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Jeep CJ Wrangler Storage Options - Enjoying Open Space

Posted in How To on July 1, 2005
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Photographers: The Manufacturers

It's no secret that storage space is a premium commodity in Jeep CJs and Wranglers. The same small size that makes these vehicles notably nimble off-pavement can definitely cramp one's style when it comes to hauling gear. How many times have you had to leave something, or someone, behind because you were fresh out of room? We've been there ourselves. The new Wrangler Unlimited has addressed this issue to a degree, but even this longer machine still seems to fall short when it comes to cargo-carrying capacity.

Fortunately, the aftermarket has responded with some storage solutions. Some are inherently simple, and some are a downright ingenious use of available space. So stop lusting after those bigger SUVs, because the answers to your Jeep's storage problems are probably on these pages.

What it is: An external, receiver-mounted storage system that offers secure, waterproof storage.
Fits: CJ, YJ, TJ
The 411: This unit is comprised of three components: a highly adjustable GMC Professional Grade award-winning TwinTube rack; a durable, 48x25x5-inch high-density polyethylene tray with Hardpoint attachment points on each end of the tray; and a 25-inch-tall, high-molecular polyethylene weatherproof lid. Each component is installed one-at-a-time and results in a total empty weight of just 72 pounds. It offers 17 feet of fully enclosed storage space and has a cargo capacity of 300 pounds.
Why it rocks: The lid of the GearDeck 17 can be removed, and the unit can be used in an open platform configuration for larger items. Further, the TwinTube rack can be used independently as a hitch rack. Let's Go Aero also offers an optional bike mount that can carry up to three adult-sized bikes.
Contact: Let's Go Aero, 877/464-2376,

What they are: An interior soft storage bag system
Fits: Stow Away Bag and Roll Bar Stuff Sack; CJ, YJ, TJ. Between The Roll Bar Bag; all Wranglers
The 411: Manufactured by Back Trail Outfitters, formerly Phidlon, they come in three types: the 18x13x3-inch Stow Away Bag, which fits over the headrest of the front seats; the 19x6-inch Roll Bar Stuff Sack, which attaches to the rollbar; and the 8x31x3-inch Between The Roll Bar Bag. A Jeep Wrangler can fit two of each bag for a total of six bags. This is referred to as a full set. All of the bags have heavy-duty brass zippers, double-sewn straps, and solid brass D-rings and polypropylene webbing that Back Trail Outfitters calls the Double D-ring Pair to secure the bags to a seat or rollbars. The bags are available in either heavy-duty 18-ounce cotton duck or leather.
Why they rock: All of these bags can be removed from the vehicle in just seconds so you can take them with you.
Contact: Rockhard 4x4 Parts, 308/750-4690,

What it is: Cargo floor-mounted storage box
Fits: CJ-7, YJ, TJ
The 411: This bolt-in box is constructed from 16-gauge steel, it has a 10-tumbler double-bolted security lock with built-in weather seals, and it's powdercoated. Depending on the type of Jeep it's installed in, it will raise the rear seat 3 1/2 to 3 7/8 inches.
Why it rocks: It utilizes the entire floor from under the front of the rear seat to the tailgate, yet it doesn't require you to permanently remove the rear seat.
Contact: Tuffy Products, 800/348-8339,

What they are: Interior-mounted storage components
Fits: Utility Rack; '97-'05 Wrangler, Rear Cargo Security Drawer; CJ-5, CJ-7, YJ, TJ
The 411: The Wilderness Utility Rack measures 30x35x4 inches. Minor drilling is required to mount the unit. It was specially designed to mount on top of a Tuffy Cargo Security Drawer. This drawer has exterior dimensions of 30x35 3/8x8 and offers 7,700 cubic inches of secure storage space. It requires minor drilling to install in some vehicles.
Why they rock: The Utility Rack provides a securable mounting location for gear 3 inches above the Tuffy Cargo Security Drawer. The Security Drawer has a large drawer that slides on heavy-duty bearings so access to cargo is easy.
Contact: Wilderness Racks, 619/440-7415, and Tuffy Products, 800/348-8339,

What it is: An external, above-the-spare rack system.
Fits: '86-'05 Wrangler, including Unlimited
The 411: The Bestop Tailgate Rack Bracket is adjustable to work with hardtops and soft tops and it can support up to 75 pounds. The Universal Rack Tray has rounded corners and I-bolts for securing cargo.
Why they rock: The Universal Rack Tray is constructed of thermoformed plastic, which is lighter than steel and has better impact resistance. Also, since the system is mounted above the spare tire, your Jeep's departure angle won't be compromised.
Contact: Bestop, 303/465-1755,

What it is: Interior-mounted storage rack
Fits: '97-'05 Wrangler
The 411: This rack measures 27x40x4 inches. It simply clamps to the rollbar supports. The rear seat must be removed for the Travel Rack to be installed.
Why it rocks: You not only increase your Jeep's usable interior storage space, but you can also have the peace of mind of knowing that whatever is on the rack can be secured inside your vehicle. There are also optional fire extinguisher and flashlight mounts available.
Contact: Wilderness Racks, 619/440-7415,

What they are: High-mount external storage components
Fits: Expedition Rack; '76-'86 CJ-7, '87-'95 Wrangler, '97-'05 Wrangler including Rubicon and Unlimited. Swing Away Trail Rack; '76-'86 CJ-7, '87-'05 Wrangler including Rubicon and Unlimited
The 411: The Garvin Industries Wilderness Expedition rack is a powdercoated overhead storage rack that mounts to your Jeep with only minor drilling. It's constructed from 3/4-inch square steel tubing with support brackets made from heavy-duty 1-inch square steel tubing. The rack measures 54x72x4 inches. The Swing Away Trail Rack mounts to the Jeep Wrangler Bumper and Swing Away Tire System and can carry up to 75 pounds of gear. It measures 32.5x16x5 inches.
Why they rock: The Expedition Rack has a specially engineered tilting feature, which enables one person to raise the unloaded rack for lowering or raising the soft top. There is also a full line of accessories that allow you to mount lights, a spare tire, an axe, a shovel, a Hi-Lift jack, gas and water cans, and even a Pull Pal to the rack. The Swing Away Tire Rack won't affect your rig's departure angle.
Contact: Wilderness Racks, 619/440-7415,

What it is: Full-length overhead rack
Fits: CJ-7, YJ, TJ including Unlimited
The 411: This cool overhead rack bolts directly to your Jeep's frame and offers a load capacity of 350 pounds for highway driving and 150 pounds for off-pavement driving.
Why it rocks: Not only is it a functional roof rack, it can be easily converted to a sunshade. Telescoping legs allow you to compensate for your vehicle height, whether it's stock or lifted. Olympic says some jeepers even install sun-showers and a shower curtain to the unit so that they can bathe in the outback.
Contact: Olympic 4x4 Products, 323/726-6988,

What it is: Rear-mount external rack
Fits: CJ and Wrangler, including Unlimited
The 411: No drilling is required to mount this 4x17.5x43.5-inch rack. It comes ready to assemble, and easily mounts by simply removing your spare tire and placing the mounting hardware over the lug bolts. Secure the spare tire and you're done. The rack includes 3/8-inch eyebolts so you can safely secure your cargo. Available in either High Gloss Black or textured Rubicon Black powdercoated finishes.
Why it rocks: The rack is centered in the middle of the spare tire, so your Jeep's departure angle isn't affected. Also, depending on how much stuff you have stacked on the rack, it won't affect rearward visibility.
Contact: Olympic 4x4 Products, 323/726-6988,

What it is: Overhead rack
Fits: CJ, YJ, TJ including Unlimited
The 411: This unit has a basket size of 4x50x66.5 inches and uses saddle brackets to bolt to the rollbar above the front seat passengers. It includes 3/8-inch eyebolts so you can secure your cargo. It is available in either High Gloss Black or textured Rubicon Black powdercoated finishes.
Why it rocks: It easily attaches and detaches, and it can multitask as a bikini top.
Contact: Olympic 4x4 Products, 323/726-6988,

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