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, www.letsgoaero.com
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, www.rockhard4x4parts.com
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, www.tuffyproducts.com
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, www.wildernessracks.com and Tuffy Products, 800/348-8339, www.tuffyproducts.com