Humvee DIY Upgrade – How To Make HMMWV 4-man Rear Cargo Cover Bows

Humvee DIY Upgrade – How To Make HMMWV 4-man Rear Cargo Cover Bows Why not buy a HMMWV that already has a functioning 4 man cargo cover installed? *This post […]

Humvee DIY Upgrade – How To Make HMMWV 4-man Rear Cargo Cover Bows

Why not buy a HMMWV that already has a functioning 4 man cargo cover installed?

*This post will be updated when I make cargo bows. Publishing a bit early since a HMMWV owner posted looking for info on one of the parts listed below.*
Because they usually cost more. If you have deep enough pockets, then buy your HMMWV already set up exactly how you want it. Since my pockets are rather shallow, I have to get creative in sorting out how to make my the Battlewagon the way I want it.

When I started looking at HMMWVs it didn’t take long to determine two things:

  1. The 4-man configuration would meet our needs better than the 2-man configuration
  2. 4-man HMMWVs usually sell for a few thousand dollars MORE than 2-man HMMWVs… and 4-man HMMWVs with cargo covers sell for even more

I spent a month frantically researching every Humvee offered for auction, putting what looked like the “best” ones on my short list, then bidding on them on auction day.

And f0r a month I lost EVERY single auction.

Eventually, I resigned myself to bid on the HMMWVs that showed the least signs of issues in the auction listings, regardless of configuration. When I finally won an auction it was for about $2k more than I had hoped to spend, and it looked like this… a 2-man Humvee in Troop Carrier configuration.

And so it began…

I had been told over and over “HMMWVs are easy to reconfigure! Buy the best one available, then worry about configuring it the way you want it”. I am here to report that this is true. Humvees are pretty simple to convert among a wide variety of configurations. However, finding all of the parts can be challenging, expensive, or both. It didn’t take long to realize that buying a complete 2-man to 4-man conversion kit would cost at least $2,200, and likely MORE since some of the parts are bulky and warrant oversized shipping charges. Since I had already gone over my budget when purchasing the HMMWV, I resigned myself to enjoy the 2-man configuration while I hoarded my pennies and searched for deals on all of the parts to complete the conversion.

HMMWV 2-man to 4-man conversion

It took 5 months of searching, wheelin’ & dealin’, but I FINALLY had parts in hand and converted the HMMWV (We call it the “Project Humvee Battlewagon”) from 2-man to 4-man. Check out our article How to convert a HMMWV from 2-man to 4-man configuration conversion project (link). I even found a deal on a rear 4-man cargo cover in woodland camo to match the top… but the three parts I had not yet been able to find at a “reasonable” price where the two 4-man cargo bows and the spreader bar that goes between them. I have found a variety of them available via eBay or some specialty shops, but the combined cost of the item and shipping made them more expensive than I was willing to pay.

Roll your own…

I have never been hesitant to tackle a DIY project, and the rear 4-man HMMWV cargo cover bows looked like a prime candidate for a little “backyard fabrication”. I inspected the rear cargo cover setup installed on a HMMWV at a surplus store where I bought some parts and it looked pretty straight forward. But I didn’t have a tape measure and was in a hurry. I ordered most of the small parts, since they were readily available and fairly inexpensive (this eBay search often turns up a kit with most of the small parts for the HMMWV 4-man rear cargo cover).  All I needed were the dimensions, which were provided by a kind soul online.

HMMWV 4-man cargo cover bows dimensions

Here is the info provided by a helpful HMMWV owner who goes by “ryanruck” online:

I posted this illustration asking for help identifying the dimensions noted in green

My cargo cover kit is the newest style GMA top. The older styles may differ.

Near as I can tell both of my bows are the exact same with no real pronounced apex at the center. There may be a very slight one but if you omit it, I don’t think it would matter.

All tubing is 1″ OD.

*Spreader bar:*

Length is 49.5″ end to end
Curls on ends add another 1″
Flattened section of each is 2″ total length


138.75″ end to end
32.75″ from bottom end to top of cross bar
79″ total width from outside of uprights at top

83.5″ total width from outside of uprights at bottom

26.25″ from bottom end to where hold down strap is mounted and top corner begins
2.5″ from end to corner of slight inward angle
0.5″ from end for mounting hole

Parts, tools, supplies for making HMMWV 4-man cargo cover bows

Other parts required for installation of Humvee 4 man cargo cover

Here is an eBay link for “HMMWV 4-man cargo cover bow”

*I will add the rest of the parts needed soon. You can see the list in the parts book  TM 9-2320-280-24P-1 (link to all manuals).

Step by step HMMWV 4-man cargo cover bow fabrication

*When I make a set I will document and share. Wanted to share the info above to help others that are looking to get this done before me.

Where to get Humvee, M35A2, M923 & military vehicle parts:

HMMWV stuff, M35A2 stuff, military vehicle stuff

More HMMWV and M35A2  articles can be found under the Humvee or M35A2 category menus above (just below the Gear Report log) or by clicking HERE for HMMWV articles or HERE for M35A2 articles.


Quarter Horse Arms - machine gun from HMMWV

Jeff shooting the Quarter Horse Arms AR15 Full Auto from the Project Humvee Battlewagon

Please leave a comment if you have suggestions on other HMMWV or M35A2 upgrades we should consider, or you have done upgrades that we can share on Gear Report.

The Project Humvee Battlewagon

Gear Report acquired a real HMMWV (High Mobility Multi Wheeled Vehicle) from the US Army for use as our official field and shooting range vehicle. We have already posted about some of our upgrade projects (Project Humvee Battlewagon article links) and have a lot of really cool projects on the way. Consider subscribing so you don’t miss any of the cool reviews as we post them.

Here is our Project Intro (link) and our list of HMMWV upgrade projects.

The Deuce Utility Vehicle (D.U.V.) Project M35A2

The D.U.V. project started with a fairly standard 1968 M35a2 two and a half ton 6×6 cargo truck. Commonly known as the “Deuce-and-a-half” or “The Deuce.” We aren’t yet sure where it will stop.

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About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.