Traveling Incognito Overlander Style
The trend in the 4×4 world these days seems to bolt on as much stuff to the outside of the truck, jeep or SUV to give it that “overlander” look. Roof top tents, extra fuel tanks and traction aids mounted on the rear bumper with the spare tire are just a few basics one needs to add if he or she wishes to look the part.
Sure, most of that stuff is needed when hitting the road for an extended overlanding trip, but is it needed for a weekend camping trip to George Washington National Forest or the beach? probably not, but it sure is nice to have for that just in case scenario. I’ve just taken a different approach to my truck.
When building my overlander style Tacoma, I always kept in mind that I wanted the truck looking as nondescript and normal as possible. I realize it does not look like a stock truck when taking a long look at it, but at a glance up and down the highway or when it is parked, it does not scream, “I got lots of stuff with me to steal.” And that is important. The exterior is void of badges and stickers. I’ve even removed the factory TRD stickers and Toyota Tacoma plates in attempt to maintain a low profile.
Quite often I park the truck on the side of a back country road away from most folks and walk off into the woods to hunt or fish. The less attention I can draw to the truck, the less likely someone will snoop around while I’m gone. At least I think and hope so.
Or when I am traveling to a new area, I like to try and blend in with the locals and not arrive in town screaming, “I’m a tourist.” By keeping a low profile and presence, I have found I can strike up a conversation with the locals a little easier.
Of course, under the hood is all the stickers of the places I’ve been and the parts list of things I have done to the truck. But as I roll through town, I just look like a regular Toyota Tacoma with a cap on the back and a winch on the front. That is just fine with me, because I know that when I slide off the canoe from the top of the truck and float down the river, my truck is not parked riverside screaming, come steal me and my stuff. It’s just another truck.
It is hard to find a place to store all of the things we carry, from the recovery tools, camping gear, fishing and hunting gear, but that is one of the main reasons I drive and own a pickup because it gives me the added storage space I need.
The High-Lift jack is mounted on the inside of the truck bed. The spare in mounted inside the truck bed all the way in the front out of the way. Think about it, how often do we need our spare? It is probably one of the least used things we carry. Why put it in a place where it is always the first thing in reach and in the way of lowering the tailgate? If I need it, the little bit of time it would take to retrieve the spare from the front of the truck bed trumps having it in the way the hundreds of times I open the tailgate to grab something I need.
I’ve also kept, for now, the stock TRD Sport wheels on the truck. I see nothing wrong with the current wheels, they are round, hold the tire on the truck and the air inside.
So, when you are traveling through Thomas WV, you probably won’t notice the overlanding vehicle parked out front of the Purple Fiddle. There is just a normal Toyota Tacoma parked outside and you can find me inside drinking tea and listening to the music.