My journey: Overlanding21

My journey: Overlanding21

In 2010, my journey began when I set out to purchase a Mazda 3. However, fate had different plans, and I found myself driving home in a 2010 Wrangler Sport Unlimited instead. While admiring a meticulously crafted Rubicon adorned with 35-inch tires, suspension upgrades, sturdy bumpers, and a winch, the hefty $70,000 price tag prompted me to consider building my own at a more affordable cost. The very next day, I took my newly acquired Wrangler rock crawling in the Mojave desert and instantly became captivated by the experience. Before I knew it, I had placed orders for 35″ tires, wheels with the right backspacing, and a Rough Country lift kit, fully embracing the journey of transforming my vehicle.

my journey

In just one week, the tires arrived, and with the help of a friend, we quickly installed them on the Jeep. Eager to test out the upgrades, we decided to participate in a major desert meet organized by a Jeep club. As I observed experienced individuals tackling challenging obstacles, I couldn’t resist trying it myself. It became apparent that a setup with 37-inch tires, a coilover suspension, and professional craftsmanship differs significantly from my budget-built rig. However, rather than mocking my attempts, the fellow enthusiasts provided valuable support. They not only guided me through each obstacle I attempted but also offered advice on additional improvements I could consider for my setup.

jeep diesel

I decided to upgrade both front and rear bumpers, equipping them with proper recovery gear. As the added weight took its toll and my old 3.8 engine struggled, I recognized the need for a gear upgrade to 4.88s. Our tight-knit crew often explored the trails in Big Bear, California, reveling in the off-road adventures. One day, they extended an invitation to join their annual Rubicon trail trip. Despite lacking lockers, they assured me that I could navigate it with minimal body damage. The three-day excursion was unforgettable, solidifying my commitment to a lifelong journey with Jeeps. However, just as I embraced this newfound passion, the military intervened, relocating me to the East Coast, where sandy beaches replaced rugged trails.


I eventually traded in the Wrangler and acquired the Mazda in North Carolina. However, ever since parting ways with the Wrangler in 2012, I couldn’t shake the desire to own another one. Reflecting on my previous experience, I had a few specific criteria for the next Wrangler purchase. It had to be a diesel, inspired by the impressive BT4 conversions I had seen, achieving over 30 mpg with 35-inch tires. Additionally, lockers were a non-negotiable feature for my next off-road adventure vehicle.\

In 2018, the Wrangler finally introduced the diesel variant. Patiently, I observed reviews, noting the issues reported with the eco diesel in pickup trucks and the positive feedback it garnered. In 2021, I made the decision and acquired my Rubicon diesel. I enhanced its capabilities by installing a 3.5″ JKS Manufacturing lift, repurposed my old JKU front bumper, and equipped it with a new winch featuring a synthetic 12k line. This Jeep was destined to become my dedicated Overlanding vehicle.

my journey

After dedicating a year and a half to building and breaking in the Jeep through light offroading, ensuring everything worked seamlessly for Overlanding – including the custom bed I crafted in the back by removing the seats – we began documenting our adventures on YouTube for five months. However, when my wife shared the news of her pregnancy, it prompted a significant shift in my Jeep’s purpose. The sleeping system in the back was replaced with the reinstallation of seats to accommodate a baby seat, marking a necessary adjustment in the vehicle’s configuration.

As I pen down these words, my 21-day-old baby girl peacefully sleeps on my chest. I eagerly anticipate the day when I can bring both her and the Wrangler along on trails, embarking on new adventures together. However, with our family now consisting of four members, including our dog, a shift in the Jeep’s setup is necessary. I’m considering the addition of a trailer capable of navigating mild trails, allowing us to bring everything along. To ensure smooth towing, I’m contemplating a re-gear from the current 3.73 on 37s to either 4.11 or 4.56, ensuring that our expanded family can explore without any complications.

This time, the Wrangler is a permanent part of my life. I plan to resume creating videos once things settle down a bit, considering the recent addition of a newborn baby to my busy schedule.

By Piotr Pleszka 

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