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Sled Dog Jeep Mushing Magazine

The Sled Dog Jeep

The Sled Dog Jeep build is a unique and innovative project that combines the rugged utility of a Jeep with the traditional concept of sled dog trucks. This custom vehicle modification transforms a standard Jeep into a powerful and versatile mode of transportation that can be used in both highway transport, off-road adventure and overloading trips.

The Sled Dog Jeep build features a specially designed dog box that allows a team of sled dogs to travel comfortably, effectively turning it into a modern-take on the well-known dog truck with a box. 

The dogs are transported in a safe and comfortable manner, with provisions made for their well-being and mobility traveling in the Jeep is equipped with cargo space for gear, supplies, and possibly even additional passengers.

The vehicle is also outfitted with specialized snow tires, traction control systems, and other modifications to ensure optimal performance in snow and ice. This innovative build opens up a world of possibilities for us as adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts, and dog mushers alike. Whether navigating through snowy terrain, exploring off-road trails, or simply enjoying the thrill of a unique and exhilarating experience, the Sled Dog Jeep build offers a one-of-a-kind way to explore the great outdoors in style.

How the Sled Dog Jeep Came to Be

For more than a decade we had a 2002 Toyota Tundra that we brought up when we moved to Alaska. We retrofitted it with a flatbed and built a dog box that suited us well. In 2015 we used it to transport our entire team of 35 sled dogs and several sleds and gear when we had to evacuate for the Sockeye Fire here in Willow

Over the years the truck needed more and more repairs and each time we took it into the shop it would be another couple of thousand dollars. Of course replacing the Tundra with a new one would be very expensive, as new ones are selling for more than $60,000. Late last summer, Robert saw a picture on social media of a Jeep Gladitator with a custom flat bed and that got him thinking. 

“What if I could make a one-of-a-kind dog truck to showcase our newly purchased Mushing Magazine and build an awesome adventure rig?”

Let's Go Buy A Jeep!

Purchase Price: $31,450 in October 2023

By October of 2023 the Tundra needed another round of repairs and Robert was quickly scrolling social media at a stoplight and a white, 2020 Gladiator (Jeep JT) popped up and before the next couple of miles down the road in the busy afternoon traffic of Wasilla, Robert had applied online for a loan and spoke to the sales manager. 

Fast forward a couple of days and Robert and Michele were sitting in the car dealership and working out a deal. Before they said yes Robert had to text his colleague and see if the flatbed build was possible. 

It was but not until the Spring of 2024. 

They drove home in the Jeep.

As things usually happen, they wanted to wait and save up their money before starting the build but the Tundra ha other plans. The starter went out and it would be another thousand dollars in repairs. 

Robert asked around and a great recommendation came from one of his mushing friends about a guy named Jon that had a fabrication shop in Talkeetna

Sled Dog Jeep Build Phase 1

Approximate Cost of Mods: $9650

By late November 2023, the Jeep was in Jon’s shop and he got to work. Now that the Tundra was out for the winter, we had to quickly pivot and build the flatbed on the Jeep that could accommodate the dog box from the Tundra. 

After many, many talks with the guys at Trail Toyz in Wasilla, THE place to go for all things Jeep in the Mat-Su Valley, and much research online it was decided that the JT could handle the load similar to a newer Toyota Tacoma. We pulled the trigger and started the mods. 

It took Jon a couple of weeks to get the bed fabricated and we went up to help him move the box over from the Tundra to the JT. Of course it was WAY too heavy. We ordered a couple of air bags for the rear as a temporary fix to get us through the winter. 

By mid-December and just in time for our first epic snow dump we were on the road. We knew we would have to rebuild the box in the spring and address the suspension among many other mods to make this a truly awesome build. 

With the box on we first addressed the exhaust and installed a longer tip so that the fumes don’t go up into the box but out. We addressed the blind spots and installed a WeBoost system. We also installed a new front bumper and got the Mushing Magazine graphics installed. 

We worked mainly on the suspension tires and wheels for Phase One of the build. We added heavy-duty coil springs to the front and the rear, giving us 2.5 inches of lift. We added a rear track bar and the airbag system that provide 30psi and quite a bit of stiffness for the heavy box. We went with 35×12.5×17 inch Micky Thompson AT’s on Pro Comp Steel wheels.

We added a very cool, always-on rear camera set up in a rearview mirror. We also added mirror extensions that took forever to get here (four months), Molle panels to replace the netting junk on the door panels, hinge steps on the rear doors, the Mushing Magazine graphics, and a WeBoost system for comms. 

Mushing-Specific Features of the Sled Dog Jeep

We learned a lot over the years about building dog boxes and transport systems for sled dogs and many of the same features of the Tundra are carried over to the Sled Dog Jeep

It has a tie-out system that is built into the custom “bull bar” front bumper and a receiver hitch as well. This will allow us to transport our fat tire bikes to dryland races. We use a hitch on the front so we can still attach a trailer and use the ladder on the read of the box. The back bumper is also custom fabricated by Cajun Flame and includes the same swing-out tie outs. 

The dog box was built in 2012 and has held up remarkably well. It was build out of 3/4 plywood (so very heavy). On the top we have used Yakima bicycle racks for years for our dog sleds and we will use this system on the Sled Dog Jeep as well but with an upgrade to the traditional Yakima racks. We will also install a Lock n Load platform so that we can use the racks in the summer for our roof top tent. 

The dog box has 14 “holes” and they are large enough for two dogs each, if needed. Remember that Sockeye Fire? We have a large gear compartment on the drivers side where we carry our harnesses, lines, and other gear and this is one of the biggest issue with this build and the old Tundra. We had to find a way to access the fuel nozzle safely and right now this access is in this gear compartment. 

There are also lights on both sides of the dog box so that we have good lighting on those long, Alaskan winters. 

Sled Dog Jeep Build Phase 2

Approximate Cost of Mods: Unknown

We knew we wanted a fully capable dog “truck” and are currently working on the second phase of the build. We will be removing the running boards, replacing the front fenders, installing a “cat-walk,” snorkel, and winch, and adding off-load lights on the front bumper and ditch lights. 

We will upgrade the coms in the Sled Dog Jeep by adding either a HAM radio or a GMRS and installing a gear mounting solution on the dash to hold our iPads, GoPros, and other coms. 

We will be removing the rear seat and installing a Cargo Dog system. We will be installing the spare tire on the rear of the box along with some Maxtracks.

Stay tuned to this page and our Sled Dog Jeep Youtube Channel for all updates on the build. 

If you see us around stop over and say hi. If you snap a picture please share it on socials using #SledDogJeep

Sled Dog Jeep Mods to Date

WeBoost

Air bags 

Rear springs

Rearview Camera System

Front Bumper 

Spare Tire Rack

Roof-top tent

Hinge steps

Pod lights

Tires

Other Gear

Door latches for dog box