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From a Wrangler to a Gladiator. Impressions

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I recently traded in my 2 door, 2012 Jeep Wrangler for a used 2020 Jeep Gladiator. These are my thoughts. Also some comments on equipping it.

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From a Wrangler to a Gladiator. Impressions

  1. 1. Into The Wilderness Transitioning from a 2012 Jeep Wrangler to a 2020 Jeep Gladiator. First impressions.
  2. 2. I recently traded in my 2012, manual, 2 door Wrangler for a 2020, used, Gladiator. These are my first impressions in the initial months owning it.
  3. 3. This is my 2012 Jeep. Manual. 2 inch lift. 35 inch tires. Bought it used, trading in a 2005 Wrangler.
  4. 4. I had it kitted out for camping. Three Rotopax gas cans. Two Rotopax supply cans. One Rotopax water can. 2 lengths of capped 6 inch PVC with supplies. One hose carrier with supplies. The rear seats and passenger seat were out and I built a plywood platform to sleep on along the right interior and have storage underneath.
  5. 5. I mounted a 100 Watt flexible solar panel on top, underneath the rack, running to a GoalZero Yeti 400 inside.
  6. 6. Essentially, the Jeep was self-sufficient for at least a couple of weeks. I traveled a number of places with it, including a western swing through New Mexico, Arizona and Southeast Utah. Where, BTW, my clutch burned out while I was out at Hole in the Rock, 120 miles from the nearest paved road. Luckily 3rd gear still worked and I was able to drive to a town. 120 miles without shifting
  7. 7. Which taught me one lesson: I bought a Spot-X satellite messenger. I spend a lot of time in the Smoky Mountains and often don’t have a cell signal. With the Spot-X I can maintain contact with home. Out west, it’s a must have.
  8. 8. A few months ago, I traded my Wrangler in for a used 2020 Gladiator (just under 10,000 miles on it). Automatic. No lift. 35 inch tires— by the way, the spare tire carrier underneath will fit a 35 inch spare. I have an Overland model. There is also a Rubicon model.
  9. 9. I put a JCR half rack on top of the cab and the JCR full-bed rack. The bed rack allows me to mount all my Rotopax on the sides: 4.5 gallon gas 3.5 gallon gas 1.5 gallon gas 2 two gallon water cans I can mount all those on five Rotopax mounts on the outside of the full bed rack. I have five mounts, but I can double each mount using the deluxe mount, thus carrying 10 Rotopax if I want.
  10. 10. I have the two 2 gallon supply Rotopax on the half rack on the cab top. Along with chocks and Gotreads. I have two hose carriers and two pieces of 5 inch vinyl fence post mounted on top in the back to carry supplies. A lot of gear, which I’ll cover in another presentation which will is uploaded HERE under free Survival Slideshows.
  11. 11. 2 Two gallons Rotopax supply cases on half rack holding survival gear along with Go-Treads on left and wheel chocks on right. Ahead of them a piece of capped 5 inch vinyl fencing containing two tow straps; flat plug kit; inflate tire canister and more survival gear.
  12. 12. I also have a JCR bumper up front with a Rugged Ridge winch. I bought a Smartliner for the bed. And Smartliner floor mats. Also, minor note, you should add a dead pedal if you have an automatic. I never noticed before but most automatics come with one; not sure why Jeep doesn’t do it. BTW— all Amazon links are affiliate but I donate all proceeds to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which educates the children of my fallen Special Operations comrades.
  13. 13. I have another presentation on what is in the various containers and inside the cab itself in the cargo compartments and elsewhere. This presentation is my first impressions on the differences between the two vehicles. Sign up for my newsletter (free books about once every six weeks and more info) or check my web site. I also have a number of free slideshows on survival on the website along with other interesting material and free ebook specials.
  14. 14. The biggest difference right off is, of course. SIZE. The length of my 2012, 2 door Wrangler was 153 inches. Which is 12 feet, 9 inches. A 2020, 2 door Wrangler is a bit longer, roughly 13 feet, 10 inches. A 2020 Gladiator is 218 inches. 18 feet, 4 inches. We’re talking five and a half feet longer than my old 2 door Wrangler!
  15. 15. If you’re transitioning from a relatively new, four- door Wrangler, we’re adding around 19 inches. From the front, both the Wrangler and Gladiator look the same as they are the same build up to the B-Pillar. The Gladiator bed is roughly five feet long with the tailgate closed.
  16. 16. It means you’ve got a LOT more room in the Gladiator. First, going from a two door to the four doors of the Gladiator still kind of freaks me out. I’ve got an entire back seat. My dog, who always goes with me, likes going back there and lying down on longer trips. More importantly, instead of driving with no passenger seating (because I needed that space for the bed), I could now take my son and grandsons with me. I keep the back seat clear of gear because it makes it easier to access the underneath or behind the seat storage areas.
  17. 17. What else does this mean? Not able to make as many 3 point turns on narrow mountains roads. However, for me, that was offset by the rear view camera. I could back out of places much more easily. In terms of handling? No difference. Your suspension is basically the same. In my case, it’s much better since my old Wrangler had been pretty beat up.
  18. 18. A current Wrangler and Gladiator share the 3.6- liter V-6. However, the Wrangler does offer a 2.0-liter turbo- 4 and a 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel if you desire. These are not available on the Gladiator so far. There is also a hybrid Wrangler coming on the market. An electric motor promises instant power.
  19. 19. Both my 2012 Wrangler and the Gladiator have hard tops with removable panels. My previous Wranglers had both soft and hard tops. I spent years doing the annual transition of taking off the hardtop and putting on the soft. Honestly, I prefer the hard top with panels. You don’t have the totally open experience of the soft top down, but the trade off in terms of security and ease is more than worth is in my opinion. I though I’d miss the soft top option, but I haven’t at all. It’s quieter and more secure and I can pop the panels off and put them in their soft case in the cargo bay (another advantage over the Wrangler where they had to go inside the limited space).
  20. 20. With the Gladiator you have a cargo bed. Which is where I now sleep when camping. I use either a bug net or a tent tarp which drapes over the JCR rack completely and the tailgate which I put down. My dog and I can sleep quite nicely back there. Also we can set up and tear down in just a few minutes. I store the bug net/tent shell (and my poles and tent interior in case I want to set up) in the containers on top of the rack. Hose carriers are available on Amazon— used by RVers to store their waste hose, but can be used for storage. You can put a lock on them. A 5 inch vinyl fence post makes an even better storage space as the square is larger than the circle. I bought caps, drilled through them and the post and inserted a six-inch shackle lock.
  21. 21. Like with the Wrangler you can put on a rack and then put a pop up tent on the top. Personally, it’s not for me for several reasons: The ladder is dangerous to transit in the middle of the night. My dog can’t climb it. The tent is always up there, reducing mileage. Makes it harder to claim a camp site without putting a tent on it. The pop up wouldn’t allow me to put the four tubes and two cargo containers up top that carry essential gear that would have to go elsewhere.
  22. 22. The cargo bed. You can see the Rotopax on the outside of the JCR rack. I have an Undercover Swingcase Truck Storage box on either side. Pull the yellow lever and it swings back to you. Brilliant. Left case contains sleeping gear, Right case contains food and cooking supplies.
  23. 23. The cargo bed is something that makes a huge difference from a Wrangler. Let’s face it: a Wrangler with a back seat in it has extremely little cargo room. Even with the back seat out, you don’t have that much space. Also the Gladiator has storage spaces under and behind the rear seat. You can put a lot in them. Big advantage to the Gladiator.
  24. 24. Handling? I’ve noticed no difference on the road and off-road. Takes a little longer for that second bump to hit off- road. But negotiating turns, four wheel drive, all of it is essentially the same. Honestly, as a long time stick driver, I like automatic now. (I remember having to lock hubs on my old Bronco II). You do have the manual shift option and I engage it at times to use the engine to brake on steep descents. The best of both worlds.
  25. 25. Let’s also accept Jeeps are not smooth rides. The long wheel base of the Gladiator actually makes it a better ride on roads, by smoothing out bumps. I went down a particularly nasty stretch of trail in the Pisgah National Forest and was surprised that I didn’t bottom out the middle going over some humps. A two-door Wrangler can negotiate a tighter turning radius and is more nimble in tough spots. However, interestingly, the longer wheel base can help when you hit muddy depressions.
  26. 26. Cost? A basic Gladiator is going to run you about $2,000 more than a four door Wrangler. In my mind, it’s been more than worth it. However, you get a lot more edition choices with a Wrangler. When you look at Rubicon models, a new Gladiator runs around $45,000 and a four door Wrangler around $43,700.
  27. 27. Lots of people are ‘boondoocking’ now. I called it remote camping. You see a lot of Wranglers now pulling trailers. Whether these are for sleeping in or carrying gear. The Gladiator’s bed eliminates that trailer need. You could put a camper shell over the cargo bed if desired, but I like my open set up with the JCR rack. Plenty of room back there for me and my dog and two swing out arm containers. In cool weather it’s nice to be able to look up at the stars and watch sunrises and sunsets. In summer, you can get a breeze. I’ve seen people with dirt bikes in the cargo bed of their Gladiator.
  28. 28. There is a difference between the Rubicon Gladiator and the Overland. The former is better off-road. I’ve driven a lot of off-road and will confess I’m not a rock crawler. I like roads and trails. I’ve done rocks and ATV trails and don’t get into it. So take that into account. A Rubicon model would definitely be what you want for more extreme off-roading.
  29. 29. There are a number of options and packages so I’m just giving an overview. Honestly, one thing I would go for if I were buying new, is the adaptive cruise control. My wife has it in her Audi and it’s a great safety device, especially for highway driving. Or if you’re on a two lane road behind someone, you can ‘latch’ onto them (hoping, of course, they don’t run off the road).
  30. 30. The bottom line? The amount of room and flexibility offered by the Gladiator is well worth it. I say that after a couple of decades as a Wrangler owner. As you will see in other presentations, I can easily carry the same amount of gear as I did in the Wrangler and keep all seats clear for people and the bed for sleeping. I can toss my bike or kayak in the cargo bay and not have to struggle to put the latter on top of my rack.
  31. 31. I have a slideshow showing all the gear I carry in the various tubes, cases, packs, etc. Essentially making the Gladiator, like my previous Jeep, a great survival vehicle. I also describe the way I carry two 100 watt flexible solar panels hidden away on the Gladiator, with a GoalZero Yeti 400 in the backseat passenger well, with an extra battery linked in parallel. It charges off the convenient plug in the back of the between seat console, but also can be hooked to the two solar panels when stationery.
  32. 32. This is just an overview and not technical. I have a separate presentation on car preparedness that’s generic. Questions, comments, suggestions, email me at bob@bobmayer.com Free books and more info on my web site: www.bobmayer.com Enjoy and stay safe out there!
  33. 33. More Free Information I constantly update free, downloadable slideshows like this on my web site for preparation and survival and other topics. FREE SLIDESHOWS I have free ebooks, audio, and shorts on this page, including the first book in my 2 million copy selling Green Beret series and the first book of my Duty, Honor, Country series (Novels of West Point and the Civil War)
  34. 34. The guide on the left is the complete preparation and survival guide. The one on the right is a pocket-size manual with just the survival portion. Useful in your Grab- n-Go bag, car and kitchen drawer. SURVIVAL GUIDES
  35. 35. The Book "The best preparation guide available, bar none. A must have for anyone concerned about man-made and natural disasters. Mayer points out that preparation is key and he walks the reader through it, each section building on the one before. From page one, I felt more prepared. Get it!" Assembly Magazine.
  36. 36. New York Times bestselling author, is a graduate of West Point and former Green Beret. He’s had over 80 books published, including the #1 bestselling series Green Berets, Time Patrol, Area 51, and Atlantis. He’s sold over 5 million books. He was born in the Bronx and has traveled the world. He’s lived on an island off the east coast, an island off the west coast, in the Rocky Mountains, the Smoky Mountains and other places, including time in East Asia studying martial arts. He was an instructor and course developer/writer for years at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School which trains Green Berets and also runs the SERE school: Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape. www.bobmayer.com

I recently traded in my 2 door, 2012 Jeep Wrangler for a used 2020 Jeep Gladiator. These are my thoughts. Also some comments on equipping it.

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