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Once we decided to travel around the United States in a RV, we knew we would need a tow vehicle and decided on the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. The next step was figuring out how we would flat tow the Jeep. The two options we decided between were an integrated solid off-road bumper or a tow plate. We decided to get the bumper because the tow plate would reduce clearance in the front and were concerned that it may get damaged during off-roading. With many integrated bumper options on the market, we did quite a bit of research and ended up with a Rock Hard 4×4 bumper. The company also makes adapters for their bumpers to address the towing need in the RV community.
Rock Hard 4×4 Patriot Aluminum Bumper Review
What We Ordered:
Rock Hard 4×4 Aluminum Patriot Series Full Width Front Bumper
MSRP: $1,195.95 (at time of publishing article)
Rock Hard 4×4 Blue Ox Bracket Kit
MSRP: $69.95 (at time of publishing article)
What We Like:
Light weight. At just 37 lbs (compared to 137 lbs for the steel version) the aluminum version of the Patriot series bumper is about the same weight as the stock Jeep bumper which meant we could keep our front stock suspension (if we do not add a winch). The weight of the steel bumper, would have caused the front end to drop a few inches and we would either have to add spacers or a lift in order to even out the Jeep. The light weight made installation a piece of cake because Kait could hold the bumper while I was under the Jeep lining up the bolts (it’s a good thing she loves me). Although the bumper is light, the aluminum is 1/4” thick all the way around and can hold up to quite a bit.
Best solution for towing. Rock Hard 4×4 brackets are machined perfectly and bolt directly into the frame of the Jeep. The bumper had two sets of bolts a few inches apart where the brackets could be attached. The hitch on our Class A Motorhome lined up perfectly with the brackets secured to the top set of bolts. This makes the process of hooking up the Jeep to the tow bar very easy.
Looks great. What can we say, we also love the look of the full width Patriot Series bumper. The powder coating on the bumper looks great and the ends of the full width bumper line up with the stock fenders. The factory fog lights also bolted right into the bumper. The bumper looks like it came right out of the factory and makes the Jeep look tough.
Made in the U.S. We try to support quality products made in the U.S. as much as possible.
What We Don’t Like:
There is nothing we don’t like about this bumper.
Other Points: The bumper was custom made for us with the options we wanted (this did not affect the price), however it took about seven weeks from order to delivery. The bumper was delivered via FedEx freight on a pallet due to the size which we picked up at a local FedEx freight center. This method of shipping is much cheaper than having it sent to your home as they need a forklift to get the bumper off the truck. It was well packed in a cardboard box with lots of foam. Since we have the 4 door Jeep, we were able to BARELY fit the bumper in the Jeep. The good thing about shipping via freight is that they can add multiple items to the pallet and the price of shipping remains the same.
Although the aluminum version of the Patriot bumper is $296 more than the steel version, in our opinion it was worth every penny. We didn’t have to upgrade the stock suspension and we’re not pulling the extra 100 lbs behind the motorhome. If you’re a hardcore off-roader, then we can see where the steel bumper would make more sense, but for our purpose this was perfect. The bumper fills the roll of being a tow point for the Jeep as well as a solid bumper very well and doesn’t compromise on either.
We highly recommend the Rock Hard 4×4 Patriot Series bumper for anyone considering replacing the stock bumper on their Jeep Wrangler. If you happen to purchase any Rock Hard products, let them know the Russo’s sent you!