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Everything You Need to Know Before Overlanding in Your Toyota Tacoma

Toyota Tacomas are very reliable trucks, but if you want to do some serious overlanding, you may need a few upgrades to have the best experience. This guide will tell you all about overlanding in your Tacoma, why we love it, and what you need to get it done and love it too.

Photo by Dusty Barnes on Unsplash

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO OVERLAND?

Overlanding is a cross-country travel to remote locations. This isn’t your average weekend rock crawling adventure. This is a journey where you are one with your vehicle, your lodging is typically camping, and nature is all around you. The destination is the journey. It is one heck of an experience!

WHY DO TACOMA OWNERS GET SO EXCITED ABOUT OVERLANDING?

Ask them! If they’re utilizing their trucks for their intended purpose (which isn’t to acquire groceries), they’ll be aware of how capable these vehicles are in the wilderness. Decked emphasized the proven 300,000 mile or more longevity, low ownership costs, durability, and reliability. Others comment on the vehicle’s safety, good aesthetics, and a large number of aftermarket parts available. The Taco, with a little help, is beyond capable of an overlanding expedition. Let’s find out what you need.

WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU REQUIRE FOR OVERLANDING?

The Tacoma is a terrific truck, but there are a few things you should do if you’re going to be out on the open land for days or even weeks at a time. What you get will be determined by the terrain and the length of time you will be gone. Is it going to be rocky, snowy, muddy, or flat? Do you need to be concerned about rivers? Are you planning on driving at night? There are a few crucial points to keep in mind if the answers to those queries aren’t satisfactory.

Suspension is quite important because it’s always a good idea to have a little additional clearance. You should also protect your vehicle, especially if you’re driving in rocky terrain. For this, rock sliders, push bars, and cages are fantastic additions. Snorkels will assist you to cross the river, and aggressive tires will help you navigate the terrain, but don’t forget about yourself! What are your plans for sleeping and eating? What about your truck’s petrol and lights? All of this is something to think about.

Suspension

There are numerous suspension options for the Toyota Tacoma, but keep in mind that you aren’t usually attending a SuperCrawl event when overlanding. If you have any bumps or rivers to navigate, clearing is always a smart alternative.

Although I go into great detail about this in my Ultimate Tacoma Lift Kit Guide, it’s a good idea to start with a basic lift kit. Overall, for overlanding, a coilover package is the best option.

Coilover kits consist of a single item (piston and spring) that is ready to use. Simply remove your old spring and piston and replace them with the new ones. While coilover kits are more costly than spacer lift kits, which merely stretch your existing spring and piston, they are significantly more robust. Hands down, durability is what you’re looking for when overlanding.

Coilovers come in a variety of heights, including adjustable heights, and a variety of name-brand options are available. A whole system can set you back anywhere from $1200 to $4000, but it’s well worth it.

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Protection

As you continue to travel, your vehicle will be battered and soiled, but there are precautions you can do to minimize major damage, especially if you’re dealing with rocky and mountainous terrain. Impacts are taken care of by rock sliders, push bars, and cages, which means your body panels don’t have to.

Rock sliders are designed to safeguard your frame by bolting to it. Depending on the brand and material, the average cost will range from $250 to $550. Some sliders come with built-in steps to help you get into and out of your raised vehicle. Keep in mind that you’ll be purchasing sliders rather than stairs when you go shopping. Steps are usually only for your feet and do not provide the same level of protection as sliders.

Push bars/grill guards are mounted on the front of your truck and can range from a simple trapezoidal tube in the center to a complex network of tubes and mesh that protects all of your lights and grille. These can cost anywhere from $250 to over $1000, but the average cost is around $400.

If your truck is at risk of rolling, you should consider investing in a cage. Although this is most likely an uncommon incident when overlanding, be aware of your surroundings. This is usually something that needs to be custom-created, so look around your neighborhood for someone who can help.

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Snorkels

A snorkel can be a good buy if you anticipate you’ll be crossing some rivers. Snorkels move the air intake of your engine closer to your roof. While the alteration will include cutting holes in your truck’s shell, it is preferable to hydro-locking your engine (seizing your engine because water gets sucked in). These will set you back between $300 and $700.

Tires

The size of your tires and the amount of air in them are determined by your destination. Different tires may be required for mud, snow, sand, and soil. I wrote a piece called The Ultimate Toyota Tacoma Wheel and Tire Guide a while back that goes over everything in detail. Know where you’re heading and make plans to get there. An average set of off-road tires costs roughly $600.

Lights

Where you’re going, there will be no streetlights. Stock headlights and high beams are enough, but in the pitch black darkness you’ll encounter, you’ll require more. In my Guide to Tacoma Light Bars, I go into lighting terminologies and possibilities, but in essence, an LED light bar is a good investment. LED light bars are incredibly energy-efficient, long-lasting, and dazzling. They’ll flood the area in front of you with strong, crisp light, which is crucial if you’re driving at night on your overlanding adventure.

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Carrying Your Gear

You’ll need supplies if you’re going to be gone for a long time, such as spare truck parts, food, water, first aid, survival gear, and extra fuel if you’re going to be gone for a long period. While our trucks have a lot of capacity, it quickly fills up when you’re gathering all of your stuff.

Bed Racks

One of the best ways to carry more goods is to use bed racks. These attach to the side of your bed and provide a full-length “roof rack,” sidewall storage, or both. Prices range from $250 to over $1000, but you’ll be able to choose the one that’s right for you based on how much storage you need. Some have side panels and containers that can be connected to the side. They’re useful for storing extra water and fuel. If you’re searching for a decent bed rack for your Tacoma, Cali Raised makes a great one.

Bed Drawers

While these take up extra space in your bed, they are a great way to organize your belongings and keep them out of the way. These go into your bed and increase the bed’s floor by installing a series of drawers beneath the new bed floor. The pricing range is comparable to that of the bed racks.

Headrest Pouch Kit

These don’t contain much, but they’re an excellent method to keep tiny items in a secure location. A first-aid kit is an excellent choice. Blue Ridge Overland Gear actually sells a full first-aid package for headrests. Depending on what you get: empty, first aid kit, size, attachment, and so on, prices range from $30 to $80.

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Keeping Yourself Comfortable

There are no resorts, hotels, or cabins available for overlanding. You’re on your own and want to feel at ease. Tents from the hardware store are a cheap and simple choice. They’ve been around for a long time and don’t take up much room. There are, however, choices created expressly for our Tacomas if you want to be fancy and camp in style.

Bed Tents

A bed tent can be a decent option if your visits are brief and your bed isn’t stuffed with gear. These are made to fold out of your bed and provide you with a bed. These are relatively inexpensive when compared to other possibilities. The cost varies between $150 and $500.

Roof Top Tents

Roof top tents are the greatest alternative when you need the most personal space, luxury, and storage space in your truck’s bed. They’re expensive ($250 – $2000), but if you’re serious about overlanding, they’re fantastic possibilities. You sleep high in the trees, which not only provides excellent views but also protects you from any prowling predators. Some have an extension room that connects the sleeping part to the ground level. They’re ideal for a large gathering or as a “living room” if desired. Some of these annex rooms include “backdoors” that allow you to reach the inside of your vehicle (via your side doors), providing you with a fantastic setting.

A helpful point to remember is that many roof top tents feature supports that can be used as bed racks.

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Overlanding Trailers

You might need a trailer if you’re going on a long trip across flat territory. Trailers are an excellent way to transport a lot of additional gear for a long trip, but only on level land. You can get an overlanding trailer, which is more expensive but suited for extreme off-road conditions.

Trailers can serve as your tent, freeing up your bed for more storage, or they can house all of your extra belongings while leaving your bed free. A nice overlanding trailer can set you back at least $2000 and as much as $12000. If you’re all about overlanding, it might be a good investment, but most weekend warriors won’t need the extra room.

While fuel mileage isn’t the most important consideration when overlanding (apart from making sure you have enough), towing a big trailer will use more fuel. You’ll also be limited in your travel options.

Photo by Sean Jahansooz on Unsplash

Where to Find Overlanding Groups

Going out on your alone or with as many people as you can fit in your vehicle can be a lot of fun, but sometimes it’s even more enjoyable to hang out with a convoy of like-minded folks and go on an adventure together. Not only may you build friendships with people who share your interests, but someone could be able to help you or your truck if you get into problems. If you’re a beginner or this is your first time, I strongly advise you to go with others.

Facebook is an excellent resource for finding like-minded individuals and groups. There are numerous overlanding organizations, as well as Tacoma/Toyota-specific organizations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (USA). When it comes to overlanding with Tacomas, forums like Overland Bound, Tacoma World, and even Reddit have devoted followers. Find out what’s going on next and where it’s going to happen by contacting these folks through these channels. Go out and have some fun with some folks who share your interests!

Conclusion

Overlanding is a serious and potentially risky activity, despite being a wonderful experience and a lot of fun. However, you can rest assured that with a few little adjustments, your Toyota Tacoma will be up to the task. Remember that a good overall, mid-range pricing package to get your truck ready would include:

  • Coilover lift package with a moderate height ($1200)
  • Tires (600 dollars)
  • Sliders made of rock ($350)
  • Grill guard/push bar ($350)
  • ($200) LED light bar
  • $500 for a bed rack/tent
  • Cans of fuel, water, and other miscellaneous items ($250)

In total, a complete outfit might set you back roughly $7500. Keep in mind that this is a middle-of-the-road option. You can get considerably more expensive or much less expensive stuff. The majority of these items are also one-time purchases. Your tires would be the only item you’d need to replace. If anything else breaks, it just has to be replaced.

You must also determine what you require. You probably won’t need a push bar or rock sliders if you’re traveling through the Sahara. That’s a save of $700 right there. If you’re only going on weekend travels, an affordable tent set up separately from your vehicle will suffice, and you won’t need a bed rack. That’s a loss of $500.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to overlanding. Overlanding has two rules: go from point A to point B and have fun while doing it. How you go about doing it is determined by how much money, time, and effort you want to invest. Decide where you want to go, then figure out the best means to get there. Then construct and plan accordingly.

The Toyota Tacoma is a truck that is safe, robust, and dependable. Use it, stay safe, and have a good time.

dis·patch | (/dəˈspaCH/) | verb
to send off to a destination or for a purpose.
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