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Photos: NILE DEV

I’m an active-duty soldier that has been serving in the Army for 13+ years. I have been deployed to both Iraq (with the 82nd Airborne Division) and Afghanistan (with Special Forces) and that’s where I gained an interest in off-roading stuff. The place where I was deployed was pretty much only one paved road – the Afghan “ring road” (their national interstate, but with big holes caused by IED explosions). I personally set up our vehicles to meet the requirements (weapons, gears, radios, antenna, etc.) for our routine combat missions.

My Jeep (a 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 75th Anniversary Edition) doesn’t have a name yet. I went with “Sarges_toys” for my IG name since I’m an Army Staff Sergeant, so my rig is my toy… and I’ll just stick to that. Being in the military, I always wanted to build a unique military-themed Jeep; it’s always been my goal. I’ve always been a fan of Jeeps and I love the culture, the communities, the people. The whole “it’s a Jeep thing” is really something that only Jeep owners would understand. I also enjoy all the family travel/ camping trips I had with this rig. I like to take pictures of my rig no matter where I go. I really enjoy being somewhere off-grid, spending time with family, no cell phone service, just enjoying the time with family and Mother Nature… that’s real-life and when life is just good to me.


When it came down to picking out parts for the build, it had to be a name brand. For me, quality parts meant a good warranty and awesome customer service. The parts also needed to somewhat meet the needs of my overall military theme in terms of being rugged, matching the theme’s color, etc. Plus, it needed to be easy to install (with the exception of heavy stuff like suspension). Everything else that you see was done and installed by me.

One of my favorite mods is the Vagabund Moto Plate. It was a collaboration between Sarge’s Toys and Vagabund Moto, which is a well-known Austria-based design studio for unique automotive vehicle/motorcycle design. My Jeep is the first American-brand vehicle that got accepted into the Vagabund Family. Being recognized by Vagabound for my build is one of my top achievements.

I also love my DV8 and Fury Engraver Picatinny Rail System; the Picatinny system works like a champ. It has a GoPro mount, light bar mount, phone mount and more. Whatever you can put on an M4 AR weapon, you can use it on my Jeep now. It’s all about uniqueness and creativity. It’s truly some next-level stuff and not just to me because everyone who sees it loves this idea. I also like all my RIGID Industries lights, they are extremely functional out on the trail, yet unique. They have this special design that’s nothing like what’s out there on the market. Plus, they’re super bright! The EcoTechne hood rack is another favorite, you don’t see a lot of Jeeps running on this setup. I mount an ax and recovery boards there and plan to add cameras and antennas there later on. Once again, it’s functional and adds to the look and toughness of my Jeep.

Money and time were the biggest challenges on this build, especially for being in the military (we are pretty much 24/7 on duty). It took me four years to get this far. I understand it’s not going to be easy and it will be a long process, but I have that vision, and I know for sure eventually I will get to where I want. Next, maybe I’ll have a new suspension system. My rig is getting heavier every day, so I need a beefier suspension system to increase the ride quality. Powertrain next, but it’s not going to be done anytime soon. But eventually, I’d like to do a V8 swap; who doesn’t want a V8 Jeep? I know it’s going to be expensive, and I’ll start saving some money for that.

SOLO MISSION My [Jeep] worship trip to Moab last summer was my best trip. During those memorable three days when I was there, I did the Top of the World trail, Fins & Things, and the Hell’s Revenge trail. The most special part of that trip was that I did the Top of the World trail on my own with no spotter. It took me almost 10 hours to finish the trail. When I finally got back to the trailhead, it was almost 10 pm, and I was mentally exhausted. There were several times that I thought that I was going to die (no joke, especially on the way down, and it was pitch dark). If you have ever done that trail, you know what I’m talking about… that was the scariest, but most exciting, experience I’ve ever had (considering I was an Army paratrooper that jumped out of an airplane at least once every two months). I would constantly stop and check the obstacles and assess possible ways to pass them. It was the “ultimate way” to master your off-road experiences. Right now, I’m confident enough to run all other trails because of that experience. That’s one of the good things about that day as it proved the real potential of my rig. There were some “f*ck it” moments, where I had no idea if I did anything that could have jeopardized the rig. As a matter of fact, as a rookie off-roader, I might have done something wrong that day. However, what actually happened was that I put in 4-low and let my Jeep steer. It was a long process and a lot of things passed through my mind, but I just trusted my equipment and knew my rig could handle it. I had some serious, “Wow, I just did that” moments. Slowly and smoothly, I made it back. It was the most memorable experience that I have ever had. I’m actually willing to run that trail again – BUT with someone else. I’d never do it alone again. Another great thing about that day was when I reached the top of the trail. It was almost sunset and all the other groups had left for the day already. I had a good amount of time to do all the sightseeing and pictures just by myself and the results were amazing videos and pictures. I felt like I was literally on top of the world. It was truly a one-of-a-kind day, and I felt like I could just conquer the world. After some rest, I did Hell’s Revenge trail. The difference this time was that after I aired down at trailhead, I asked some other group if I could join them. With their help, I accomplished the trail with little to no problems. That day I did Hell’s Gate and Hot Tub – a few of the trail’s obstacles. This is something that I always like to brag about… For local sites here in PA, Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) and Raush Creek are close to me, and they both have a variety of trails. They have both easy and difficult trails, so it all depends on the setup of your rig. You will enjoy your time there for sure. For the safety concern, just make sure you have at least two vehicles with you because you don’t want to make the rookie mistake that I did at Moab.


YouTube is always a good resource, and Facebook groups are another awesome place to get all the answers. The most important thing for me to check on is all the recovery gear before a trip, fuel and water are other crucial items. Also, doing a full spectral inspection of your rig is a must. You need to have a solid PACE (primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency) plan, so preparing ahead of every trip for all the possible situations is always a good idea.

When it comes to pre-trip, you want to always let your family or your friends know where you are going. With the new technologies nowadays, I don’t see any reason you can’t be found if you get lost.

You also want to assess your rig to see if you can get out of the current situation by using your recovery gear. With most rigs I’ve seen out there, they are all equipped with some sort of recovery gear, so basically get yourself out and move on.

If you can’t get out of a current situation, always reach out and get help. This normally means you have your communication PACE plan planned out prior to your trip, something like primary cell phone, alternate GMRS, contingency HAM Radio, and emergency Garmin inReach. Make sure that you conserve water/ food to increase your chances of survival. Lastly, if you get stranded, stay positive, calm and believe in yourself!




17×8.5” Relations Race Wheels RR6-H hybrid beadlock wheels

38.5×13.50R17 Interco Super Swamper IROK tires


3.6L V6 Pentastar Engine 

Accel Supercoil Ignition coil packs 

Superchip 2 tuner 

HIKEIT Throttle controller 

Magnaflow Off-Road Pro Series cat-back exhaust 

K&N air filter 

Hauk Off-Road Expedition snorkel/air intake kit 


G2 Double Caradan CV Style 1350 driveshaft 

G2 Core 44 front differential assembly 

G2 35 Spline 4340 chrome alloy axle shaft kit 

G2 Dana 44 gear set front/rear 4.88 ratio 

ARB air locker 


Skyjacker LeDuc Series FOX 12” coilover shocks kit – front 

FOX rear racing dual-dual speed compression shocks adjustable 2.5” remote reservoir shocks 4.5”-6” – rear 

Rock Krawler Rear Triple-Rate4.5” coil springs 

PSC Steering Big Bore XD2 Cylinder Assist steering kit 

TMR Off-Road 2.5-ton steering kit 

JKS J-Flex adjustable control arms set 

JKS front/rear track bar 

Apex Design 2.0 AutoLYNX front sway bar disconnect 

Skyjacker rear sway bar extended end links 

FOX 2.0 Factory Race Series front bump stops 

MetalCloak JK Upper Rear DuroSprin 


Mopar Rubicon Steer Bumper 75th Anniversary Edition 

Maximum-3 JK Rubicon Hard Rock X/10A/75th trial guard 

Maximum-3 stubby front bumper end caps 

Maximum-3 Rubicon steel bumper filler plate 

Ace Engineering JK narrow fenders set with turn signal 

Hyline Off-Road JK inner fender liners 

Smittybilt XRC Body Cladding armor 

RedRock 4×4 HD Straight Rocker steps 

G2 Dana 44 differential covers 

Fully Engraver rear axle protective shell 


ClearLidz Panoramic Freedom-Style top 

Rock Monster USA JL conversion grille 

DV8 A-pillar mounting rail system 

DV8 roof light bar mounting rail system 

DV8 hood mounting rail system 

Ecoteche Jeep JK hood rack 

Fury Engraver hood latches 

Fury Engraver hood side aluminum auxiliary mirror 

Rebel Off-Road Blackout window storage kit 

Ace Off-Road Gatekeeper 

TeraFlex HD adjustable spare tire mounting kit 

Dakron Performance aluminum tailgate hinges 

Steinjager Limb Riser kit 


Morimoto Super 7 bi-LED headlights 

Rigid Industries Adapt 30” LED light bar 

Rigid Industries Adapt 10” LED light bar 

Rigid Industries 360-Series 4” spotlight 

Rigid Industries 360-Series Rubicon steel bumper fog kit 

Rigid Industries Chase taillight 

Fiery red Wrangler taillights 


Harbor Freight Badland APEX Synthetic 12k-lb wireless winch 

Maximus-3 Jk Hard Rock 10A/X/75th Rubicon winch mount 

DMOS Alpha Shovel system 

PowerTank 10-lb. CO2 bottle 

Agency-6 A6 Adventure mini shovel & A6 mega mount 

Hi-Lift Jack 42” cast & steel jack 

Agency-6 jack handles keeper for Hi-Lift jacks 

Factor 55 flat link 

QuickFlate 4 Air up/down inflator 

TGL hitch step, tow hitch 

Bunker Industry Recovery traction boards 


Maximus-3 Roof Rack w/ Rhino-Rack Pioneer Short Platform system 

Morryde Rotopax side mount 

Dixie 4-Wheel Drive Door Hinge Rotopax mount 

Plano 42” Lockable gun case 

Lykus waterproof hard case – first aid kit 

Rotopax mounting system 

Expedition Essentials propane bottle quick mount 

Rox Off-Road flag mount 


Garmin Overlander GPS navigation system 

Garmin Inreach mini satellite communicator 

Midland MXT275 15W GMRS radio 

Auto-Vox X1 mirror dash cam backup camera 

Mopar OEM audio/stereo system 

Hudway Drive heads-up display system 


FreeSpirit Recreation 49” Evolution hard top rooftop tent w/ cross bar 

Thule HideAway 10” awning 

Waterport 8-gallon Weekender water tank 

Camp Chef Explorer 3-burner stove w/ fry griddle, grill box 

Dometic CFX45 fridge 

American Adventure Lab M.A.S.S. system 

Flame King 5-pound propane tank 

Expedition One GERI 4-gallon fuel/water flat container 


Fury Engraver military-style central rail mounting system 

Fab Fours front & rear grab handles 

AJT Design vent ring 

AJT Design climate knobs 

TeraFlex Axis sun visor system 

Innovative JK rear seat recline kit 

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