5 EKKO Mods for Off-Road RVing
An adventurous owner’s tips for all-terrain gear that can help get you off the pavement.

By: Greg Bond

When you live in the desert with mountain forests only a couple of hours away and you’re not an RV park type of person, what do you do? If you’re like us and you want to get away from it all to explore the great outdoors, you need to go off-road!

We grew up camping off the beaten path and have spent many years tent camping with the family. As soon as we purchased our first small travel trailer more than 17 years ago, we were hooked on the RV life. Since then, we’ve had one travel trailer, two Class As, three Class Cs, two toy haulers, and now our EKKO – which is our third Winnebago RV. I have taken each of those RVs into places that most people wouldn’t attempt. Many of those camping spots were epic, and all were challenging to get to, along with a few that just weren’t worth the effort.

Although each of those RVs were different in style, length, capability, power, and clearance, each one had its pros and cons. When the EKKO came on the scene, it all changed for us. The EKKO provided us the space we needed along with the gear garage and the AWD Transit chassis. The EKKO also turned out to be a dream for those people like me who like to do modifications to their RVs, since it is easy to personalize.

Important Note: As for any mod, making changes to your RV would be at your own risk. The mods listed here are not a direct recommendation from Winnebago. This article is comprised of tips from a fellow RVer for those wanting to pursue mods of this kind. Going off-road in your RV is also an activity that is done at your own risk, and it usually requires a lot of experience as well as proper gear to do so safely. 

5 EKKO All-Terrain Mods

I had already started planning my mods prior to the delivery of our EKKO. However, before I made any major modifications, I wanted to see how the EKKO performed in some of the areas I’ve previously took our other RVs to get a baseline. I was surprised at how well it handled on some rocky, less-traveled forest service roads without any mods to the chassis. Even though the EKKO handled well, I decided I still needed a few mods to help me get to those hard-to-reach places.

1. Lift & Tires

I needed more clearance, so we installed the 2” Quigley QLift. With the install, we also upgraded the front stock struts to Bilstein struts and replaced the stock rear shocks with Falcon 3.3 SP2 adjustable shocks. This combination improved the off-road ride and got us a few more inches of clearance.

After the lift was installed, we had the clearance to increase the tire size to not only give us a little additional clearance but also to add a solid all-terrain tire that could handle the rocks, mud, and sand that we are typically in. We switched to 245/75/16 Falken Wildpeak tires with a 1” spacer between the rear dual tires. The tires perform great so far and don’t seem to be any louder on the pavement than the stock tires.

2. Auxiliary Lighting

Many times, we will arrive in the sand dunes or desert at night or need to travel down long dirt roads in the forest after dark. Having some auxiliary lighting helps to not only see farther down the road, but with side lighting in place I can see on both sides of me to determine a potential camp spot, or a road, without having to point the RV in that direction to see what it looks like or get out with a flashlight to look around. It also helps in seeing those tree branches you want to avoid and assists with lighting up the camp area when setting up.

The EKKO, with its optional roof rack on top, was the perfect platform for my lighting design and fabrication. I first wanted a great LED lightbar on the front, but I didn’t want the wind noise that they can produce inside the cab. I custom designed an aluminum fairing with an integrated place for a 50-inch Baja Design LED lightbar. The fairing/lightbar is mounted to the front of the roof rack with an additional crossbar for support. This light bar also doubles as additional marker lights with the integrated amber lights.

Next are the side LED pod lights also from Baja Design. There are two lights on each side, one at the front and one at the back facing out on each side of the EKKO. Each side is wired independently so either side can be turned on/off.

On the rear bumper I also mounted a pair of flush-mount Baja Design pod lights that allow me to see behind me and it is very helpful when loading off-road toys on my trailer when that goes with us, or just for backing up.

All of the lights are controlled by a Switch Pro 8 switch panel power system, and it’s mounted over the rear-view mirror in the cab. All of the lights can be controlled by the switch panel or by the Switch Pro Bluetooth App on my phone.

3. Traction Board Rack

Since we are off-road a lot, we can’t just call a tow truck to help get us out of a jam. So, we always take along some standard recovery gear along with traction boards. 

I didn’t want to take up valuable storage space to take the traction boards, so I built a rack out of some angled aluminum and flat stock aluminum and mounted it on the roof rack behind the solar panels. This is an easy mod to make and mount, and it securely holds the traction boards on the roof.

4. Gear Garage Personalization

Our Gear Garage mods are in a constant state of flux. It’s one of the great things about the EKKO, you have almost endless options to configure depending on what kind of trip you’re doing and where you are going. Sometimes we want to take our mountain bikes, so I can easily install the bike mounts that are secured to the L-track, then load up our bikes and other gear and hit the road. 

5. MOLLE Panels

I love the fact that Winnebago includes MOLLE panels on the side doors of the gear garage. It’s a great way to store items and leaves more room in the garage for other fun things. We keep a well packed first-aid kit, along with multiple pouches for small items and some recovery gear. These are very versatile panels, and you can configure them any way you want.

Bonus: RV Outdoor Movie Theater

Okay, I know it’s not off-road related, but how many RVs have you seen that have a big screen outdoor movie theater? Our EKKO does! Our EKKO has the optional batwing awning that is mounted on the driver side.

We use a wall from a 10x10 pop up canopy and attach it with Velcro to the batwing awning. We then set up a projector on the back side to project the movie on the canopy wall. Put an outdoor mat, a small propane fire pit, an inflatable couch, popcorn and drinks, and we have a nice little outdoor movie theater.

We’ve made many other mods to our EKKO that are popular with many of the EKKO owners. I’ll continue to make more mods and enjoy all the new and exciting places our EKKO takes us - off the beaten path, of course.


Comments on this post are moderated, so they will not appear instantly. All relevant questions and helpful notes are welcome! If you have a service inquiry or question related to your RV, please reach out to the customer care team directly using the phone numbers or contact form on this page .

User commented on September 21, 2022 8:47 AM
This is great! Thank you.
User commented on September 22, 2022 8:43 PM
Greg reading this article has even Me revved up to try going a bit off road with our EKKO and our new lift and tires! Loving that inflatable couch! Great article and maybe you can convince Dave to get that light at installed! - Tanya (Turn It Up World)
User commented on October 23, 2022 10:49 AM
The larger tires and lift idea sounds like a good call. What I would like more thought on is a leveling system for the EKKO for off road locations if we are in a true off road location where level can't be found.
User commented on October 23, 2022 11:01 AM
Hey Greg, this article is terrific, simply nailed my off road wish list for our soon-to-arrive Ekko. Can you share more about the wind dam design? Maybe the fab shop would make another? Also, why Quigley over Van Compass for the lift? Thanks again-Jim
User commented on October 24, 2022 6:29 PM
Hi Jim, I’m happy to share the design of the fairing just contact me via Facebook Messenger if you are in the EKKO FB group. If not the Go-Life editor can share my email address with you. As for the Quigley Lift vs Van Compass, I like that the Quigley lift is Ford approved and it doesn’t change any existing CV angles like the Van Compass lift does. Either lift will do the job but I don’t have to worry about early wear of CVs with Quigley. Plus I was able to drive an EKKO with the Quigley lift and love how it drove.
User commented on October 23, 2022 1:31 PM
Have a Hike 170s and love to know more about the lighting mods and any tips for a Hike.
User commented on October 24, 2022 2:21 PM
This article has some HIKE-specific tips that may be helpful: https://www.winnebago.com/lifestyle/winnebagolife/showroom/the-revel-and-hike-a-beautiful-collaboration-for-rving-adventures Thanks for your comment, GoLife Editor
User commented on October 24, 2022 7:35 PM
Thank you for the link!!
User commented on October 23, 2022 4:33 PM
I've had Falken Wild Peak AT3 tires on my Wrangler for over a year, and they're definitely a great option for off road or on road in almost all road and weather conditions. I plan to add them to my Navion when the current stock rubber ages out. I know it's not an AWD/4WD application, but these tires just add a little more *gnarl* in the ride and traction departments on any vehicle.
User commented on October 24, 2022 9:30 AM
Thank you Greg for this very informative article. I have met you personally and you have gone above and beyond to not only help me but others as newbie RV’ers with this wonderful Ekko. I totally plan on incorporating a lot of the ideas mentioned above. I look forward to more of your articles.
User commented on October 25, 2022 1:44 PM
Great article, Greg! Appreciate you sharing just how mod worthy this rig is!
User commented on October 27, 2022 7:29 AM
Thanks Greg for the great article! I've got Quigley close by here in South Central PA. The lift is high on my Mod list for "Skedaddle".
User commented on October 27, 2022 8:36 AM
Nice work, Greg. Your MOLLE panels could be hung in an art museum LOL. =Sal (The Brewery Lovers)
User commented on November 11, 2022 4:10 PM
Hi Greg, Love your article. Would you mind sharing some cost of your modifications. I am not looking for a spreadsheet type thing but to get some idea what might be coming my way if I wanted to implement your great solutions. Thx Walter
User commented on November 28, 2022 2:43 PM
Hi Walter, The overall cost for the lift, tires, struts/shocks, lights and associated accessories will be in the $10K range. There are less expensive options for everything I did so you could save some money making some component changes. I made my choices based on my research for each item and how I will use them along with quality of each item. The most expensive is the lift, then tires, and then the lights & accessories, and finally struts & shocks. I hope this helps answer your question and helps in your planning. -Greg
User commented on December 4, 2022 5:07 PM
Thanks for the information, there are some really great ways to live off road and full time!
User commented on January 14, 2023 11:52 AM
Hey Greg, I’m planning on mounting the starlink pivot mount to my EKKO roof rack but not sure what bolts I need to use and a little mystified about how they slide into the groove. Cheers! Lee
User commented on January 25, 2023 7:22 PM
Hi Lee, I used T-Track bolts or sometimes called T-Bolts or you can use T-Nuts. They are all rectangular in shape and turn just enough to catch the sides of the tracks on the roof rack.
User commented on March 24, 2023 5:27 PM
Hi Greg, How has the Ekko interior held up over rough roads? I've heard from other van folks that any wood or laminate cabinets (vs. aluminum) will eventually loosen up over the bumps... Thanks for the great info!
User commented on April 7, 2023 5:27 PM
I haven’t had any issues with any wood components or cabinets over rough roads. Washboard roads always make any vehicle rattle but no damage or issues. I usually try to seek out and address any normal squeaks or noises and try to look for storage solutions that would reduce or eliminate vibrations or noise for the items I bring on a trip. -Greg
User commented on June 13, 2023 3:25 PM
Hi Greg! Great Article! We recently purchased an EKKO - as my boyfriend is a Pro MTB racer - wondering what you used or where you purchased the mountain bike track / accessories for mounting the bikes. Thank you! - A
User commented on June 26, 2023 3:32 PM
I used RockyMount Drop Top Locking Thru-Axle Fork Mounts. You can get them on Amazon I attached those to a piece of aluminum flat stock and that is attached to the L-track in the floor using L Track Double Lug Threaded Stud Fitting with Knob 4 Pack, also found on Amazon. Under the aluminum flat stock I also put a piece of wood to take the play out of the aluminum. Hope that helps. - Greg
User commented on September 5, 2023 8:54 PM
Did you re-gear the differentials or tranny to accommodate the larger diameter tires. If not why? Thanks