A few years back what was supposed to be a fun day of sledding to ring in the new year turned into a 24 hour long ordeal which led me to building a “go anywhere, do anything” rolling go-bag.  Read the story here.



In April of 2018 I purchased a 2016 JEEP Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon with no intention of building her to the extent that we did.

The first thing I did was take the kids up a local trail with some larger rocks and ruts and asked them if they thought we’d ever get stuck again, the answer was a resounding “NO!”.  And then to make sure they were totally comfortable with the rig I had them name her.  We ended up on “Kate” so thus began the story of “Kate the Jeep”.


Overlanding was always something I was really interested in as a good friend of mine at work had built several offroad capable rigs one of which was fully outfitted for long excursions into the land.  He’d invite me out and while I’d be busy pulling out my cooler and unpacking my bin of items, his stuff conveniently packed out from select spaces in and around his vehicle.  That was a level of organization and attention to detail I had yet to achieve.

So when the idea of attending Overland West was mentioned by my brother-in-law, Chris, I jumped on it.  I drove out and was lucky enough to have had two other friends who already lived the lifestyle save me a camp spot.  Walking around the event I was floored by the demographic of 35-50 year olds with a passion for all things offroad and camping.  The spark was lit and I started approaching companies regarding the build-out of the rig.  Thanks to Luke over at RIGd supply we were able to get KC Hilites as our first partner with ICON following behind at the event and Goose-Gear expressing a strong interest as well.

I decided it was time to talk to the company I work for, 5.11 Tactical, and explain to them how I just came from an event where everyone was wearing our gear or using our bags.  In addition a majority of the rigs at the event had molle systems integrated into their builds whether it was behind the seats, in the rear cargo area or outside of the vehicle and an assortment of random pouches installed on them.  To me it was a clear bridge between our core consumer who spends his time being ready for the eventualities of his job and our aspirational consumer who though may not serve or is a former service-member still wants to be ready for any eventuality.  So I spoke to the CEO and CMO and they both saw the value and the obvious connection and endorsed the build with one catch, no budget would be allocated aside from very limited support in terms of the support of existing company relationships and marketing PR support.  So it was make or break and everything rested on my shoulders.

I created a full proposal of what I believed I could deliver in terms of both events and media.  I connected with my friend Alex with whom I had done some video installation guides in the past and brought our old format back to life for this endeavor.  I polished off the render and came up with this…

The render and ROI package gained momentum within the industry.  Slowly but surely some of the best companies in the offroad and overland industry came aboard the project.  Some moved by my reasons for starting the project (the whole thing about getting stuck a few years back in the other car) others the affiliation with 5.11 and some just liked the video installation guide format I had presented.  Whatever the reason, all of the pieces started to come together to ensure the success of the build.  And the sponsor list became truly incredible…


  • Vehicle Wrap
    Multicam Pattern / Crye Industries (sponsor)
    Alive Wraps (install)
    IMAGECRAFT (printing/cutting)
  • Suspension (New System 1/2021)
    REBEL DSS System
    BILSTEIN Triple Bypass 9200 SHOCKS
    BILSTEIN Coilovers
    Eibach Springs
  • Wheels / Tires / Air
    Milestar Patagonia MT 38×13.5×17
    FUEL OFFROAD (5) COVERT D113 Beadlock Rims Custom Powdercoated Gold
    ARB Twin Compressor – Seat Mounted
    Innovative JK Products 4 Tire Air System
  • Engine
    RIPP Supercharger – Installed by REBEL OFFROAD
    RIPP XL Supercharger Kit
    RIPP Coilpacks
    Diablosport – PCM / Trinity 2 PKIT
    Mishimoto Baffled Oil Catch Can
    SPEX Stage 3 JK Clutch
    Magnaflow Rock Crawler Exhaust System
  • Steering, Gears & Axles
    Yukon Gear and Axle – Install by PREMIER WEST
    Front and Rear 5.13 Re-Gear Master Kit
    Yukon Nodular Iron Front and Rear Diff Covers
    Yukon rear Chromoly Axles RCV Ultimate Dana 44 Front CVAxles
    JE REEL1350 Heavy Duty Front and Rear Driveshafts
    Synergy Ball Joints
    Synergy Drag Link
    Synergy Track Bar
    Synergy Tie Rod Upgraded Upper and Lower Arms/Links
  • Armor
    EVO MFG 1/4 Pounder Front Bumper
    EVO MFG Stinger
    EVO MFG Pro Series Rear Bumper
    EVO MFG Rock Skin Corners
    EVO MFG Corner Lights
    EVO MFG Pro Series JKU Bombers
    EVO MFG Rear Tire Carrier
    EVO MFG Radius Fenders
    EVO MFG Vacuum Pump Relocation Kit
    EVO MFG Oil Skid
    EVO MFG Crossmember
    EVO MFG Crossmember Transmission Skid
    EVO MFG Driveshaft Skid
    EVO MFG Rear Shock Skids
    EVO MFG Evap Skip
  • Lighting / Switching
    KC HiLites Gravity Pro 7” DOT Headlights
    KC HiLites Gravity fog lights
    KC HiLites Gravity Pro6 combo beam headlight
    KC HiLites Universal Rock light kit
    KC HiLites Gravity LED G46 A pillar
    KC HiLites (3) 2” C-Series C2 LED Area Flood System
    KC HiLites (2) Cyclone Under Hood Light Kit
    sPOD dual 8 Circuit SE Systems
    sPOD Touchscreen
  • Recovery
    WARN Platinum 10s Synthetic Line Winch
    WARN Recovery Kit
    Deadman Offroad – Bodybag
    Factor55 Ultrahook
    Factor55 Rope guard Fairlead
    Factor55 Hitchlink 2.0
  • Interior
    Factor55 Kinetic Rope
    Carolina Metal Masters Knuckle Grab Handles
    CMM Front Passenger Grab Handle – Custom Engraved
    ARB twin compressor mount
    Mopar Headliner
    Vector Offroad JK E-Dock
    67 Designs adapters Hand
    Gun Holster – Driver Side Mount
  • Interior Storage
    Goose Gear Floor Plate System
    Goose Gear JK Side cubbies
    Goose Gear Camp Kitchen 2.3
    Goose Gear Drawer Module
  • Audio
    Kenwood Dnx994s – satellite nav tuner
    Kenwood DRV-N520 – front camera
    Idatalink maestro ads-mmr interface module
    Kenwood Excelon Speakers
    Kenwood Excelon XR-901s 5 Channel amplifier
    Auxillary Ham Radio Speaker
  • Navigation / Comms
    Garmin InReach Mini x2
    Garmin Overlander – on-road/off-road nav system
    3 Auxillary Cameras (ties into Overlander)
    Garmin Instinct GPS Watch
    FIND ME SPOT – Trace
    Kenwood D710 Dual Band Ham Receiver
    Rugged Radios – (6) v3 Handhelds
  • Cooking
    SNOMASTER 42L Traveller Series
    SNOMASTER 12L Freezer
    CampChef Mountaineer 2 Burner Stove
    CampChef Cast Iron Pans
    CampChef Stryker 200 Multi-fuel Stove
    CampChef MESA Aluminum Camp Table
  • Power
    Genesis Offroad Dual Battery Kit
    Optima Batteries (2) Group34 Deep Cycle Batteries
    Off Grid Trek 200W Solar Panel
    Off Grid Trek 128W Solar Panel
    Off Grid Trek 28W Solar Panel
    Blue Sea Systems quad USB/12V
  • Roof-Rack / Storage
    Frontrunner Outfitters Slimline II
    FRO 42L Water Storage
    FRO Large Table
    RinseKit Pressurized Water System
    ROAM Adventure Co Hard Cases
  • Shelter
    Freespirit Recreation High Country Series 80″ Roof Top Tent -GreyBody/Black Fly
    iKamper Mini
    NEMO Equipment Sleeping Bags
  • Misc
    DV8 Rock Doors
    DV8 10th Anniversary Hood
    Smittybilt Atlas Door Steps
    Outback Adventure Products Trailgater
    Team Tech Offroad Hood Struts
  • Clothing
    BEYOND Clothing


If it wasn’t for these 3 I don’t believe the project would have progressed to where it did within the time it needed to get there.  Alex (middle) brought his filming experience to the table while Jon from Castle Fabrication (far right) put years of fabrication know-how to use.

We documented the major pieces of the build and created video installation manuals in an easy to follow and relatable format.

Jon from Castle Fabrication really went the extra mile on the build.  Originally introduced to me by my friend, Tony, Jon was at first just excited to be part of a 5.11 affiliated build but quickly became a close friend.  A true fabrication shop Jon also understands wiring, is traditionally trained as a mechanic and is generally the guy that other shops send their rigs to to get work done that they don’t specialize in.  The amount of hours, hardware and attention Jon put into this rig would be very difficult to attach a number to which is why I consider him our greatest and most valuable partner.