What to wear when Jeeping alone in the remote wilderness

How to Dress for Long Distance Off Road Adventures

Spend $500 USD / $600 CAD and get prepared to face the harshest trail conditions with your Jeep JK, JL or Gladiator.

 

Heading out in the bush for either a job or a solo expedition provides a unique feeling. A mix of fear and excitement. Since everything has been checked twice and everything is on board (food, water, first aid kit, electronics, ssb cb radio, tools, replacement parts, recovery gear and extra gas), what could go wrong now? Your clothes! I'm a very experienced long-distance Jeep expeditioner and the following is my 2 cents on how you should prepare yourself.


What to Wear Jeep Wrangler JK Off Road Winter

 

Wandering alone for days on god for saken trails might turn into a nightmare if you don't wear appropriate clothes and boots.

 

Why dressing properly for an off-road expedition is important


Not wearing the proper outfit is one of the best ways to ruin an interesting off-road journey. And trust me, bringing a lot of clothes is not the answer either (because it consumes your storage space and adds weight too). During an expedition (or a long stay) in the remote wilderness, you will expose yourself to a lot of situations. The following is what to expect:

 

1. Abrupt weather changes: If you're driving in mountainous terrain, you'll expose yourself to many different altitudes and ecosystems in a 24 hour period. So, expect crazy weather changes. My preferred solution here is to wear clothes suitable for various kinds of weather conditions. I hate having to stop and get to my saddle bags (several times a day) because I need different clothes.

*A sudden snowsquall got me stuck in August 2018 (Stikine River, Northern BC Canada). I spent the rest of that day shoveling my way out.

 

Jeep Wrangler JK Stopped by Fog

*Stopped by a patch of fog during a perfectly sunny day (wandering somewhere in the Klondike, Yukon, Canada). I drank an entire coffee pot while waiting for the fog to clear away.

 

2. Car heater failure: Off-roading is hard on heater cores and blowers. In Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories or Alberta, everybody having to drive off-road for a living eventually face a car heater failure. You'll be miserable the day your heater starts blowing cold air only and don't have warm clothes.

Damp and Chilly Days Alaska - Driving my Jeep Wrangler Alone

*Damp and chilly days are certainly more annoying than extreme heat. No Jeeper should forget how important it is to check the heater core and combination hoses before moving to the wilderness for work or planning a long distance expedition.

 

Aftermarket Heater Core Jeep Wrangler

Spectra Premium 99370 Heater Core Wrangler JK*If you want to upgrade the heater core of your Jeep Wrangler, I'm currently using the Spectra Premium 99370. You can find it for less than $75 (brand new). It's leak free, exceeds (a bit) the performance of the stock core, and perfectly fits the casing. Mine has still not failed after 3 years of continuous use.

 

Wrangler JK Aftermarket Heater Core

Amazon.com
(USA)

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(Canada)

 

Spare External Heater for your Jeep (150 Watts)

Portable 12V Heater for a Jeep Wrangler (Red)

*A mini portable 12V heater is compact, weighs about nothing, and will make a slight difference in mild weather. You shouldn't trust this compact item to "defrost" your windshield. But it provides enough heat to not freeze to death if you have to drive in cold temperatures (I mean like 10 below zero).

 

Performance Tool 12V Heater

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(USA)

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(Canada)
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(UK)

 

3. Recovery operations are hard on clothes and boots: Unstucking a Jeep alone on extreme terrain often turns into something similar to extreme hiking. You better wear tight, comfortable, warm and durable clothes + slip-proof boots.

Recovery Operation Wrangler JK Alaska

 

4. Get ready to walk for a long distance: Like it or not, I'm sure that one of those days (or nights) you will have to walk away from your Jeep and ask for help. Running out of gas, mechanical failure or getting stuck for good in a puddle of mud happens once in a while. Even if you carry a satellite phone, odds are that you won't use it because it's way too expensive in the remote backcountry to get help from a tow truck, a search & rescue team or a bush pilot. So, unless we have an open fracture or a heart attack, guys like us won't call for help. Nobody wants to pay $5.000 to get a serpentine belt or something. We prefer to carry a kit of Spare Parts and a Bug Out Bag for the trail.

Bug Out Bag Off Road Expedition

*Yes, I carry a B.O.B. (Bug-out-Bag) at all times in case of disaster for my Jeep on the trail. It contains enough gear and supplies to last for 3 days and allow me to walk 60 miles / 100 km.

 

5. Look good and professional: Looking like a stinky and derelict vagabond makes you suspicious to conservation officers, hunters, workers, members of First Nations and other adventurers as well. Whether you're looking for help, new friends or a job in the wilderness, there are only benefits to be careful about your appearance. It will also lift your spirits on a daily basis to know that you look like a civilized and educated person on the trail.

Clothes for a Jeep Expedition

*Look clean and trustable. And keep your Jeep as clean as you can too.

 

7 Essentials for an Off-Road Expedition

 

If you plan to scout the taiga, the tundra (I really like those Russian words) or mountainous terrains with your Jeep, the following items are must-haves.

 

1. Pendleton Flannel Shirt

Flannel Shirt Warm Arctic Ocean

*Another summer chilly day in Tuktoyaktuk, Beaufort Sea, Yukon Canada (July 2019)

 

Traditional and quality flannel shirts have been used for over a century by lumberjacks and there are reasons for it: it's light, warm, made of a super tough/durable/dense material (fine and long sheep-wool fibers), keeps you dry in the rain or snow (wool is hydrophobic), and is incredibly comfortable. The more you wash it, the softer it gets over the years. And if you suddenly find yourself on warmer terrain, wool will absorb water vapor from your body and release it into the atmosphere. The process provides a cooling effect. That's the main reason lumberjacks use it. On your side, it's the perfect clothing item for demanding vehicle recovery operations in the bush.

 

Pendleton Flannel Shirts

(*Virgin wool woven in American mills, USA)

Colors and Patters Pendleton Shirts Men

Amazon.com
(USA)
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(Canada)
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(UK)

 

2. Hooded Perfomance Jacket

What is it? A Perfomance jacket is a "soft shell" jacket that provides 1) Water resistance 2) Wind resistance 3) Breathability (hight rating) 4) Comfort 5) Lightness 6) Superb mobility

 

I warmly recommend you to search for a hooded performance jacket equipped with protective hand cuffs (with thumbholes).

Don't worry, it's not expensive. There are plenty of very decent models sold for $60 or $80. Here in the Yukon (Canada), the Tacvasen is pretty popular.

TACVASEN Men's Special Ops Military Tactical Jacket

With its medium weight fleece, this breathable jacket provides enough warmth from 10 below zero Celcius (10 Fahrenheit).

TACVASEN Performance Jacket Men for Off Road Use

 

Amazon.com
(USA)
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(Canada)
Amazon.co.uk
(UK)

 

 

3. Stryke Tactical Pants

You definitely need a pair of these pants to face the harshest conditions on the trail. They are water-resistant, soil-resistant (Teflon-treated fabric) and highly comfortable (self adjusting waistband, 2-way mechanical strech, angled gussets, etc.). And they are easy to clean in a creek (will dry fast on the floor of your Jeep with heater on).

Stryke Pants for Off-Road Expedition 4x4

These pants are so strong that you can even use them to tow another vehicle.

Tow a vehicle with tactical pants

 

This company created its own proprietary fibers and it's lightweight. My Stryke pants only weigh 0.38 lbs (6.75 oz). Normally sold for less than $100.

 

 

 

4. Salomon Hiking Shoes

Driving off-road means wearing shoes all day long and often getting out of your Jeep too. 1) Vehicle recovery operations 2) Moving obstacles out of the trail 3) Scouting dangerous terrains 4) Using binoculars (see Binoculars for Off-Road Use) to take a closer look at wildlife or suspecious individuals.

I've tried many products over the years and these hiking shoes made by Salomon are my best pick.

Salomon Hiking Shoes for Off-Road 4x4 Use

*I wear these hiking shoes all the time from -10 Celcius to +25 Celcius. After 13 months of use, they still look great.

- Provides a firm grip on pedals.

- 100% waterproof protection (polyurethane coated).

- Better grip on pedals or slippery rocks because Salomon mix two agressive and very different types of rubber (Contagrip).

- Reinforced sensifit arms that prevent you from falling when walking downhill on extreme terrain.

- Toes are well protected by an extra shell.

- Textile lining is highly breathable (no wet feet after hours of off-road driving).

- Made to walk super long distances (so you won't be ill-prepared if you ever have to leave your Jeep behind and walk to reach civilization).

- Lighter (and cheaper) than Salomon backpacking boots.

 

Salomon Hiking Shoes

Best footwear for 4x4 off-road trips in the remote wilderness.

Salomon Shoes for Off Road 4x4 Adventures Jeep Wrangler

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(USA)
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(Canada)
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(UK)

Footwear for Off-Road Expedition in Mountainous Terrain

 

5. MPact Mechanical Gloves

MPact Gloves Mechanix Jeep

*One of the pairs of gloves I constantly wear on the trail.

I'll be serious here: If you wheel alone in the remote wilderness but don't protect your precious hands, well, you're a reckless dumbbell. Whenever I encounter a Jeep club populated with a bunch of weekend warriors, it's appalling for me to see that almost all of them have dirty, bleeding and/or plastered hands. I know by experience that trail repairs and off-road recoveries are hard on hands. Especially if you're not an experienced off-roader and/or a professional mechanic. You're on your own and have limited resources (parts, tools, recovery gear, knowledge...), adrenaline is pumping (because you're stranded in bear territory or fear a heavy logging truck is coming), and/or your Jeep is in the worst possible position.

 

First rule: whatever happens, believe than you can fix anything or unstuck your vehicle no matter what. Resilience, mental thoughness and creativity are the key factors. Second rule: don't damage your Jeep because you rush and botch the job. Third rule: don't hurt yourself.

Best Gloves for Expedition Jeep Wrangler

*I wear mechanic gloves all day long (while driving, handling tools or using recovery gear).

 

I went through a lot of lousy situations over the years and if I'm still here to write on the web it's partly because I know how to take care of myself. As I always say: if you have five gallons of gas + food and water for 72 hours, the rest doesn’t matter that much. You wanted an adventure, you got one. But do not hurt yourself (see Basic Trail Took Kit for a Jeep Wrangler and Expedition Recovery Gear Kit).

 

That being said, I really like the Mechanix M-Pact Gloves.

M-Pact Mechanix Gloves Off Road Use

 

 

- Better grip on the wheel, tools and recovery gear.

- Prevent hand fractures (protection against impacts with padded knuckles/palms and reinforced fingertips).

- Make your hands stronger when clamping.

- Help you hold your rifle steady in case of an emergency.

 

MPact Mechanix Gloves MTP-55009

Available Colors and Patterns: Black - Green - Yellow - Leather - Coyote - Camouflage

Mechanix Wear Gloves MPact Made in USA

 

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(USA)

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(Canada)

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(UK)

 

 

6. Tesla Compression Shirt

Tesla Compression Shirt MUB13

 

Compression shirts are popular on the workout scene and there are good reasons for that. 1. Keeps your muscles warm. 2. Reduces muscle fatigue. 3. Supports your posture. 4. Cools down your upper body.

Recovering a 4x4 vehicle like a Jeep Wrangler all by yourself is pretty similar to a workout session. Whether it's -20 or +20 degrees, shoveling, moving obstacles, cutting tree branches, winching and jacking in the bush will make you sweat like a pig more often than you think. I lost 30 lbs the first year I hit the trail for a living.

Tesla Compression Shirt Short Sleeves in the Snow with my Jeep Wrangler

*A compression workout shirt is highly breathable and has quick dry properties.

 

- Comfortable : Compressing means shaping your body tight, not suffocating.

- Breathable : Superb sweat absorption and wicks moisture fast.

- Cooling effect : Cools down upper body temperature for a little while after an intense effort.

- Resistant : Fabric won't be scratched or torn in heavy foliage or by stray branches.

- Anti-odor mesh : Ok, you'll still smell like a Canadian beaver after a while on extreme terrain, but it will take longer before you reach that point.

- 13% Spandex / 87% Polyester : No cotton at all.

- UV sun protection : If you care.

- Lifts your spirits : Makes you feel stronger and more muscular than you are.

 

Tesla Compression Shirt

Affordable, breathable and incredibly durable short sleeve shirt.

Tesla Compression Shirt Available Colors

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(USA)
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(Canada)
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(UK)

 

 

7. Kryptek Cap 5.11 Tactical

Kryptek Cap Velcro Patch

- Customizable : With or without velcro patches at the front. Use your own patches and emblems.

- Water-Repellent Fabric : Cotton RipStop, Teflon and Polyester.

- Confortable : Multiple panels / soft crown fit.

- Indestructible : 6 to 10 rows of top stitching, embroidered eyelets and incredibly durable fabric.

 

Tesla Compression Shirt

Cool and affordable tactical cap for hunting, shooting range or off-road driving.

5.11 Customizable Velcro Patch Caps

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(USA)
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(Canada)
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(UK)

Wheeling Alone Jeep Wrangler Klondike Yukon Canada

 

Jeep Wrangler Clothing Off Road Adventures

 

 

 


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