Over landing a JK Wrangler and Trailer
How to make the most out of what you have
When Brian Barnhill purchased his ’10 Wrangler, his focus was on having a
good wheeling vehicle. With no kids and trail exploration as his primary focus, he liked what the two-door offered over the longer Unlimited JK. As his build progressed over the years, so did his use for it. While trails were still important, he found that he and his wife especially enjoyed camping off-the-grid.
Happy with the way the Jeep performed on- and off-road, he decided that rather than trade out his two-door for a four-door model, he would instead move his camping essentials to a separate trailer. This custom trailer setup would be built in such a way that it would be durable enough to tow to remote destinations and act as basecamp for when he’s ready to hit the trail. We were intrigued with the setup, so we caught up with the fifth-generation blueberry farmer in coastal North Carolina to get a closer look.
The Jeep came long before the trailer, as did his initial build direction. Up front, the stock front bumper was swapped in favor of a JCR Mauler stubby. It was paired with a Warn XD 9000 winch with Spydura synthetic line and a Factor 55 FlatLink. Like the front, the rear bumper was sourced from JCR and is a Crusader series with the Adventure tire carrier option. This setup allows Barnhill to secure a pair of RotopaX fuel containers,
A JK built for long-term exploration
a Hi-Lift Jack, and his fullsize spare.
Barnhill picked the Smittybilt rocker guards because they also allow him to easily access the roof of the Jeep. Adding front-to-back protection under the JK are an assortment of skidplates from EVO Mfg. Suspending the rig is a medley of parts from Rubicon Express, Fox, and Rock Krawler. In total, the JK has around 4 inches of lift, which is aided by front and rear Currie Antirocks. This leaves plenty of room for the Jeep’s 37x12.50R17 Nitto Trail Grapplers to travel uninterrupted. To ensure the mud-terrain radials stay securely on the wheels at single-digit pressures off-road, each was bolted to a 17x9 Machete beadlock from KMC Wheels.
Nestled next to the 3.8L V-6 you’ll find an ARB compressor along with a Genesis dual-battery system and twin Odyssey PC1500 batteries. Aside from a MagnaFlow exhaust, the V-6 remains mostly stock. It’s backed by the stock six-speed manual transmission and NVG241 transfer case. The factory drivelines have been replaced with a more durable set from Adam’s Driveshafts that now spin a Dynatrac ProRock Ultimate 44 front axle and Dynatrac XD60 out back.