Introduced in 2013, Jeep’s Badge of Honor app is designed to foster engagement, connection, and competition amongst the off-road set. Users can browse off-road trails, check in, and earn rewards by completing various routes and even earn physical medallions that can be applied to a Jeep vehicle as real-life badges of honor. The app covers some of the country’s most infamous off-road trails, from Colorado’s Imogene Pass to Hell’s Revenge in Moab, and even a route so challenging that it inspired its own Jeep trim level: the Rubicon Trail.
While the Badge of Honor program has been around for a decade, Jeep made some significant upgrades in 2020, adding a trail check-in system improved trail information, including difficulty ratings, directions to-and-from the trailhead, and user-uploaded photos. The 2020 revamp also saw Jeep extend the program’s coverage to seven new trails, bringing the app’s total up to 56 routes. Whether you’re in the market to buy a used Jeep or a longtime owner looking to invest in a new model, the Badge of Honor app is a must-have app for any Jeep driver.
“We created the Badge of Honor program as a fun way to interact with our loyal off-road Jeep enthusiasts, allowing them to do what they love most and earn unique trail badges for their vehicle,” says Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand-FCA North America. “The program has really taken off, and we often see Jeep vehicles with many different badges that represent conquered trails around the country. With continued program interest, we’ve expanded the Badge of Honor mobile app with many new features our customers will enjoy.”
The Badge of Honor app is a must-have for any driver looking to test their mettle against some of the most demanding terrain ever to be tackled by four-wheel drive. From leaderboards and event listings to vehicle profiles and an Instagram-inspired photo feed, the Badge of Honor app puts a decidedly Jeep-y twist on the typical social media app. Join us as we take a closer look at the app, explore its various functions, and learn how it can help drivers take their off-road skills to the next level.
Upon opening the app—and reviewing a disclaimer about the dangers of off-roading— users will be invited to either make a profile or continue as a guest. Guests can’t earn those coveted badges, so take this opportunity to create a profile. Once on the Home page, you can view a Featured Trail along with a Leaderboard displaying users by points accrued over the month, overall points, and top check-ins. These lists can also be filtered by specific trail, allowing users to see what the competition has been up to.
If you haven’t settled on a location for your next off-road journey, simply navigate over to the Map tab, where you’ll be able to survey each of the 56 trails that qualify for the Badge of Honor program. The map defaults to listing trails in ascending order based on distance from your current location, but can also be sorted by difficulty, popularity, user rating, and alphabetical order. Click on a trail, and you’ll be taken to the Trail Details page, where you can study up on all the pertinent information from difficulty and current trail conditions to a day-long trail forecast and even a widget that allows you to see how many hours of daylight remain at the trail’s location. The Trail Details page allows drivers to rate the trail, copy GPS coordinates, submit reviews, view photos, leaderboards, comments, and even includes a Must Haves & To Dos section that lists what sort of gear or components you’ll need to check the trail off your list. Take Vail, Colorado’s Holy Cross, for example. Rated a Seven to Nine in difficulty, the app recommends 33-inch tires, a two-inch lift, and front and rear lockers if you want to give yourself the best chance for success.
One of the app’s more thoughtful inclusions is the Indigenous Lands feature. It gives drivers some basic information on the traditional indigenous lands they will be traversing as part of their Badge of Honor journey. The Holy Cross Trail passes through land traditionally occupied by various Ute tribes, including the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Tribe, and Ute Indian Tribe. The Indigenous Lands tab lists the language spoken by the tribes as well as a link to the tribal websites where drivers can learn more about the area’s original inhabitants. It’s a good reminder that, no matter how far off the beaten path you are, this land’s history stretches back a lot further than we tend to think.
Last but not least, there’s the Map page’s Charging Stations tab. While hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or all-electric vehicles haven’t traditionally been the most rugged off-road performers, that’s all starting to change as a new era of automotive technology takes hold. Released in 2021, the Jeep Wrangler 4xe is a great example. The plug-in hybrid retains all the rough-and-tumble bona fides drivers have come to expect from the brand while leveraging plug-in hybrid technology to make the hobby greener than ever. The Charging Station tab allows drivers to locate nearby charging stations, ensuring that their off-road journey doesn’t come to a premature end, thanks to a lack of juice.
With a vertical scrolling design reminiscent of popular social media apps like Instagram and X (formerly Twitter), the Photos tab allows users to browse a steady feed of stunning off-road snaps from Badge of Honor users and collect their own photographic memories all in one place. The feed can be filtered by specific trial, allowing drivers to get an up-to-date look at a route before setting off.
The Profile page is where Badge of Honor users can keep track of their achievements, view their badges, catalog their favorite trails, and view their current rank. Any Badge of Honor user starts off as a Trail Rookie but can climb the ranks from Trail Explorer (800 points) all the way up to Trail Expert (6,500 points) by completing qualifying trails. The Profile page is also the perfect place to showcase your Jeep, displaying make, model, and any modifications drivers might have made.
The Profile tab is also where you’ll find the My Badges section. No NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) here. Drivers can earn real, physical badges for each trail they complete. Rimmed in silver, these matte black badges display the trail’s name and location along with an icon of the state where it’s located and an accurate representation of the trail in the form of a snaking, jagged line. Best of all, the badges are totally free. Simply find your way to the trail, and the app will automatically confirm your location using GPS. Technically, the badges can be collected without completing the trail itself as the system is based solely on trailhead check-in, but where’s the fun in that? Once you’ve conquered the trail and hosed down your ride, simply complete the request form that can be accessed after check-in, and Jeep will send you your very own Badge of Honor within six to eight weeks. We should also note that while cheeky, non-Jeep owners can technically download the app and check in at various trails, they won’t be eligible for the physical badges as the program requires drivers to input their VIN.
The Original Badge of Honor
So what is Jeep Trail Rated? While the Badge of Honor app might add a fun, social media-inspired network that allows Jeep drivers to connect and compete, badges have long been a part of the Jeep brand. Jeep vehicles earned their reputation on the battlefield, fulfilling a vital transportation and logistics role for countless conflicts throughout the years. Given their importance, these early Jeeps were built to the highest off-road standards, but as the brand evolved, a new breed of lighter-duty vehicles was introduced to meet the needs of the general driving public. Optimized for on-road performance, models like the Grand Cherokee, Cherokee, Compass, and Renegade perfectly blend comfort and performance. Still, they aren’t necessarily the rock-crawling, dune-bashing Jeeps of yore. This is where the trail Rated badge comes in.
Introduced in 2004, the Trail Rated badge was designed to differentiate the most capable Jeeps from their lighter-duty cousins. Gracing every Wrangler and Gladiator model, the designation can also be extended to models like the Grand Cherokee, Cherokee, Compass, and Renegade when drivers opt for the Trail Rated Trailhawk trim. So, what does it take to earn the Trail Rated Badge? To earn the distinction, Jeeps must pass a five-phase gauntlet that includes extensive testing of the model’s traction, maneuverability, articulation, ground clearance, and water-fording ability. While it would be easy to test these factors in lab conditions, Jeep takes it a step further by subjecting trail-rated hopefuls to the rigors of famous off-roading destinations like the Rubicon Trail and Moab, Utah.
The Desert Rated badge is a recent addition, debuting on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave. While similar to the Trail Rated badge, the Desert Rated honorific is earned when a vehicle meets certain thresholds related to traction, ride control, stability, ground clearance, maneuverability, and desert prowess. The latter factor is particularly important, ensuring a Jeep can handle the extreme high temperatures and dust that’s the hallmark of most desert driving.
The world has gone a little app-crazy since the advent of the smartphone, with every brand imaginable rolling out a program for better or worse. While some of these make little sense from a practical point of view, others can be a valuable addition to one’s digital arsenal. With the Badge of Honor app, Jeep has managed to strike an admirable balance between fun and functionality, giving drivers a way to connect and scratching that social media itch while also inspiring them to test their limits and expand their off-road knowledge. The app also serves an important safety function, giving drivers access to honest trail reviews and ratings while educating them on the gear and techniques required to guarantee off-road triumph. The Jeep brand has long included a focus on lifestyle, and the Badge of Honor app is a great way to solidify that reputation, which leaves us wondering how long it’ll take other brands to follow suit.