In preparation for more camping this year I’ve been thinking about the key areas we need to improve upon. One thing that jumps out is storage of small items and other camping specific kit.
We currently use cheap storage boxes from B&Q. These quickly become unorganised as soon as you’re at camp and as some people have commented on my YouTube channel, I “pay too much attention to detail” and they’re not wrong 😂.
The bigger items aren’t the problem, it’s the smaller items that need a dedicated home and to be at hands reach. There’s many good quality storage bins and drawer systems for the more serious overland build but that is overkill for our needs.
To reiterate the goal for our dream Jimny camper set up… we do not want any mods that would mean the Jimny is transformed from its main purpose as our daily driver. We certainly don’t want to be driving around each day in an overland style vehicle. Neither do we want it loaded down with permanently fixed equipment, drawer systems, etc.
Space comes at a premium in the Jimny and one area that stands out as a possible option to store small items at hands reach is the inside of the tailgate door.
There seem to be 2 approaches people take for tailgates. Fold down tables and molle panels.
Adrian at ROAM has one of the nicest rear table set ups I’ve seen. You can just see it in the distance here. Unfortunately I can’t find any close up shots.
EssexJimny has an awesome molle set up on his Jimny that would tick a lot of boxes for us in regards to accessible storage for small items. Nice touch with the bottle of vino mate! 🥳
It would save me a lot of time to buy the molle set online. It’s a good deal for what you get too! However, the problem is I don’t want to put holes in the plastic trim and want to mount heavier items too, such as a camping axe. A rigid panel would serve our purposes better, avoiding any potential sag (and if there’s any rattles it’ll drive me nuts!).
The storage pouches and fixings need to be removable for the occasions where one, or both of us sleep in the Jimny. We don’t want to roll over in our sleep and chop our heads off on a camping axe 😉. This mod needs to retain the 182cm length to allow enough head room to sleep in when the need arises.
Design mock up
I try to visualise things before I make them. Using as accurate measurements as possible. When it comes to buying the pouches I’ll work to the remaining space around my camping axe and bushcraft knife. I may or may not mount a fire extinguisher on the panel, time will tell.
At the time of writing this I am still not certain my choice of material to make the backing plate is the right one. Only time will tell. I will update this article if I encounter any failure in its use.
I have a thing keeping the Jimny as lightweight as possible. As such I chose to use to use Black Aluminium Composite Sheet as the backing plate to mount the molle panel to. Some of the key features listed on their website included:
Aluminium composite sheet has a polythene core sandwiched by a thin sheet of aluminium on either side. Available in a deep black with a matte finish on one side and a gloss finish on the other.
- High stiffness and dimensional stability
- Easy to work with/fabricate
- Simple to cut, router fold and bend
- High resistance to weather and corrosion
- Low thermal expansion
The sides of the sheet are like an aluminium and plastic sandwich so they needed something to finish off the edges. I found this Rubber U Channel Edging on eBay.
For the molle panel itself I’ve yet to decide on a material. This will be updated in part 2 of this article.
Removing the plastic trim
I watch a great Japanese youtube channel that makes some cool stuff. One video he posted shows how to remove the trim. Give him some love if you find it useful 😀
Cutting the shape
I traced around the trim with a marker to get the general shape. The top notch isn’t perfectly aligned to the centre so make sure you use the stock trim to get the shape right.
The panel I bought has a gloss finish on one side and matt on the other. I went with the matt finish on show. I guess either would look fine.
Using a Dremel cutting disc I roughly cut the shape then hand sanded it smooth ready to fix the rubber outer trim.
The shape of the Jimny rear panel has a raised notch at the top and it was crying out for something to fill that void. I thought about securing additional quick fists however the idea of being able to quickly remove the entire molle panel appeals to our overall build goals of a daily driver and part-time recreational vehicle.
I opted for something aesthetic and made a leather badge to screw directly onto the panel. It’s easily removable so I can make a bunch of different colours later should we wish too.
Fitting the backing panel
To ensure the panel will sit flush against the door I needed to replace one of the bolts with a flatter head as it was protruding out 10mm.
To attach the panel I inserted 8 M5 rivnuts into the standard panel holes that the plastic trim mounts onto marked on the image below. If I decide to revert back to the original stock trim all I’ll need to do is carefully drill out the rivnuts.
The holes I drilled in the panel weren’t perfectly matched up so they ended up bigger than they should have been. I used some M5 black stainless steel flat washers with 25mm diameter along with M5 button head screws. This covered my shoddy measuring errors 🤭.
Here’s the finished backing panel installed.
I’ve driven around to make sure there’s no squeaks or rattles and it feels very solid and ready for the next stage to make the molle panel itself.
I’ve ordered 2 samples of high density plastic, 3mm and 5mm thick to see which one I’ll use. I did consider an aluminium sheet but I believe this will do just as good a job and hopefully be easier to work with.
Making the molle panel will be the next part of this article so please check back soon.
That’s it for now. Cheers 😊✌🏼