1st time truck owner (soon to be) and just discovered Overlanding, need help.

Teri Mitti

New member
If you really want to tow a trailer that will sleep 4-6 I don’t think a midsize truck is for you. Look at what trailers would work for you, look at that trailers GVWR, then choose a truck that has a tow capacity at least 25% higher than that.
@ 25% higher, I understand the rationale.
Thank you.
 

Teri Mitti

New member
100% agree with the advice to use your truck stock. This is what my previous truck looked like for the first couple of years I owned it.

View attachment 546144

It didn't stay like that, several iterations of suspension, tires, gears, armor, etc. But when I finally sold that truck 200k miles later I remember having the most fun with it less built since we actually did things, went places rather than wrenching on it. I won't claim I'm a great driver but I like to think I'm OK and if so that's because driving an open diff, 235/75R15 BFG AT, stock geared mini truck for several years made me so.

About 12 years after that photo was taken I drove this same truck (still IFS though on 33"x10.50 MT and a 4.7 Marlin transfer case with sliders) through the Rubicon. It looked like this, not what you'd really call built up "a lot".

View attachment 546145
WOW, the pics and story help a lot. From your story to all the other members; pick a truck, learn about it and myself and add on as needed. I was thinking ahead but only when I hit the trails I will learn more of my needs. Your post has continued to add content I needed.
Thank you.
 

Teri Mitti

New member
Lots of good advice here, but I think @Teri Mitti you should define what you mean by “overlanding”. Are you planning to travel around the world, or explore the mountains, deserts, and forests of the US on rough dirt roads, camping in dispersed areas? I do a bit of the latter in a stock Tacoma TRD OffRoad double cab with 5’ bed, a ground tent and basic “car camping” gear. I had a roof top tent and sold it; it may work for some, but I found the weight, setup/tear down hassles and lack of flexibility a poor tradeoff for its (few) benefits. I installed rock sliders because I had really torn up the rocker panels of a previous 4x4 I owned, but I don’t think I’ve ever touched them on anything rougher than brush yet. By the way, that previous 4x4 was lifted with larger tires, but without good sliders (unavailable back then) the lift was still not enough to prevent body damage, yet reduced the ride quality, handling, and fuel economy.

On my current Tacoma, I also installed slightly more aggressive tires, but only after the stock ones wore out, and I an under hood air compressor plus a few extra 12V outlets. For domestic use, keep it stock, keep it as small and light and simple as you can. Better to carry 100 pounds of extra water, food, beer - or gasoline - than 100 pounds of “expo” gear you don’t really need.

For international overlanding, other experts should chime in.
Thank you for asking what I mean by Overlanding. And thank you for the content you have shared.

I had a Ford Explorer, 2006 and that was not cutting it for me when I hit the off road. I got a 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander with 3rd row and did some light trail driving (mud and gravel-unpaved road) to test it out. I soon realized its good but I can not go exploring more places like "explore the mountains, deserts, and forests of the US on rough dirt roads,..."

When I purchased the vehicle I knew I was not going to keep it for 5 plus years but I did not realzied my needs would have changed so soon. So now, I want to explore more as mentioned above. I normally would go to a campsite, set up a tent and try to explore trails. But, I quickly learned, I can not do it due to vehicle limitations. The 3rd row is always down and that space is filled with food, camp gear, and related things. I have done upstate NY, Maine, New Hampshire, Quebec, Ontario, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Pennsylvania. And every time I go out camping, I am happy but I want more. So now, I have decided to take that step to trade in the Outlander and get that Tacoma which I should have gotten from the beginning.

It's a great question and thank you for asking. I should have expressed more of this when I posted initially.
 

Teri Mitti

New member
I appreciate the reply. I see what you mean about going out there 1st. This helps.
Thank you.
 
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Teri Mitti

New member
heres a great read

Don't try to substitute accessories for training and experience. Get out and use that 4x4 before doing any modifications. Join a 4 wheeler club and follow, don't lead. Most 4x4s are incredibly capable stock. Most modified 4x4s are fragile and prone to breaking on the trail. Learn to drive first. Tread lightly is a driving style to not disturb the ground, watersheds, trails you run on but it is also a driving style which will be easier on your 4x4 and save you from breaking down. Find guys to wheel with who tread lightly..... unless you like wrecking the environment and destroying yer 4x4.

What you shared makes sense. @ "4 wheeler club" I am looking into that.
@ the link, thank you.
 

Teri Mitti

New member
I would prefer an SUV over a truck for overlanding. You can secure you gear better and keep it better protected from the element.

Get a vehicle suited to easily tow what you want than worry about setting it up for overlanding.

Think of overlanding as camping when you go off-roading. For the camping aspect you don't need anything you can't find at Walmart, you many want other fancier things and that is fine bur you don't need them to do this successfully as a weekend warrior.

For the offroading part keep the weight down on your camping stuff. Think the terrain you want to wheel on and build from there.

I am a weekend warrior and fit it all into a Jeep Wrangler but they would not be a good choice if you are wanting to too a 4-6 person trailer.

I can't see why either the Tacoma (I would look at the 4Runner) wouldn't suit you needs.

There are new mid size Fords and Chevys but I have never seen one on the trail and have no first hand knowledge of how good they are or are not.

If you want to do harder off-road a Wrangler is a good choice if you can deal with a smaller trailer.

As far as off road accessories? Get what ever you can stock (such as lockers). Bumpers for winches get expensive and heavy, think about all of this when you budget and plan. You don't need the biggest truck on the block to have fun.
@ "Think the terrain you want to wheel on and build from there.", helps me. @ Walmart, so true and that has being a lifesaver on the road. The information you shared helps and adds depth for me to remember what you and other members have said thus far.
Thank you.
 

MOguy

Explorer
I agree with your keep it simple (cheap) philosophy but will say that there's a balance. I worked for years in a bike shop and have been around this stuff long enough to know that riding a cheap bike or using a cheap tent is a pretty guaranteed way to discourage someone when conditions aren't great. So there's value in buying decent gear.

Doesn't mean spending $1,000 for a Oztent for car camping but at the same time spending $40 and finding it collapses the first heavy thunderstorm isn't any good either. One bad experience may permanently turn off someone. So $100 or $300 or whatever might not be badly spent money if it's something you really intend to do. Also look for used gear, that's the real way to save money.

Point being that if I had a dime for every time someone bought a $150 Walmart bike only to break it or find that there's a reason better built bikes are lighter and more enjoyable to ride I'd be rich now. You're better off taking that $150 and putting towards a piece of gear worth owning and that will last.
My core tent came from Walmart, it was not $40 dollars and it has held up in storms. It was right between a little closer to the top end or your $100-$300 suggestion. Go to Walmart.com and you will be surprised what you can find. Here is a link on Walmart.com for a 420 HP Chevy small block. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Blue-Print-Engines-BP3833CTC1-Crate-Engine-Small-Block-Chevy-383-420HP-Deluxe-Model/412819887 for almost 7K. Nothing to do with this post but to illustrate how easy getting things can be.

Here is a link for a bunch of roof top tents and awnings you can buy from Walmart. https://www.walmart.com/search/?query=roof top tents

I 100% agree on looking for used stuff.

I used Walmart more to show it can be simple and easy to get what you need trying to illustrate you don't have to break the bank and you can keep it simple.
 

Teri Mitti

New member
I agree with your keep it simple (cheap) philosophy but will say that there's a balance. I worked for years in a bike shop and have been around this stuff long enough to know that riding a cheap bike or using a cheap tent is a pretty guaranteed way to discourage someone when conditions aren't great. So there's value in buying decent gear.

Doesn't mean spending $1,000 for a Oztent for car camping but at the same time spending $40 and finding it collapses the first heavy thunderstorm isn't any good either. One bad experience may permanently turn off someone. So $100 or $300 or whatever might not be badly spent money if it's something you really intend to do. Also look for used gear, that's the real way to save money.

Point being that if I had a dime for every time someone bought a $150 Walmart bike only to break it or find that there's a reason better built bikes are lighter and more enjoyable to ride I'd be rich now. You're better off taking that $150 and putting towards a piece of gear worth owning and that will last.
@..."putting towards a piece of gear worth owning and that will last", makes sense.
Thank you.
 

Teri Mitti

New member
My core tent came from Walmart, it was not $40 dollars and it has held up in storms. It was right between a little closer to the top end or your $100-$300 suggestion. Go to Walmart.com and you will be surprised what you can find. Here is a link on Walmart.com for a 420 HP Chevy small block. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Blue-Print-Engines-BP3833CTC1-Crate-Engine-Small-Block-Chevy-383-420HP-Deluxe-Model/412819887 for almost 7K. Nothing to do with this post but to illustrate how easy getting things can be.

Here is a link for a bunch of roof top tents and awnings you can buy from Walmart. https://www.walmart.com/search/?query=roof top tents

I 100% agree on looking for used stuff.

I used Walmart more to show it can be simple and easy to get what you need trying to illustrate you don't have to break the bank and you can keep it simple.
Wow...I never knew that about rooftop tent from Walmart. @ "used stuff", I will look into this also especially when I am unsure (of reviews).
Thank you.
 

Teri Mitti

New member
I will like to say thank you to everyone for all the information you have shared with me thus far. It has helped me put things into perspective. My knowledge pool has increased and I still welcome all the future assistance. I feel more comfortable moving forward and I know I still have a long way to go.

I will continue to seek out information from the members regarding issues/challenges as they arise.

Thank you.
 

ZMagic97

Explorer
Chiming in from the beginning posts, not so much from the recent items.

I had on 08 JK Rubicon that was pretty well decked out. Bumpers, winch, Gobi rack, RTT, on board compressor...etc. All cool stuff...I never really needed.

I now have a well used but reliable 04 Grand Cherokee and 06 Sierra. Not a lot done to them. Jeep has some offroad tires and rain guards with innovative tool storage. Sierra has a lift, carpeted bed and camper shell with a brush guard. I feel these are great set ups for me.

I've found the money is better off going into reasonably priced tools (USB rechargeable flashlight, a good Leatherman, wrenches, etc), a cell phone mount for the dash, good tires, and good clothing. Maybe even a good case of beer for settling in at night. All of these things have created amazing memories of nostalgia and learning experiences.

I'm not saying bumpers, RTTs, and other things don't have their place. I'm just recommending starting off with the basics and seeing where the more expensive investments will really benefit you for your needs.

Happy trails.
 

rruff

Explorer
Originally, I was going to buy my 1st truck for work commute and light off-road activities (I have waited long for this opportunity). The idea was to get a truck that allows me to go camping and later set it up to pull a small boat and a 4-6 bed occupancy camper. I would be more of a weekend warrior but during Spring and Summer, I would be out and about for longer periods. I have my eyes on the 2020 Tacoma TRD Pro, 4WD, 3.5L V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, double cab, 5 ft bed. Then I discovered oerlanding and I was sold. I never knew this existed. I am now putting my purchase for Tacoma 2020 TRD Pro on hold.
What exactly does "overlanding" mean to you?

I traveled and explored remote places in the US west and Baja for many years in a 2wd '84 Toyota pickup. This was before cell phones existed, and literally nobody knew where I was for months at a time. I had no fancy equipment, and my truck was not "built" in any sense. I got stuck a bunch of times but always managed to get out (sometimes after hours of work, but still).

You can spend a gazillion $$$ building the most badass/capable/prepared rig imaginable. But if you just want to get away in the wilderness, you don't need much at all.
 
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