Mark D Stephens: Adventurer, writer, photographer, ambassador of the sonoran desert
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Equipment Review and Evaluation:
Garvin Wilderness Bumper System
Garvin wilderness JEep wrangler bumper system review with tire gate carrier, and trail rack

Locate a dealer from Garvin Industries:
www.garvin-industries.com

First impression
An incredibly stout piece of equipment. Everything is powdercoated black with gorgeous welds.

The bumper includes a 2" receiver, shackle mounts, and a big post for the hinge of the swing gate. This post is not included if you don't get the swingout. These two are manufactured as a pair, so you can't buy the tire carrier separately.

I don't have a single complaint about how this bumper and tire carrier system appears out of the box.

The tire gate also has a zirk fitting so you can grease the hinge periodically. One thing I like about this is how the tire gate has an adjustable rubber stop that keeps the entire gate from bouncing around as you drive. Nice touch.

Installation
This was one of the most impressive things about this bumper. A friend of mine purchased a bumper/swing system from another company and had to remove the fuel tank to bolt it in place. Not so with the Garvin bumper! They've cleverly welded small handles onto the nuts that go on the inside of the frame crossmember so that you can easliy fish them into place. This eliminates the need to remove the gas tank.

Due to this aspect, you can expect to spend about 2 hours installing this beast if you're doing the tire gate and rack.

Installation retains your brake light as well. The kit comes with an adjustable bracket for placing the middle light where ever you need it based on your tire size.

Performance
Excellent.

threaded handle on the garvin wilderness bumperI like the latching mechanism for the swing gate on the Garvin Wilderness bumper system. It's a large threaded handle that screws the gate closed snugly. It definitely beats the clamp-levers that other bumpers use since those rust so easily.

One issue is with the vertical bars that support the rack on the outside of the tire. You have to remove one of these to get the spare tire off and on. To help this out, I replaced one of the nylon lock nuts with a wing nut for rapid removal.

The available accessories of the shovel, axe, and gas can mounts are a nice touch. You can also use a handly little $10 item called the Quick Fist to mount shovels and axes to the inside of the gate.

The rack is small, but adequate. Too big could be a problem anyway.

Part of me wishes that the shackle mounts were thicker. This opinion isn't founded on science but on visual appearance - they'll take on any extraction job with a smile, but larger ones would make it look "tougher."

Value
Great value. Bumpers with tire carriers are quite expensive, and luckily this Garvin unit is well thought out and beautifully crafted. I've towed, snatched, hauled, and banged with this bumper without any issues at all.

The hi-lift jack mounting point is a great addition. The jack mounts vertically which is a nice position.

Evaluation

The Garvin Wilderness bumper turns out to be an excellent value and a great addition to a Jeep destined for any dusty or muddy trails. I think that one of the best selling-points on this unit is the easy installation. That alone communicates to me that the R&D behind this is extensive.

Even though I take several long trips, I don't find the trail rack very necessary. But it is handy. Most often we just put a pair of camping chairs in it, which make them easy to reach when we stop for lunch and get to camp.

The beefy hinge handles the weight of the rack, tire, jack, and gate without flinching. Garvin thought ahead and included a grease zerk on the hinge for regular maintenance.

I like the incorporated hi-lift jack mounting point, which proves that this bumper is made with utility in mind. And if you want to, this gate system will take fuel cans, shovel, and an axe. It's a very nice unit. After over a year of use, the gate remains tight and doesn't jiggle around. And the powder coating remins solid. It's a damn sweet bumper system.

Click on an image for a larger version
grease zerk on Garvin wilderness Jeep bumper system Garvin wilderness Jeep bumper system tire carrier, trail rack
Close up of the zerk fitting Garvin Wilderness Bumper system

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Mark D. Stephens: Adventurer, Writer, Photgrapher and Ambassador of the Sonoran Desert