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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I replaced my Volkswagen Westfalia with a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe this summer. Camping with the 4xe is amazing. I wanted to give a summary of how we used the Jeep while camping while asking for suggestions for improvements.

First, a couple of pictures. (The first was taking by someone else while we were driving.) I installed a Rhino Rack Backbone and roof rack to support a rooftop tent. We are a family of four (plus dog) and went with the nice and roomy iKamper 3.0. On the driver’s side is a 270º awning made by Freespirit Recreation. I added the Yakima Exo system with Cargo Box to provide needed storage for our clothes, camping chairs, and kitchen tools. Eventually we want to add a Goose Gear kitchen setup in the rear, but this will have to wait until they have a system that fits the 4xe. We fit everything we needed for 6 weeks on the road in the Wrangler — an impressive feat for a relatively small car.


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The PHEV batteries are a dream for camping. We had an Engel fridge in the back that we ran continually. Several days of cooling food had a barely noticeable effect on the battery bank when we were without outside electricity. We used to always worry about battery capacity while camping in our Vanagon and depending on the relatively small house battery that was packed under the driver’s seat.

We camped at several locations around the Northwest and British Columbia. Some of our sites had electricity at the campsites. While staying at these sites we were able to tool around during the day driving almost entirely on electric. We then kept the Jeep plugged in at night to recharge, run the fridge, and top off cell phones. When campsites had no electricity the PHEV was more than sufficient. We also used a GoalZero power station and solar panel to charge devices, but in hindsight this was not necessary given the PHEV capacity.

I will always love the Westfalia design and I miss the storage capacity of the bread loaf-shaped van. However, my kids overall rated the Wrangler as the superior camping-mobile, and I agree. The PHEV allows you to power your Jeep house without worry. Driving electric while at a location is economical and enjoyable. When we had to head off-road to reach a hiking trail, then we headed off with abandon. (I even had to engage 4 wheel drive to get out of deep snow on Mt. Bachelor one day!) It’s like van life, only better.
 

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Love this! We are also replacing our old Vanagon Westfalia with a Wrangler 4xe (2023 on order currently) can’t wait to get out on the open road and camping! What size Engel fridge do you have ? Are you also sleeping in the Jeep or only in the iKamper?
 

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Great setup! I did a lot of jeep camping in the back of my Grand Cherokee Trailhawk and have been trying to figure out what setup to use now that I have the Wrangler 4xe. Question: Do accessories draw from the main battery back or from the 12V? I've been worried about running down the 12V running the Jeep in accessory mode for radio and other plug-ins.
 

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How was your mpg with the rtt and awning? I'm on a trip right now and decided to just bring my backpacking tent and tarp instead of the rtt. ...Sending this from said tent on blm land in CO 😀.
 

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hardshell tent will be a bit worse, it is bigger than a roofbox. soft top rtt probably a disaster..
Headwind can be a big issue on the way back I had very strong headwind, I think I averaged 16 mpg.. but overall all trip was about 21
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
We just slept in the RTT. We looked into trying to lay down the rear seats and setting up a mattress and platform in the back, but there was not enough room. The distance from the front seat to the rear hatch is not enough for us (just over 5', if I remember correctly).

We got in the 17-18 mpg range with the RTT on. On the drive home I drove at less aerodynamic speeds and got closer to 16 mpg.

My understanding is that devices run on the 12V battery but that the PHEV batteries automatically recharge the 12V batter when the level gets low. I could very well be wrong about this, but we camped for several days with the Engel fridge running continuously and had no problems.

We have the Engel MR40 fridge.
 

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The 12v battery can get drawn down and won't be topped up by the 12v system if the vehicle is left with no "interaction" for long periods of time. Due to the boost feature. Anytime you open a door and the vehicle "wakes" up it gives a 2 minute quick charge of the battery. Sometimes up to 150 amps of current if the battery is in a low state of charge. Sadly it doesn't look like the HV battery will prevent the 12v from draining too far. If the 12v battery voltage goes below 10v then you will need a boost
 

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We just slept in the RTT. We looked into trying to lay down the rear seats and setting up a mattress and platform in the back, but there was not enough room. The distance from the front seat to the rear hatch is not enough for us (just over 5', if I remember correctly).

We got in the 17-18 mpg range with the RTT on. On the drive home I drove at less aerodynamic speeds and got closer to 16 mpg.

My understanding is that devices run on the 12V battery but that the PHEV batteries automatically recharge the 12V batter when the level gets low. I could very well be wrong about this, but we camped for several days with the Engel fridge running continuously and had no problems.

We have the Engel MR40 fridge.
That is very good news, I got the same fridge.it means I can get rid of the aux battery. I can also try to run a anderson plug from the 12V an have just a solar panel connected to it when I sit in one spot for long time, and with a small compact jump starter I have a backup.
 

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This is awesome and as someone who loves the mountains but lives in New England this also makes me jealous. How old are your kids? Where does the dog stay … that would be my biggest concern with a family of 4 and a kitchen/fridge set up in the back.

We have 2 kids (7 and 4) and starting to consider doing some light camping out of the 4xe up in VT.
 

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I have been considering getting the Yakima Exo System for extra storage since I have the SOT. One concern for me is the clearance since I will be doing some light off road driving. Have you driven off road with the system attached? Any clearance issues?
 

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I have been considering getting the Yakima Exo System for extra storage since I have the SOT. One concern for me is the clearance since I will be doing some light off road driving. Have you driven off road with the system attached? Any clearance issues?
I have the SOT and run the mopar crossbars with a Yakima Skybox when I need extra storage. Technically not made for the SOT but they fit fine, just can’t open the roof when they’re attached. If you want to be able to open the top, I believe rhino rack (and some other companies) sell taller legs.
 

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I have the SOT and run the mopar crossbars with a Yakima Skybox when I need extra storage. Technically not made for the SOT but they fit fine, just can’t open the roof when they’re attached. If you want to be able to open the top, I believe rhino rack (and some other companies) sell taller legs.
Thanks. How is the noise with the crossbars and skybox? Have heard mixed things, with some people saying it is incredibly noisy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Our dog slept with us in the tent.

However, we had a crate for him that took up a lot of space in the back trunk. We have learned that the crate is necessary because our dog has uncontrollable anxiety when traveling on the highway. (He loves cars at low speeds, but hates them at high speeds.) The crate plus blackout cover keeps him calm.

The crate took up a ton of space, which was one of the reason why we went with the Yakima EXO system.

We did not do any significant off-roading on our trip (just a few fire roads). I don't think the EXO and storage box would affect clearance much, but it would certainly make the Jeep less nimble because it extends off the back quite a ways.
 

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I replaced my Volkswagen Westfalia with a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe this summer. Camping with the 4xe is amazing. I wanted to give a summary of how we used the Jeep while camping while asking for suggestions for improvements.

First, a couple of pictures. (The first was taking by someone else while we were driving.) I installed a Rhino Rack Backbone and roof rack to support a rooftop tent. We are a family of four (plus dog) and went with the nice and roomy iKamper 3.0. On the driver’s side is a 270º awning made by Freespirit Recreation. I added the Yakima Exo system with Cargo Box to provide needed storage for our clothes, camping chairs, and kitchen tools. Eventually we want to add a Goose Gear kitchen setup in the rear, but this will have to wait until they have a system that fits the 4xe. We fit everything we needed for 6 weeks on the road in the Wrangler — an impressive feat for a relatively small car.


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The PHEV batteries are a dream for camping. We had an Engel fridge in the back that we ran continually. Several days of cooling food had a barely noticeable effect on the battery bank when we were without outside electricity. We used to always worry about battery capacity while camping in our Vanagon and depending on the relatively small house battery that was packed under the driver’s seat.

We camped at several locations around the Northwest and British Columbia. Some of our sites had electricity at the campsites. While staying at these sites we were able to tool around during the day driving almost entirely on electric. We then kept the Jeep plugged in at night to recharge, run the fridge, and top off cell phones. When campsites had no electricity the PHEV was more than sufficient. We also used a GoalZero power station and solar panel to charge devices, but in hindsight this was not necessary given the PHEV capacity.

I will always love the Westfalia design and I miss the storage capacity of the bread loaf-shaped van. However, my kids overall rated the Wrangler as the superior camping-mobile, and I agree. The PHEV allows you to power your Jeep house without worry. Driving electric while at a location is economical and enjoyable. When we had to head off-road to reach a hiking trail, then we headed off with abandon. (I even had to engage 4 wheel drive to get out of deep snow on Mt. Bachelor one day!) It’s like van life, only better.
That’s an awesome set-up. Just to clarify, when using the PHEV as your battery bank, did you need to do anything special in the car, like say, have it running at all?
 

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My PHEV didn’t charge my battery. In fact, when my battery is low, it tries to suck the power out of PHEV. Instead, computer sees this, and doesn’t allow it to happen, then it shuts the system down. This is when you can’t
even jump start it, and has to be towed to dealer, so they can unlock the system. I had experienced several times of this issue, till I have removed my fridge, and now it hasn’t happened again.
 
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