Some sliders and a real bumper will be real unnecessary the first time he comes off a rock or ledge and misjudges the height or maybe he's trying to turn a sharp corner and drags his driverside rocker panel over something. These things happen all too easily because unfortunately it's easy to climb **** but the coming down part isn't as predictable all the time. He's trying to get into rock crawling obviously. That's true it has probably the same wheel base as the 4runner but the 4runner a much more capable rig with less $$ invested even after mods. lol
With the kind of wheeling he's doing, the bare minimum he should have some rock sliders on that thing for more reasons than 1.
"I understand that a lot of those things are necessary, but only if you actually put them to use."
How can you put them to use if you don't have them? It's the point of safety. Better to have them and not need them instead of need them and not have them. If you want to argue that then I can't help you. It's clear as day the type of offroading he's trying to get into and the risks involved. Bumming **** off your friends is going to get real annoying real fast and you'll stop getting invited to go. I guarantee it after the first time something breaks on your truck and you're dependent on someone else's welder (god forbid their welding skills also) to make repairs or their winch to get you out/someone else's trailer to take you home.
You can try to prove me wrong all you want but i've got a lot of experience in this field and I know what to expect when you're using a vehicle for more than it's intended purpose. "it's a jeep it's intended for this." No, it's not. Check your warranty and see what that covers. Your warranty covers "factory intended use" aka street driving. Rock crawling/off roading of any sort isn't one of those.
Here's an article about the "Ford Raptor" which was advertised as an off-road capable truck. When people were off-roading at high speeds, the frames would bend from vibrations/maxing out the rear suspension which didn't have the upward travel that was advertised. Not covered by warranty because it's "unintended use" of an "off-road" vehicle.
The point is, your jeep was only built with a couple extra features to make it more capable than a saturn. 1 higher ground clearance, 2 solid front axle, 3 locking gears if you got the trail edition. Other than the couple "trail" additions it's not built of any higher quality steel or anything else for that matter than any other car on the market. It's ok though! Don't worry because you got a jeep!
... haha, keep thinking that.
and here are some beautiful pictures of a newer jeep (2010) that had the common issue about transmission overheating while running in low gears so better add another mod to your list.
It's apples to oranges when you're comparing "tastefully modifying" an offroad rig vs a street car. tbh there's no such thing as "tastefully modifying" an offroad rig. There are mods that have use, and mods that do not. You WANT the mods that have a purpose, such as protecting your body panels, undercarriage, and your face from being smashed from that "unintended use" i talked about earlier.
Best of luck.