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Unread 10-21-2010, 12:16 PM   #1
Vizoo
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Americas 2011 expedition 1/2 - Need help/advice/opinion

Planning a trip across the three americas next year, just bough the car for it and although I'm not new to car travel, this is my first Jeep and the longest of all trips.
I have many items with brand and model options that I don't know which one is better. So any input from you will be appreciated. This will be kind of a long post and I'm new to forums so I ask for you patience and excuse if it is not on the right place.
All of the pictures shown here and many more can be also seen in a larger format on a page I set up in my server at Options
So lets get started:

1- Tent: Rooftop for sure. Minumim width of 71". Brand are CarTopCamper (130lb $1680), MyWaySerengeti (?lb $2180), AutoHomeOverland (125lb $2600) and EeziAwn 2200T (242lb $2935)



Drawings with the fiting position of all these tents are in the link "options" above.

Things to consider:
1- I like the size of the EeziAwn;
2- I like the price of the CarTopCamper;
3- I am affraid of the quality/durability of the CarTopCamper (it is made in China);
4- I am ready to spent some nights at hotels in rainy situations.

2- Suspension: Do I need reinforced springs? The JK will be very close to its maximum load. I will change the shock absorbers to a Rancho 9000.



3- Roof rack: Things start to get complicated as the number of variables increase... Flat, Semi-flat or basket type? Fixed or lift & tilt? Top only or cage type?



4- Back Tray: This seems a pretty good idea if you need to carry extra stuff, especially if tent of choice takes all the space in the roof rack. Nice place to put the generator too and avoid flammable vapors inside the car.



5- Sand Tracks: A must have! Besides the old style aluminum, there is also plastic and fiberglass to choose from. ARB even has a folding model made of heavy duty rubber.



6- Snatch Block: Large variety of makers and huge differences in prices. Does it worth to pay for the brand name?



7- Air Jack: The concept is great and as far I could find, there are only this two options. The flat hose on the X-Jack appears to take less space when packed. Which one is better?



Decided to divide in two parts not to be boring...

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Unread 10-21-2010, 05:11 PM   #2
fishinjeeper
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What do you mean 3 Americas?
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Unread 10-21-2010, 05:33 PM   #3
Vizoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishinjeeper View Post
What do you mean 3 Americas?
North America



Central America



and South America

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Unread 10-21-2010, 06:34 PM   #4
TJRoberto
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Vizoo have you ever driven before in Mexico? I live in San Diego California, and we take trip here and there to sought of Mexico do you know the kind of adventure you will be getting your self into?
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Unread 10-21-2010, 08:31 PM   #5
Vizoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJRRoberto View Post
Vizoo have you ever driven before in Mexico? I live in San Diego California, and we take trip here and there to sought of Mexico do you know the kind of adventure you will be getting your self into?
No, never been around there yet. You can check some of my past trips here.

Any tips will be appreciated.
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Unread 10-21-2010, 09:22 PM   #6
fishinjeeper
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wow. you must be rich....
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Unread 10-21-2010, 09:52 PM   #7
Vizoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishinjeeper View Post
wow. you must be rich....
Why? Only rich people can travel by car?
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Unread 10-22-2010, 08:56 AM   #8
Faramir66103
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Have you considered a trailer instead of a roof rack? I looked at both and chose the trailer for several reasons.

A trailer:

has less wind resistance for better gas mileage.
keeps the center of gravity lower.
easier to access equipment.
higher overall capacity.
can be disconnected from the tow vehicle and left at camp.
can be had with secure lid to keep both four and two legged predators out.

Also, the trailer was roughly the cost of a good roof rack.

My trailer is a former military trailer and I'm modifying/building to fit my particular needs using Adventure Trailers products as inspiration.

You may also want to post your questions at Expedition Portal. The folks there have a wealth of experience and are just as friendly and helpful as the folks on JeepForum.

It's an ambitious plan you've got there. I wish I had the resources to do a trip like that.

I'll head over to your other thread as well.

Cheers,
Adam
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Unread 10-22-2010, 01:23 PM   #9
Vizoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faramir66103 View Post
Have you considered a trailer instead of a roof rack? I looked at both and chose the trailer for several reasons.
I honestly did, and still not 100% sure that the rooftop is the best option... Can you help me further in this?

1) has less wind resistance for better gas mileage.

Yes, less drag is true, but you probably will also carry more stuff and thus towing more weight, but point taken 1x0 to the trailer

2) keeps the center of gravity lower.

Yes true, but I am willing not ot consider this one, I don't plan to go rock crawling or any activity where the higher CG will really make a difference. still 1x0

3) easier to access equipment.

Maybe... It also depends on how you set the interior of the car, agree?

4) higher overall capacity.

I am the kind of guy that don't like to leave an empty space so this may become more of a liability then an asset, if I have the trailer I will overload it. 1x1

5) can be disconnected from the tow vehicle and left at camp.

Ok, 2x1

6) can be had with secure lid to keep both four and two legged predators out.

Nah... if you don't have it, you don't have to secure it, and you have to secure the car also anyway.

7) Also, the trailer was roughly the cost of a good roof rack.

So you would not had the roof rack at all? And where do I find a trailer for 1k? They are far more expensive then that.

Now, 2x1 for the trailer with your arguments. See mine for the roof tent:

1) You have everything in one single unit;
2) You don't have to worry about having something behind you, specially on dirt roads or trails;
3) You will sleep much higher, better sense of protection I think;
4) I don't know if the fuel economy of the trailer will compensate for the higher toll fares that you will have to pay on highways for the extra axle;
5) I am worried about having to ship them separately through the Panama Canal and the extra bureocracy I may get into get it out of customs;
6) For the reason above, I also do not know how much extra I would have to pay to ship it, even if it is possible to do it still connected to the car.
7) How about the pictures bellow for a reason?







I think the trailer will be a huge pain in the butt in a situation like that.


>>My trailer is a former military trailer and I'm modifying/building to fit my

Well, I wish I had the expertize to get a cheap one and rebuild, or even do a design from scratch.

>>It's an ambitious plan you've got there. I wish I had the resources to do a trip like that.

Come along as far as you want!!

I found your input very valuable, please do argue about all of my considerations. The car will be ready by next April so I have decided very little and still have time to change everything.
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Unread 10-23-2010, 10:13 AM   #10
Faramir66103
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Vizoo, you're quite welcome to whatever meager thoughts I have to offer. This sort of collaboration is what JF is for.

In response to your thoughts above:

3) easier to access equipment.

Maybe... It also depends on how you set the interior of the car, agree?

I'd agree, and add that it also depends on how many people will be in the vehicle, and how much "luxury" you're willing to afford yourselves. My experience is that on longer trips, extra room inside is well worth it. Also, when cold, wet, hungry, filthy, tired etc. etc. etc. any additional frustration, like having to climb around the vehicle to get something, will magnify itself a thousand fold.

6) can be had with secure lid to keep both four and two legged predators out.

Nah... if you don't have it, you don't have to secure it, and you have to secure the car also anyway.

Well, here's the way I look at it. It's pretty simple for a thief to toss a rock through a window and get access to anything and everything inside, so even with a hard top, a Jeep isn't secure from two legged predators. Therefore anything of value gets locked in a Tuffy console or glove box. In addition, even the small, non-aggressive black bears are strong enough to rip open a full steel door to get at anything that smells interesting to them. There goes much of your necessary consumables. This is why I built my lid to the same specs as the Tuffy accessories and/or bear proof containers used in the park system. With the trailer lid locked I feel comfortable walking away from the rig for hikes, meals at restaurants, the occasional hotel stay etc.

7) Also, the trailer was roughly the cost of a good roof rack.

So you would not had the roof rack at all? And where do I find a trailer for 1k? They are far more expensive then that.

No, I don't have a roof rack at all. The trailer I got can be found in decent shape (with a little patience) for around $600. I've put a little more than $400 into modifications such as wheel adapters and wheels/tires to match my TJ, the lid, paint etc. but all in all, I'm happy I don't have to live with the rattle, wind noise, drag, inconvenience etc. of a roof rack on a daily basis. The trailer just gets unhooked and the Jeep turns into a daily driver.

I TOTALLY agree with you that a roof top tent is the way to go for long trips, and am saving my pennies to put one on the trailer lid.

I have ZERO experience with the international/toll/canal points you raise, so some research would have to be done there. However, the overall length and width is not much more than a full size pickup.

So far as the stuck situation, the vehicle pictured needed to be winched out, and I'd guess that the trailer wouldn't have made much difference. If the trailer is watertight (which any offroad trailer ought to be) it might have actually floated over much of that muck. Mine is rated by the military as being able to float itself plus 600 pounds of cargo.

I'll keep an eye on your plans and may link up with you at some point. I'd really like to do more overland travel and next summer may be the time.

I'll see if I can post up a pic of my rig for you to have a look at.

Cheers,
Adam

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Unread 10-24-2010, 10:01 PM   #11
Vizoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faramir66103 View Post
3) easier to access equipment.
V- Maybe... It also depends on how you set the interior of the car, agree?

F- I'd agree, and add that it also depends on how many people will be in the vehicle,

In this trip, just my son and I

F- Also, when cold, wet, hungry, filthy, tired etc. etc. etc. any additional frustration, like having to climb around the vehicle to get something, will magnify itself a thousand fold.

I see your point. But just for the sake of argument, what if you are in the tent and wants something is in the car and is cold or raining? If the tent is on the top you will have the protection of the amnex to go down and into the car...

6) can be had with secure lid to keep both four and two legged predators out.

F- Well, here's the way I look at it. It's pretty simple for a thief to toss a rock through a window and get access to anything and everything inside,

Ok, agree on this one.

F- This is why I built my lid to the same specs as the Tuffy accessories and/or bear proof containers used in the park system.

Got pictures?

7) And where do I find a trailer for 1k? They are far more expensive then that.

F- The trailer I got can be found in decent shape (with a little patience) for around $600. I've put a little more than $400 into modifications

That is indeed pretty reasonable, have just tried to look on EBay and a few other sites but did not find anything close to that, found a place of military surplus selling ones for $2K !!

F- However, the overall length and width is not much more than a full size pickup.

Can you tell me your so I can see if it fits on a regular container?

F- So far as the stuck situation, the vehicle pictured needed to be winched out,

Yes, in the picture situation I agree, but my point remains, if you are in the verge of being stuck in the mud, having the weight divided on the trailer will help you cross, will help stuck you in, or will make no difference?

F- I'll keep an eye on your plans and may link up with you at some point. I'd really like to do more overland travel and next summer may be the time.

There is a lot of time yet to get ready
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Unread 10-24-2010, 10:25 PM   #12
fishinjeeper
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Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
Why? Only rich people can travel by car?
no, only the rich can afford to have a brand new wrangler, and drive across the "three America's" for months on end. anyways, I suggest you get a trailer
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Unread 10-24-2010, 11:08 PM   #13
Vizoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishinjeeper View Post
no, only the rich can afford to have a brand new wrangler, and drive across the "three America's" for months on end. anyways, I suggest you get a trailer
What if I tell you I've been saving for the last 10 years to do this after my son turns over 21? Will that still make me rich or just a guy who plans far ahead?

I am starting to reconsider the trailer...
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Unread 10-25-2010, 08:24 AM   #14
Faramir66103
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For just two people in a JK, you might be able to get away with just the Jeep and a roof rack. If you pulled the rear seating and built/installed a rear cargo pod, things could be simpler. The cargo pod would need to be well designed, but could go floor to ceiling and almost full width. It could provide additional security and organization which would make that space far more user friendly. Hmmm . . . I'd still be tempted to go with the trailer. In my case, I've often had myself and three others, so interior cargo storage needed to be limited to just the daily essentials.

Some of the compromises with the trailer and a tent on it's lid are that When the tent is deployed, access to your cargo is limited and not protected from the elements. I've seen folks who set theirs up so that the tent hinge is over lid hinge. This way, even with the tent set up, the lid can be opened. It's not really possible with someone asleep inside the tent though. There's also no protection from the elements. The solution for that is to add an awning.

I'll have to see if I can find drawings of my lid, but I can describe it pretty well. It's a 14 gauge skin welded over a frame made of 2" square tubing with 1/8" wall. It's heavy and overkill in some respects, but I wanted it to be strong enough for several people to stand on, I wanted to be able to use L-Track to secure cargo or a tent or kayaks etc. It's as much a structural deck as a lid.

The trick is finding one. The trailer I've got is a former M-416 trailer rated at 1/4 ton when offroad, though the same chassis is used in ammo trailers and other military trailers rated much higher. Many people have reported carrying up to a ton with no troubles both on and offroad. The prevailing thought as to why it's rated so low compared to it's brethren is it's ability to only float 500 pounds. There's a Canadian version called the M-101, but be careful, the US M-101 is MUCH larger and way too heavy for a Wrangler of any flavor. The Marines used a version called the M-716 & there's a version with power assist braking of some kind called the M-416a. I found mine through a broker I found on the web, though off the top of my head I can't recall which.

Ebay and the like aren't going to be of much help, though I've heard of Craigslist being of some use. Boyce Equipment will occasionally have some, as will the 100 Dollar Man and Colemans, though the ones I've seen at the Colemans site are in rough shape.

The length overall is 108.5", and I'd add around 8" for the pintle hook for the Jeep. The width is 60.5", but that's with it's skinny military tires. I'd add 6-10" for wheel adapters and appropriate wheels/tires. I'd be pretty amazed if you couldn't fit a JK and a trailer into even a mid size container.

I have no idea about how a trailer will affect a stuck situation. I'd bet it'd have a lot to do with the particular situation. I've not gotten stuck with it, but it's also been mostly used in the arid southwest. It's not seen any sticky muck, at least not with me.

Cheers,
Adam
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Unread 10-25-2010, 02:44 PM   #15
fishinjeeper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vizoo View Post
What if I tell you I've been saving for the last 10 years to do this after my son turns over 21? Will that still make me rich or just a guy who plans far ahead?

I am starting to reconsider the trailer...
well, thats a long time saving. but at least you are doing the right style of vacation then a cruse or something. I do think a trailer would be your best bet. with lockers front and rear and the right gearing, you should be able to pull that thing through most anything since you said you would be crawling it.
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