Just like how things tend to pile on project cars, we as off-roaders tend to pile on more and more essentials for our excursions. First it’s a set of tools in case something comes loose. Then it’s a first aid kit in case someone gets hurt. Before long, we have coolers, sleeping bags and pillows, towels, bait and tackle boxes, and goodness knows what else!
It’s like the motto for the U.S. Coast Guard – Semper paratus, or “always prepared.” Our hobby demands that we always have the right tool at the right time. And to help us get there, Body Armor 4×4 has introduced the interior storage shelf (PN 5147) for 2007-20 Jeep Wranglers (JK and JL).
This all-metal shelf promised more rear storage space for Wranglers. We were intrigued, and got one shipped to us to test on a 2020 four-door Rubicon owned by Joe Atieh of San Bernardino, California. Atieh loves rock-crawling in his JL, so he was excited to install this shelf and see what it could do.
Getting Into Details
Body Armor 4×4’s Director, James Grossaint, walked us through the vision for the interior rack. “The rack was designed to solve an age-old jeep problem – space,” he said. “We balanced the design to accommodate a sports mom who needs to carry an ice chest and gear to a hardcore wheeler with a fridge and tools.”
The rear compartments of JKs and JLs afford a good amount of space to begin with, but the shelf adds to it by placing items at an elevated position. “By offering an additional 40.5×19.25 square inches of space, we’re optimizing the rear space of the Wrangler,” said Grossaint. “Gone are the days of folding down the back seats, or asking passengers to straddle things between their legs.”
And it’s clear by the shelf’s construction and finish that this isn’t just some plastic add-on. “Our shelf is strong and supports up to 150 pounds of gear,” commented Grossaint. “It uses steel plate construction and comes finished in an ultra-tough two-stage light texture powder coat.”
Also worth noting is the shelf’s cutouts, which prove handy for using tie-downs or bungee cords to secure gear. This is a must-have for any vehicle, but especially on rock-crawlers like Jeeps.
Joe made sure his Jeep was ready for the install on the day we arrived. Freshly cleaned and cleared of clutter, we got straight to work, starting with removing the two hardtop bolts on either side; four in total.
With the bolts out of the way, we laid down adhesive-backed pads for the side panels. The pads offered a uniform flat surface and prevented the metal side panels from scratching the hardtop.
We took out the side panels and positioned them over the corresponding holes in the hardtop. Using the provided hardware, we installed the side panels onto the hardtop and tightened them down with an Allen wrench. These panels angled diagonally inward and would be bridged by the actual shelf when all was said and done.
Now that we had the side panels in place, we took the shelf and supported it between the two side panels using a box. With the holes aligned, it was easy to go around and secure the shelf with the provided hardware.
The shelf was now fully installed and ready for a dry run. Using some of Joe’s gear in his garage, we loaded up the shelf – sleeping bag, pillow, tools, cooler, the works. The shelf held them all and still had room for more.
Satisfied, we grabbed a couple of bungee cords and made use of the cutouts, which worked perfectly to hook into. It was great to see that Body Armor 4×4 thought of these cutouts and incorporated them into the design.
Safe Keeping (And Jeeping)
The new shelf is exactly what Joe was looking for, and has what he needs to keep his items safe and secure. With the items up and off of the floor, he has room there for even more items, and can prepare his rig for any weekend getaway.
“I’m stoked about this Body Armor shelf,” he said. “The instructions were simple and easy to follow. It took no time at all. And now my Jeep can store all my stuff!”
Joe’s passion for weekend trips and overlanding tie in well with the shelf. “I don’t like to leave this thing sitting,” he said. “I like to get out there and see nature. Whether it’s a weekend trip or a longer overlanding expedition, it’s great to know I have more room to work with.”
Although California is still in a state of semi-lockdown, sooner or later he’ll feel the itch to go exploring, and Body Armor 4×4’s interior shelf will make sure he has everything he needs. To find out more about the shelf and see other Body Armor 4×4 products, be sure to check out the company’s website. Don’t forget to follow Body Armor 4×4 on Facebook, too.