Gearing Up for Easter Jeep SafariMarch 9th, 2015 by Rachel Sheelam
The 2015 Easter Jeep Safari is less than three weeks away – let’s all just take a moment and let that beautiful thought sink in … Okay, now stop fantasizing and get yourself (and your 4×4) in gear! If you’re heading out to Moab this year for all or part of the nine-day off-road event, you’re going to need the right parts and accessories for your truck, Jeep or SUV. This list will get you started.
Armor and Protection
This year’s Easter Jeep Safari will take 4-wheel drive vehicles of all makes and models through 50 different trails of all ratings. The easiest of them could almost be negotiated in a two-wheel drive vehicle, while the most difficult can only be handled by extremely modified rigs and experienced drivers. If you don’t want the desert to chew you up and spit you out, you’re going to need a good suit of armor.
For gentler trails like “Chicken Corners” and “LaSal Pass”, some basic protection should keep the Jeep, SUV or truck intact. A sturdy set of running boards or rocker panel guards will help protect the sides from close encounters, as will a set of corner guards. If you’re looking for something that has it all, 4 Wheel Parts has a selection of body armor kits with basics like hood and tailgate protectors, rocker guards and corner guards. Skid plates are also good underbody protection for low-clearance areas.
Off-roaders looking to take on intermediate or advanced trails should invest in heftier equipment. Smittybilt has a wide selection of truck and Jeep bumpers, brush and grille guards and other types of body protection you can choose from. Skid plates, corner guards and, if you’re taking on the really difficult trails, roll cages, are all parts you should consider installing for Easter Jeep Safari. A new 4 Wheel Parts vendor, Modern Classic Enterprise, has an innovative new generation of flexible fender flares for Jeeps which are the perfect accessory to protect your exterior from damage while providing a little extra tire clearance.
To get a better idea of what armor and protection you need and plan your trip, take a look at Red Rock 4-Wheeler’s guide to Moab trails: http://www.rr4w.com/trails.cfm.
Wheels and Tires
Traversing Moab means being prepared for a wide range of terrain, from gravel to slick stone to water crossings. A rugged set of all terrain tires will do well by you and your truck or Jeep and we suggest they be at least 35’s to ensure you have adequate clearance. If the trails in your itinerary have high ratings, you probably want to go larger. Pro Comp wheels are the perfect match for whatever off-road tires you’re running; the Pro Comp rock crawler series is designed to handle exactly the sort of varied terrain found in Moab.
You may also want to stock up on a few wheel and tire accessories like tire deflators to regulate the airing down process and a tire repair kit. Also, and we cannot stress this enough, don’t forget to pack a spare – and make sure it’s fully inflated before you go! If you forget anyway, your trip doesn’t have to end there as 4 Wheel Parts will be glad to fit you with a new one at the vendor expo April 2-3.
To wheel across Moab like a pro, it’s important that your 4x4’s suspension system is in top shape. Clearance is a very important factor, as are articulation capabilities and shocks. The right parts for your suspension will be very unique to your vehicle and driving style, but no matter what lift kit, shocks, etc. you have it’s vital that you are very familiar with it. Know what your vehicle’s lowest point is, know its abilities and its limitations.
Before hitting the trail for nine days, you should do a full vehicle inspection. Make sure to pay extra attention to your suspension parts – see that bearings aren’t worn down, nothing is rubbing and check your steering equipment. If you’re looking to upgrade, now might be the perfect time for new shock absorbers, some sway bar disconnects or a taller lift.
No matter how well equipped your weekend warrior is or how skilled a driver you are, there’s bound to be a moment (or ten) over the course of Easter Jeep Safari that you need some recovery gear. Even if you don’t get stuck, there’s a good chance someone else in your party will, and they’ll certainly be grateful for your help getting them out of it – as will everyone stuck behind them.
Red Rock 4-Wheelers recommends you bring at least a jack and a tow strap, but a reliable winch is always a good piece of equipment to have with you as well. A little-known accessory that works wonderfully for hung-up rigs and soft terrain is the ARB Inflatable X-Jack, which connects to your exhaust and inflates to gently lift you off or out of whatever caught you.
Besides the standard equipment to just get you back on the trail, also consider equipping your truck, Jeep or SUV with an on-board air system to re-inflate your tires. You’re likely going to need to air down for most of the trails in Easter Jeep Safari and having on-board air can save you some change and some time waiting in line while everyone else re-inflates their tires too.
Other good equipment to bring along with you for a long trek like Easter Jeep is spare fuel and a CB radio to communicate with the other vehicles on the trail. You’re not likely to get lost or be in any danger on a group run of this size, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared and if you run out of fuel halfway into the run, it will throw a wrench in the gears for the whole pack.
The key to having a top-performing vehicle is maintaining good air flow through the engine. The average temperature for Moab in March/April hovers right around 70° F, which doesn’t seem too hot, but if you’re pushing your vehicle hard under the sun things are going to heat up very quickly. Now is the time to upgrade your exhaust, air filters and intake and cooling system.
For the most extreme trails, your 4×4 should also be equipped with lockers so that you can maintain traction no matter how twisted up you are. A Detroit locker is an exceptionally rugged, severe-condition upgrade to help your rig get through Moab’s toughest trails.
Easter Jeep Safari Packing Checklist
We’ve covered the gear you’ll need for your ride, now here’s a quick checklist for the gear you’ll need for you and your family. It’s expected that you bring your own vehicle, non-alcoholic beverages and food for the trip.
- Plenty of drinking water
- Non-perishable snacks and food for the entire trip
- Layered clothing and jackets
- Tools for on-the-trail repairs
- Kid-friendly games and gadgets
- First aid kit
- Trail wipes
- Hats for sun protection
For more information on Easter Jeep Safari, including registration information, gear recommendations, vendor info and a whole lot more, visit rr4w.com.
Rachel Bowes writes tech tips and advice articles like this one for 4 Wheel Parts all the time. You can read more of her work when you follow her on Google Plus.
About the Author: Rachel Sheelam
The 4x4 and off-road lifestyle was all new to me when I first joined this team, but in the year since then I have developed a true passion for the automotive industry. I've learned more than I knew there was to know about trucks, Jeeps and SUVs - from suspension articulation physics to which types of tires are the best for wallowing in the mud. Whether it's the latest in automotive technology or the best 4x4's in film, I'm always on the lookout for the next big learning curve or news to share. You can keep up with me on my adventure into 4-wheeled life on Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RachelBowesatTAP/posts