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Average Joe Jeep - Packing A Long-Haul Flattie

Posted in How To: Body Chassis on September 30, 2014
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Editor’s note: This is a new column, but it might not be a monthly column. When Josh has something cool to say that could apply to many of us, or he finds a cool cheap fix, or just wants to show how to fix things in a way anyone can relate to, he’ll write another story.

If you’ve ever packed up your ’41-’45 MB/GPW or a ’44-’68 CJ for a weekend wheeling trip with your buddies, you’re probably all too familiar with the Flattie’s painful lack of storage. So, when the boss brought up the idea of a seven-day flattie-only road trip across three states, the first thing that came to mind was this might be a good time to bust out the old Commodore 64 and brush up on our Tetris skills. It’s pretty easy to pack all your gear into a 40-foot-long land yacht, but when you think of food, tools, spare parts, and camp gear for two, the six cubic feet of storage gives the term “Spartan living” a whole new meaning! Like the spandex-clad mama at your local Walmart, this is going to be a tight fit.

Back when we were younger, the packing list was simple: Grab a couple Poor Boy subs, a sleeping bag, maybe a tarp if it’s wet out, and fill the rest of the Jeep with frosty adult beverages. With age has come wisdom, or maybe more appropriately, pain, making for a memorable lesson. In the intervening years, our packing list has gotten a bit longer for a couple good reasons. We’ve gotten more creative about breaking stuff, having to walk twenty miles in searing heat or freezing cold sucks, our Jeeps have gotten older, and well, so have we.

Whether I’m headed out on a road trip, wheeling trip, or both, I like to lay everything out so I can take stock of what I have and what I still need.

Second only to a fire extinguisher and water (would that make it third to?), your tools are the most important thing you can bring on a long road trip. Common tools can be divided between rigs to save on weight, but if your Jeep requires some specialty tool, don’t rely on someone else to have it. Murphy’s Law dictates if you forget it, you’re guaranteed to need it.

Some people collect stamps, others collect sports memorabilia; me, I dig military surplus. My all-time favorites finds are ammo containers. Ammo cans are water tight, air tight, and uniform in size. They’re perfect for storing food, tools, and parts, and they can be bought for next to nothing.

Like I mentioned, I love old military surplus! Military duffel bags are great for storing clothes and camping gear like sleeping bags and tents. If it’s a newer-looking duffel, there’s a good chance it’s still waterproof, but if it’s an older bag, the waterproof agent is likely long gone. Most tent and sporting goods stores sell an inexpensive spray-on waterproofing treatment.

Hey, check out the rack! Having a rack on the back of an older flattie or newer CJ is a great way to add much needed storage space.

While not exactly a suite at the Hilton, the fish is fresh, the drinks are cold, and the view from the room is always spectacular.

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