Discovering what Jeep culture is all about.
“It’s a Jeep thing — you wouldn’t understand.”
Surely, you’ve heard the slogan, but what exactly does it mean?
If you ask any current or former Jeep owners, their answers will certainly encompass a wide range of responses. However, one thing will likely be common to any remark — a “Jeep thing” versatile.
The Capital City Krawlers were established in the spring of 2018. The group’s founder, Scott Langley, was looking to create a platform for Jeep enthusiasts to share experiences surrounding their utility vehicles. What started as a Facebook group with a handful of members has since exploded to more than 700.
“It’s euphoric when you have the wind in your hair, the music playing, not a care of where you are necessarily going.”Bob Gardner
“We wanted to create an outlet where all people could come together in one forum,” Scott says.
Creating a formal group online was just a small step, but it was essential in organizing what has since become a hub for everything from Show and Shine events and meetups to overlanding (self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations typically accomplished with mechanized off-road capable transport) and camping.
Jeep’s customer base has long been a group revered for its loyalty to the company. The American vehicle first gained notoriety for its use in the U.S. military back in the 1940s and has since built a strong brand. With a variety of different models now on the market, like traditional utility vehicles, crossovers, and even a truck, Jeep has appropriately adapted as demand for particular features and styles has grown. For many members of the Krawlers, one draw to owning a Jeep is the ability to make a vehicle truly your own.
Bob Gardner has been a Krawler for a few years, and for him, it’s all about being able to head to destinations unknown.
“I wanted to go off-road and climb stuff — that was my initial appeal,” Bob says. “But it’s really an experience to have the doors and top off. It’s euphoric when you have the wind in your hair, the music playing, not a care of where you’re necessarily going.”
“Almost every part of your Jeep is customizable. You can truly make it yours.”Bob Gardner
When it has the doors or top off, it’s obvious what makes a Jeep 4×4 noticeable. But the unseen, or less noticeable, customizations add to a Jeep’s already unique appeal. In the past 25 years, Jeep has been hiding various motifs, oftentimes stamped into the plastic of the vehicle. Popular findings have included everything from small animals and insects to footwear, like a pair of sandals. While this sort of subtlety won’t necessarily show up on the window sticker list of specifications, the performance of the vehicle and options to customize speak louder than words.
“It’s like the Lego of vehicles,” Bob adds. “There are hundreds of options in regards to color, lighting, wheels, and winches. Almost every part of your Jeep is customizable. You can truly make it yours.”
It’s this sort of customizable identity that a group like the Krawlers, and many Jeep owners, embrace, as if gesturing a “come as you are” mentality. So where would you fall in? Maybe you’re a 4×4 enthusiast because that’s all you’ve ever known. Perhaps you’re more of a cruiser, someone that wants to pop the top, throw down the windshield, and lay low, letting the wind rustle your hair. If you’re in it for the glitz, you may roll with a group that loves to make it shine and show it off. Or are you the opposite? How about the rip-roaring thrill seekers looking for any opportunity to run gravel roads and pass the impassable?
“Most Jeep people are pretty free-spirited people,” Bob says. “They like to roam and not necessarily have a destination. You don’t understand it until you drive one.”
“We wanted to create an outlet where all people could come together in one forum.”Scott Langley
Jeep culture is nothing new, but it continues to adapt, expand, and be inclusive to all that seek a sense of versatility. Jeep enthusiasts have the ability to be one thing, pivot, and become something else. Drivers have the confidence to know they can tackle any obstacle. They’re given a sense of community and the chance to be a part of something bigger than themselves, because nobody likes riding alone.
Even non-Jeep owners can see the appeal. The spontaneity to pack up, let your hair down, and release anything that may be holding you back. The no-fear attitude to not only conquer the daring topography ahead, but do so with unwillingness to wavver at what others may think. And while you may not always know where you’re going, that is, of course, part of the fun.
It’s commonly said that your vehicle can say a lot about your personality. But not every vehicle can say as much as a Jeep.
Information about The Capital City Krawlers can be found on Facebook @CapitalCityKrawlerss. Per the Facebook page bio, the Krawlers group was created “to connect like-minded folks in Jefferson City and surrounding areas who love the outdoors, wheeling their vehicles, or just getting outside.”