Family of 5 trying to figure things out.

Natenite

New member
Ok. We are still looking over everything and trying to figure this stuff out. Unfortunately we do not have anyone else we know personally that overlands and the local scene is just a start up that we haven’t yet been able to connect with. Heres what I am wondering... can a family of 5 do this in a Tacoma prerunner double cab? What would the sleeping arrangements need to be, who makes tents/campers for families of 5? Would we have to use a trailer? We are wanting to do remote camping on BLM land and such near national parks for the next few years. Do trails in places like capital reef and remote camp. Is the vehicle a realistic option both for size and for its lack of 4wd. I believe since it is a trd with rear locker it can do most all we would want but can it also accommodate a family of 5? What has been your experience with this? Any other large families out there doing family road trips with a similar vehicle? Any thoughts would be appreciated!
 

NatersXJ6

Explorer
There are so many layers to that question. A lot depends on age of children. I have a family of 5 in a JKU, and some of our best trips are when mom and baby stay home.

At a minimum, plan on needing a trailer for gear. I would recommend you start with basic camping gear, ground tents and what not. Like camping first, then work out the travel part.
 

collk22

Observer
If your family can comfortably ride in the vehicle, then you should be able to get the gear into the bed of the truck.

As the previous poster mentions, start simple (gear wise) and go from there. No sense in investing in trailers or campers only to find out your family doesn't enjoy the great outdoors.
 

oldcelicaracer

Observer
I fit my family of five plus two dogs in a extended cab ranger for a 700 mile trip so you should be fine on that end, as far as setting up and teardown of camp that's gonna have to be trial and error to see what flows best and what doesn't work.to the trucks 2wd just be cautious about what your going into and if it's a auto trans I'd recommend a trans temp gauge as autos don't like climbing steep long hills at low speeds..they heat up fast!. Bring some recovery gear like maxtrax and highlift with lots of straps so u can anchor to something and use it like a come along to pull you out of stuff...gotta remember people explore all over South America in vw air cooled bugs and have no issues just use your head and you should be fine...and listen to the wife when u want to go hit that knarly obstacle or big dune ...their almost always right when they say NO!!
 

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rholbrook

New member
The most important thing is to GO DO IT!
If you wait to have the perfect truck or equipment, or the kids to be “old enough” you’ll never leave the house.
Start with small, easy, and short trips. Much adventure can be had on gravel fire roads. I feel the high clearance of the prerunner is as important of not more so than having 4x4.
As far as space? You don’t need as much as you think. If you are going to spend money the first and most important purchase is TIRES!
Our family of seven used a Dodge Durango for years, off grid for a max of a week at a time, and the kids as young as 3 months. You just make it work.
And as said before, if your wife thinks it’s a bad idea, it is!521100
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
Get a truck/suv that can fit everyone comfortably for long hauls and has some towing capacity, I just started off with a simple little cargo trailer but it let me move all the crap packed to the roof in the vehicle to the trailer so even with alot of people in a small vehicle you didnt feel cramped up and could still stretch out and stuff.. eventually we got sick of the time it took to setup/teardown a tent camp, so then I rented a couple campers for few week vacations and we figured out what we wanted and what we didnt want, then we spent nearly a year looking for a trailer that would suit us for the next 20 years that we could afford.
 

shade

Active member
Ok. We are still looking over everything and trying to figure this stuff out. Unfortunately we do not have anyone else we know personally that overlands and the local scene is just a start up that we haven’t yet been able to connect with. Heres what I am wondering... can a family of 5 do this in a Tacoma prerunner double cab? What would the sleeping arrangements need to be, who makes tents/campers for families of 5? Would we have to use a trailer? We are wanting to do remote camping on BLM land and such near national parks for the next few years. Do trails in places like capital reef and remote camp. Is the vehicle a realistic option both for size and for its lack of 4wd. I believe since it is a trd with rear locker it can do most all we would want but can it also accommodate a family of 5? What has been your experience with this? Any other large families out there doing family road trips with a similar vehicle? Any thoughts would be appreciated!
Welcome to ExPo!

I have a similar truck (double cab short bed Tacoma, 4WD).

If the five of you can comfortably make the drive to Capitol Reef NP in your truck (I hope the back seaters are small), it will be fine for use there with minimal changes. Good tires were mentioned, and are important. You'll also want a reliable 12V compressor so you can deflate the tires some when driving on the trails. You could limp to a gas station to air up, but that's not the best plan. The Cathedral Valley loop is beautiful, but driving it on the wrong tires at street pressure will rattle your teeth. Packing a tire repair kit would be wise, but having a spare is enough for where you'll likely be going. Otherwise, make sure your truck is in good repair, and it should serve you well.

You may find your truck's rear suspension is too weak for comfortably driving on trails with five and your gear. Something as simple & affordable as adding better rear bump stops can help with that - Timbren SES or Wheeler's SuperBumps are popular options. Otherwise, those seated in the rear may feel every bump when the rear suspension bottoms out on the hard OEM bump stops. I wouldn't worry about any other upgrades unless and until you decide you like doing this kind of stuff.

You don't need an aftermarket suspension, you don't need skid plates, you don't need a winch, you don't need a Hi-Lift jack, you don't need MaxTrax, etc. Really, the main tool you could use would be a good shovel. You probably won't need that, either. It's a versatile tool that's hard to replicate; when you need a shovel, not much else will do.

Does your truck have a bed canopy? Unless you're packing like backpackers, it'll be tough cramming all of your gear in the bed without a canopy. Even then, you'll need to manage the cargo space wisely with that many people along. A cargo trailer would be helpful, but it's easy to start spending a fair amount of money on one if you can't borrow or rent one. A middle ground would be a large, hitch mounted cargo box.

For shelter, I have a suggestion that comes back to Capitol Reef. There are rental cabins in Torrey, UT, which is just outside the park. Last I was there, they looked nice & clean. Before buying a big tent, cots, etc., for a first trip of this kind, maybe you'd be better off staying in a cabin for a few nights. If that's not an option, two tent manufacturers come to mind: Springbar & Kodiak. Both companies make durable, large tents that can stand up to the wind in Utah. If you haven't been in the Southwest before, the wind is no joke, and it can easily flatten large tents. Spingbars & Kodiaks are definitely car camping tents; you won't be backpacking with them anywhere. They go up fairly easy, but I think you'll find it better to use this kind of tent for a base camp approach.

You can save money by using inflatable mattresses and sleeping on the ground in your tent. If you time your trip right, it should be warm enough at night that you may get by with household bedding. Going that route would allow you to spend more on good tent up front. You can always add cots, sleeping bags, etc. if you get into this kind of trip.

If you couldn't tell, I think Capitol Reef NP is an excellent place to visit. If you go, try to get in some day hikes. There are some slot canyons in the area that can be fun, and if you're ready for a little more effort, the hike to Navajo Knobs offers a spectacular view of the park. Dispersed camping is available all over the area. If you're near the Fremont River, do a bug check before deciding you've found your campsite. : )
 
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shade

Active member
Get a truck/suv that can fit everyone comfortably for long hauls and has some towing capacity, I just started off with a simple little cargo trailer but it let me move all the crap packed to the roof in the vehicle to the trailer so even with alot of people in a small vehicle you didnt feel cramped up and could still stretch out and stuff.. eventually we got sick of the time it took to setup/teardown a tent camp, so then I rented a couple campers for few week vacations and we figured out what we wanted and what we didnt want, then we spent nearly a year looking for a trailer that would suit us for the next 20 years that we could afford.
Sounds familiar. : )
 
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Natenite

New member
Thank you all for your thoughts! Super helpful. We have started taking day trips along a “overland” route across Missouri. It has worked well so far. The kids all seem fine in the back since they are all young still. We are backpackers so we do tend to pack light. I’m finding myself having to stretch my brain to remember car camping and the various comforts you can bring. Seems like the first step is going to be tires and then a bed cover of some sort.. ideally a camper shell. We have a large tent to get us started and basic camping stuff so we will be ground camping until we decide on a roof top tent options. Not many choices I have found so far for a family of 5.... maybe an AT habitat but those are $10k. After that I’m not real sure what would be next. Have been talking with people about the 4wd conversion that can be done on these trucks but it sounds like with a winch and some traction boards I should be more than able to get out of any unforeseen dilemmas. Now it’s a matter of selecting and purchasing the right stuff. Lots of options for recovery gear out there.

I really want to stay sweat from a trailer if at all possible. I hate the thought of having that thing behind me on trails with just a 2wd vehicle if things get sloppy. I could be just over thinking it though.

Again thanks for the thoughts and feel free to share any more you have. Super helpful!
 
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