The Right Jeep Build for Your Region

by Rachel Bowes

Location, Location, Location: Having the Right Jeep Build for Your Region

When it comes to off-roading, one size fits all does not apply. Where you wheel controls how you wheel, which means it controls how you build. Whether you’re traveling for an exotic ride, moving to a new region or have just gotten into Jeep life, one of the biggest factors you need to consider when building your Jeep is geography.

The US has a much diversified terrain as you move through the country. gives us nine types of sand alone, each of which could warrant their own section – and mud is an even more complex story. For simplicity’s sake, here are five regions of the US and expert-suggested builds for each:


Primary Terrain: Mountains, desert

Climate: Ranging from very rainy in the north to perpetual drought in the south. Mild to warm weather throughout.

How to Build for it: The Western United states covers a vast area with extremely diverse climate and terrain. Your build will be different depending on where you are, but in general a Western Jeep needs to be prepared for sand, rocks and snow. This means armor, medium lift, flexible suspension and an intense set of tires.

Mike Finch, 4 Wheel Parts content specialist from Southern California suggests:

-A 3.5-inch short arm Rubicon Extreme Duty lift kit

-35-inch Pro Comp XMT2 tires

-A Smittybilt XRC Atlas rear bumper and tire carrier

-A Smittybilt Gen2 winch

-Smittybilt Rock Crawler Rocker Guards


Primary Terrain: Mountains, brush

Climate: Generally very warm and dry throughout the year.

How to Build for it: The best way to prepare your rig for riding in the Southwest is to make sure it has enough armor and clearance to survive Texas-style crawling. Things in the Southwest need to be hardy to survive, and your Jeep is no different. Body armor here is almost as important as a working AC.

Scott Domanick from Austin, TX 4WP suggests:

-A Rubicon 5.5 Inch Extreme Duty Long Arm Lift Kit with Mono-Tube Shocks

-A G2 Axle and Gear Rock Jock Dana 60 Axle

-Poison Spider front and rear Crusher Flares

-Pro Comp XMT2 39-inch tires

-Smittybilt XRC Rock Crawler Winch Bumper with Grill
-Guard and D-Ring Mounts


Primary Terrain: Flat plains, mud

Climate: Temperatures
vary greatly between hot, humid summers and frigid winters. Often rainy in the spring and fall, but suffers droughts in summer.

How to Build for it: Despite the Midwest’s diverse climate, its geography is pretty predictably flat. You’ll need a Jeep which can handle the mud collecting on the plains in the spring and fall, meaning a strong axle, good armor and plenty of horsepower.

Mike Devore of 4WP Indianapolis suggests:

-37-inch Pro Comp XMT2 tires

-A G2 Axle and Gear Dana Placer Gold Axle Kit

-A Smittybilt XRC M.O.D bumper system with winch plate and d-ring mounts

-A Rubicon Express 4.5-inch Extreme Duty Long Arm Lift Kit with Mono-Tube Shocks

-Smittybilt XRC Rock Sliders


Primary Terrain: Mountains and swamps

Climate: Rainy, warm and humid year-round.

How to Build for it: Wheeling in the Southeastern US means a Jeep which can handle boggy wetlands as well as rocky mountains and the occasional sandy beach. Prepare for all of them with a build which has a medium to high lift, a good set of lockers, exceptional tires and plenty of protection.

Jacob Tranum of 4WP Memphis’ suggested build is:

-A Smittybilt XRC M.O.D bumper system with winch plate and d-ring mounts

-A set of Pro Comp 37-inch XMT2 tires

-The Rubicon Express 4.5 Inch Extreme-Duty Long Arm Kit with Mono-Tube Shocks

-Front and rear selectable ARB air Lockers

-A Smittybilt X2O waterproof Gen2 winch

For southern bogging, Jacob says you need “as much lift and as big of tires as possible". Some suggested tweaks include both body and suspension lifts as well as 35-37 inch Super Swamper tires.


Primary Terrain: Mountains and hills

Climate: Cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers, relatively high rainfall.

How to Build for it: Weather and terrain in the Northeast call for a build with great traction and some serious weather-proofing. A Jeep in the Northeast needs to be able to dig in to loose dirt and snow on hilly terrain, so you’ll need an engine with a lot of power and tires to match.

Scott Wilbur from Cleveland, Ohio’s 4WP suggests:

-A hardtop for winter escapades and a Bestop Trektop for hot summer runs

-A Rubicon Express 2.5 Inch lift kit with Mono-Tube Shocks

-Smittybilt XRC Rock Sliders

-35-inch Pro Comp XMT2 tires

-A Smittybilt XRC M.O.D bumper system with winch plate and d-ring mounts

Rachel Bowes is a copywriter with 4WP

The Right Jeep Build For Region

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