Last week, our Roof Top Tent “Desert 140 cm” has finally arrived! We are so excited and looking so much forward to overlanding without booking a vacation home. To be free, following the sun or the stars or any road, whichever path pleases us the most. If we don’t like it, we just change the scenery without being bound to a certain place. With the rooftop tent being here and expecting the roofrack to arrive soon, we still have some time. The time has come to start the Overlander Build. Today we want to prepare the diy storage unit for our Jeep JKU.

The roof top tent Desert 140 from Horntools has arrived, still all packed and new
The roof top tent Desert 140 from Horntools has arrived, still all packed and new

Storage Unit for our JEEP JKU

Yesterday we put on the new softtop as the last one’s back window broke. So now we are ready for the roofrack which should arrive in the next one or two weeks. And as it is still hardcore winter here in Switzerland, we find now is the time to start the project DIY Storage Unit for a JEEP JKU. Gollum is our 2016 Jeep Wrangler JKU Rubicon. It is our offroad/travelling vehicle and soon to be our fully equipped overlanding jeep.

Gollum, our Jeep JKU with the roof top tent
Gollum, our Jeep JKU with the roof top tent

Where do we put the Dogs?

As our dogs play an important part in our travelling, always being on our side, we had to solve their situation first. Until now they have been in the trunk. First we planned it to stay that way and build our overlanding equipement where the back seats are now. We planned back and forth, trying to figure out how to make it work. This solution didn’t make either of us happy. For example: The drawer for the fridge would have been on the passenger side. The drawers with the equipement on the drivers side. Next thing is, we wouldn’t have any contact to the dogs when the back seats are fully packed. So that wasn’t really an option.

First, we wanted to mount the storage unit behind the front seats, where we demounted the back row
First, we wanted to mount the storage unit behind the front seats, where we demounted the back row

New Arrangement

Before we went on planning, we removed the back seats. Then Alex had the bright idea to put the dogs where the back seats were and build the overlanding equipement in the trunk. Just like normal people do. How boring. But this will be perfect for us. The dogs are right behind us, so the pack is together. They seem pretty happy with this new arrangement as you can see in the pictures below. The whole equipment is in the trunk, everything in reach, right where it is supposed to be for the “vegan roadcook”. (Stay tuned, recipes and live cooking sessions will follow).

We removed the back seats, so the dogs can be right behind us
We removed the back seats, so the dogs can be right behind us

Shopping for Storage Boxes

So we figured out where everything will be stacked. Next step, shopping for storage boxes. We go to a local store, kind of like a Home Depot, where we find the storage boxes we need for our project. One box for the cooking equipment, one for food and spices, one for dog food, etc. There has to be enough space for the recovery kit, the compressor and all the tools as well. And of course the water tank, never forget the water! Our clothing, the chairs, the table will fit on top of the new rack. It will surely be a challenge to fit everything in our JKU, but we’re so excited to get started.

Measuring the RAKO Boxes in the Store
Measuring the RAKO Boxes in the Store

Planning, Measuring and Building Mock-Ups

Back in our shop, we start working on the trunk. We measure the maximum width, depth and hight. We make drawings to get an idea what it could look like. Next we make a mock-up out of cardboard. After that we build a model of the base out of wood. So we know what size the plate of the base can be to get the most out of it. We place the fridge, the storage boxes and the water tank and measure some more.

Now we have the whole trunk empty and we can start the measuring and planning part
The whole trunk is empty and we can start the measuring and planning part
We build a wooden mock-up of the base, for our DIY Storage Unit JEEP
We build a wooden mock-up of the base
Sketching before we draw it with CAD
Sketching before we draw it with CAD

So much Space

Very much typical for us, we now find out we have a lot more space under the base plate than expected. We can fit like four boxes in there, some tools and even the stove. The fridge on the left side, boxes on the right and on the bottom. There should even be enough room for the water tank and the recovery kit on the right side. This will be just about perfect! In part 03 of our Overland Conversion, you’ll see how we finish the storage unit.

Everything where we want it to be at the end when we finish our project DIY Storage Unit JEEP. Next we will plan the diy storage room (see it in part 03)
Everything where we want it to be at the end. Next we will plan the diy storage room (see it in part 03)

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Check out the next part: Smittybilt SRC Roof Rack – Overlander Build Part 02

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