A Jeep Built for the Road Less Traveled – New Mexico Backroads’ 2012 JK Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
|NMBR Rubicon tackling the Dusy Ershim Trail (photo courtesy of AEV Conversions)|
“Overall, the best builds are well thought-out yet simple; they don’t over-complicate function or attempt to reinvent the wheel.”
|Engineer Pass - San Juan Mountains (Colorado)|
The NMBR Rubicon was built for dual purposes: technical trail running and long-distance, self-supported off-pavement travel. From winch mounts to tire carriers, and wheels to roof racks, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to see firsthand which aftermarket products work well and which need improvement. Overall, the best ones are well-thought-out yet simple; they don’t overcomplicate function or attempt to reinvent the wheel. And so, the ideology of the build began to take shape.
|Broad Canyon Trail (New Mexico)|
|Comb Ridge wanderings (Utah)|
|NMBR built sleeping platform and cargo deck|
The base material is 1/2-inch (veneer core) Russian birch; the top surface headpiece, tailpiece, and deck ribbing are 1/8-inch aluminum plate.The entire unit was finished with an industrial-grade, non-skid, spray-on coating developed for ship decks and oil platforms. Canyon Dancer strap rings are installed throughout, mated to embedded T-nut fasteners to provide strong cargo lashing points. A headboard piece, which firmly nests between the tracks of the ARB fridge slide when not in use, easily installed in the footwell (behind the passenger front seat when slid forward) to provide over 6 feet of linear sleeping space; it also serves as a lapboard for writing or eating.
The rear roll-bar mounted A/T Overland interior rack maximizes otherwise unused interior space, while a fold-down Outback Adventure tailgate-mounted table provides a food prep and work surface (a compact substitute for a stand-alone table). Rechargeable LED lanterns are used instead of hard-wired lighting, and backpacking style meal prep and cooking equipment in place of full-scale items. Storage access is provided by waterproof and vibration-free kayak hatch covers. Over 100 pounds of vital tools, spare parts, recovery gear, and provisions reside under the cargo deck’s surface level.
|Home on the range (New Mexico)|
|Undisclosed location northeast of the US/Mexico border (Texas)|
|Flexing out the AEV 4.5 DualSport Suspension (New Mexico)|
|Alive Camp of NMBR's Camino del Tesoro Overland route (New Mexico)|
Platform: Pentastar 3.6L V6 engine with 5-speed automatic transmission; Rock-Trac 4:1 transfer case; Front/rear locking differentials; Front sway bar disconnect system; Dana 44 heavy-duty front/rear axles; Hill decent control; Skid plates for fuel tank and transfer case; Rubicon rock rails