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2 Types of Jeep Owners: Those Who Are Jeepers and The Unsung Jeepers

For those Jeepers who don't get any recognition, who don't get the Jeep Wave, this wave and nod is for you. Hey Jeepers! Do not forget the unsung Jeep owners. Give them a nice Jeep wave regardless of whether they drive a Wrangler, Compass or a Grand Cherokee.


I was driving down the road and looked up at the next car coming. It was a newer model Jeep Wrangler. It was nice, lifted, bigger tires. As we get closer I raise my thumb, index and middle finger in the traditional three finger Jeep wave. No response. “Oh well, I guess they didn’t see me,” I think. A short time later I see another and give them the wave. Again, nothing. It’s ok, they are paying attention to the road. Better that than some random guy in a Jeep. By the third one I begin to wonder if the area I am in, that the Jeepers don’t wave or acknowledge each other. Kind of sad really.

In the several Jeep groups I am in most Jeepers wave at each other. So what’s wrong with my Jeep. Are they not seeing me. It isn’t heavily modded, but does have a two in lift, bigger tires, but most of it is stock. So what’s the deal? I wheel my Jeep with my groups and have a grand ole time with them. We even cut up with each other but I do tend to be the butt of most of the jokes. But there in lies the issue.

You see, I am a Jeeper through and through. I have owned five Jeeps in the last 20 years. But only recently was it ever a Wrangler. The story above is me, driving my Jeep, my 2004 JEEP Grand Cherokee. Though I am a Jeeper I didn’t get the waves, I got the jokes… on my behalf. In my life I have owned a ’79 CJ-7, a ’96 XJ, 2 WJ’s (2000 & 2004), and only recently a 2012 JKU Wrangler. But it was only in the Wrangler that I would get waves. Most Jeep groups are 99.9% Wrangler based. The Jeepers are conditioned to see other Wranglers, not other models.

Jeeps and Their Owners

I was reading a reply in my latest article (3 Good Things Jeep Owners Do), where the commenter asked what about the other Jeeps. The non Wranglers and the owners of those Jeeps. Are they not also Jeepers? It was this comment that led me to this article. And from that, I would answer his question with…”Well, no, they aren’t.”

Ok, not necessarily, LOL! You see, the Jeep doesn’t make someone a Jeeper. It’s the mind set one has while owning their Jeep. And yes, you MUST own a JEEP to be a JEEPER. Contrary to the comment I recently read in another of my articles that you can find here; to include another shameless plug on a previous article see, “Two types of Jeepers”.

My Jeep groups and the members who are in them are there because they want to be around like minded people who share a passion in the same thing they do: Jeeps and mostly Jeep Wranglers, but there are a few who drive “other Jeeps”. These owners, or rather, Jeepers, are driving Jeeps of different models. Does that mean they are not Jeepers? By no means.

Look at the two Grand Cherokees (WJ’s) I owned. They were extremely capable off road vehicles and I would own another. Let me give you a "for instance."

Myself, my 2004 WJ, and members of one of the groups I am in decided a few years ago to head to Hidden Falls, (Marble Falls, Texas) to do some wheeling over the Fourth of July weekend. After making camp, we hit the trails and I was asked if I wanted to ride with anyone because of my “Jeep”. I declined and we set out. It was a great ride, on CLASS 4 trails with a Grand Cherokee that only had a two inch spacer lift and 32” tires at the most. No scraping, no bumping, no grinding. When we were finished, one of my buddies (Joey H.) came up to me and said if he hadn’t seen it he wouldn’t believe it. I wasn’t sure what he was referring to so I asked. He began to tell me how he didn’t think a Grand Cherokee would be capable of doing the trails we had just went on. I laughed. “It’s a Jeep,” I said. Just because it isn’t shaped like a box or the top or doors aren’t made to come off does not make it less than a Wrangler. And believe me, I wasn’t afraid to wheel my Grand Cherokees, as pretty as they were. The only difference I really saw was it had a bigger engine than the Wrangler (insert Tim Allen grunt) and modification parts were more expensive. A true lift for that thing was astronomical in price when I was looking. That is why I went with the two inch spacers. However, that Jeep didn’t keep me from being a Jeeper. I did what all of the others were doing on the trails. I just did it in leather seats, dual climate control, premium sound package…basically I just did it in style/panache. LOL.

The Ones Everyone Forgets

It isn’t just me though. I know y’all will give me some backlash for this, and for that I say bring it on, but I have a friend who owns a little Jeep Renegade. She loves it, loves that it is a Jeep (spare me the Fiat dialogue), and that she is back in one again. Would she love to have a Wrangler? Of course, but sometimes life doesn’t give us what we want and so we take what we can. The mindset doesn’t change though. As I mentioned in my previous article (Two types of Jeep Owners), the true Jeeper is someone who wants to experience the Jeep for what it is made for. To get off of the beaten path and experience God’s creation from more that just the asphalt road. I certainly did that in my Grand Cherokees. In fact, I did that in all of my Jeeps. And so do some of those “other Jeep” owners. Owners of Grand Cherokees, Cherokees, Comanches, Compasses, Patriots, Renegades, etc.

Unsung Jeepers

So next time you are cruising around in your lifted Wrangler, staring down at the world passing by on the motorway, why don’t you just give a wave to that Jeep guy or Jeep girl coming toward you? Who knows, you just may meet that new Cherokee on the trail or that Compass up in the mountains, or even that Renegade playing in the sand at the beach. Because these are the ones that are forgotten… the unsung Jeepers.

And just to put it out there, my very own Jeep group, Prison City Jeepers, is a community oriented group of Jeepers of all kinds. Big or small, we like them all.

I’d love to hear your story! Comment below if you have a Jeep tale that doesn’t involve a Wrangler. Let’s show how many Jeepers there are that don’t drive the “typical” Jeep. I can’t wait to read your comments.


A Guy (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 10:11AM

I have a question to Jeeprs. Where does this wave come from? Is there a history behind it? If I drive on a street where there are only few cars appearing rarely, I wave at them, whether they are Jeep drivers or any other cars. People are people. Especially in the morning, when a wave is like a "good morning."

Eva Miller (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 10:43AM

I bet you didn't do The Bronco Buster at Hidden Falls with the Grand Cherokee! My Wrangler was totally flexed out with 3.25" lift and 35's! And it was extremely narrow! You're down in a creek bed with huge boulders! It was awesome! I'm totally done with the mud in this area though! Tired of the repair bills! Good article though! I wave at most Jeeps when I'm not distracted with driving and other cool modified vehicles as well as classic vehicles!

C.B. (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 11:56AM

In reply to by Eva Miller (not verified)

I actually did do Bronco Buster! It was the first trail we headed to. Tight spaces in that trail. It took a little finesse but I was able to make it. A bit off camber a couple times too. LOL! =)

Andrew (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 11:34AM

I've noticed an unspoken companionship between XJ owners in my area. My area is kinda hoity toity and most everyone in a Jeep Wrangler hops out in their nice leather shoes and slacks to head in for a lunch break or hair cut. the XJ is a different breed.

Mateo (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 12:04PM

Here in Colorado, specifically Colorado Springs, there are waves to be given everywhere - especially on the nearby 4x4 roads. There are a lot of XJs here, its great and we don't just wave, but stop, talk and hit trails together. What it ends up becoming is a place for networks to expand on and share in adventures together. Sometimes I do forget and I don't wave back when I am busy.

C.B. (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 12:13PM

In reply to by Mateo (not verified)

I LOVE the wheeling around Colorado Springs!!! I lived there ten years before a career change brought me to Texas. I had my CJ-7, XJ, and one of my WJ's there. We used to wheel Tarryall(sp?) and camp there all of the time. I sure miss the Colorado trails. =(

What part of the Springs do you live in? I was south in Security and Fountain.

Jason (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 12:24PM

First of all the Jeep “wave” is a wrangler thing. I’ve owned Jeep’s most of my life, both wranglers and non, and NEVER have I expected the wave when in my non Wrangler JEEP Vehicle AND never will I GIVE the wave to Liberties, Cherokee’s, Patriots, etc. Now, if your lifted/mod’d and actually looks like your rig is wheeled, I’ll “wave”/peace sign you no matter you’re driving – Rangers, Yota, Sammie’s, etc. In fact I’ll always make an effort to nod to the Lifted/Mod’d NON Jeep guys over a stock JK/JKU all day long.
IMHO, the wave isn’t just because you own a Jeep vehicle - it’s a gesture/nod to your fellow 4x4’er off-roader. Seriously, if you drive down the road in your Patriot getting upset that ALL other drivers of the JEEP brand aren’t waving back at you, I’m not sure what to tell you. You’ll literally be doing the Jeep wave every 3rd vehicle…

Mandy (not verified)    July 6, 2023 - 12:07AM

In reply to by Jason (not verified)

Well I drive a Renegade and I hear you but I am damn proud of my "baby jeep" as I call it. It is my first and I love the lifestyle and have gotten bitten by the Jeep bug. I have a large family though so for now this is what I got. But I will always wave and if you do yay! If not oh well. My baby jeep makes me happy and want to live life out there. That is what jeeps do! So if ya ever come down to SW MO I'll be waving.

C.B. (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 1:50PM

You have to post/cite where it shows the Jeep Wave is exclusively wrangler. My research is that it could have originated with the Willys and soldiers from WW2/post WW2 era. The Wrangler didn't come about until 1987 with the first YJ according to the manufacturing timeline. However, I was getting waves in my 79 CJ-7. So you are saying the iconic CJ doesn't deserve a wave? Or doesn't because mine was stock? So when you say the Jeep Wave is a "wrangler thing" it makes you come of like a DB to be honest. Then you try to cover it up with you going on on how you wave at any modded 4x4. I went wheeling in Colorado with a group of Jeepers. To include Black Bear Pad. Two were stock JKU's. They wheeled their stock jeeps, are Jeepers, surely they deserve a wave?

Jason (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 6:11PM

C.B, I assumed people would know and assume what I meant by it’s a “wrangler” thing that it of course includes Willy’s CJ5/7’s, etc. – the iconic Jeep shape/model perhaps is a better analogy of what I feel falls in to what is normally known for the “wave”. In fact I think you know that and you’re just trolling. I’ve been around Jeeps all my life as well and I’ll go out on a limb and say that 75% of newer Wrangler owners don’t even know about the wave. And I’ll go out even further and say that 99.9% of NON Wrangler owners (compasses, patriots, etc.) don’t know about the wave either – and rightly so because it’s NOT an ALL Jeep’s thing…

And are you saying that someone like myself who’s a Top/Doors off 300+ days a year (rain or shine), has taken multiple 2k+ mile road trips (without said Top/Doors and roughed it), belongs to clubs where we wheel all across the country and actually uses 4WD is in the same “Jeeper” category as some 2WD compass driver who doesn’t even know the wave exists because they’ve got some emblem on their vehicle?! Completely absurd! The sticker doesn’t make you a Jeeper…And I’m not covering anything up by saying that I’ll give a nod to a modded NON Jeep before I wave to some 2WD drive grocery getter.

But hey, if you want to drive around in your 2WD patriot and “wave” at every vehicle with a Jeep emblem because it makes you feel good then go for it, whom am I to say it’s wrong. I just think it’s laughable that yourself and others who are in Patriots, Compasses, etc. get all upset and bent out of shape when you don’t get waves back from other drivers of the same vehicle that don’t have a clue as to why you are waving at them…

Brandon (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 7:49PM

In reply to by Jason (not verified)

I have to agree with Jason on this one. I purchased an 06 TJ model about 2 years ago from a buddy of mine so I knew about the Jeep wave from him. I always assumed it was kind of for wranglers or the main jeep body style. Never heard about the wave being about the other models. And for the first 3 months I waved at every wrangler I saw and at least in my area only about 2 in 10 would wave back. I actually don’t bother waving anymore unless the other driver initiates and gives me the jeep signal. Then I’m all over the return wave! But yeah, Jeep wave to compass or a patriot?? Never heard of that at least not in my area.

Jason (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 7:20PM

And for the record, if you’re on the trails of course the wave/nod/peace/respect is given no matter if you’re in a Jeep, Ford, Yota, heavily modified or stock. I’ve wheeled in lots of places (as you have as well from your posts) and while there’s always the RARE Liberty/Renegade out there they are just that - RARE. And I’m not some ANTI-Waver – if I’m actually paying attention and in the rare instance where some non-Wrangler-OR classic model Jeep- waves at me of course I’d return it. But this notion that I should be initiating and giving out the wave to every model of “Jeep” that drives by because they have a Jeep emblem is ridiculous. In fact I also find it mind boggling when I see Wrangler owners with their tops on, windows up and all buttoned up on a beautiful sunny weekend with their air on. Seriously, why did you buy an open aired vehicle to drive around with your air conditioning on? But I digress. I probably come off as disrespectful or maybe the DB you called me but again IMHO, I’ve got much more love and respect for the owner of the vehicle that actually goes Offroad than I do for some vehicle that simply says Jeep on it.

C.B. (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 7:40PM

Jason, did you read my article? Just so you know, I've never owned a Patriot. A CJ, XJ, 2 WJ's, and a JKU. Never a Patriot. But I do know someone who takes theirs on the trails in Colorado. Of course it can't go everywhere but they want to explore just the same.

I think you are missing the point. Jeepers deserve the wave. Those are the owners who actually like to wheel and explore. Irregardless of what Jeep they are in. However you seemed determined to exclude people. Well it is a free country. I however will include them.

Brandon (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 10:25PM

In reply to by C.B. (not verified)

Excellent conversation Jason and C.B it’s refreshing to not see name calling, bashing and other nasty crap being said. If this was on facebook, well let’s not go there.

Anyways C.B I think your missing jasons point – I’m pretty sure he’s not exluding any true jeeper. He said multiple times that he totally acknowledges those of us who actually offroad our jeeps no matter what the make and model. I’m not sure why you are saying hes exluding non wranglers as non jeepers. Hes saying the complete opposite.

You said “ Jeepers deserve the wave. Those are the owners who actually like to wheel and explore. Irregardless of what Jeep they are in.”

He said the exact same thing “I’ve got much more love and respect for the owner of the vehicle that actually goes Offroad than I do for some vehicle that simply says Jeep on it.”

How is he excluding or saying anything different???

And I agree If you do any type of off roading that’s great but to take the Jeep wave that is exchanged when two wranglers pass each other on the road and start waving at every car that says jeep on it? I mean to each their own but I don’t think that NOT waving to compasses, patriots, etc. means someone is a D-Bag…

Jason (not verified)    November 15, 2017 - 9:56PM

C.B, I absolutely read your post, several times in fact. Did you read my comments at all? Because I don’t think you did and I’m a little baffled to say the least. I don’t think we are disagreeing on what we both feel is the meaning of a true “Jeeper”. In my book that’s someone who embraces the capability of their Jeep (stock or not), top/doors off (if applicable), wind in your face and to loves to explore the Off-beaten path –whether that’s a nice easy trail, a cruise on the beach or the extreme trails of Moab with your 4x4 club. And whether that’s in a Wrangler (and can we agree that when I say Wrangler I mean what we know to be the classic JEEP body, Willy, CJ, etc.) a patriot, a WJ, ZJ, JK, Ranger, Yota, whatever. If you are on the trails/beach/mud/rocks you are a “Jeeper”. Right? I think we both are saying that. But in your article you clearly say and I quote,

“So next time you are cruising around in your lifted Wrangler, staring down at the world passing by on the motorway, why don’t you just give a wave to that Jeep guy or Jeep girl coming toward you? Who knows, you just may meet that new Cherokee on the trail or that Compass up in the mountains, or even that Renegade playing in the sand at the beach. Because these are the ones that are forgotten… the unsung Jeepers.”

You are essentially saying in everyday travels on the pavement, the Jeep “wave” which is traditionally known to be a “Wrangler” thing, should now be for every Jeep vehicle that drives by because maybe, just maybe one out of the 100,000 you pass might actually be a “Jeeper”. I just think that is an unrealistic expectation because as I said 99.9% of those NON Wranglers owners aren’t Jeepers and have absolutely no clue about the Jeep wave thing. I just feel that when NOT on the trails it really is just a wrangler “thing”. I was also just simply trying to say that when I'm NOT on the trails and driving in every day traffic, I personally will give the wave/nod/peace to a NON Jeep vehicle that looks like a “Jeeper”/Offoader as a sign of respect/ackknowledge of the hobby/sport before I’m going to go and give 10,000 waves on my way to work to Patriots/Compasses/Renegades that have no clue as to why I’m waving.

On the trails, hell yeah no matter what you’re driving but everywhere else the “wave”, IMHO, I think is a Wrangler only thing. Hell, most of the JK/JKU drivers don’t know/don’t do it, so the everyone else Jeeps’ certainly have no idea.

I think we are on the same page for the nod/wave to the non wrangler Jeeper on the trails but on the road, I humbly disagree that the wave should be for all Makes/Models of the Jeep family.

C.B. (not verified)    November 16, 2017 - 8:32AM

My apologies, I did miss where you mention regardless of make our model for those true Jeepers. I myself would rather wave at those compasses, patriots, and renegades who are true Jeepers than a wrangler owner who is clueless. But I believe you mentioned that as well saying something like 75% of new owners don't know to wave.

Mopar Guru (not verified)    November 23, 2017 - 2:10AM

I bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee because I am a Mopar guy....

Am I supposed to wave at every Jeep,Dodge,Chrysler,Plymouth,RAM,Desoto..MOPAR around ?

Kerry (not verified)    August 20, 2021 - 9:47PM

I drive a Patriot. I’m pretty sure it’s not considered a real Jeep by the Wrangler crowd.

I absolutely love my little Jeep though and enjoy driving it down the many country roads in my area.

Melissa Critchley (not verified)    September 11, 2022 - 2:57PM

I'm back in a Jeep again as of yesterday after a 6 year hiatus. I've never owned a Wrangler, but I've owned a Liberty and now a Renegade. I like the smaller model SUV/CUV. I drove a Kia Soul in-between, and even though I liked the size, and other features, I missed being a Jeep owner and having 4x4. Over the past 6 years I don't know how many times I said I miss my Jeep. I had gotten stuck in the snow quite a few times with the Soul, and NEVER was stuck anywhere with the Liberty. I also took it off roading in a harvested corn field with a foot of snow. I had a blast! I had to go down a hill to get out there and back up the hill to get out. Everyone thought I would get stuck, but I had faith in the Liberty, and I didn't get stuck. (I also knew that I had at least 4 family members present that could get me out with their trucks or Jeeps lol) I love the Jeep brand, and even though I bought a Renegade yesterday, I'm glad to be a Jeeper again!

Bruce Sanderson (not verified)    December 21, 2022 - 10:26PM

At 9 or 10 years old in about 1947 I got my first ride in a Jeep, an MB from WWII. I never wanted any other kind of vehicle. In 1958 I got my own first Jeep, a CJ3A. In 1964 I got a brand new CJ5 for $2,100. I have owned a CJ6 and five other CJ5's. I didn't have a Jeep for about 12 years but owned and still own a 4x4 Silverado which I took on most of the 4x4 trails in Death Valley in 2016. At 83 years of age I bought an M38A1 as a project vehicle. I have spent the last year and some getting it ready to go. I finally had to take it to a shop to have some of the work done as I can't do everything I did as a young man. As I drive about in my Jeep I get waves from old guys who like me probably still remember these Jeeps from their service time. Going to be 85 next Sunday and will be taking my wife of 52 years Jeeping again. We met on her first Jeep trip in 1965.

Tim (not verified)    January 3, 2023 - 5:41AM

I own a TJ because I appreciate the heritage of the Jeeps. I also wave at ALL Jeeps. Many of the new Wrangler folks don’t wave back. Many of the Liberty, Renegade, Cherokee and Wagoneer folks don’t wave back but that won’t stop me from holding the fort.

Troy K Trauger (not verified)    April 2, 2023 - 12:26PM

I bought a Gladiator because I'm a Retired army man and they are a luxurious ride compared to a army Hummer but I'm lucky 1st army vehicle I drove was M151A1 (Army code for a jeep) Keep atleast 2 tires on the road and have F U N !!!!

Kawabunga (not verified)    April 21, 2023 - 11:48AM

In my opinion, the original Jeep Wrangler Wyllis was a small 4x4 used during the ware which born the V for Victory wave. No other jeep model really qualifies for the wave. JEEP kinda wishes it upon Grand Cherokee owners etc. The Wrangler and Gladiator are true JEEPs and get my V for Victory. I ignore the other models. They are cars.

T.C (not verified)    May 11, 2023 - 9:49AM

I actually just purchased my first Jeep 2 weeks ago. I had to say goodbye to my 2010 Ram 1500 Laramie that I built over the years, but she was miled out and I wasn’t hauling horses anymore.

So, I purchased a 2006 Jeep Liberty CRD. Low mileage (only 96,000 kms) and in my favourite dark green, not a speck of rust on her. Have already had it GDE tuned and thrown on fuel coverts and some falken wildpeak at3w. Next step is getting ready for a nice 3” lift and proper skid plates to get out to the Canadian Rockies.

All my friends are excited to see the little lib out on the trails with their Toyotas and the only hater in our friend group is oddly enough the only wrangler owner!