Mark D Stephens: Adventurer, writer, photographer, ambassador of the sonoran desert
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Equipment Review and Evaluation:
Olympic Mountaineer Rack for JeepĀ TJ

Old Man Emu jeep suspension review

Locate a dealer from Olympic 4x4 Products:
www.4x4products.com

First impression
Excellent. All the steel parts were black textured powdercoated, and the mounting hardware was all bagged nicely. It contained a lot of parts, which caught me by surprise, so that made me a little nervous about installation. Nevertheless, everything appeared rugged, solid, and durable.

If I remember correctly, this was my second modification to the Jeep. (the first was JKS quicker disconnects). Since the backseat is so tight and cramped, may as well get rid of it. Who wants to ride back there, anyway?

Cracking open the box and seeing the rack reassured me, though, that this was a smart improvement to the cargo area of the Jeep.

Installation
This took some time, but it was easy. Maybe 2 hours with margarita breaks. You go in two stages:
  1. put the rack together
  2. mount it on the roll bars.

The second stage took the most time as the rack does have adjustable lateral bars that allow you to center the rack within the Jeep. Nice feature, and more time tinkering with the install.

For some strange reason, I had to use extra washers to stack on a few of the bolts that attach around the roll bars. Good news: no special tools or drilling/cutting required.

Performance
Absolutely flawless. I've never had a problem with this rack after 70,000 miles of off-highway travel.

What I really like is how it subdivides the rear area into two horizontal levels. I've found that a cooler fits perfectly under the rack, instead of on top. Getting into an ice chest that's on top of the rack and with the soft top on would be difficult anyway. The rack typically holds a tool kit, camera bag, backpack, etc. Even with daily travel to and from the office, I'll put my laptop computer on there (in a protective carrying bag, of course).

With the soft top down, the rack is perfect for an ice chest. And this is also where the rack really shines. When the top is down, I've got ready access to anything on the rack and it's easy to attach ratchet straps for lashing.

It's proven to be a very reliable and useful addition to my Jeep.

Very important note: The rack doesn't squeek, rattle, or shift around with use.

Value
Retail value is about $185. And I'd happily spend that again for this rack.

Excellent fit, superb powdercoating, and quality build. It's the perfect value.

Evaluation

Here's what's really cool about this rack: eye bolts. This makes it very easy to use ratchet straps with large hooks. It's good thought on the part of Olympic 4x4.

I haul drum equipment to and from shows, and like the way I can toss something on and strap it down quickly and not have to figure out how to keep the strap hook from sliding around.

The idea of losing the backseat to a rack might seem odd to many Jeep owners. However, the seat is so small that it's not comforatble and it takes up valuable space. Plus, the common argument is "What if I have to take 2 or 3 people with me?" I didn't think this possiblity was worth worring about. Being able to carry the stuff I need on a consistent basis is more important to me.

I don't have a single complaint about this rack. And it's still going strong.

Additionally, I've been asked at many a stop light: "Where'd you get that rack? That thing's sweet, bro!" Once you see something like this in use, you say, "Hey, that's a great idea."

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