You Can Take It With You
Chris Dickerson had a dilemma that plagues many of us: He loves Jeeps and exploring the backcountry. No, his problem wasn’t sunburns or flat tires. His trouble wasn’t even an empty bank account due to Just Emptying Every Pocket. Chris’ issue was finding a way to fit all of his camping gear in his Jeep TJ Wrangler and still have room for his lovely wife and two growing children on the myriad trails around his home in Gardnerville, Nevada. Instead of complaining about his woes, Chris looked to his forefathers for inspiration and devised a solution to solve his problem. And not just his forefathers, but his paternal father, who had a Bantam trailer that he pulled behind the family’s CJ-5.
Chris decided to create a modern version of the ubiquitous military trailer that would provide enough room for the tents, sleeping bags, ice chests, and related gear that he needed to bring into the backcountry to allow his entire family to camp in comfort. With Chris’ background in airplane fabrication, the Jeep trailer was a relatively easy project to complete. The original trailer, built back in 2007, garnered attention and praise from other families with similar space constraints. Chris saw an opportunity to help, and soon Sierra 4x4 Trailers was born.
“I wanted to keep the trailer relatively simple and light, just like the original Bantam,” Chris explained. “At 640 pounds, any Jeep can pull our trailer.” With a base price just south of $3,500, the average family can still afford a Sierra 4x4 trailer, too. All trailers start with a sturdy 2x3-inch, 0.120-inch-wall box tube frame that is MIG-welded and powdercoated black in the U.S. Both ends of the frame include 2½-inch receiver tubes for flexibility in towing, recovery and additional accessories. Leaf springs keep the price reasonable and ensure consistent handling and sway control over rough terrain. The springs are slung over the 3,500-pound Dexter beam axle, which can withstand the heaviest loads and roughest terrain. How rough?
“We’ve had customers take their trailers through the Rubicon Trail without issue,” Chris reports. Thirty-five cubic feet of cargo space ensure enough room for everything from camp chairs to stoves and games for the kids. Empty the camping gear, and you can just as easily be hauling a cord of wood home.
From there, each trailer is a blank canvas with an infinite selection of options. The most popular include matching the bolt pattern, wheels, and tires to the owner’s tow vehicle, Max-Coupler articulating hitches, and custom paint. Other possibilities include expedition gear such as fuel and water cans, ARB freezers, and roof top tents. “I have also recently developed a larger trailer to match the track width of JKs, FJ Cruisers, and other large SUVs,” Chris revealed.
If, like Chris Dickerson, your family is quickly outgrowing your Wrangler or CJ and you are considering a foor-door JK Unlimited, consider a Sierra 4x4 Trailer before you head to the Jeep dealer. Your storage issues could potentially be resolved at a price that is far less than a new Jeep payment. It seems as though Jeep owners now have room to take your cake and eat it, too.
Make/model: Sierra 4x4 Trailer
Frame: 2x3-in box tubing
Body/fenders: 14-gauge steel
Bed: 1⁄8-in steel plate
Suspension: 1,750-lb leaf springs
Tires: 225/75R15 (base)
Wheels: 15x6 spokers
Length (in): 120
Width (in): 61
Base curb weight (lb): 640
Cargo capacity (cu ft): 35
GVWR (lb): 1,500 (3,500 w/optional brakes)
GAWR (lb): 3,500
Minimum ground clearance (in): 12