Tag Archives: overland

Teraflex Tailgate Table

094The Teraflex Tailgate Table has been on my wish list since I saw Roger Mercier of Overland Frontier fixing breakfast at the Overland Expo using a drop table like this. This is the perfect accessory for any Jeep enthusiast needing a spot to make a quick sandwich, poor a glass of wine for your “glamping” companions, or even repair an RC car on. I used mine for a cooking surface for my two-burner stove, however I’m not sure I can recommend this due to the proximity of grease, fire, gas cans, and the rest of my rig. For everything else kitchen related, it is perfect!


Carl using a hose clamp to prevent the bit drilling too far

029 041The install took about 45 minutes. For the most part it is simply placing the pattern on the inside of the tailgate and DETAILED drilling. On my 2013 JK I had to ensure that we didn’t hit any of the spot welds and also be conscious of the degrees of metal thickness. The right side of the tailgate has more sheet metal than the left. Also our drill spot on the lower left was half thin and half double metal. This caused the drill bit to walk a bit and tried to “egg” the hole instead of a neat circle. Fortunately I had Carl helping me and being the master of machinery he is, immediately detected the problem. He finished out the last hole using a die-grinder at low-speed.

You should also be aware that if not careful- your drill bit can punch through the inside wall and leave a dent in the exterior wall. Teraflex has a highly informative video out there demonstrating how they did the install and specifically point this out. Recommend you check out their video as well. We didn’t have a tool to prevent the bit from going through- so we used a hose clamp around the bit. Worked like a charm!


We had to pre-crimp some of the Zert nuts to get them to grab traction on the tailgate

One issue we found on the thinner part of the tailgate wall was the Zert nuts getting enough traction to mushroom out. Zert nuts are similar to a rivet, except once installed they will accept a bolt or screw to hold an item in place. We pre-crimped the nuts so they would grab traction on the thinner part of the wall. If you do this—it is a VERY MINOR crimp. Try installing per instructions first.055

Once the nuts were in, it was just a matter of bolting the table onto the four nuts, doing some minor adjustments to the cable, and then off to make a sandwich.

Teraflex does have a cutting board available and I recommend ordering your multi-purpose table with one. I’m watching every dime right now to get ready for our Oregon/Washington/Canada trip and Washington Overland Rally trip and even though they are not expensive, I opted to not to get one and use our cutting board out of the trailer. Wishing I had bought one now and after the rally will put that on my “to-buy” list.068 072

The rack will hold a stove and as mentioned above but for me,  I’m not keen on this idea. My first real meal came Sunday afternoon in the mining country of the Boise Mountains. I was making Tri-tip burritos using my two-burner stove and cast iron. My stove is a bit odd in the way it set up with portable propane bottles, and I wasn’t comfortable with the way it sat on the rack. Not the fault of the rack, I have an odd-set up is all. Tri-tip does have a moderate level of fat on the underside. While testing I had a small grease fire and even though nothing was damaged, looking back, with fire in close proximity to my Trasharoo and Rotopax gas can, I think I will move the stove to a safer location.

096In my second testing along the Snake River on Monday, the table was perfect for dicing tomatoes and cutting lettuce for my special back-country finger sandwiches and wedge salad. It also made a great platform in the evening as I was conducting a wine tasting complete with assortments of cheese. No I have not lost the rugged edge; I was simply providing my wife and sister-in-law with a weekend of back-country luxury.

The well entertained ladies in the back country– Good lunch, warm fire, and me performing survival tricks!


The Tailgate Table allowed me to prep all kinds of snacks and meals for these ladies in the back country…including a wine tasting! Now I just need a rack and awning for some shade!

This is a well thought-out product and a must have for any Jeeper. Contact Teraflex.com or Quadratec.com to order yours!




Our Trailer Build in Pictures

Last year a buddy of mine and I built my expedition trailer. While I still need to do a full blog article, I thought I should at least share the pictures of the build…based on what I could find on my hard drive…so here you go– more details to follow.

Not in any order–random pics I found


Do You Really Need A Winch?


IMG_0302We just picked up an awesome winch from Warn. Since that point I have been asked a multitude of questions about it- especially in our outdoor preparedness workshops. The biggest question is— “Do you really need a winch?”
Most know that we are not rock crawlers- and going down trails steeped in mud are not planned. We have also found ourselves stuck on the most basic of roads with our 2wd vehicle. So here is a basic outline of why I feel we need a winch and perhaps some guidance on making your own decision.
We do allot of solo travel, so there isn’t the advantage of someone else yanking us out, digging us out, or even pushing us out. Its usually me and the pup or the family. A few years ago we were faced with an all-night adventure when our truck broke through a thin sheet of ice and we were high-centered in a rut. Think 5500 elevation in December….now think Sunday evening with no-one else on the backroads…now think sub freezing temps during the day. A winch and a pull pal would have saved the day….and night.
Since we travel alone in many cases, we don’t have the advantage of another rig to be an anchor point either. When we do though, most rigs we travel with don’t have winches at this time. So we have to be set up for self rescue, even if there is another rig. I addition, many times we are in the desert where the largest anchor point is a sage brush. Here we have a choice of another rig or what I soon hope to add to the arsenal, a pull pal.
When we were in living in New Jersey, we got to witness what happens to a rig at high tide on the beach. We had just come off a shipwreck dive and decided to hang-out on near the jeddies and see if we could snag a few lobsters. As tide came in, we noticed a pick-up had sunk its-self in sand. Within about 20 minutes, the water was over the bed of the truck. A winch and an anchor point would have saved the truck.
The last reason is not so much getting the vehicle stuck in soil, more about having objects obstructing your path. Last spring we had some pretty wild wind storms. Some of the largest ponderosa pines on one of our favorite trails came down in several sections. Our camp site sat between multiple falls of very large pines, most you could not even get your arms around. A winch, chainsaw, and good recovery bag makes a long wait for rescue an exciting challenge.
As we were looking for a winch, we were often tempted to buy one from a discount store or even go with a light weight winch. After attending several workshops and seeing both how dangerous a small winch can be or how a discount winch can fail when you need it, we settled on a WARN Zeon. From what I have been learning in multiple workshops, the Zeon is everything we would want. Based on an aluminum block to keep it light, a 10,000 pulling capability and 100’ of Spydura synthetic rope this is a must have safety measure. An added plus, its made here in the US and not in a sweat factory in China. All wiring is inside and it has an ergonomic control switch that plugs into the winch. We felt that for the capability and reliability that price was not going to be a factor in the decision to put this on our rig.
The last thing to consider is making sure you get good training. Winches can kill and maim. Learn to use the winch and any tools that go along with it.

Living the Overlanding Life

OK this is probably nothing new…but I am an “Overlander”. I never knew or even tried to apply a name for it. I just thought it was a weekend adventure when we loaded one of our rigs with enough food, equipment, and people to conduct a small invasion. But the adventure “industry” seems to have painted me into a box of sorts so that I feel the need to label the process of traveling countless back roads for days at a time as “Overlanding”.

For me it is hard to fully describe what it really is- and at the same time I like the label. I think it may finally define more of what I am not about rather than what I am. For example, I am not into “rock crawling” and have no desire to place any of my rigs or family members in precarious situations as I slide along boulders. I have no problem with this and enjoy not only watching but also being a passenger in someone’s vehicle that is at risk. I am not a “mud-bogger” and in fact find I get irritated when someone has torn up a trail for the sake of slinging mud on a road or in the landscape. I can’t always clasify myself as a “Jeeper” since 2/3rds of my fleet are jeeps but them I have the XTERRA. The XTERRA precludes us from the “Off-Road” and “4-Wheeler” labels as well. Besides, “Car-Camping” sounds so lame…

Here is how I see our history and return to Overlanding:

A trip in one of our vehicles to a distant location where we have the capability to be self sufficient (within reason) that qualifies as some type of adventure (camping, hiking, travel, tourism, sight-seeing, hunting, geocaching, etc), using electronic or other navigational method, using various road surfaces. It may include overnight camping, meal preparation, and sanitation.

We have Overlanded as a family from the beginning. Including trips to New Jersey, Texas, Oregon and our shorter weekend trips up and down Forrest Service and National Park back roads. These trips have ranged from weekend day trips to a few weeks. We have camped under the stars, slept in our rig, spent sleepless nights in questionable motels, and wined and dined in some of the most beautiful retreats.

Our trips have given us breath-taking views, brought us into contact with Monks in a remote and now abandoned Monastery, provided access to awesome hiking and biking, and given us the chance to grow closer as a family.

Adventure IQ has been and always will be about getting off the couch to adventure. For us it is not so much about the label, but another avenue to try something new. For many this is a perfect portal to adventure. Sure, it may not be about hanging off a cliff, rocketing down a mountain on skis, or biking a hundred miles…but it is a great activity that is so accessible.