Camp Jeep is the largest annual event for Jeep owners and enthusiasts. The two-day event attracts people who love Jeep, off-roading, adventure, and camaraderie with fellow enthusiasts – all within beautiful surroundings. There’s also outdoor sports, barbecues, children’s activities, and live concerts. Old models from Jeep’s history are on display.
Gulf Insider attended last year’s event in Austria, a huge success attracting over 1,200 fans. This year the event took place in Italy and was even bigger than the year before, attracting over 1,600 people and 800 Jeeps.
To get to Camp Jeep I flew from Bahrain to Venice. Upon landing I was met by the Jeep team and handed the key to a new Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT with sat navigation programmed for my destination in the Dolomite Mountains. The latest SRT Grand Cherokee has an immensely powerful 6.4-liter V8 offering 475 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque.
My drive was spectacular. I witnessed steep green mountains, rivers, streams, and even a few natural waterfalls. After a while, as the air became cooler, I switched off the AC and opened the windows to let the fresh mountain air in. The higher I went, the cooler the air became.
The vehicle’s Harman Kardon Sound system was my companion. A few hours later I arrived at my destination, San Martino di Castrozza, a small village over 2,000 meters above sea level, located among the stunning mountain scenery. It was here that Camp Jeep 2019 was to be held. That evening we were invited to a pre-event press conference. To great fanfare the new Jeep Gladiator was unveiled, the company’s first pick-up in 27 years and the only ‘open-air’ pick-up on the market (its roof and side panels can be completely removed).
Jeep claims it has the comfort of a luxury car while being the ‘ultimate outdoor vehicle’. The Gladiator is coming to the Middle East before any other market and should be available in the GCC by early next year. We were given an introduction to Mopar, the maker of over 200 authentic accessories that allow Jeep owners to customize their vehicles and make them unique.
Jeep is America’s most customized vehicle – 98% of all Jeeps in the USA have been customized! Visitors to Camp Jeephave the opportunity to view and test drive the latest Jeeps in both road and off-road conditions, with instructors from the Jeep Academy, from the iconic Jeep Wrangler (sales up 73% over last year), Renegade, Compass, Cherokee and Grand Cherokee. Also available was the Trackhawk, the fastest and most powerful Jeep ever made, featuring a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine developing 710 hp. Also on show was the new Jeep Wrangler 1941 fitted with street-legal Jeep Performance Parts that further enhance its off-road capability including a 2-inch suspension lift kit, performance rock rails, optional snorkel, and other options exclusive to Mopar.
We were invited to drive new model Jeeps off-road on some fairly scary tracks. I drove the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon in low gear on a muddy and steep track along the side of a mountain. At some points, there was little space to maneuver and a giant drop down the mountainside if we oversteered.
Scary, but with breathtaking views! It handled perfectly at all times. Conclusion; Jeeps are dependable and tough. They’re also fun!
Nicholas Cooksey, the author of this article is the publisher of Arabian Magazines, Gulf Insider Media, and a jury member with the Middle East Car of the Year Awards (MECOTY).