I began my overlanding journey back in early 2014 and at the time I had a 2 wheel drive ’07 Toyota Tundra that I bottomed out going over some minor obstacles on my first trip off-road. Add to that, struggling to drive home in Atlanta’s 2013 “Snow-Pocalipse” and I decided that it was time for an upgrade. Like many of us I spent countless hours researching vehicles, and all that I knew was that I wanted something I could afford, that was reliable, and had a short enough wheel base that it wouldn’t bottom out again on a simple obstacle. With those far-too-simple constraints in mind, I started the search and eventually decided the 5th Gen 4Runner was the way to go in a nutshell because Toyota is known for their reliability, and quite honestly I just really liked the look of the truck. Oh and by the way, that Tundra that I mentioned earlier was a base model with absolutely no factory upgrades, so when I got my next vehicle I wanted to be sure that I got something that had most of those blank button covers all over my Tundra filled in. So to get all my buttons and meet my constraints it was decided that the best option would be the 5th Gen Trail Edition 4Runner.
It took longer than expected to find one, but eventually I found what has come to be named “Rudy” my 2013 Silver 4Runner Trail Edition at a local Dodge dealership a couple of days after it was traded in with about 30K miles on it. Of course by this time I had been researching all sorts of modifications on t4r.org and decided that the first thing I wanted to do, was to protect the truck thus leading to the first mod which was sliders. In hindsight, I think this really was a great decision (albeit made with limited knowledge at the time) as I truly believe sliders are an absolute must to protect your truck off-road, provide a great point to use a Hi-Lift jack on (with a JackJaw or similar product), and as a bonus provide a step for the vehicle. From here the list of mods grew extensively as I continued to ride more trails and discovered new things that I absolutely “needed”.
Over the past two years I believe I have truly been afforded the opportunity to hone in the modifications to the truck, and I definitely have changed some along the way based on my experiences. A few key ones to point out were rear springs that I swapped out for heavier duty ones once I upgraded my rear bumper, my roof top tent that I decided to swap for a hard shell one recently due primarily to deployment/pack-up speed (I was REALLY sick of being last to pack up at camp), and gas cans which I switched from rotopax to regular jerry cans due to my mounting options and overall features that I was looking for.
I won’t bore you with all the details on why I chose each and every mod (because believe me I spent MANY hours researching each and every one), but below is a list of everything that I have on the truck in it’s current form. Although some days it feels this way, I try to avoid saying it’s “finally complete” because much like doctors practice medicine it feels like I am “practicing overlanding” as I continue to learn and mold this truck into the perfect overlanding vehicle to fulfill my yearnings to explore this great planet.
- MetalTech OPOR Sliders Coated with Bullet Liner
- Budbuilt Hidden Winch Mount
- Smittybilt XRC-9.5K Waterproof Winch Gen2
- Rigid Dually D2 Lights Mounted on the Hidden Winch Mount
- Xenon Depot LED Headlight Bulbs
- 4500LM VLED High Beams
- Retrofit Source LED Fog Light Full Replacements
- AVW Rear Corner Offroad Lights Mounted to CBI Bumper
- Sonoran Steel Bilstein Lift (Set at 3.75″ Front and 2″ Back)
- Rcimetalworks skids (all but the gas tank)
- 3D Printed “Trail” Emblems (because COME-ON Toyota – Where are our “Trail Team” emblems 🙂 )
- Eezi-Awn K9 2.2M x 1250mm Roof Rack System
- AVW 18000LM 48″ light bar
- CBI Rear Bumper + 5Gal water and 5Gal Gas Jerry Cans
- Icon Overlander Rear Springs to support the added weight of the new bumper
- 285x70x17 Cooper STT Pro Tires + Matching Sized Spare
- (2) Maxtrax Recovery Boards
- James Baround Evolution Explorer RTT
- Husky Rubber Floor Mats and Trunk Liner
- K&N Air Filter
- LED Interior Lights
- Dash Camera (after sustaining a minor hit and run)
- Indel-B 12V Refrigerator
- Recovery + First Aid Gear
Be sure to follow @nevetsvsx on instagram in addition to @PeachStateOverland of course, to stay updated as I continue to practice the art of overlanding and vehicle modification.