Camping Overlanding

Newbie Run

Jeep Newbie Run? Read This First.

As a Jeep owner, there may come a time that you wish to have your first off road experience. This is sometimes referred to as your “First Jeep Newbie Run.” This article will review some tips and experiences of my first newbie run with my local Jeep club, in the hopes that it may encourage you to do the same. This is also illustrated in the video at this link.

DISCLAIMER: Any and all content provided on this site and YouTube channel is Cheaper JeeperTV’s opinion and for educational and discussion purposes only. Seek a professional’s advice where appropriate for your vehicle.

Why Join Your Local Jeep Club to Do A Jeep Newbie Run

As a Jeep owner, if you haven’t experienced the challenges and thrill of driving off road, joining a local Jeep club can help you. Doing so can introduce you to like minded Jeep fans that have the knowledge and experience of offroading.

What I Learned on My Jeep Newbie Run

The Newbie Run is the term used by most clubs where new members are invited to join other members of a local club on a challenging yet manageable off road trail, for the uninitiated. Leaders of the club will provide initial instructions but also coaching along the way.  I share below a list of the experiences and things I learned along the way in my first Newbie Run.

Deflate Tires to ~ 20-21lbs

After initial introductions, the first thing we were instructed to do before we were to embark on the trail, was to deflate the tires of the Jeep to about 20-21lbs.  This was to provide a more cushioned ride and provide more grip surface between the tire and the trail. Doing this also dictates that you have a good 12V air compressor tire inflator to inflate your tires when the Newbie Run is over. Reinflating the tires ensures a safe ride home.

Disconnect Your Sway Bar Links

Another instruction was to disconnect the sway bar links. Sway bars are in place to afford a smooth ride for your Jeep on typical roads. Disconnecting the sway bar links allows the suspension to extend more in deep ruts, providing more traction on a trail run. An 18 mm socket and wrench are required. Unless of course you have a Rubicon, which has an electronic sway bar disconnect system. The image below shows the bolts and nuts that must be removed for the two sway bar links of the suspension.  Once disconnected, the sway bar links can be zip-tied out of the way for the duration of the trail run. Be sure to keep both bolts and nuts in a safe place so that you can reconnect the sway bar link for a safe ride home. 

Put the Transfer Case in 4Low

For most of the trail you may be required to have your Jeep’s transfer case set to 4Low. This is helpful when navigating steep inclines and slopes. Learning to switch through L1 through to L3 enables smooth progress through the trail with limited pressure on brake use.

Don’t Drive Your Differential Into Large Protruding Rocks

As we began our trail run, this instruction seemed obvious. Essentially, the front and rear differentials are the lowest items of your Jeep and the most likely items to make contact with any protruding rocks. The strategy shared with us Newbies was to drive your tire onto any protruding rocks to lift your Jeep over any hazards if you were unsure of the clearance between said protruding rock and your differential.

Keep One Side of the Jeep on Dry Land when Traversing a Mud Hazzard

When possible, it is advisable to try and keep one side of the Jeep on dry land when traversing a mud hazard. This would provide necessary traction to a front and rear tire should the mud hazard be too deep. If you have to keep in the middle of the mud hazard, it’s good to keep some momentum as you move through the hazard, but don’t go too fast, as you never know if there is a large rock in there.

Share the Trail

Often there are other types of off road vehicles, like motorcycles and ATVs that use the trails, and it’s good to be careful in sharing the trail to avoid any collisions.

The Aftermath of My Jeep Newbie Run

Most Newbie Runs should be pretty tame, but it doesn’t mean your Jeep wont get dirty. Given the weather and the trail involved, mud splatter may be unavoidable. A little surface mud isn’t a big deal, but should your radiator get coated in mud, be sure to get it hosed off before your engine gets overheated on the drive home. Also, before you head home, make sure you reinflate your tires and reattach your sway bar links so that you make it home safely.  

Before you know it, the day is done, and you had a ton of fun stretching your Jeep and yourself to the limits…slightly.  You may even get thoughts of going on another more challenging run next time.


If the brief review of instructions, experiences and images above motivates you to take your Jeep off road, then I would encourage you to do it through your local Jeep club. You’ll meet like minded Jeep fans, benefit from their experience, and avoid any potential costly mistakes if you were to embark on such an adventure yourself.

Jeep Portable Camp Kitchen Chuck Box

Jeep Portable Camping Kitchen Chuck Box

A Jeep Portable Camping Kitchen Chuck Box is a convenient, portable camp kitchen option that has many advantages.  Although many designs are available to review online, the design is a very flexible, portable, functional, and of course…relatively inexpensive option. The Chuck Box is an excellent camping feature to accompany other CheaperJeeperTV camping systems,as discussed in the Sleeping Camping Platform, Awning System, and Cargo Shelf articles, and the Sleeping/Camping Platform, the Awning System, and cargo shelf videos.

The Design of the Jeep Portable Camping Kitchen Chuck Box

Essentially the Chuck Box starts out as a box that is 1’ tall, 1.5’ deep and 2.5’ wide.

When deployed, it reveals storage platforms made from the box top, a side flap, and front covers flipped open.

The door that opens on the left allows for item storage, and supports the large box lid platform.  The shelves shown in white in the above diagram can be adjusted before assembly to account for various camping stove sizes.  The legs can be made with wood, or left over conduit pipe from the awning design project. The design also allows for space to store the legs when the box is closed up.  The colors of the components in the above diagram correspond to the areas mapped out on the ½” plywood piece below.

Depending on one’s construction methods, some adjustment to the piece sizes may be necessary.

Pros & Cons of the Jeep Portable Camping Kitchen Chuck Box

InexpensiveCan be heavyish

Finishing Touches

The Chuck Box can be finished in a variety of ways. I chose to varnish the inside, and use exterior paint on the outside.


Ultimately, having a Chuck Box allows for the ease and convenience of having a Camp Kitchen, but the portability allows for some other conveniences, and it is much less expensive than some in-vehicle mounted drawer systems.  The mobe=ney saved can be used to buy other things for your Jeep or some more camping equipment.

DIY Cargo Area Metal Shelf Brackets

DIY Cargo Area Metal Shelf Brackets

DIY cargo area metal shelf brackets for a Jeep Wrangler are inexpensive and easy to make. There are many reasons that would make having a cargo area shelf handy. Commercially available units are very good, but are significantly more expensive, ranging between $200-$300(CDN).  Making a cargo area shelf with strong sturdy metal brackets is doable, and inexpensive. This article will describe the materials and instructions for you to follow, if you were interested in making a set for your Jeep Wrangler, and is further supported in this video. A cargo shelf would compliment the CheaperJeeperTV Camping/Sleeping Platform discussed in this previous article.

Materials List 

The DIY cargo area metal shelf brackets for a Jeep Wrangler materials list is quite basic:

  1. 1 piece of 1 ½” x 36” Slotted Galvanized Angle
  1. 2 pieces of ⅛” x 1” x 36” Flat steel bar
  1. 4 pieces of M8 1.25 bolts
  1. 6 pieces of 5/16” bolts, washers, and nyloc nuts
  1. 1 piece of ¾”Plywood cut to 18” x 42 ⅜” 

Tools Required

Likewise, the DIY cargo area metal shelf brackets for a Jeep Wrangler tools list is small and quite basic.

  1. Protective Eyewear
  1. A Hack Saw
  1. A Grinder or File
  1. A Drill and Drill Bits
  1. A ½” Socket and Wrench


The following set of instructions are also shown in this video. Other sizes or dimensions to the shelf and brackets are possible using the technique illustrated below, should you desire to change the shelf size or location. 

Before starting, remove two small plastic trim pieces on the each rear roll bar, illustrated in the image below. A firm pull will release the trim piece and it’s metal clips without causing damage.

Step 1. Cut and drill the metal pieces according to specifications shown in the diagram below. 

Step 2. Collect and orient the pieces according to the diagram below.

 Step 3. Insert the fasteners, as illustrated below, knowing that the M8 x 1.25 bolts are to screw into the two holes on the Jeep Wrangler’s roll bar, illustrated above.

Step 4. Once both metal brackets are bolted together, and installed, install the 18” x 42 ⅜” sheet of ¾” plywood, or whatever other option you prefer for a shelf.

Final Cost of the DIY Cargo Area Metal Shelf Brackets

After all is said and done the DIY cargo area metal shelf brackets for a Jeep Wrangler shown in this article will cost roughly $40(CDN). Depending if you have any shelving or plywood on hand, or if you wished to purchase shelving, then the cost will be slightly higher. Nonetheless, with the addition of a few eye bolts or drilled holes for fastening your cargo down to the shelf, the brackets will be secure and strong for prolonged use. With commercially available shelving ranging in cost between $200-$300(CDN), you could save yourself a lot of money with this job, leaving you more cash to buy more things for your Jeep!

DIY Roofwing Awning Deployment

Deployment of the DIY Roofwing Awning

The following article is a description of the deployment of the DIY Roofwing Awning, as seen in this CheaperJeeperTV video. The intention and challenges of the design are covered in a previous article and video, and how to construct the awning is covered in another previous article and video.

What’s in the Tube

One of the amazing things about the deployment of the  DIY Roofwing Awning, is that all of its components, tarp, poles, guy lines, pegs, and crank handle can all be stored within the tube. This makes the CheaperJeeperTV DIY Roofwing Awning a handy self-contained proposition. All items are stored in the tube, on the roof rack, thereby not taking up any valuable space in the Jeep.  

Deployment of the DIY Roofwing Awning – Configuration A

The first possible configuration would be to simply unroll the awning from the tube over either side of the Jeep.  If one desires to have the roof covered in order to shade the Jeep and keep the inside from overheating, two poles can support this configuration while being inserted into the open ends of the roof rack. Thus, Configuration A is simple and does not require the use of any guy lines.

Deployment of the DIY Roofwing Awning – Configuration B

By undoing twist ties at the grommets which keep the folded-in-half tarp together, the tarp can be unfolded towards the rear of the Jeep. The tarp can be immediately secured down in this position if so desired, for blocking of inclement weather, such as wind or rain. This configuration also provides privacy from other nearby campers, or even perhaps for the purpose of an outdoor shower.

Deployment of the DIY Roofwing Awning – Configuration C

Finally, there is Configuration C where the unfolded tarp can also be extended over the back of the Jeep using the remaining two tent poles. The material used for tent poles is inexpensive metal conduit pipe that can be purchased inexpensively at most box stores for under $9.00 (CDN) each. They can be cut to any height that meets your needs.

Additional Features

Other than the flexibility of configuration of this DIY awning system, there is an additional feature that can be utilized.  When the awning is deployed, the now empty tube can serve as a water storage system, appropriate for washing purposes, not drinking. It is capable of holding 15 Litres(~4 US Gallons) that can be released through the rear mounted spigot on the end of the tube.

Retracting the DIY Roofwing Awning System

To retract the awning system, one simply needs to fold the tarp back over onto itself, join the matching grommets with twist ties, and roll it back up into the tube. The crank handle is found stored in the end of the tube with the screw cap. All four poles and pegs fit into the tube before closing. 


In conclusion, the deployment of the DIY Roofwing Awning is an easy task, and allows for multiple convenient configurations. The tube system serves as convenient storage for all materials and doubles as a water reservoir while at camp. The ease of deployment, multiple configurations, and other conveniences make this DIY system an attractive project for anyone wishing for some benefits of commercially available batwing awning systems, but at a fraction of the cost.

DIY Awning Construction

DIY Roofwing Awning Construction

The following article is a description of the exclusive CheaperJeeperTV DIY Roofwing awning construction and cost, as seen in this video. The intention and challenges of the design are covered in a previous article and video.

List of Materials and Tools Needed

The following table lists of most of the materials needed for the DIY Roofwing awning construction:

1 – 7’ of 4” ABS Jig Saw
1 – 4” End Cap ABSDrill, Drill Bits
1 – 4” Union piece ABSRatchet Set
1 – 4” Female end½” Wrench
1 – 4” Screw on capFile, Sand paper
1 – ABS Glue
4 – Eye bolts 5/16ths – 2”, washers, lock washer, Nyloc nuts
2 – Piano Hinges
16 – Round Headed Bolts(#10-24) and Nyloc Nuts
1 – 10’ 1/2” galvanized conduit pipe
1 – 12’ x 9’ Tarp 
1 – Spigot
2 – Angles for conduit handle

Steps of Instructions for the DIY Roofwing Awning Construction

Below is a list of steps to follow for the DIY Roofwing Awning Construction.  The steps are available on the CheaperJeeperTV channel in this video.

STEP 1 – Cut the 4” ABS pipe to 7’ in length

STEP 2 – Cut the top opening/hatch

Measure 3” in from each end, then score a line to represent the measured opening to the tube that is approximately 4” x 78”. To cut the opening, drill a ¼” hole at the corners, and insert a jigsaw blade to cut the ABS pipe along the line. When done, use a file to smooth out the edges. 

(CAUTION: If the blade is too fast the blade will get hot and the ABS may partially melt back together as the blade passes, making separation a challenge)

STEP 3 – Instal Internal Pipe Hangers

On both ends of the 4” ABS pipe, drill a 5/16” hole one inch from each corner of the hatch opening you just cut, towards the outer edge of the 4” ABS pipe. In the holes, install a 5/16” x 2” eye bolt. The two eye bolts are to align and form a cradle for the internal pipe on which to wrap the tarp.

STEP 4 – Cut the Internal Pipe Length

If you are using a flat cap at one end of the 4” ABS pipe and a screw on cap on the opposite end of the 4” ABS pipe, the internal conduit pipe should extend into the cavity section in the middle of the screw on cap. The length should be ~ 89”. Use a hacksaw, or pipe cutter to cut the conduit to length.

STEP 5 – Fabricate the Hand Crank Mechanism

Using two angles, and two short pieces of scrap tube(~3”), assemble a handle that can be joined to the inner tube which extends into the screw cap. The screw cap must be removed when wishing to turn the internal bar. A washer and cotter pin(or metal screw) needs to be installed on the inner side of the eye bolt hangers to keep the bar from slipping out of the 4” ABS tube when the screw cap is removed.

STEP 6 – Install the Top Hatch/Cover

Using #10-24 ½” round headed bolts, instal hinges to connect the 4” ABS tube to the top hatch/cover. The round head of the bolts should be in the inside of the tube, connected on the outer side with nyloc nuts.

(CAUTION: The hatch/cover may need to be filed a bit to fit the opening, as the 4” ABS tube may close in on itself slightly due to the material cut out of it.)

Latches, bungee cords or velcro straps may be installed to hold the cover shut.

STEP 7 – Glue on the End Caps

Before gluing on the end caps, if you intend to use the tube to hold water in it, after the awning is deployed at camp, this is the time to install it. Trying to do it after the end cap is installed could be difficult. The install instructions will depend on the spigot you have, but you will need to drill a hole at the bottom edge of the end cap, then ensure the spigot is sealed with washers and/or silicone. Be cognisant of the 4” ABS wall on the inside of the end cap when determining the hole location. Also be careful with where the spigot ends up when the cap is glued onto the 4” ABS pipe.

Before gluing on the end cap pieces, lightly sand all mating surfaces. After you apply the glue to each mating surface, quickly join them with a gentle push and twisting motion to spread the glue between the pieces. Be careful when you do this as the glue sets very quickly.

STEP 8 – Secure the Awning/Tarp to the Internal Pipe

Fold the 12’x9’ tarp on the 12’ edge, and bring the 6’ edge towards the internal pipe. Take three 10”x1” nylon straps and loops each of them through the three bottom grommets. Attach the ends of the looped straps to the internal pile with metal screws.

(CAUTION: DO not put the loops through both grommets along the 6’ edge, or you wontbe able to open the tarp to it’s full extent when fully deployed, as explained in the design article and video.

STEP 9 – Roll Up the Awning

Roll in the awning, and put it on the roof rack on your Jeep. The different ways the awning can be deployed, as discussed in the design article and video will be demonstrated in the next article and video.

To keep the untethered grommets in place when rollin in the awning, use twist ties to hold the edges together. They need only be removed when you wish to extend the tarp over the back of the Jeep.

Itemized Cost of the DIY Roofwing Awning Construction

The costs for many of the items used, in Canadian dollars, is itemized in the table below, and shows a total of ~$131.85(CDN).

1 – 7’ of 4” ABS $51.48
1 – 4” End Cap ABS$5.92
1 – 4” Union piece ABS$3.77
1 – 4” Female end$9.20
1 – 4” Screw on cap$5.18
1 – ABS Glue
4 – Eye bolts 5/16ths – 2”, washers, lock washer, Nyloc nuts~$4.00
2 – Piano Hinges~$16.60
16 – Round Headed Bolts(#10-24) and Nyloc Nuts~3.00
1 – 10’ 1/2” galvanized conduit pipe$8.77
1 – 12’ x 9’ Tarp $7.49
1 – Spigot
2 – Angles for conduit handle$6.47

Conclusion of the DIY Roofwing Awning Construction

The DIY task of making an awning like this is doable, as demonstrated in this article and this corresponding video. The cost of construction is a fraction of commercial quality batwing type awnings.  In the next video and article, we will observe the function of this constructed awning and discuss if it’s a worthwhile venture or not.

DIY Roofing Awning Thumbnail

DIY Roofwing Awning Design

The following article is a description of the concept of the exclusive CheaperJeeperTV DIY Roofwing awning design, as seen in this video. By doing it yourself, it would also make this awning an inexpensive addition to your camping set-up. The concept is multi featured as you will read below, and easily constructed, as demonstrated in the next video and article. This awning concept is designed to be affordable, provide privacy, provide protection from the elements and other conveniences.

Intentions of the DIY Roofwing Awning Design

The intentions of the DIY Roofwing awning design are that it will be; i)  simple to construct as a DIY project, which will use readily accessible parts and tools,ii)  easy to set-up and taken down, iii) able to provide some benefits of batwing-type awnings, iv) less expensive in relation to other batwing-type awnings, and v) able to incorporate more additional conveniences than just a simple awning.

Intentions of the Roofwing Awning Design

Challenges of the Design

Some challenges in this design would be to determine; i) what to use and how to fabricate the wind-up mechanism and handle, such that most people can accomplish this task as a DIY., ii) what size tarp can roll up and fit into the 4” ABS tube, iii) how to incorporate additional 

conveniences, iv) all the hardware required to fabricate the awning, and v) how to do fabricate the awning as inexpensively as possible.

Challenges of the Roofwing Awning Design

General Description of the DIY Roofwing Awning Design

The basic premise of the DIY Roofwing awning design is that the awning is to be conveniently stored and erected from within a 4” ABS tube approximately 6-7” long. The awning is to be conveniently and easily unrolled, and rolled back up into it’s tube mounted on a roof rack. 

DIY Roofwing Awning Design ABS Tube

The awning can be installed and rolled in either direction of the vehicle. It can shade the roof as well.  It can be rolled out to as little or as full extent in the 6’ configuration rolled out of the tube as desired. It is also designed to unfold to a 12’ wide awning when extended to it’s full 16’ length. The configuration below illustrates how the DIY Roof Wing Awning is able to shade to the roof as well as about 10’ over the driver’s side, and 6’ over the rear, much like a batwing awning, but without the expense.

DIY Roofwing Awning Design Full Extent

Additional Conveniences

One additional convenience of the DIY Roofwing awning design is that the poles of the awning at the side of the vehicle can be moved closer, allowing the awning to drape over the poles. This would provide protection from the elements in the case of inclement weather. Furthermore, the awning in this configuration would also provide privacy from nearby campers, for things like getting dressed, or perhaps an outdoor shower.

DIY Roofwing Awning Design With Privacy Barrier

A second additional feature of the design is a drain spout is installed into the 4” ABS tube. This is done to address the fact that moisture may collect in the ABS pipe when the awning is rolled back into the tube, say in the morning when dew is present, or by rain. This provides the option of, while camping, storing water in the ABS tube to warm, and drain for washing(not for drinking). If one isn’t interested in this feature, they could simply drill drain holes into the bottom of the ABS pipe.

Water Spout in ABS of DIY Roofwing Awning Design


Overall, this roofwing awning design presents itself as a possible DIY awning project that would offer a less expensive alternative to commercial batwing-type of awnings. It offers some additional conveniences as well. If interested, look forward to the upcoming DIY Roofwing Awning construction article and video, and to saving some money…for more camping gear?

Stages of DIY Roofwing Awning Design