The "Lakota" is the second overland trailer that I have undertaken. The first trailer project, the "Pioneer" was an experimental build that taught me volumes on what to do, not do, and what I wanted in my next trailer. I was extremely happy with how the Pioneer turned out, and likely should have left well enough alone. However, since building that small cargo trailer, many overland adventures taught me that I needed something more. More of what, exactly? Easy. EVERYTHING.
"More" meant increased cargo capacity, ability to mount a rooftop style tent, water and fuel capacity, and an additional electrical system for operating radios and a base camp. This needed to be accomplished in roughly the same footprint as the Pioneer, maintain a low dry weight, have a long operational life, and perform roughly in the same manner as the Pioneer. This is a very tall order considering the success of the Pioneer, and my high expectations. Thankfully, all the critical dimensions had already been figured out during the Pioneer build, and I knew that using some form of Wrangler/CJ tub would be an easy design element to use. The Wrangler/CJ tub would perfectly fit the footprint, and with some modifications, give me what I needed for cargo capacity. Not to mention, using a tub would allow for an undeniable "Jeep" look.
This is an ongoing build that seems to be taking forever, but it was started when I was in Afghanistan and has stretched out over two years already. I'm not terribly bothered about this since it has allowed for the design and concept to evolve a bit. Much of that has to do with me developing some expectation management, and the input of some creative individuals. The main contributor to this project is Derek Grotrian of Grotrian Enterprises in Syracuse, Nebraska. He has been fabricating everything from rock buggies to semi truck mounted industrial vacuum systems. Derek had agreed to take on the long term project while I was deployed and do the main fabrication in preparation for what I was going to do in my shop. Since then, Derek has been so kind as to take this on as a personal project for me, and has come up with some unique ideas on how to accomplish this project.
The name? Well I wanted to try a follow the Jeep brand's naming conventions, but have something unique. Turns out that I can make a "Lakota" emblem out of the "Grand Cherokee" and "Liberty" badges... It's all in the details, you know.
Stay tuned as I lay out how this project is progressing.