Jeep Wranglers have a ridiculous amount of accessories available. Multiple companies will happily send you 300-page catalogs with every product under the sun. The sheer number of people out there inventing Jeep accessories has created an ecosystem that, should you want something, anything, for your Jeep you're almost guaranteed to find it. Funny thing is, a Jeep is pretty much ready-to-rumble out of the box. If anything is missing it's usually a decent set of all-terrain (NOT all-season) or mud-terrain tires. Oh, and one more thing…
The Hi-Lift jack is required equipment. Even before you throw that lift kit and winch on your Jeep, the Hi-Lift is a modest investment that does a lot more than just lift. Available in various heights, only the 48 and 60 inch are suitable for our purposes. There is a slightly less expensive version with some stamped steel parts, but it doesn't really save you much money so avoid it and just buy the all-cast version. There is an Extreme edition with a winch-clamp-spreader attachment, handy for those functions, or you can just buy a Jack Mate to convert the base model. Finally, a First Responder edition is one of those things where the people who need one already know why, and if that's not you don't worry about it.
The main and most obvious function of the Hi-Lift jack is to change a wheel. After that, the Hi-Lift works well, if slowly, to winch. Even if you have a bumper-mounted winch, it's probably permanently mounted up front, and if you need to winch from the rear it's Hi-Lift time. Also, winches have a lot more things that can go wrong mechanically, or maybe you just have a dead battery, but the Hi-Lift is simple and unpowered, except by you. Because the Hi-Lift is powered by you, you're in the line of fire when you use it, so learn safe jacking principles. This article is a great place to start. Check with your local offroad club to see if they offer recovery classes, and take one. Practice. Talk about it with friends. It's a body of knowledge, and the more you know the safer and more effective you'll be.
Mounting a Hi-Lift on your Jeep presents a lot of options. Most popular are in front of the front door on either side, on the hood, on the tailgate, or secured to a roof rack. We ended up going with another option, the Dominion Offroad interior mount. The version we bought includes the jack mount for a 48 inch jack, plus accessory mounts that we used for a Fiskars 46" D-handle shovel and 36" splitting axe. What's amazing about this mount is the whole package disappears against the roof of the Jeep. It doesn't black the rear view mirror or take up valuable cargo space. It also keeps your jack, shovel and axe out of view and out of the elements. Seriously a great piece of kit that deserves its own review.
Other options you'll want to consider are a handle isolator to minimize rattling, a jack base for soft ground, a Lift Mate so you can lift the wheel directly, and the afore-mentioned Jack Mate to add winch-clamp-spreader-base capabilities to your jack. Now you're ready to jack like a pro!