Jeep owners pursue merit badges for their vehicles

Off-road maker’s Badge of Honor program rewards successful adventure travel

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Badges of Honor were not available when the author did his drive of the Rubicon Trail in 2006 | Larry Edsall photos

“Badges! We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!” 

That line, or something similar, has been used in movies from the 1948 classic, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, to Blazing Saddles (1974), Troop Beverly Hills (1989), and even “Weird Al” Yankovich’s UHF (1989), in which badges became badgers. 

But it appears that if you drive a Jeep Wrangler, you do, indeed, need badges, and the more the merrier.

Badges can be displayed on the Jeep’s sheetmetal | Jeep photo

Since 2013, Jeep has offered its Badge of Honor program to owners of its off-road vehicles who have actually driven specific off-pavement routes. Recently, Jeep announced the expansion of the program to include 56 trails. 

Among the 7 newly added to the list are the Northwest OHV Park trail in Texas, the Tread Lightly! Four Wheel Drive Way in Florida, and Bearwallow in West Virginia. They join such famous challenges as the Rubicon Trail in California, Hell’s Revenge in Moab, Utah, and Imogene Pass in Colorado.

“We created the Badge of Honor program as a fun way to interact with our loyal off-road Jeep enthusiasts, allowing them to do what they love most and earn unique trail badges for their vehicles,” Jim Morrison, head of the Jeep brand, is quoted in the announcement.

“The program has really taken off and we often see Jeep vehicles with many different badges that represent conquered trails around the country. With continued program interest, we’ve expanded the Badge of Honor mobile app with many new features our customers will enjoy.”

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Another image from the 2006 trip down the Rubicon Trail

Speaking of that app, it’s how you participate. You can check-in when you drive a trail, request the badge to mount on your vehicle when you complete the trail, you even can suggest new trails that should be included in the program.

The app includes an Off-Roading 101 to help introduce newcomers to driving off-pavement. 

For more information, you can visit the Jeep Badge of Honor website, which has links to both the Apple and Google Play versions of the app.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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