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    The Ultimate Guide To Toyota Tacoma Camper Shells

    The Ultimate Guide To Toyota Tacoma Camper Shells

    As I have covered in many of my previous posts, there are tons of things that the Toyota Tacoma is good at. If there are two things I’ve tried to drive home, it’s that these trucks are great offroad and great at hauling. Camper shells can be a fantastic addition to make those two points even better.

    What are the most common uses for camper shells?

    When it comes to camper shells on the back of a pickup, there two main reasons for having them: storage and lodging. Whether you are overlanding for the week, going on a weekend camping trip, or just need a place to rest for the night during a long road trip, camper shells are an excellent option. They give you extra room to stretch out and keep you safe from the elements.

    Perhaps you don’t want to sleep in the appropriately named “bed” of your truck. Maybe you just want more storage volume? Tonneau covers seal off the top of your bed, and that’s it. A camper shell allows for usually double or more volume of safe, dry, and secure storage space.

    Which camper shell is right for your Tacoma?

    There are five main categories for camper shells: cab high, high-rise, commercial, pop-ups, and full-size campers.

    Cab High Tacoma Camper Shells

    These shells reach the height of your cab’s roofline to provide a smooth and streamlined look to the back of your truck. These are generally made of light material such as fiberglass. Less expensive models are made out of cloth material with a metal frame.

    Often on the sides of the shell are windows, but here there are optional models that are solid without them. The side windows can either be fixed, sliding, swing up with hydraulics, or a combination of the last two. The rear is most commonly a hatch window on hydraulics, similar to the back of many SUVs. There are some with “barn doors” that involve replacing your tailgate with two vertical doors. Cab highs are easy to install, light, cheaper, and can be painted or come painted to match your truck! It’s also common for roof racks to be mounted to the top of the shell for ever more storage.

    High-rise Tacoma Camper Shells

    These shells are pretty much the same as the cab high shells but are taller. Generally these are higher towards the rear of the truck to allow for a more aerodynamic shape overall. The rear is generally the same as well with either a hatch window or barn doors. Depending on the manufacturer, roof racks may not always be able to be mounted on the tops of these due to curvature of the roofline.

    Commercial Tacoma Camper Shells 

    These shells are great if you are using your truck for utility purposes. These are generally crafted out of metal and have many storage compartments and shelves built into the sides and inside/bed are. These are durable and versatile. Racks on top are common for more storage and hauling capabilities. Don’t expect these to be pretty or in a wide range of colors. Commercial camper shells are utilitarian first and foremost but can be customized to anything you want with the right budget and imagination.

    Pop-up Tacoma Camper Shells

    These shells really bring home the term “camper.” There is a fine line between calling these a pop-up camper, and a pop-up camper shell, but they are worth noting since they may come up in your searches. These shells are designed for you to live in. When collapsed, they are generally the same height as your cab, or perhaps a bit taller at most. When extended, they are a few feet higher and have the amenities of a small RV or camper van. You can find a bed, shelves, and some more expensive models might even have things like a sink. These are not designed to be permanently lived in, but they are great for overlanding or weekend trips if you want a place to stay off the ground.

    Full-size Tacoma Camper Shells

    These shells are for those extreme weekend campers. These are very tall, and very bulky. Size varies, but for the most part, they are what a pop-up is, but always extended. Generally there is also a section that hangs over your cab. They are not cheap, and they are not for everyday use. They are also not a good selection for overlanding due to their size.

    While these technically come on and off easily in terms of mounting, the size and weight almost make them a “permanent” installation. They are significantly cheaper compared to a full-sized RV or camper van, so if you have an old Tacoma laying around and like to drive up the mountains on the weekends to go camping, this could be a great option for you. Keep in mind that many of these are custom ordered.

    Now that we have camper shell types out of the way, what are some good brands our fellow Taco drivers like? 

    A lot of drivers on the forums tend to like the ARE line of shells. They make many different models including cab high, high-rise, and commercial models. They offer the ability to custom make your own as well. One of the more popular models is the cab high “Overland,” which features a bedliner type spray in some of the areas that may encounter the most stress. This will increase the life and durability of the shell. They are around $2000 depending on the options and models.

    Another popular model is the SnugTop Rebel. While SnugTop also makes many different cab high and high-rise models, the Rebel offers a perfect color-matched option with all of the windows and locks you need. They are around the same price as the ARE Overland, so it comes down to personal taste.

    Commercial shells are generally boring and utilitarian, but forum users are really loving what you can do with Tradesman Truck Toppers. While starting at around $2000, the price can quickly increase, but you have complete customization. These are generally built to order, and some people have gotten very creative with them for overlanding excursions. Since commercial toppers are generally high-rise and have lots of storage, these are great for your camping and overlanding trips.

    When it comes to a hybrid model of a high-rise and camper, folks seem to turn to the AT Overland models: Summit, Habitat, and Atlas. While much more expensive (up to around $7000 depending on the model and options), these look great, are of excellent quality, and very versatile. They give you the storage space of a cab high but have a very large tent on top that can easily be deployed. You can make the bed like the inside of a camper as your weekend getaway truck, or leave that area for daily use, but always have a tent ready for when you want to go camping!

    Like most things regarding your Tacoma, there are so many options. It all depends on your budget, and what you plan on doing with your truck. From daily use to offroading, to overlanding, and looking good while doing it, there are options for you! 

    Image Credits

    Cab High and ARE Overland Model: Tacoma World User “vuTron”

    Commercial and Tradesman Truck Topper Model: Tacoma World User “Toynado”

    Camper and AT Habitat Model: Tacoma World User “excorcist”

    Toyota Tacoma Towing Capacity - How Much Can A Tacoma Pull?

    Toyota Tacoma Towing Capacity - How Much Can A Tacoma Pull?

    Trucks are great for a lot of things: durability, storage, offroading, and towing. Towing opens up a whole new world of transportation possibilities, but just how much can your Tacoma tow? For this article, we are going to focus on third-generation Tacos (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, & 2020) and discover what these trucks can handle.

    The stats from the factory list these trucks to have a towing capacity of 3,500lbs with the 2.7l four-cylinder engine, and 6,800lbs with the 3.5l V6 and the towing package.

    What is the Toyota Tacoma Tow Package?

    While the 2020 model is changing things up a bit with what is standard and what is optional, the optional Tow Package for the third generation Tacoma includes a class-IV towing hitch receiver, transmission cooler, power steering cooler, a beefier 130-amp alternator, 4 and 7-pin connector with converter, and a Trailer-Sway Control.

    Why is all of that important? From the factory, trucks are designed to haul some stuff in the bed and do well without pavement. Anytime you add substantial weight behind your truck, regardless of the make or model, your truck has to work harder. The engine and transmission have to work harder, the alternator has to draw more power, and all this causes heat. Added cooling and more electrical power are necessary to allow your truck to pull the most it can, and safely. All of these features can be added to your truck with aftermarket parts, but Toyota offers exactly what the truck needs to perform the best it can.

    On that note, to be safe, you have to make sure you have the right setup on your hitch to tow the right load. You need to consider your “tongue weight” or “tongue load.” Tongue load is the static force a trailer tongue puts on the hitch ball.

    For example, the 2019 Tacoma has a rated tongue load of 350 pounds on the four-cylinder trucks, and between 640 pounds to 680 pounds on the V6. A proper tongue load, or weight, is about 10 to 15 percent of the total loaded trailer weight. If your Tacoma is rated at a towing capacity of 6,800lbs, 10 percent of that is 680. So your tongue load/weight needs to be 680 pounds.

    There is so much more science that I could get into, but West Marine has an excellent article an all the mathematical details on how to select the proper hitch, ball, coupler, and just about all the other stuff you need. You can read the article here: Sizing Up Trailer Hitches and Couplers.

    With all stats out of the way, what can you tow with your third-generation Toyota Tacoma? Can your Tacoma pull a boat? Yes. Can your Tacoma pull a camper? Yup. Can your Tacoma pull a horse trailer? You betcha! In short, Tacomas can pull all types of loads in or out of trailers. Once you do the math about what the weight of your load is and you have the proper equipment, you’re really only limited by local/federal laws and your skill.

    Can A Tacoma Pull a 5th Wheel?

    Some people have asked if you can use a Tacoma for fifth-wheel towing. Fifth wheel towing is a whole different animal. This counts more on the truck’s payload capacity, which for a third-generation Toyota Tacoma is 1,175 pounds on the short bed and 1,370 pounds on the long bed.

    Payload capacity is what a truck can handle on its rear axle, and it’s important since fifth-wheel towing involves the mount for what you’re towing to be in the bed of the truck. In short, Toyota does not recommend it. People have done it, but you have to get creative with how you do it. It’s not a simple installation, but if there is a will, there is a way. I would recommend sticking with “traditional” towing when it comes to Tacomas. After all, they are built for that and build for it well.

    You do have to keep some things in mind when you are towing: your handling and the way you have to drive will change dramatically, your gas mileage will go down, and your truck will be working harder.

    If you have a proper factory or aftermarket tow package, the extra load on your drivetrain will be fine. If not, you could damage parts or overheat due to temperature increases. Your gas mileage will drop around or below about three miles per gallon less than what you currently get. Of course, that depends on the weight and the drag/aerodynamics of your load. Handling is obvious: you have a MUCH longer truck now. Sharp, last-minute turns at high speeds could cause a massive and very expensive spill, and wind can become your new worst enemy. You must drive with care when towing.

    All in all, the Toyota Tacoma is a fantastic truck. It is extremely capable and reliable in almost any situation that you can throw at it. Towing is no exception. If you take care to adhere to all safety regulations and not exceed what your truck is rated for, our little Toyota Tacomas can really almost tow it all: campers, cars, boats, and more.

    Image Credits

    TacomaWorld User atrain23

    TacomaWorld USer Optimaltaco

    Arlington Toyota

    Guide To Toyota Tacoma Skid Plates & Body Armor

    Guide To Toyota Tacoma Skid Plates & Body Armor

    Toyota Tacomas are built tough and built to last. However, if you plan on doing any serious offroading or rock climbing, damage will happen. Body panels will get dinged and the undercarriage and other components under can get damaged. Thankfully, there is a massive skid plate aftermarket to armor your Taco to take a beating.

    What Is A Skid Plate?

    Skid plates are panels made of a tough and abrasion-resistance material that are bolted (usually) onto the bottom side of a vehicle to prevent damage from occurring to the underside of a vehicle when it makes contact with the ground.

    For a Tacoma, the biggest place you’re going to want to protect would be under the engine and your front suspension. You can get carried away and cover other suspension components and beyond as well. Prices are going to range from around $100 up to over $1000. Your average price will be around $200 for just the front cover. This is very inexpensive considering what you’re protecting. Let’s get into some examples.

    Our friends over at Tacoma World have voiced their opinions on what they like running on their trucks. I have mentioned Bay Area Metal Fab on here a couple times, and they seem to be a driver favorite. BAMF doesn’t have a wide selection on skid plate sections, but they do have a heavy-duty steel IFS (independent front suspension) skid plate.

    At $325 with an option to have it powder coated for $90, this solid steel skid plate will offer protection and durability from a well-known name.

    Mobtown Offroad is also a big fan favorite, and they offer the full selection of multiple panels and metal options. They have the front, transmission, fuel tank, and transfer case skid plates. If you get all of them, you’re looking around $1125, but it depends on if you get aluminum or steel. Their front skid plate is popular due to the oil cutout it has. This allows you to get your oil changed without having to take the skid plate off. Individually, each part is around $250.

    RCI Off Road offers some great options for skid plates. Not only do they offer the variety of plates that Mobtown does, but also a rear-differential and A-arm skid plates as well. Instead of purchasing each piece, they also offer a complete package. Each part allows you to choose between black powder-coated steel, raw aluminum, or black powder-coated aluminum. Each part has a similar price to Mobtown’s prices.

    If you want to go full Toyota, there is an OEM option. As with many OEM parts, it’s going to be more expensive over aftermarket, but you’re generally assured a good fit. Amazon offers a TRD front skid plate for Tacomas for about $454. It’s still an aggressive-looking part for factory, and it should perform well, but you don’t get any options. It’s one color, and it’s made out of aluminum.

    Steel or Aluminum?

    For a lot of these, you have the option of steel or aluminum? Which is better? Which should you get? This all depends on how you are using your truck. Steel is a very strong metal. It can take a beating and keep on going. If you are doing some serious rock crawling up the side of a mountain, you will want the protection of steel. The downside is that steel is very heavy. Weight affects the performance of your truck: gas mileage, acceleration, braking, balance, and so on.

    On the other end, aluminum is very light. The tradeoff is that it’s not as strong. If you’re a weekend warrior who goes on a couple of trails that might have a hill or two, aluminum is the way to go. Weight will still be added to your truck, but far less than steel. Don’t be shy about protection: aluminum will get most jobs done the same way steel will, but depending on the thickness and how sharp the rock is that your truck just crashed down on, it could be the difference between a scratch, and a full puncture.

    Like I’ve said with tires and other modifications countless times before on this blog: know your end goal, and buy accordingly.

    Other Body Armor Options

    Skid plates protect all the expensive mechanical and electronic stuff. What about the rest of your truck? While I have your attention, let’s take a quick look at some other options.

    Brush Guards and Rock Sliders

    I’m putting both of these together because I have separate posts about them that cover the parts and options in great detail. In short, brush guards do a great job at protecting the front of your truck and sliders protect the body and sides of the undercarriage. Here are the links to those posts:

    Overlanding your Tacoma (Includes Brush Guards/Push Bars)

    Rock Sliders vs Steps

    Roll Bar

    If you’re concerned about rolling over during your adventures, a full-on roll cage might be a good option, but if you want something that looks good, is cheaper, and still offers some protection, a roll bar is a good option. You can get them for around $500.


    A very expensive option, but very durable if you’re serious about off-roading would be bumpers. Stock bumpers look great but offer no protection while rock crawling. Off-roading bumpers are heavy but designed to take a beating.

    There are plenty of options to protect your Tacoma when you’re battling the Earth. It all depends on where you’re going, and how hard you’re pushing your truck. Regardless, make the investment now so you don’t have to pay the price later to replace expensive components.

    Image Credits

    BAMF - Courtesy of BAMF

    Mobtown - Courtesy of Mobtown Offroad

    RCI - Courtesy of RCI Metal Works/Off Road

    TRD Factory - Courtesy of TacomaWorld user tacopromatt

    Toyota Tacoma Bed Racks - What Are They Used For & Where To Buy

    Toyota Tacoma Bed Racks - What Are They Used For & Where To Buy

    If you’re doing some Overlanding, or a weekend camping trip, bed racks make a world of difference in storage and organization for your Toyota Tacoma. Bed racks are railed systems that bolt into the bed of your truck in minutes. They allow you to mount your gear to the sides and top of the unit keeping what you need organized, and within reach. 

    What Do You Need Them For?

    As I have said in many of my posts, the gear you need depends on what you do. Do you need the rack to support a rooftop tent (RTT)? Do you need to be able to hold gear to drive and survive for a day or a week? Do you want light-weight but more expensive aluminum or heavy but sturdy steel? Think about these questions as we take a look at some examples. The following are some of the most popular ones Taco owners have been talking about on forums. 

    RCI Off Road has been talked about on here and the forums for a few different aftermarket parts. That’s a good sign. It could be a one-stop shop, and people like them. People also like their bed racks. Standing at 12 inches, this lower rack can hold up around 700 pounds of gear and has the option to accept rooftop tents. Not tall enough? They have taller versions, and adjustable models as well. The base price of the 12-inch model is around $700. It installs quickly and looks good.

    Another fantastic option is the Cali Raised Overland Bed Rack System, which you can find right here at Emypre Off-Road. There are plenty of options with this rugged system to get the length and height that you want to fit your needs. With being mostly made out of aluminum, they are super light-weight but strong.  They will support your RTT and whatever else you need to get the job done.  At $850, you get free shipping and a lifetime warranty. 

    All-Pro Off-Road offers one of the most expensive and one of the most affordable options. From $430 to $900, there is probably a version that works for you. These are great to make what you want if you’re not happy with something out of the box. You can get a kit that is unwelded, and you can get these unfinished (bare metal). They also offer a bunch of different bolt-on accessories to really customize your bed rack the way you want. If you’re looking to make something custom without having to go to a shop to have one fabricated, this could be your option. Don’t worry: they make “plug and play” versions too!

    Front Runner Outfitters offers something different. With most of these racks offering storage on the sides, Front Runner focuses more on the top of the rack. The lightweight aluminum design is to allow you to have two levels to your truck’s bed. While expensive at around $860, they do offer the surface area of a second bed. It’s a more streamlined design over having side storage. They also make matching roof racks of the same design, in the event you need more surface area.

    Hauling your gear is something you need to take special attention to. A weekend warrior will have different needs compared to an Overlanding pro. Do you want the reduced weight of aluminum, or do you want the age-old proven durability of steel? Now that you have some idea on what’s out there, the next step is hooking one up to your Taco! Get out there, haul your stuff, and have fun. 

    Image Credits

    RCI - Courtesy of Bilstein Lifts

    Empyre - My Site :)

    All-Pro - Courtesy of All-Pro Off-Road

    Front Runner - Courtesy of Off Road Tents

    Everything You Need to Know & Buy For Overlanding In Your Tacoma

    Everything You Need to Know & Buy For Overlanding In Your 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.

    What is Overlanding?

    Overlanding is a journey to remote destinations across the open land. This isn’t your typical weekend rock crawling. 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 Love Overlanding?

    Ask them! If they are using their trucks for their intended purpose (no, it’s not to get groceries), then they realize how good these trucks can be at braving the wilderness. The guys at Decked mentioned the proven 300,000 mile plus lifespan, inexpensive ownership, durability, and reliability. Others talk about safety, good looks, and the vast amount of selection of aftermarket parts. The Taco, with a little help, is beyond capable for an overlanding expedition. Let’s find out what you need.

    What Overlanding Equipment Do You Need?

    The Tacoma is a great truck, but if you’re going to be out on the open land for days or maybe weeks at a time, there are a few things that you need to do. What you get will depend on the terrain and how long you will be gone for. Will it be rocky, snowy, sandy, muddy, or flat? Do you have to worry about rivers? Will you be driving at night? There are a few key things to get dependant on the answers to those questions.

    Suspension is huge as it’s usually always good to have a little extra clearance. You’ll also want to protect your vehicle, especially if you’re in rocky conditions. Rock sliders, push bars, and cages are excellent additions for that. Snorkels help for river crossing and aggressive tires help for the terrain, but don’t forget about you! Where are you going to sleep and eat? What about gas for your truck and lights? These are all things to consider.


    There are tons of suspension options available for the Toyota Tacoma, but it’s important to remember that when overlanding, you’re generally not attending a SuperCrawl event. Clearance is always a good option if you have some bumps or rivers to get through.

    I cover this topic heavily in my Ultimate Tacoma Lift Kit Guide, but it would be a good idea to start out with a basic lift kit. A coilover kit would be your best option overall for overlanding.

    Coilover kits are one unit (piston and spring) that are plug and play. Simply take your stock spring and piston out, and place the new one in. While these are more expensive over spacer lift kits, which simply stretch your stock spring and piston, coilover kits are far more durable. Durability is what you are after for overlanding, hands down.

    Coilovers can be ordered in various heights including adjustable heights, and there are plenty of name brand options to choose from. You can expect to spend anywhere from $1200 to $4000 for a complete kit, but it’s worth it.


    Your ride will get beat up and get dirty as your overlanding life continues, but there are steps you can take to cut down on serious damage, especially if you’re dealing with rocky and hilly conditions. Rock sliders, push bars, and cages take the impacts so your body panels don’t have to.

    Rock sliders bolt to your frame and are designed for protection. The average cost is going to be around $250 to $550 depending on brand and material. Some sliders offer built-in steps as well, which will aid you in getting in and out of your lifted ride. Keep in mind that when you’re shopping you’re getting sliders and not steps. Steps are usually just meant for your feet and don’t offer the same protection that sliders do.

    Push bars/grill guards go on the front of your truck and can be as simple as a small trapezoidal tube in the middle, or a complete network of tubing and mesh designed to protect all your lights and grille. These range from $250 to over $1000, but you’re generally looking around $400.

    If you’re at risk of rolling, you may want to look at a cage for your truck. This is most likely a rare occurrence for overlanding, but know your environment. This generally has to be custom made, so do a search around your area for someone who offers that kind of service. 


    If you think you might be crossing some rivers, a snorkel might be a wise investment. Snorkels move your engine’s air intake closer to your roof. While you will need to cut holes in your truck’s body to make the modification, it’s better than hydro locking your engine (seizing your engine because water gets sucked in). These will run you about $300 to $700.


    Tires and the amount of air in them depend on where you are going. Mud, snow, sand, and dirt might all need different tires. A while back, I did a post called The Ultimate Toyota Tacoma Wheel and Tire Guide that covers all this in depth. Know where you’re going, and plan accordingly. A typical set of off-road tires will run you around $600.


    There will be no streetlights where you are going. Stock headlights and high beams work well, but you’ll need more in the pitch black darkness you’ll experience. I cover lighting terms and options in my Guide to Tacoma Light Bars, but in short, it would be wise to invest in an LED light bar. LED light bars are extremely efficient, durable, and bright. They will flood the area in front of you with bright and clean light, which is terribly important if your overlanding trip requires you to drive at night.

    Carrying Your Gear

    If you’re going to be gone for a long time, you need supplies: spare truck parts, food, water, first aid, survival gear, and extra fuel. While our trucks can hold a lot, space runs out fast when you’re getting all of your supplies together.

    Bed Racks

    Bed racks are one of the best options for carrying more gear. These mount onto your bed and either give you a full length “roof rack”, sidewall storage, or both. Prices range from $250 to over $1000, but you’ll be able to pick the one you need for the amount of storage that you require. Some come with modular panels and containers designed to attached to the side. They are great ways to store spare water and fuel. If you're looking for a great bed rack for your Tacoma, we carry a great one from Cali Raised.

    Bed Drawers

    While these take up more room in your bed, they are a good way to organize your gear, and keep it out of the way. These install in your bed, and raise the floor of your bed by adding a row of drawers underneath the new bed floor. The price range is the same as the bed racks.

    Headrest Pouch Kit

    These don’t hold much but are a great way to keep small things in a place you know they will be. A great option is a first aid kit. Blue Ridge Overland Gear actually makes a complete headrest first aid kit. Prices range from $30 to $80 depending on what you get: empty, first aid kit, size, attachment, and so on.

    Keeping Yourself Comfortable

    When overlanding, there are no resorts, no hotels, and no cabins. You are on your own, so you want to be comfortable. Regular old tents are an inexpensive and easy option. They are tried and true, and they don’t take up much space. However, if you want to be fancy and camp in style, there are options made specifically for our Tacomas.

    Bed Tents

    If your trips are short and your bed isn’t loaded down with equipment, a bed tent can be a good option. These are designed to fold out in your bed to give you a, well, a bed. Compared to other options, these are relatively inexpensive. Prices range from $150 to $500.

    Roof Top Tents

    When you want the ultimate amount of personal space, luxury, and room in your truck’s bed for storage, roof top tents are the best option. While they can be pricey ($250 - $2000), they are amazing options if you’re serious about overlanding. You sleep up high, which not only gives you better views, but it keeps you safer from any lurking creatures. Some come with an annex room that goes from the ground to the sleeping section. They are great for a multi-person party, or a “living room” if you want it. Some of these annex rooms have “backdoors” that allow you to access the inside of your truck (through your side doors) giving you an incredible setup.

    A good note: many roof top tents also have supports that can double as bed racks.

    Overlanding Trailers

    If you are going on a long trip on flat land, you might need a trailer. Trailers are a great option to carry a bunch of other gear for an extended journey, but only on flatter land. You can get a specific overlanding trailer, and while more expensive, they are designed for harsh off-road environments.

    Trailers can be your tent, leaving your bed available for more storage, or they can hold all of your extra gear and leave your bed available. A good overlanding trailer will cost you over $2000 and can be as high as $12000. If you’re all about the overlanding life, it could be a wise investment, but most weekend warriors won’t have a need for the extra space.

    While fuel mileage isn’t the main concern while overlanding (beyond making sure you have enough), pulling a heavy trailer will result in the use of more fuel. You will also limit where you can go.

    Where To Find Overlanding Groups

    Going out on your own or with people that you can fit in your truck can be a lot of fun, but sometimes hanging out and going on an adventure with a convoy of like-minded people is a lot of fun. Not only can you form bonds with people who share your passion, but someone could save you or your truck with if you’re in trouble. If you’re a novice, or this is your first time, I would highly recommend going with other people.

    Facebook is a great way to find like-minded people/groups. There are many overlanding groups, and some Tacoma/Toyota specific ones for New Jersey and Pennsylvania (USA). Forums like Overland Bound, Tacoma World, and even Reddit have diehard fans when it comes to overlanding with Tacomas. Reach out to these people through these mediums and find out what’s happening next and where. Go out and have some fun with some like-minded people!


    While an incredible experience and lots of fun, overlanding is a serious and potentially dangerous adventure. However, rest assured knowing your Toyota Tacoma can be up to the challenge with some light modifications. Remember, a good overall, mid-range priced package to get your truck ready would consist of the following:

    • Moderate height coilover lift kit ($1200)
    • Tires ($600)
    • Rock sliders ($350)
    • Push bar/grill guard ($350)
    • LED light bar ($200)
    • Bed rack/tent ($500)
    • Fuel cans, water cans, and other incidentals/extras ($250)

    All in all, you could be looking around $7500 for a complete kit. Keep in mind that this is mid-range. You can get much more expensive gear, or cheaper. Most of these things are one time investments as well. The only things you would need to replace are your tires. Anything else just needs to be replaced if it gets damaged.

    You also have to determine what you need. If you’re driving through the Sahara, you probably don’t need a push bar or rock sliders. That’s $700 taken off right there. If you are only going on weekend trips, you probably can get away with an inexpensive tent set up independently from your truck, and you won’t need a bed rack. That’s $500 gone.

    There is no this-is-how-you-have-to-do-it way for overlanding. There are two rules to overlanding: get from Point A to Point B, and have fun doing it. How you accomplish it depends on how much money, time, and effort you want to put into it. Determine where you want to go, find out the best way to do it, and build and plan accordingly.

    The Toyota Tacoma is a safe, durable, and reliable truck. Use it, be safe, and have fun.

    Image Credits

    Cover Picture - TRD USA

    Lift Kit - Defcon Brix

    Sliders and Bumper - C4 Fabrication

    Tires Snorkels and Lights - Rigd Supply

    Bed Rack - Leitner Designs

    Roof Tent - Offroading HQ

    Trailer - Defcon Brix