The AEV Rear Bumper and Tire Carrier was my top choice when picking a modified rear bumper, because it’s “like having a giant Swiss Army knife on the back of your JK Wrangler.” And, since I use my Jeep for a great deal of off-road and mountain adventures, the survival aspect of this AEV bumper intrigued me.
With a few flurries coming down all day here in Fort Collins, and temps forecasted to 15 degrees F tonight, I drained my water bumper this evening for the winter, so the water inside wouldn't freeze and crack my bumper. (I’ve officially become the weird Jeep chick of the neighborhood because I drove around my front yard a few times to get the water to drain over to the pump side after emptying half of it, and I had to park half on the street, half in my yard at a tilt on a small hill because I didn’t have anything else to flex on).
Anyway, that got me thinking that I should do an article on the AEV rear bumper package. Plus, I’ve had a few questions from bystanders over the last few months when gassing up, etc., regarding my rear bumper setup: “Is that factory?”
Nope! By the light weight of my Jeeper’s wallet (broke!) it’s not a factory bumper. But, here’s why I chose to upgrade my factory bumper to something with more heft.
Why upgrade your bumper in the first place? Extreme Terrain lists several reasons to consider when modifying your factory bumper if you do any amount of off-roading. Upgraded bumpers are stronger and provide increased protection for your vehicle, include recovery points (in case you get stuck!), and may increase ground clearance and/or come with integrated winch mounting surfaces (front bumper). Lastly, the quality, function, and longevity of the AEV brand are priceless, in my opinion, since my trail Jeep is also my daily ride.
Although the AEV Rear Bumper can be installed and used separately from the Tire Carrier and any of the other package components, I went with a full survival system, which consists of:
Rear water bumper with close to 5 gallons of water storage inside (I also got the pump kit, to use the bumper water) and two recovery points. I also had a hitch and receiver installed.
Tire carrier, which is chassis-mounted and takes the weight of the spare tire off the tailgate. This carrier is tailgate-synchronized to swing out with the door, but since I increased my tire size (and weight), it was important to me to have extra support for my spare, so it’s not just supported by the tailgate alone.
10-Gallon Fuel Caddy (mounts in front of the spare tire, making efficient use of space; fuel is syphoned out when needed)
High-Lift Jack mount (and jack), including a built-in step for roof access
Light mount (in which I had installed a Dually Rear Light -- tailgaters, beware!!)
Full-size built-in shovel holster
So far I’m extremely happy with the AEV rear bumper package. It has performed well and as advertised. While all the components are highly useful on (and off) trail, my favorite parts are the water bumper (for carrying extra water) and the shovel holster.
What off-roader doesn’t love the ability to carry a full-size shovel easily? You know… just in case!!