Mike Fissel

Trail Reviews: 200 points
Questions Answered: 0 points
Off-Road Experience:
6+ years
Off-Road Style:
Overlanding
My Garage:
  • ( lift, tires)
  • ( lift, tires)
  • ( lift, tires)
  • 2016 Jeep Wrangler (4 door) (4" lift, 35" tires)
My love for Jeeps and off-roading began as a Military "Brat" when the Military actually still used Jeeps. I bought my first Jeep in the early 70s, a CJ5 and spent the next few decades spending time on the beaches and back country of Assetegue Island, MD and the few public forest roads we had available to us in the original thirteen colonies. Over the years I've owned and modified in excess of twenty-five Jeeps. In the mid 1990's I made my first trip west of the Mississippi and found the wonders of the American Southwest, most particularly Arizona and Utah. I found myself taking several weeks at a time and driving one of my Jeeps to drive the trails of southern Arizona and those of Moab, Utah. Then in 2003 I moved to Arizona, described by one major 4x4 magazine as the place to live if you love to spend time off-roading. In 2006 I organized a group of 35 Jeepers in a weekend crossing of Arizona's El Camino Del Diablo, The Devil's Highway. We were looking for something more than that grueling afternoon of rock crawling and vehicle carnage. That weekend Jeep Expeditions was born in the southern desert of Arizona. Now, 10 years later, I still continue to lead Jeep Expeditions with Chapters in Arizona, California and Texas with members also in 8 other states from Florida to Washington, a few in Canada, Mexico and even Europe. The clubs all volunteer trip leaders bring the adventure of vehicle dependent overland travel by sponsoring 8 to 10 "Expeditions" each year, catering to family Jeeping with stock or modified vehicles. We like to refer to Jeep Expeditions as the #1 Jeep Adventure Club in America. In 2008 I began writing for JPFreek Adventure Magazine, starting with stories about my adventures with Jeep Expeditions. Eight years later I've authored over 150 feature articles, product reviews, installations and vehicle builds and am a Contributing Editor. The ability for outdoor enthusiasts to safely navigate the tens of thousands of trails available to us by providing the public with sufficient information to navigate these trails is something I've always been an advocate for. Sure there are lots of books and websites out there but too many times I've seen people getting confused and even lost by some of those trail descriptions and even GPS information. I have been an advocate of being prepared when traveling in the back country by encouraging people to invest in becoming Wilderness 1st Aid Certified and purchasing a true trauma kit and getting their Ham Radio license and a good Ham Radio. In addition everyone should own some type of a Personal Locator Beacon like the reasonably priced ACR ResQLink+ or a Satellite Emergency Messenger such as the SPOT device or the Delorme inReach Explorer. Sure these items aren't cheap but in the event of a trail emergency, they are priceless. I also suggest that you never go off-roading alone. That doesn't mean take a buddy with you in the passenger seat but travel in a group of at least three vehicles. When I was invited to check out TrailsOffRoad I liked what I saw. I am excited about contributing to the effort by providing some of my knowledge and experience to share some of my favorite trails with you from my home state of Arizona and lands far away both north and south of our nations borders.

My Garage (4)

1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited. The country club Jeep converted for overland travel. It features a hybrid 7" Clayton Off-Road lift in the front and a Rubicon Express lift in the rear. Fox remote reservoir racing shocks, Dick Cepek 17" rims, Goodyear 33" Kevlar MTRs, TeraFlex high steer kit, Rhino Rack on the roof, Hi-LIft E-Treme Jack, Trail Ready front and rear bumpers and a T-Max synthetic rope winch. For communications a Cobra 29 LX BT CB Radio w/ Wilson Trucker 5000 antenna and Yeasu 400 DR Ham Radio w/Comet CA-2x4SR antenna. For navigation a Panasonic CF22 Toughbook w/GPS and Delorme TOPO software for real time big screen navigation, Delorme inReach Explorer connected to my Amazon Fire HDX tablet and a Garmin GPSMAP 478. For safety a survival kit with 3 days water/rations, a "truck" sized Trauma Kit w/ Phillips AED and emergency O2.

1999 TJ Sahara. 3 1/2" Rubicon Express Super Flex, Rancho 9000 shocks, ASFIR 4x4 front bumper, 4 Wheelers Supply rear bumper & spare tire carrier, Rock Hard Jerry can mounts, Rock Hard cage kit, Reid Racing high steer knuckles w/3/4 ton GMC brakes & Warn FSJ locking hubs, Raceline Monster Beadlocks, Goodyear 33" Kevlar MTR, Hi-Lift X-Treme Jack, 98 Jeep ZJ roof rack, Warn 9500ti winch, ARB air lockers front and rear, Kilby OBA system and Kilby dual battery tray with T-Max dual battery system. For communications a Cobra 75WXST CB radio w/ Firestick antenna and Yeasu FT8800R Ham Radio w/Comet antenna. For navigation a Panasonic CF22 Toughbook w/GPS and Delorme TOPO software for real time big screen navigation, Delorme inReach Explorer connected to my Amazon Fire HDX tablet and a Garmin GPSMAP 478. For safety a survival kit with 3 days water/rations, a "truck" sized Trauma Kit w/ Phillips AED and emergency O2.

My latest build which isn't finished yet is my JKU Sahara Wrangler. Starting from a bone stock Jeep, in the 1st three months it's gotten a 3" Teraflex 8 arm lift, 35" mudders, interior bolt in cage, Ham, CB and GMRS radios, new stereo system and speakers, front and rear cameras, Rampage rear recovery bumper, 2Way Air & Dual 450C Viar compressors, sPod, Genesis Off Road dual batteries, Rugged Ridge snorkel, Wild boar front bumper, Warrior Ninja 12,000lb syn rope winch, Vector Off Road rear cargo shelf and front JKE Dock for electronics, 65QT Dual Zone Dometic Fridge/Freezer and Bartact seat covers. By summer it will have a Gobi roof rack, Jeep branded roof top tent, revamped cooling system with alum performance radiator, external oil & transmission coolers, Rugged Ridge vented hood and Angry Birds grill, air horns and more goodies to make it a true overland Jeep. Considering a supercharger by winter time to finish the build.

2016 Jeep Wrangler (4 door)

Lift Size: 4"
Tire Size: 35"
This Jeep was a SEMA build for 2018. It was located in the lobby of the South Hall as an example of an overland Jeep.