Tools are cool. It’s when you don’t have the right one that the world can

Jp Magazine - - Trail Head -

come crash­ing down, and then you need to im­pro­vise. And as any of us have found out, im­pro­vi­sa­tion is the key to ve­hic­u­lar sur­vival. Un­less you are in a swamp, you can prob­a­bly pick up a rock and bash that of­fend­ing sheet­metal part that is try­ing to gouge your tire to shreds. And a swamp is a good place to find vines to tie your axle in place for an emer­gency trip back to pave­ment. But hav­ing the right tool for the job is the best ever. Re­mem­ber your shop teacher telling you that a screw­driver is not a pry­bar or for open­ing paint cans? Of course we use screw­drivers for pry­bars all the time, but those words still ring true. In fact, I have a se­lec­tion of cheap screw­drivers that I use just for pry­bars, and many of them are bent in a va­ri­ety of con­fig­u­ra­tions. When they don’t work, then I go get my real pry­bars with names like Snap-on and Matco on them.

The rea­son I brought up the “tools are cool” idea is be­cause the new Jeep JL Wran­gler comes with an as­sort­ment of fac­tory tools to take off the doors, as well as to fold down the wind­shield. Of course you can’t re­build the en­gine with these, as there are only a cou­ple of Torx bits, a 15mm socket, and the ratchet. But tak­ing off the doors and fold­ing down the wind­shield are hall­marks of Jeep own­er­ship since the be­gin­ning of jeep time.

Even the stan­dard­ized WWII jeeps came with their own tool­kit in a can­vas bag, for a va­ri­ety of quick field-fix sit­u­a­tions. Of course those fab­ric half-doors came right off with­out tools, and the wind­shield only needed the latches popped to fold the wind­shield down, but the orig­i­nal jeep de­sign­ers also didn’t have the far-reach­ing over­sight of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment dic­tat­ing safety reg­u­la­tions ei­ther.

But what if you are a full­size Jeep owner who finds it pretty dif­fi­cult to fold down the wind­shield? You can al­ways just mod­ify it to the M-715 cab, which does have a fold-down wind­shield, but tak­ing off the full doors would be the next best thing. Ei­ther way you will need a big­ger tool­kit for a big­ger Jeep, since as far as I’m aware, no FSJ came with a fac­tory tool­kit. Per­son­ally, I al­ways carry enough tools to re­build an en­tire Jeep out in the brush, which is why I prob­a­bly drag so many derelict jeeps home with me. Other than weight, it’s pretty hard to pack along too many tools. Let us know your fa­vorite trail tool, and see how it com­pares to ours!

—Rick Péwé jped­i­tor@jp­magazine.com

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