For those of you who have been following my progress, I was now at the stage where I needed to equip the FJ Cruiser with some better accessories, accessories specifically designed with off-roading and recovery in mind. I’ve been looking forward to this post for awhile now, since it symbolizes the first step in preparing the FJ for a true off-road experience. This was actually one of the more exciting times during the FJ’s build-up because I was able to research and purchase multiple items in a very short period of time. I don’t necessarily recommend this approach, as the price tags add up quite quickly. But because of the rather shortened time frame, I decided that Christmas would be coming a little early that year.
I should also point out that I spend a great deal more time researching a piece of equipment than I typically spend installing it. The only reason I say this is to keep readers informed and aware that I’m not simply making arbitrary purchases. I tend to take my time performing extensive product comparisons, using a combination of 3rd-party reviews and customer feedback, before I make a final decision. It’s not an absolute guarantee, but it does help me avoid some of the more obviously bad products. This is yet another area where I rely heavily on the FJ Cruiser Forums for consultation. With more than 30,000 members and 80,000 threads, these forums provide some very useful insight from actual FJ and FJ-product owners. This particular post is the first of several that will detail most of the equipment I purchased prior to our first trip to Rausch Creek Off-Road Park.
So let’s begin with mounting points for the equipment itself. The FJ Cruiser comes equipped with multiple brackets designed for securing equipment. The bulk of these brackets can be found in the rear cargo area, behind the passenger seats. There are four, very solid tie-downs on the floor, as well as two additional mounting brackets on the driver’s side. For those who opt out of the sub-woofer option, there are two more mounting brackets on the passenger side of the rear cargo area. Lastly, there are two hanger-type hooks up near the headliner of the rear cargo area. For general cargo all of these tie downs serve their purpose well enough. But what about non-general cargo, more specifically, large or heavy items?
Enter the Springtail Solutions equipment racks designed specifically for the FJ Cruiser. As the first products in our mini-review, these racks take on a rather critical role since their entire purpose is to secure all portable accessories. Springtail Solutions is another small business that takes great pride in providing top-notch products and customer service. Springtail’s racks are fully powder-coated prior to shipping, and include all the required mounting hardware in the box. In addition to the racks themselves, Springtail offers a wide selection of MOLLE-style pouches to fit both their racks and a variety of other nooks and crannies within the FJ Cruiser. They currently offer quite a few options for the FJ, but my focus was specific to the rear cargo area.
Among their offerings, Springtail offers an expansive aluminum MPAC rack for the FJ’s rear door as well as a heavy-duty steel rack for the driver’s side rear cargo area. The rear door rack is designed to span the width of the door, but only covers the top half of the door in a standard configuration. This leaves enough space below the primary rack to mount a secondary rack, effectively doubling the available space for accessories. The heavy-duty side rack mounts using the existing mounting holes left after removing the stock mounting brackets. The side rack can be mounted on either the driver or passenger side but may require some tweaking to the mounts if the passenger side is selected.
The pouches I ordered, like the racks themselves, are very sturdy and mount quickly and easily using heavy-duty nylon strips with snaps. Springtail also offers pouches with velcro rip-away-style mounting straps to make the process of removing the pouch that much easier. This is especially handy for equipment that needs to be readily-accessible, like a first-aid kit. At the time I placed my order, Springtail was offering a complete FJ package that included (1) rear door rack, (1) heavy-duty side rack, and a large assortment of different pouch styles. All mounting hardware was included as advertised and the quality of the racks was top-notch. It only took a few days after I placed my order for the parts to arrive and I had both racks and a variety of pouches securely mounted shortly thereafter. I’ve included some photos of the rear rack and pouches below for anyone who may be interested.
After running the Springtail racks and pouches now for almost a year, I am glad to report that I’m still quite pleased with my purchase. Both racks have held up remarkably with absolutely no issues, despite supporting numerous bags of gear. They serve their intended purpose very well and Springtail’s available selection of pouches makes storing all those oddball items a cinch. Plus, because of the rack’s optimal location, access to all your equipment is as simple as opening the rear hatch or door. So if you’re in the market for a rack-mount solution for all your FJ accessories, I highly recommend giving Springtail Solutions a call.