THE BEGINNINGS OF A GREAT ADVENTURE
My name is Shaun Freilich, and I’m the owner of Complete Customs in McKinney, TX. I was born in California and raised in West Texas, but I would visit California every summer and would often camp in Johnson Valley. As I got older, I purchased an RV and loved camping with my family and friends.
I started wrenching on vehicles when I was five years old at my grandparent’s junk yard in Lucerne Valley, CA. My passion eventually carried over to me opening a custom car shop when I was 30 years old. The first off-road vehicle I built was my 2017 Toyota Tundra, and my favorite thing about that Tundra was the fully custom Mazzulla long arm suspension!
COMBINING WORK AND PLEASURE
I was always building off-road vehicles through my shop, so eventually, I decided to build the ultimate overlanding vehicle. I picked the Gladiator because it was new to the market, and I had been patiently waiting for Jeep to release it for several years. I have owned four-plus Jeeps since opening Complete Customs back in 2011. All of the Jeep builds are awesome, and I really enjoyed taking them off-road.
I have also built some amazing partnerships over the years with some of the best manufacturers in the off-road industry. So in the design phase of the vehicle, I first looked to manufacturers we have worked with in the past and with this build, I decided to combine some of my passions to come out with something different. I called the build the Traeger Gladiator for the obvious fact that it has a Traeger Pellet Smoker attached to the back and is fully functional!
All the work performed on my vehicles are done by the amazing team at Complete Customs! We’ve worked on many SEMA builds throughout the years and the biggest challenge was getting products in a timely manner. The build was designed to go off grid and disconnect from the everyday hustle of life. I love to BBQ, so adding the Traeger Grill was a must and is my absolute favorite mod on it. The cantilever mount for the Traeger Tailgater Grill is fully custom and built to fit the Leitner Active Rack System. We worked with Christopher Moos from Moos Craft to create the cantilever mount.
I have loved cooking for the past 10 years of my life, and the thought of being able to cook in the middle of nowhere with nothing else going on around me sounded amazing! I’ve used it on the trails and camping several times and the response I get from other off-road drivers is awesome. It’s definitely something you don’t see everyday!
THE TRIPS OF A LIFETIME
The most memorable trip was with my wife Courtney when we drove from Silverton, CO, to Lake City, CO, on Cinnamon Pass. It took us a full day to make the drive, and we enjoyed every moment of it. Seeing all the wildlife and history in between the two cities was an experience within itself. When it was time for lunch we found a stream right off the trails and set up shop! We purchased some filet mignon steaks, fresh local bread and fresh greens back in Durango before we headed out. So, I made some of the most amazing steak sandwiches on the trail. All the other people driving on the trail would pull up to us and tell us they could smell the steaks from miles back! They couldn’t believe we had a Traeger in the middle of the Colorado mountains and were cooking steaks! That is definitely a special day that we will talk about for many years to come!
The most technical trail was in Moab, UT. Thankfully the rig didn’t suffer any major damage, but we did come back with a few battle scars! The 2.5” ICON Vehicle Dynamics Suspension set us up for success when on the trails providing plenty of travel to get across some of the more technical areas.
Preparation is key when going overlanding or even just for a quick day trip. You always need to make sure you have everything you need in case something doesn’t go as planned. I normally lay everything out the night before to make sure I didn’t forget anything, then I pack everything
as organized as possible so I can find it when on the trails.
Getting stranded is everyone’s biggest fear, especially if traveling off-road by yourself. You want to always make sure you have the basics on your rig like a WARN Winch, Monster Hooks and rope. All these items will come in handy if you get stuck. I would also always recommend some sort of communication radio. Depending how far off-road you’re traveling, most cell phones don’t work, so you can’t depend on them if something happens.
TECH SPECS: 2020 JEEP GLADIATOR
• 17×9 Black Rhino PRIME wheels
• 37×12.50R17 General Grabbers X3 tires
• Gibson Black Elite cat-back dual split
• ICON Vehicle Dynamics 2.5” Stage 7
• Addictive Desert Design Rubicon Stealth
Fighter full-length winch front bumper w/
• Addictive Desert Design Stealth Fighter
• AMP Research Power Step XL running
• APA Satin Sand Storm vinyl wrap
• Rigid Industries lighting
• 12K WARN Winch
• Monster Hook Shackles
• DECKED Cargo System
• Leitner Designs Active Cargo System
• Loc’ker Down Center Console Safe
• Tepui Ruggedized Autana Roof Top Tent
• Tepui Overcast Awning
CAMP KITCHEN GEAR
• Traeger Tailgater Grill w/ Custom
Cantilever Swing Out Mount built by Moos Craft of Denton, TX The DECKED Drawer system features a pull-out sink and stovetop burner.