The only issue is that many cars don’t have heated seats and while aftermarket seat heaters are available they can be quite expensive and may require an upholsterer to install them. These Heated Seat Cushions from Genuine Hotrod Hardware take just seconds to enjoy soothing, relaxing heat even on the coldest of winter days. This heated seat cushion plugs into your vehicle's cigarette lighter with the 6-foot power cord and begins working instantly. The cushion is made from high-quality quilted nylon for added cushion and maximum comfort. The unit’s include a built-in temperature control for high, low, and off. The best part is the price; at just under $25 your bum can enjoy a warm car ride too even in that clapped out old plow truck.
Info: Summit Racing Equipment, 800/230-3030, summitracing.com
Domo Erigato Mr…AEVWhat it is: Ono Camp Hatchet
Who makes it: AEV (American Expedition Vehicles)
What it does: Helps you build shelter and prep firewood on those cold days and nights
If you’ve never heard of AEV, then you must be a newbie or you simply live under a rock. AEV makes some of the most innovative, high quality, high-end products for Jeeps and Ram Trucks. Not letting that slow them down they have apparently also stepped into the trail and camp cutlery arena with the Ono Camp Hatchet. This Japanese crafted hatchet, which comes with a custom fitted sheath, is just what you need for those winter trail rides. The unit can be used to clear sagging snow-covered branches from the trail, help with chopping firewood and kindling, or even to help build that emergency winter lean-to. With AEV’s quality standards and general utility we are sure this hatchet won’t let you down and will become a part of your winter trail and camping equipment.
Info: AEV, 248/926-0256, aev-conversions.com
Ultimate In Warmth And SeatingWhat it is: The Baja XRS Suspension Seat and Universal Seat Heating Systems seat heater
Who makes it: Corbeau
What it does: A heated suspension seat for the ultimate in winter off-road comfort
If you’ve never climbed into a suspension seat in an off-road rig, then you owe it to yourself to try one on. We say try one on because these seats hold you like a momma bear holds her cub. Add in Corbeau’s Universal Seat Heating System (that can be added as a $148 option when you order your new Baja XRS Suspension Seat or refit to a used seat years after buying for $99 each without installation) and you are guaranteed to be snug as a bug in a 4x4 despite what the weather outside is like. The Baja XRS Suspension Seat is a reclining suspension seat that is reported to be the ultimate reclining suspension seat featuring Corbeau Suspension Technology and injection molded memory foam that will last longer than cut foam cushions. The Baja XRS is available in black vinyl or black vinyl and black cloth. The Universal Seat Heating System is simple to install in almost any seat and requires connecting two wires and mounting the included switch. The heating pads can be trimmed to size to ensure proper fitment on your seat.
Info: Corbeau, 801/255-3737, corbeau.com
It’s All In The JeansWhat it is: Blue Jeans
Who makes it: Dickies
What it does: Keeps your legs out of the elements and protected from branches
From cowboys to four-wheelers, there is no better time to break out those comfy beloved blue jeans than the cooler months of winter. And if you’re like us and are hard on clothes and your favorite pair of blue jeans is looking pretty threadbare, then there is no better company to get your denim from than Dickies. As the world’s leading performance workwear brand, Dickies is synonymous with durability, functionality, and comfort. Dickies’ Denim Collection offers modern fits and washes with Flex Fabric for ease of movement and optimum performance. That means they will even stand up to our abusive ways. Every pair of denim jeans that wears the Dickies name is backed with an unconditional satisfaction guarantee. Founded to make overalls in Texas in 1918, Dickies now makes all kinds of clothes for all kinds of work and play and are sold all over the world.
Info: Dickies, 800/342-5437, dickies.com.
It’s Kinetic…doot doot doo!What it is: Kinetic Recovery Rope
Who makes it: Rugged Ridge
What it does: With a little stretch this rope can help you get unstuck from that snowdrift smoothly
Driving in the snow and ice means you’re eventually going to slip off the road and into a ditch. Kinetic Recovery Ropes have been around for a few years now and they beat traditional towropes for many reasons. For one, a Kinetic Rope stretches during a pull. This does two things: it allows the tow vehicle to build kinetic energy, meaning the tow vehicle can pull more dead weight and the stretch prevents harsh jerks associated with non-stretchable towropes which can sometimes cause the tow vehicle to also slip off the road and into the very ditch that holds the towee. Rugged Ridge Kinetic Ropes are 30 feet in overall length to accommodate a wide array of recovery scenarios. Braided loops at the end of the rope have a protective sheath. The Kinetic Recovery Rope is also backed by five-year limited warranty.
Info: Rugged Ridge, 770/614-6101, ruggedridge.com
Off-Road GPSWhat it is: eXplorist TRX7
Who makes it: Magellan
What it does: Takes you to the trail and records your ride on those snow runs
When snow covers our winter worlds it changes everything. Finding areas that in the summer are more than familiar can be next to impossible. Using the eXplorist TRX7 means you’ll get where you are going even if you don’t recognize it. Designed specifically for the off-roading enthusiast, this navigation solution delivers detailed 3D maps with more than 82,000 vehicle trails already stored on board and access to community generated trails. Built to withstand the harsh demands of off-roading, the Magellan eXplorist TRX7 GPS features a weatherproof 7-inch LCD touchscreen display; an IP67 ruggedized casing; powerful dual-core Cortex-A9 processor running Android; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity; 1GB Mobile DDR2 memory; 16GB onboard memory; and a 64GB MicroSD card expansion slot. Software is easily updated via the internet to keep you in charge of all the newest upgrades and features. The unit also comes with three different mounting options depending on what options are purchased. We’ve played with the eXplorist TRX7, and can’t wait to get it back out on the trail.
Info: Magellan, magellangps.com
Slush ControlWhat it is: X-act Contour Floor Liners
Who makes it: Husky Liners
What it does: Keeps the slush and muck you track into your 4x4 out of the carpet
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, winter weather creates snow, slush, mud, and muck. Nothing is worse than grinding all that mess into your trucks otherwise pristine interior carpets. To prevent this, we look to Husky Liners and the company’s new X-act Contour Floor Liners. The nerds (its words, not ours) at Husky Liners use friggin’ lasers on every make and model truck and SUV to ensure their floor mats perfectly match the contours of your floor. Combine that level of attention in fitment together with indestructible strength and a soft, comfortable cushion and you’ve got a real winner. Also, these liners are made in the USA and are guaranteed for life with a no hassle replacement program. That’s just what we love. Info: Husky Liners, 800/344-8759, huskyliners.com