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Overlanding in the TRD Pro Lineup - Out of My Element

I survived overlanding, and it was badass

Nov 29, 2018
Photographer: Toyota

No hotel, running water, or cell service for miles. I couldn't take a shower, check my emails, or scroll Instagram. What the hell did I get myself into?!

Overlanding in the TRD pro lineup Imogene Pass Photo 2/19   |   Can you find a view as epic as this?! I'm still in disbelief that I was able to conquer 13,114 feet on Imogene Pass in Colorado.

Let's take a step back, and I'll give you a quick backstory... Your lowly Super Street editor-in-chief is born and raised in Seattle, currently living in Hollywood. I like big cities, bright lights, and, of course, being around cars. I'm far from a nature boy; in fact, I've never camped a day in my life. I can also be a little OCD, so, as you can imagine, when I was offered to join a group of journalists on an off-road adventure from Colorado to Utah, my immediate reaction was "Hell no!" But, after mulling over my thoughts and considering all the risks and opportunities, I said "F*ck it!" Who knows the next time I'd be invited to go off-roading with experienced guides? (Except I later discovered I wouldn't just be off-roading.) In my head, I pictured sitting inside a lifted truck, flying over hills, and doing donuts in the mud. Little did I know, I was about to get schooled on overlanding.

Overlanding in the TRD pro lineup TRD Pro tacoma Photo 3/19   |   The Tacoma was my favorite of the TRD Pro lineup. The desert air intake and peppy 278hp V-6 might've had something to do with it.
Overlanding in the TRD pro lineup TRD pro 4Runner Photo 4/19   |   The vehicle I'd most likely drive everyday is the 4Runner for its SUV functionality. And yes, I'd probably put a set of TE37Vs on it!

In its simplest form, overlanding is self-reliant traveling to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. What this really boils down to is: Whenever you're going from point A to B, you don't need anything else but your vehicle and what you've packed inside it to endure multiple days away from civilization. This includes food preparation, cooking supplies, sleeping quarters, first-aid, water—you name it. More importantly, your vehicle needs to be capable of handling the elements. In the case of my 160-mile, off-the-beaten-path expedition from Montrose, Colorado, to Moab, Utah, treacherous terrain was ahead, and there was no motel or gas station in sight. There was no turning back.

Overlanding in the TRD pro lineup 4Runner Crawl Control Photo 5/19   |   Overlanding In The TRD Pro Lineup 4Runner Crawl Control
Overlanding in the TRD pro lineup Crawl Control Photo 6/19   |   Toyota's Crawl Control feature came in extra handy. Instead of trying to modulate the throttle and manually brake to get up and down challenge rocks, Crawl Control does all the work, rotating the all four wheels strategically so you can ascend and descend obstacles in a controlled fashion at 2 to 3 mph. All you gotta do is steer and hold on!

I could ramble on for hours about how I constructed my first campsite, slept next to cows, and went through an unspeakable amount of baby wipes to cleanse myself, but the real story here is the Toyota trucks, which, to my surprise, are all 100 percent stock (minus our support vehicles from Expedition Overland).

Overlanding in the TRD pro lineup Fox shock TRD spring Photo 7/19   |   Two of the most important features of the TRD Pro are the Fox shocks and TRD springs. They're comfortable for daily driving but have also been put through hell to handle weekend off-road duties.
Overlanding in the TRD pro lineup TRD skid plate Photo 8/19   |   The painted skidplate is a pretty dope TRD accessory. Think of it as a front splitter!

Sitting in L.A. traffic, it's not uncommon to come across a 4Runner, Tacoma, or Tundra, even in TRD Pro form. While not the greatest on fuel economy, they're comfortable enough for daily driving and useful on those trips to Home Depot or to pick up a set of wheels and tires. What I quickly learned on the first day, climbing 13,000 feet to the peak of Imogene Pass, was that these TRD Pros are turnkey off-road monsters. They're equipped with 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks to handle high-speed desert runs and slow-speed rockcrawling, yet they're not too bouncy for regular city commutes. They're also fitted with the right all-terrain tires, and I'm still baffled to this day how we didn't pierce a sidewall or catch a flat bouncing over sharp-edged rocks. The trio of TRD Pro trucks also use specific lifted springs, and a couple of the models feature things like a skidplate, intake, exhaust, and LED lights to separate them from base model vehicles.

Overlanding in the TRD pro lineup sam du Photo 9/19   |   It's not about how fast you can go, but what trail you can conquer.
Overlanding in the TRD pro lineup sam du Photo 10/19   |   Pitching my first tent, and I have to say, I'm damn good!

After six days out of the office, conquering territory I'd never thought possible, I learned a few new things: 1) It's great to be disconnected from your phone; 2) I can pitch a damn good tent; and 3) off-roading and overlanding are badass! It's a completely different thrill—one that really takes experiencing it before knocking it. Instead of enjoying a high-performance car for its speed and handling, you're enjoying a high-performance truck for its ability to overcome obstacles and unpredictable terrain. Also, reliability and longevity play a larger role in overlanding. If you break down in the wild, you can't depend on AAA to tow you home. Hell, you can't even make a phone call. With that in the back of my head, I appreciated the level of performance these TRD Pro trucks possessed. Off-roading and overlanding is dangerous; however, with a properly engineered vehicle and the right mindset, it'll be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. I can attest.

Overlanding in the TRD pro lineup margaritas Photo 11/19   |   Overlanding In The TRD Pro Lineup Margaritas
Overlanding in the TRD pro lineup taco bar Photo 12/19   |   The gang at Overland Expedition ensured my first overlanding experience wouldn't be too painful. Homemade tacos and margaritas made me feel right at home.
Overlanding in the TRD pro lineup Moab Photo 16/19   |   Made it to Moab! Thank you Toyota and Overland Expedition for the amazing experience!
Sam Du
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