The need for a spacious and capable vehicle centers around my main drive in life—to create stories through video and photos. While I’ve had many trucks and SUVs in my garage, i’m currently driving a 2012 Nissan Xterra PRO-4X. It’s a capable machine built on a time-tested body-on-frame chassis and reliable powertrain. Since my needs involve toting around lots of camera and support gear to various and sometimes hard to get to locations, the truck lends itself naturally to overlanding as well. My first foray off-road, as well as one of my first introductions to fellow Peach State Overland member, Steven, took place on a trip to Tray Mountain in Georgia two or so years ago. The trip was fun and I met a lot of the people that I still go on off-road trips with today. Since then, some of the core people that I’ve met decided to come together and create Peach State Overland. It has served as an outlet for us to not only get out and experience nature and ride some great trails, but for me, a creative outlet for my video and photography work.
To meet the needs of overlanding, a few modifications were needed for the Xterra. A lift—after days and days of research online, reading forum posts and asking questions on Facebook groups, I opted to purchase Radflo 2.0 coilovers with SPC upper control arms for the front and full Alcan leaf packs in the rear with Bilstein 5100 shocks. The leaf springs require some additional research as they not only have to be built with a specified amount of lift, but also be able to carry a specified amount of cargo at that lift height. Ultimately I ordered a set that would provide 3in of lift and carry 400lbs of additional capacity over the stock leaf packs. It was the perfect combination.
Other modifications include a set of factory sized 265/75-16 BFGoodrich KO2s, a Maximum Designs (Maxterra) rear bumper with tire swing out, ARB 2000 Awning, and a few odds and ends for the interior for better storage and power management. For storage, with the assistance of my brother, I learned some basic MIG welding to create a rear cargo shelf. Attached to the shelf is a power inverter for charging camera batteries and I’ve also retrofitted two additional USB ports to the overhead console for powering GoPros or charging additional phones/tablets.
The truck is a work in progress and I plan on purchasing a set of rock sliders and moving up to 33” tires in the future. Overlanding has certainly made a big impression on my life. Getting outside, hiking, and camping are all key to living a full life for both myself and my wife. It’s great to do it with a good group of friends!