Garvin’s Expedition Rack system for Jeep Wranglers is a well-built solution for weekend excursions or long-term vehicle dependent adventures where limited space is no longer an issue.
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Pros: The one thing we noticed in this particular setup is the craftsmanship. The welds on all of the ¾” square tubing and 1” square tubing on the support brackets are flawless and smooth and let’s face it; this rack looks very cool on a rig especially when it is loaded down with gear. That’s another thing: this rack can handle loads in excess of 300 lbs without problem so there’s no worry about having too much gear and not having the space or setup available to carry everything.
Another item of note is the design itself. Whether your Jeep Wrangler has a soft-top or a hard-top, this rack system will work with either one. The design is simple yet aesthetically pleasing, and the rack is durable enough to withstand any elements be it rain, sleet, snow, or heat. Install time is approximately three hours which is pretty reasonable, and the directions are straightforward and easy for anyone to understand.
In addition, we really like that the design is such that the support beams in the rear not only mount to the rear quarter panels but also mount to the frame with specifically-engineered mounting brackets. Unlike many other racks on the market, you won’t have to be overly concerned about weight constraints if you have a roof top tent or fully-loaded rack as the sheet metal is not bearing all the weight. This is a huge deal if you’re out in the backcountry on a long excursion and are using your vehicle in a self-sufficient way, and need a rack that can handle significant amounts of weight.
* We would suggest limiting your payload to 500lbs or less per Garvin Industries though you can probably get by with more than that if you modify the center support system for the rack itself as referenced below
Lastly, Garvin has introduced a version for the Jeep JK (we tested the rack for the Jeep TJ but the JK options are comparable) so for those of you who are interested in a rack system for your new Wrangler, you now have a quality option.
Cons: No big complaints here. The rack is built to be bullet-proof and while it can take a few minutes to unbolt the front hinges when trying to remove your soft/hard top (which requires you to either carry a socket wrench with you when traveling which is usually suggested anyways for other accident-prone repairs on the trail, or remove your soft/hard top before your excursion), this can be remedied by replacing the provided
nuts with wing nuts for easier removal.
If we only have one true complaint, it is that the rack itself would be better served if it had an additional support beam through the middle section to help leverage the payload of weight from gear, etc. Otherwise, it is very well engineered.
Overall, the JPFreek crew is very pleased with this rack system. Sure, at $750 plus it might seem to be on the pricey end compared to other systems out there; however, we see this cost as being fully justified based on the rack system’s craftsmanship and durability. A few slight design additions (i.e. middle support beam) would be great but in the end, Garvin Industries has done a nice job of providing an excellent setup for the weekend warrior or for those who seek a solution for long-term expeditions for off-highway travel.
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* Published by JPFreek Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.