Taylor Kempkes

Trail Reviews: 11000 points
Questions Answered: 0 points

My Profile

Off-Road Experience:
2-3 years
Off-Road Style:
Overlanding
My Garage:
  • 1995 Jeep Wrangler (2 door) (Stock lift, 31" tires)
  • 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee (Stock lift, 30" tires)
Find me on Instagram @jtkempkes The beginnings of my time off-roading goes back to 2015 when I borrowed my dad's old 1985 Ford E-150 van and took it down to to the Mud Caves in Anza Borrego for a fun weekend with friends. Over the next year or two, I spent many weekends getting my 2004 Ford Focus hatchback to camping spots and down dirt roads it had no business being. Then I sold the Focus in favor of a crappy old 1990 Vovlo 240 wagon which took my wife and I on many adventures to places like Big Sur, Anza Borrego and Thomas Mountain in our first year of marriage. We were enjoying camping and off-roading so much, we decided to upgrade our means of transportation to something a little more capable: a 1999 Toyota 4Runner Limited. With a 3-inch lift, 33-inch all-terrain tires and the factory rear e-locker, the 3rd gen 4Runner felt unstoppable. My idea of simply having a more capable vehicle to take us camping quickly snowballed into a four-wheeling addiction. In the first year with the 4Runner I hit every type of off-roading possible from desert to rocks and even snow. The Toyota made it all so easy. As such, I decided I wanted to go back to my roots and get something a whole lot more basic and way more stock. Enter the 1995 Jeep Wrangler I bought in summer 2019. With a set of 31-inch Falken Wildpeak M/Ts, homemade rocksliders, a lunchbox locker in the front, (and a winch as backup) I've been having fun pushing the limits of the little Jeep on trails all over Southern California, Las Vegas, and Sedona.

My Garage (2)

1995 Jeep Wrangler (2 door)

Lift Size: Stock
Tire Size: 31"
Stock 1995 Wrangle YJ 2.5L manual transmission. The only suspension "modifications" I've made are removing the front sway bar and both front and rear track bars along with upgrading to Bilstein 4600 series shocks. I'm also running 31x10.5R15 Falken Wildpeak MT01 tires on the stock steel wheels. Other modifications include a Smittybuilt XRC winch, homemade rocksliders and a PowerTrax No-Slip locker up front.

2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Lift Size: Stock
Tire Size: 30"
This is my wife's Jeep that we bought for mild off-road duties, snow, and longer road trips. It's stock with the 4.7L V8 and Quadradrive with slightly oversized Falken Wildpeak AT3 tires and upgraded Bilstein shocks.

My Trail Reviews (2)

(within last 6 months)
3N21 – Baldy Mesa Road (06/01/2021)
Whenever the opportunity presents itself to avoid traffic and drive in the dirt, take it! This road might not technically be faster than sitting in a traffic jam on I15, it's certainly more enjoyable. It's pretty rough when you don't air down but still a very easy trail.
The Rubicon Trail (05/30/2021)
Without writing a novel, I'll just say this trail lives up to its reputation. With the help of friends to spot, stack rocks, and winch, I was able to make it through the trail with no lift, 31s and a front locker. But I sure did beat the hell out of my diffs, leaf springs, and sliders! Even for the other two Jeeps with 33s and 35s, the trail was plenty challenging and still required pulling line a couple times. Going from Loon Lake to end of the trail near Tahoe, it took us close to 20 hours of wheeling spread over three days and two nights; a couple of those hours were due to trail traffic. Can't wait to go back!