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Two Types of Jeep Owners and the Jeep Wave That You May Not Understand

Do other Jeep drivers wave at you while driving your Jeep? Do they go from a three or five finger wave to one finger as you look in your mirror.? If you don’t know what a Jeep Wave is, maybe the problem is you. You see, there are two types of Jeep owners. The regular Jeep owner and then the true "Jeeper."

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Let us start with the regular Jeep owner. They are the ones that go out and buy themselves a Jeep. Sadly they have no intention of doing anything with it. Nothing with what the Jeep is made for. None of the doors off, top off, or ruggedness one can handle that goes hand in hand with the iconic vehicle that is a Jeep. We call them Mall Crawlers here in Houston. They are a fickle breed. LOL. With them there will be no lift kits, winches, or modifications. Not that you have to modify your Jeep to be considered a true Jeeper, or even a Wrangler owner. But to them, it is just another vehicle no different than your typical Toyota or Honda.

Now we have the Jeepers. If we call the regular Jeep owners the spectators in life who just want to sit back and watch then Jeepers are the participants. They can’t just sit there and watch life go by them when they can be in it, live it, experience it, and also contribute to it in a positive way. I add that last part because of what I have seen the last few years in the Jeep community and groups I am and have been associated with. Even with Jeep meaning “Just Empty Every Pocket”, these people have shown me what it means to be charitable. Giving of themselves, their hard earned money, time, and effort and labor, for those in desperate need. They have given back way more that they have taken in having a Jeep. I look at it this way…they bless others because they know they have been blessed.

Don't Miss: 3 Good Things Wrangler Owners Do with Their Jeeps and Most People Don't Understand

A little about me... my first Jeep was a ’79 CJ-7 Quadratrac and was a love/hate relationship. I loved it when it was running and hated it when it wasn’t. Which was usually half the time. It had the 304 V8 and my philosophy was just give it a little more gas. When it worked. It had an issue with vapor lock. I never got it stuck though and other than slightly larger tires, it wasn’t modified in any way. In fact, it was red with a primer grey fender. But it took me places I never would have been without it. Places where few have trod. That was the beginning of my long journey with Jeep that has lasted 21 years and five Jeeps.

I knew very little about Jeeps back when I owned the CJ. Along the way I have picked up a few things but I definitely don’t know it all. However, I do know the potential of a Jeep and all you need is just a little imagination. This is why I consider myself a true Jeeper.

In order I have owned the ’79 CJ-7, a ’96 Cherokee Sport, 2000 Grand Cherokee Limited, 2004 Grand Cherokee Limited, and a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport (Modified). I have taken all of them off-road; most of them in Colorado. They all managed to pick up a little nature’s pin striping in their respective lives and each of those was a story in and of itself. The only Jeep that I modified was the Wrangler. So when I said above that you didn’t have to modify a Jeep in order to be a true Jeeper, I meant it.

You see, the potential of a Jeep isn’t necessarily what you put on it, but what you do with it and where it takes you. Anyone can drive on a road. Anyone can drive a car. A Jeep however, can do so much more. A car can take you down the road, a Jeep can take you anywhere. Because when your kids are older, they aren’t going to remember when your car got 38 mpg. They will remember the trips exploring the great outdoors, seeing God’s creation, hanging on the side of a cliff on a narrow trail, when they were covered in mud, getting caught in the rain with the top off, driving doorless and topless.

These are all adventures that are unique to one vehicle that was made just for it. The Jeep. It is kind of like owning an airplane. You don’t buy a plane to let it sit on the ground, you buy one to fly it. You don’t buy a Jeep to just go to the mall. I mean, it doesn’t have a seven slot grill because seven is a lucky number. It is because Jeep was the first vehicle to drive on all seven continents.

Last year my Jeep group, Prison City Jeepers, had an event that took eight Jeeps and 21 people to the mountains of Colorado. There we explored some of the back roads and Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) trails that are more famous in the Silverton/Ouray/Telluride areas. The trails ranged from easy to difficult and our Jeeps ranged from stock to heavily modified (Retribution, story for another article). I would almost venture that this was the Jeep trip of a lifetime, but honestly, when I lived in Colorado a number of years ago I did this fairly often all over the state. Never in a group this large though. There was so much to see that takes your breath away. The views were stunning, the trails were treacherous in places, nature was calling, and the company was fantastic. I would wish that everyone could experience a trip like this one.

You see, I refuse to let life pass me by. I want to get out and see it and be a part of it. With a Jeep I can see what most will never experience. So I can’t just own a Jeep because there is so much more to it than that and I choose to see it. And there in lies the gist of this article. Those who choose to see and those that let it pass them by. This is why we “Jeep Wave.” We get it. Jeepers vs Jeep Owners. Let’s face it… But please, don't forget the unsung Jeepers and give them a good wave too.

It’s a Jeep thing, but you have to open your eyes to understand it…

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Brian (not verified)    September 18, 2017 - 11:02AM

This article makes "Jeepers" come across as a bit self righteous in my opinion. I love my Jeep and I take it off road as much as possible...and I also love the community the surrounds Jeep ownership, but I can't help but notice a real "holier than thou" attitude that pervades these groups and it can take some of the fun out the social aspects of Jeep ownership. Let's lose the humble brags and judgmental attitudes toward other jeep owners. Honestly it's beneath most of us.

Diana (not verified)    September 18, 2017 - 11:12AM

In reply to by Brian (not verified)

Amen!!! I’m so over the self-righteousness. I was so happy to buy my jku two months ago and connect with all the people in the jeep community. But what I’ve come to learn is that if you’re mod isn’t approved by the greater population, if you don’t lift it higher than 4”, if you customize it in a way that’s not “jeep off-roading” you don’t belong.

How about we just all go back to being kind and keeping our mouths shut when we don’t like something... remember the old saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all”.

Eric (not verified)    September 18, 2017 - 9:26PM

In reply to by Diana (not verified)

Never worry about what other people think about your mods. I have an '07 JKU X with a 2" lift 285/70 17s BFG KM2s, stock 411 with no lockers. I have taken to Moab 4 times. It's been on many trails. Poison Spider Trail, Fins and Things, and Flat Iron Mesa Trail were its highlights. People were more impressed with what I could do with it, than what I spent on mods. I got more satisfaction out of doing more with less than what I spent on it. I feel I'm a Jeeper. But I also forget to wave. Not because I'm self righteous, but because I'm thinking about other things and an air head. OIIIIIIIO

Faloncc (not verified)    November 7, 2017 - 11:54PM

In reply to by Diana (not verified)

Sounds like your group sucked!!! I’m sorry. We’re not all like that, but you have to find a group that works for you. I️ know just in north Texas we’ve had 3 to chose from. I️ hope you can find another.

Troy (not verified)    November 8, 2017 - 9:39PM

In reply to by Diana (not verified)

I believe that you met the wrong jeepers. It's YOUR jeep, you do what you want to. Lift, tires, other mods are all things that you have to live with. Nobody else does. You would like my local club, we accept all jeeps. Compasses, liberties, and every other jeep out there.

Mike R (not verified)    November 13, 2017 - 4:34PM

In reply to by Bill Barry (not verified)

I have an 08 GC.... lifted and sloy building it up.... I do the jeep wave but rarely IF ever do I get it back.... mostly just confused looks like wth is that cherokee guy waving for ... but that's ok because when I actually do get it back ... it's cool...

Justin (not verified)    September 18, 2017 - 10:33PM

In reply to by Brian (not verified)

Look man I know the writer of this article and he is no way a self righteous person he is fun out going and most of all extremely supportive of others don't be so take your own advise and don't be so judgemental of others

Jennifer Melendez (not verified)    September 19, 2017 - 10:52AM

In reply to by Brian (not verified)

I am sorry I agree with the guy in this article. Jeeping is a way of life. And regardless of what you choose to do with it the jeep wave is a THING. And I understand being in a different zone and not seeing the other person wave I have done that on occasion, BUT more often then not I have waved and nothing. And 9 times out of 10 its usually a person in a brand new one. Get on board and WAVE people a little friendliness never hurt anyone.

Jmy (not verified)    September 19, 2017 - 2:33PM

In reply to by Brian (not verified)

If you don't believe that you belong to a select group of people then sell your jeep. We are special Because we own jeeps. Just as Porsche and, Ferrari owners.
We aren't self-righteous, we are proud of our jeeps. If you don't understand that, again, sell your jeep. My friends and i proud to be jeep owners because owning a jeep is privileged. Nothing even compares to it. From the womb to the tomb... Keeper for life!

Matt (not verified)    November 14, 2017 - 12:06PM

In reply to by Brian (not verified)

I think he is correct about there being 2 types of Jeep owners but wrong about his conclusion when it comes to the mall crawlers. Just because they don’t want to wheel they does not indicate a lack of passion for their Jeep. Some people don’t like the idea of risking body damage to a vehicle they spent over$30k on. As far as the Jeep wave goes it’s not just a Jeep thing. I ride sportbikes too and motorcyclists wave to each other and it’s way more common. I was surprised when I first saw that Jeepers did it too. I like that we do. My thinking with mods and Jeep usage is the same as it is with bikes, the person paying for it can do what ever makes them happy with it and that’s all that really matters.

Robb scadden (not verified)    June 25, 2019 - 11:55AM

In reply to by Matt (not verified)

I agree with the mall crawler comment and the comment on not wanting to risk body damage I just spent 60000 on a jeep for my wife 4 inch lift 37 inch tires and she just wants to go anywhere which is ok but that first ding is definitely gonna make me cry

Deanna Carter (not verified)    September 18, 2017 - 1:01PM

All of us enjoy our Jeeps. We have 6 in our family. We attended the Jeep Invasion and for the most part people did have a good attitude but the Jeeps we had there were lifted.
We did come across a few snooty people. I love the Jeeps most of ours are lifted but one of our daughters is proud to be a pavement princess. She is very short in stature. Most Jeepers are very friendly please keep it that way.......

Vicki Sides (not verified)    September 18, 2017 - 1:04PM

I love the passion for Jeeps that's expressed in the article. I don't think in anyway is it self-righteous. Jeep owners are proud of their allegiance and support each other. When I pass Jeep Owners that don't wave I always say "they should put it in the manual and demonstrate during the test drive". I believe there is a love expressed in the article that all should know and understand.

Alan (not verified)    September 18, 2017 - 1:16PM

Let me start out by saying before you start bashing someone for his opinion get to know the guy first. I do know him and he is the most non judgmental person I know. The articular he wrote is pretty spot on. Most of some Jeep Owners do not have any idea about what being a Jeeper is about. They bought it because they just wanted a Jeep. Then you have others that bought a Jeep or have a Jeep that they use it for what it was intended for. They use there Jeeps to help others out that get stuck without receiving any money for their time and efforts. They use them to help raise money for various charities around them. Then you have what a Jeep was made for, Mudding or Rock Crawling which I do all the above. The Jeep Wave to me is simple. It's me saying hello to a fellow Jeep owner weather it's bone stock or modified to the hilt. Do I get waves back, no not all the time from both sides. But for those that "own a Jeep" that don't know or understand the meaning of what a Jeeper is then they don't know what the wave is for. I even wave when I'm in my truck at Jeeps/Jeepers.
Chris this was a very good article sir. I will see you on the trails or at one of the events so till that time sir Jeep on.

Baja02 (not verified)    September 18, 2017 - 4:35PM

In reply to by Alan (not verified)

"You see, there are two types of Jeep owners. The regular Jeep owner and then the true [awesomely awesome] "Jeeper."

"Sadly they have no intention of doing anything with it. Nothing with what the Jeep is made for."

"However, I do know the potential of a Jeep and all you need is just a little imagination. This is why I consider myself a true [awesomely awesome] Jeeper." [instead of you losers that JUST buy a Jeep, don't modify it, and simply DRIVE it around town.]

"You don’t buy a plane to let it sit on the ground, you buy one to fly it. You don’t buy a Jeep to just go to the mall."

SUUUURRRRRE. No judgment there AT ALL.

Here's what I think:

All you "True" (a.k.a., judgmental and prejudiced) Jeepers who agree with this article don't honor and respect the Jeep wave. Since you don't have a basic level of respect for EVERYONE who owns and drives a Jeep, (like those who crawl malls or commute on the highway to work), your Jeep wave is disingenuous. It's patronizing. It's a half-hearted obligation to wave to stock-only, non-off-roading [loser] Jeep owners who don't use or drive their Jeeps the way YOU think EVERYONE should.

TRUE Jeep owners, in my opinion, simply have comraderie and fellowship with EVERY other Jeep owner simply because they are all Jeep owners. But this "tiering" and selective attitude of judging other Jeep owners based on how they drive their Jeeps? No different than religious zealots and other types of narrowminded snobs. It's disparaging, pejorative, and it's nothing more than belittling someone else because of their own personal preferences and likes.

Gilbert (not verified)    September 18, 2017 - 10:37PM

In reply to by Alan (not verified)

Yes I agree , my son's boss just spent 60k on a brand new Sahara 4 door all custom with 37,s and a 4 inch lift looks fantastic and openly says it will never see a trail , my Jeep is 08 Sahara 2dr 5.5 metal cloak full lift with upgraded 44 axles and stuff all the work was done by myself .. two different ideology on cars .. it's the journey that counts ..

J C Knapp (not verified)    September 18, 2017 - 1:21PM

I have had a Jeep for over 25 years. Started with a well used 86 CJ-7. I ran with a group of guys that were very grounded and we have been together for the same amount of time. We run desert, mountains, et al, but no mud, not much out here in Kalifornia. All of our Jeeps have minor mods, 2-3.5 lifts, locker, most now are Rubi's. 33 inch tires are the biggest. The usual assortment of needed items, winch, hi-lift, on board air, etc. We enjoy the off roading, while not putting on airs. Don't have time for that. You drive a Jeep, good for you. Enjoy it.

Meeks.zach (not verified)    September 18, 2017 - 2:11PM

These comments prove the authors point perfectly. A: JEEPERS ARE BETTER and B: if you don't see the difference, you ARE the person he's talking about. Being a long time Jeeper, I can say the release of the JK in 2007 changed the Jeep world in such a drastic manner its almost unrecognizable.

Kenda Christ (not verified)    September 18, 2017 - 2:28PM

Knowing Chris personally and belonging to the same jeep group, he isn't bragging, nor is he being self-righteous or judgemental, he is stating fact. Some buy a jeep just to look good and have no intention of becoming part of the jeep community, have no idea it even exist or ever taking the jeep off road, others buy one to work it through the capabilities it was designed for. As far as not belonging unless you are lifted 4" or more, then you need to find a more mature group, (age does not = maturity) our group has them stock, all the way up to lifted enough to touch the cheek of God and everything in between. When we all get together we admire each others jeeps, talk about why we like them, how they fit our lifestyle, and things we still hope to do with our jeeps, whether that be adding accessories or adventures we have or would want to go on and learn from one another. For many in the PCJ group, our jeeps are our daily drivers, not just toys but it is nice to know they can turn into one if need be, and it ain't bragging if it is true since you can't do that with most vehicles, lol. Our jeep community isn't just about the jeep community, we are about our community all together, we give back and do our best to serve our community and when we find out someone is in need, we pull together to try and meet that need but we also have fun. No where in this article did he say anything rude or judgemental about anyone, he is just merely explaining to those who may be new to the jeep community what some of us find so awesome about our jeeps and our community. Talk about stretching hard to find something to be offended about...geez!

So far as the jeep wave, many who are new to jeeps have no idea why folks in other jeeps wave at them, they have no idea they are part of a larger community and we wave at one another acknowledging that. I am still fairly new to the jeep life myself, (proud owner for just over a year) and when I first bought it, I had no idea why those in other jeeps waved at me (many truck owners do the same, never belonged to a truck group) but I had no idea how huge the jeep community was, not until our friend invited us to join Prison City Jeepers and boy am I glad he did, our lives have changed for the better! We have met some of the best folks, people we will be lifelong friends with, with or without a jeep, people who are truly there for you when you need a helping hand or advice, our group goes beyond just jeeps. Hope y'all can re-read the article with a bit more of an open mind and hope you can truly find a jeep group that makes you feel like family the way PCJ does for all of its members...peace out and be blessed! Jeep on my friends, jeep on ;)

Christopher Russo    September 18, 2017 - 9:43PM

I have been seriously enjoying y'all's comments! I must say though, to those of you who have been "offended" thank you for exercising your rights to free speech and commenting. And thank you for reading the article. Maybe I should have stated first and foremost that there is nothing wrong with being grouped in either category. You are who you are and are in which ever. It's all good. But I shouldn't have to so I didn't. Now to the individual who commented who REALLY got butt hurt...You sir have a great vocabulary. Good use of big words. I applaud you. Now that you are done, I do have a bit of advice. First pull one leg out of your panties before trying to untwist them. It really is a lot easier that way. Second, this was an opinion piece with touches of humor. It was not judging nor degrading. It is what it is. If you are offended and "feel" grouped in one category or the other, I did not put you there. You did that of your own volition. But again, I never said one was right and the other was wrong. Just FYI. LOL

Thank you to all of you that read my article. Look for my next one soon. God bless...

Ken Sterling (not verified)    September 19, 2017 - 2:02AM

In reply to by Christopher Russo

Christopher I enjoyed your article and sorry the humor was lost on some. I started Jeepin many years ago with a stock M151 A2 then a stock 92 YJ and since retirement my daily driver is a lightly mod (3" lift, wench, front/rear bumpers) 2010 Rubicon JK. I belong to a Jeep group on Twitter called @jeepmafia which is world wide who share Jeep adventures and pictures of stock or modified. We haven't met each other but are Jeep brothers and sisters with a common goal, enjoy our Jeeps. So if you wave or not, stock or mod your still family.

Ruben fernandez (not verified)    September 19, 2017 - 9:23AM

I drive to work in my car that just looks the same as everyone's - feeling lifeless back and forth to work- I need a new car- Tesla or Jeep- I thought that the Jeep can go past where the road ends- I bought the JKU Rubicon Hard Rock - Driving to work now makes me feel alive knowing I can- I did go off road once at Big Bear CA- best time in my life- back to work with a smile driving as I gaze down to everyone else - get a life drive a jeep- mid life crisis life saver- got to get away- outa the city- freedom - God Bless America

Old School Guy (not verified)    September 19, 2017 - 9:58PM

I have a 71 CJ and a 97 TJ, well what's left of it, its highly modified. I drive it around town every now and then (full hydro steering is sensitive at speed) most jeeps wave but I'm kinda hard to miss. I'm a long time off-road keeper and it's disappointing to see the attitudes of the new jeep crowd. If you own a Jeep it's yours to do whatever you want to it, sure we may pick on you but it's all in fun. Jeep on JEEPERS

Rob (not verified)    September 21, 2017 - 8:50AM

I love my stock 2015 JKU. Haven't been on real trails yet, but don't have good tires for that (planning to change that soon).

For those who like to tease that "Real Jeeps are lifted" I have two standard replies. Keep in mind these teases mostly come from guys.
1) I love Jeeps. Where else can a guy brag about getting up 2 - 4 inches.
2) I understand your desire to lift. Not everyone can satisfy with stock equipment. Others need enhancements. It's good that you aren't embarrassed

Miguel Rivero (not verified)    November 8, 2017 - 4:01PM

I am literally quoting you in all of my social media accounts, and you get it exactly to the point...

Anyone can drive a car. A Jeep however, can do so much more. A car can take you down the road, a Jeep can take you anywhere. Because when your kids are older, they aren’t going to remember when your car got 38 mpg. They will remember the trips exploring the great outdoors, seeing God’s creation, hanging on the side of a cliff on a narrow trail, when they were covered in mud, getting caught in the rain with the top off, driving doorless and topless.

Love it!!!!!

PinkSteel (not verified)    March 14, 2022 - 10:22AM

In reply to by Miguel Rivero (not verified)

Man! I also thought this was the best comment made! I'm a new jeeper, female and honestly didn't know anything about the club or the jeep family values when I bought it. I just knew from having a geo tracker way back when, that it and the freedom I felt finally Finally, represented ME! I've always been different. I'm an empath, full of free-spirit and dream of adventures I've not yet explored but I'm learning about my new family and I'm on my way. As a black, female, I don't see many but love how, in such little time, I feel accepted and respected all the same! My top recently blew off and I'm CRUSHED!!! ANY ADVICE, or direction would be greatly appreciated, as I just got it and not in the best financial situation. Someone opened my hood and didn't replace the clamps, I'm DEVASTATED!! #pinksteeljeeper