Everything You Need To Know About The Top 10 Off-Road Rear Bumper Options For The 6th Gen Bronco – Complete Overview and Buyer’s Guide
Next to rocker panels, quarter panels are up there with the most vulnerable sections of your vehicle when wheeling. This is especially true if you push your Bronco through challenging, technical trails. If you plan on wheeling hard, you will eventually slam your bumper on a large rock or ledge. Even if you plan on entry-level or moderate trails, you will likely scrape your bumper when coming off obstacles. It happens to all of us.
We recently covered front bumpers for the 6th Gen Bronco, and although front bumpers are an essential part of wheeling, they don’t protect your build quite like a rear bumper. Front bumpers protect against side obstacles but are more so designed for better approach angles, tire clearance, and running aftermarket lights. Rear bumpers, on the other hand, do a much better job of actually protecting your body.
If you’re taking your Bronco off-road, upgrading to a steel bumper is a no-brainer for all models equipped with a plastic bumper. Models equipped with a steel bumper, like the Badlands, are going to perform better than the plastic versions, however, there is still room for improvement. The factory steel bumper features portions of plastic trim throughout and is known for sagging issues along with body lines not lining up.
We’ve pushed our rear bumper around for a few months now, and it’s worked for its intended use, but we’re ready for an upgrade. We plan on dropping the bumper on rocks/ledges for years to come so we want to be as prepared as possible.
In addition to the protection benefits, rear bumpers can allow you to run various aftermarket accessories like recovery boards, jacks, spare fuel containers, spare tires, auxiliary lighting, and much more.
Bronco Rear Bumper Options
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Material is one of the more important factors to consider before pulling the trigger on a new rear bumper for your Bronco. Of the top options on the market, you have aluminum and steel. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice for your build will come down to your needs in a bumper.
- Extremely strong
- Durable over time
- Prone to rust
If you are a seasoned off-road veteran, you know steel is the best material for hitting rocks, ledges, and challenging obstacles. Where aluminum will crush upon impact, steel is more likely to withstand the abuse of off-roading without taking much physical damage.
Steel is the best material choice when you descend steep grades and ledges. As your rig departs from a steep obstacle, your quarter panels and tail lights are prone to dragging, scraping, or slamming against rocks. To eliminate any fear of potential damage, you want a solid steel rear bumper that can take repeated abuse and protect against those big hits. Steel is much less malleable than aluminum, which can absorb impact better.
Of course, these benefits of steel come with a few downsides. Steel is much more prone to rusting than aluminum, which means you need a quality powder coat or paint job and will need to maintain it over time. Each scrape or rock chip could begin the rusting process, so staying on top of that is key.
Additionally, steel’s heavy-duty quality means it weighs more than aluminum. Since it is a much heavier material, you will likely want an upgraded rear suspension to support the weight. This rings true, especially if you are planning on strapping accessories to your bumper.
- Less durable long term
- Not as strong
Although steel seems like an easy answer, some of you may find aluminum to be more your speed. While steel is meant to withstand repeated off-road abuse, aluminum is designed to protect while offering a lighter weight. Since aluminum is much lighter, you might not need special valving and heavier spring rates to support the build.
Additionally, if you live in a place that often causes issues with rust, aluminum will offer you much more peace of mind. If you plan on wheeling hard, aluminum won’t last you long. But, if you only hit the trails on occasion and want a bumper for looks or accessory mounting potential, aluminum will serve you just fine.
Cost is also important, and aluminum is typically more expensive than steel bumpers depending on the fabricator and design.
Steel is a must-have if you want to push the boundaries of your Bronco off-road. Alternatively, aluminum might be worth a look if you’re building a show truck, pavement princess, or don’t plan on wheeling hard.
Swing Out Options
Swingouts are great for mounting gear when you need something and can swing out of the way when you need to access your cargo area. Depending on the manufacturer, you can choose single and dual swingouts and integrated tire carriers in various configurations. Swingouts arent for every build, though. If you’re considering weight (which everyone should, as weight is the enemy), you know swingout weight can add up very quickly.
A fully loaded steel dual swingout with a full-size 37″ spare, Hi-Lift or Pro Eagle Jack, full jerry cans, propane tanks, recovery gear, and a camp table can quickly push 500 lbs. Running that much weight on your Bronco will cause a loss in MPGs, and you will undoubtedly notice it driving around town.
If you want to maximize storage capabilities and utility, a dual swingout bumper may be the right pick. Having two swingouts split into both sides of your rear bumper means you can compartmentalize your storage. On one side, you can run a full-size spare; on the other, you can mount whatever essential gear you want; recovery jacks, spare fuel containers, propane tanks, recovery boards, trash bags, camp tables, overland shower systems, aux lighting, and so much more.
A single swingout has certain advantages too. If you are looking for a simple design, and less weight, then a single swingout might be for you. Maybe you don’t carry tons of gear and only want a spare tire, a dropdown camp table, and one accessory, like a HiLift for example. If this is all you need, then a single swingout is a great option. Thanks to its simplified design, a single swingout means you have fewer steps to take to access the tailgate. While this may seem like a small detail, reaching your trunk can feel like a hassle if you have to unlatch two separate swingouts.
Tailgate (Swing Gate) Mounted Tire Carrier
Finally, there are bumpers tailgate-mounted tire carrier kits. Most of these kits are designed around larger tires.
Some are offered by the armor company and others are offered as stand-alone products designed to be compatible with a wide variety of rear bumpers on the market. If you plan on running a 37″ or larger tire, and you would like to leave your tire on your tailgate, then you need one of these kits. This is essentially a spare tire delete kit while adding a new bracket to position the tire higher up on the tailgate, thus allowing you to clear your bumper when swinging out your tailgate.
Most of the tailgate-mounted tire carrier brackets are simple while some others offer Rotopax mounts, HiLift mounts, Maxtrax mounts, and more. This is a good option if you want to keep that “stock” look while running a 37″ or 40″ tire on your tailgate.
Something to note though would be weight. You can expect your tailgate strut to fail over time if you’re consistently swinging out your tailgate with a 40″ tire. This is not a huge deal, though, there are plenty of upgraded struts available on the market.
Hitch-Mounted Tire Carrier
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If you run oversized tires and heavy beadlock wheels, the weight can add up. Removing that stress from the Bronco can benefit longevity and daily driveability. This is an optimal solution for the Bronco owner looking to carry a full-sized spare tire and lots of gear when on a trip – and easily removable back at home when driving daily.
As the name implies, a hitch-mounted spare tire carrier mounts into a hitch receiver on your Bronco. The two most significant benefits to a hitch-mounted swingout are that they are (1) highly customizable and (2) you remove it as needed.
If you consider yourself a weekend warrior, this modularity is a massive benefit. Not having to worry about your gear being stolen or the extended length of a spare tire can offer a lot of peace of mind.
Some will argue in favor of a swing gate or bumper-mounted tire carrier over a hitch-mounted tire carrier because they both provide better departure angles. Yes, this is true. However, I have wheeled through several trails with a hitch-mounted swing and walked out just fine. For example, I’ve wheeled a hitch-mounted tire swing through Wheeler Lake, Black Bear Pass, Imogene Pass, Engineer Pass, Hells Revenge in Moab (including Hells Gate), and many more.
If you want maximum clearance, you should look into a bumper-mounted carrier or a swing gate mount. But, if you want that removability factor, a hitch-mounted carrier like the RiGd Supply UltraSwing will be your best bet.
Add-Ons & Components
One final category to consider before configuring your bumper is the potential add-ons you want, along with the components and materials used.
First and foremost on a rear bumper is the latch style. What latches does the company use? Are they made in-house or do they look like the $10 Amazon latches? Also, pay attention to the pivots and how the swingouts latch onto the bumper. Some pivots use cheap locking pins while others use high-end spindle kits with greaseable zerk fittings. Some other important items to consider include recovery points, sensor mounting points, license plate brackets, license plate lighting, adjustable vs. non-adjustable tire mounting options, and more.
Additional fuel storage can be a life saver if you’re headed out on a long overland expedition. There are plenty of multi-day remote routes that have no access to gas stations. If you plan on hitting long routes, you should carry extra fuel. These mounting options usually take form in two ways: jerry can mounts/baskets and molle panel mounts for RotoPax.
For those looking to wheel hard and often, carrying the right recovery gear such as recovery boards is very important. Recovery boards or “traction boards” can be used for all challenging terrain types; sand, mud, snow, and even rocks. Although this recovery tool can be helpful, they’re also large and sometimes awkward to mount.
Rear bumpers usually offer plenty of space to mount these boards. By securely strapping or mounting recovery boards to a bumper swingout, not only are they easily accessible, but they’re outside and away from the interior of your Bronco.
Drop Down Tables
One of the most useful rear bumper swingout features is a drop-down table. Creating a quality camp kitchen setup can be tough when you need to haul a bunch of foldable tables out to your campsite. Having an integrated drop-down table makes it super easy to have a cooking space without needing to pack too much stuff.
Another advantage of having a drop-down table is having a place that is out of the way to temporarily put small items at a trailhead. For example, if you are mountain biking, while you are getting set up at the trailhead you can put your water bottle and helmet on the table until you are ready to head out.
Finally, we have molle panels. This add-on is likely the most versatile and modular option you can add. It allows you to add RotoPax fuel and water containers, storage bags, HiLift Jacks, shovels, radio antennas, auxiliary lighting, shower/water systems, and countless other accessories.
If you are just starting to build your rig and are not sure exactly what you are going to want to carry, this can be a great option as it can change with time.
Top 10 Rear Bumpers For 6th Gen Bronco
Now that you have an understanding of what to consider before buying a rear bumper, let’s discuss the best options on the market.
These choices come from years of off-road experience and we took into consideration aesthetics, functionality, and brand reputation.
If you don’t know which option will be best for you, I will try to summarize all of my thoughts at the end.
Without any more, let’s jump into the top 10 rear bumper options for the 6th Generation Bronco.
1. True North
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True North Fabrications offers some of the best body armor for the 6th Gen Bronco on the market. Their modular rear bumper is no exception. It features a high clearance design for improved departure angles and is made entirely from sheet metal. Its construction maintains durability while remaining as lightweight as possible.
Additionally, they offer two Element LED flush-mounted light pods, two recovery tow points, and cutouts for your parking sensors at no extra cost.
In terms of swingout options, you can get the bumper compatible with the stock spare tire location, a spare tire delete kit, or a dual swingout. If you opt for the swingout you get a dual jerry can holder and can also include a drop-down table.
Another interesting feature is that since it is modular, you can start with the bumper base and buy things like swingouts and accessories later on. The True North Bumper starts at $1200 and goes up to $3434 when fully optioned.
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4 Wheel Parts Factory also offers a solid rear bumper for your new Bronco. It features a hybrid tube and sheet metal construction that extends the full width of the body of the vehicle. This rear bumper is also compatible with the factory tow package.
In terms of add-ons, the 4WP bumper does not come with a swingout option. However, it includes integrated auxiliary lighting cutouts meant for 2×2 light pods. It also has two D-ring recovery points. At $1100 this is a somewhat budget-friendly option.
Although this is a good-looking option for the Bronco, the reviews arent that great so proceed with caution.
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If you are looking for a manufacturer that has been in the game for a while, look no further than ARB. They have been making off-road parts and body armor for many different vehicles for decades. Their rear bumper utilizes a durable steel construction to deliver maximum protection of your rear end.
The ARB bumper also features two jack points, an LED license plate kit, and two recovery points. For optimal longevity, they also use primer and powder coat to prevent rusting issues. Additionally, it is compatible with the rear parking sensors and the OEM tow bar.
For both wide and narrow fender flare models the price is $1276. No swingout options are offered.
4. Addictive Desert Designs
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Next up we have the Pro Bolt-On bumper by Addictive Desert Designs. This version is made of a hybrid of steel tubing and plating and is finished with a black powder coat. The top plates are made of aluminum for slight weight savings.
Included in the kit you get a license plate relocation bracket and a 3rd brake light extension kit which allows you to mount up to a 37″ tire on the stock mounting location. Additionally, this bumper is compatible with the OEM hitch and trailer harness and retains the functionality of the factory parking sensors. No tire carrier or swingout options are offered.
Priced at $2280, you will have to pay somewhat of a premium price for the Pro Bolt-On rear bumper but for the clearance and quality you get, it may be worth it.
5. JCR Crusader
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Looking to protect your Bronco’s rear end on more of a budget? I would suggest checking out JCR Offroad’s Crusader. This bumper is made from CNC-cut and formed steel with integrated shackle tabs. Compatible with the factory hitch and provisions for backup sensors, you can retain all of your OEM functions with a little bit of work.
There are integrated light pod cutouts on either side of the bumper suited for 3″ LED light cubes. As shown in the photo, a set of Baja Designs Squadrons fit perfectly. The Crusader also features built-in hi-lift jacking points.
All mounting hardware is included and it comes with a license plate relocation kit. Prices start at $1150 for the raw finish and you can get it powder coated for an additional $150.
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SVC Offroad has built its Baja Rear Bumper for those of you who like that race truck aesthetic. The materials are CNC bent and cut for precision fitment on your Bronco, and they come in a satin black powder coat for durability.
This bumper is compatible with parking sensors and features an integrated license mounting location and light. It also comes with two hooks for those last-resort recoveries. Additionally, its high-clearance design means that you can descend more challenging terrain types without having to worry about dragging.
The SVC Baja bumper is priced in the middle of the pack at $1195, though for an extra $400 you can opt for a high-strength tow hitch which we think is worth it for an added recovery point.
7. Expedition One
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The Trail Series rear bumper by Expedition One is constructed of high-grade precision-cut 3/16″ steel. It also features a single swingout tire carrier capable of holding up to a 40″ tire. Integrated light cutouts allow you to mount two LED pods up to 4″ in diameter.
If you want your bumper to come powder coated, they offer a textured black finish. This system has a relocation bracket for the license plate and holes for the rear backup sensors. Additionally, it is designed around the stock hitch receiver.
For those of you who want just a single swingout bumper, this is one of the few options available. Starting at $1850 for the base, this is somewhat in the middle of the price range. Though, with options, it can add up to about $2500.
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For a more OEM style with added protection, the Westin Pro-Series rear bumper might be a good choice. It features a lightweight, one-piece design with increased ground clearance and departure angles. Made of 10 gauge steel covered in a textured black finish, you can be sure this bumper is durable.
Additionally, the Pro-Series bumper accommodates OEM hitch and LED backup lights and accepts 2 flush-mounted FM6 LED lights. This bumper comes in at $1130 and you can include an optional license plate relocation bracket for $116.
9. Rough Country
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Rough Country’s rear bumper offering for the 6th Gen Bronco will be the best option for those of you building your rigs on a budget. The width of the bumper extends beyond the body lines of your car to maximize protection while off-road. It also allows up to a 35″ tire which will work for most of you. However, those of you looking to throw on 37s should go another route.
Made from heavy-duty steel, the Rough Country bumper is meant to withstand abuse. In the chance that you get stuck, this option has recessed D-ring mounts to help get you towed out. It also comes with a license plate relocation kit and is compatible with the tow hitch.
Priced at $715 without lights and up to $915 with lightbars and pod lights, this bumper is extremely cost-efficient.
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Now for the last on our list, we have DV8’s competition series rear bumper. This system features a hybrid tube and plate steel construction that allows you to fit two 3″ light pods for off-road lighting. Its low-profile design means you can fit up to a 37″ spare tire on the original spare mounting location. However, no swingout option is available.
OEM reverse sensors are integrated into the bumper so you can retain their full functionality. This system also accommodates the OEM tow hitch and includes a tailgate-mounted license plate bracket.
At $1000 this is also another budget-friendly pick for those of you looking to save some money.
Pictured: True North Fabrications Rear Bumper with Dual Swing Outs
I hope this post has helped you figure out exactly what to consider before pulling the trigger on a bumper setup for your Bronco. As per usual, your budget will be one of the biggest factors to consider. After that, I would suggest that you think about whether or not you want a swingout or integrated lighting.
If you are still on the fence, I can try to sum everything up. True North Fabrications will be the best option for those of you that want a swingout. The best budget-friendly picks will be DV8, Rough Country, and JCR. Finally, SVC and Addictive Desert Designs will offer that race truck look and clearance that many of you may be looking for.
Ultimately it is important to pick a bumper that you think looks good. Of course, it is not all about aesthetics because functionality is just as important.