Need help building a capable rig

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Nick Abdo

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Hey guys so I'm new to overlanding and I just bought a 2016 Tacoma it's got the off-road package but only 2wd. I'm looking for any ideas/suggestions of gear or equipment I can add to it to make it as off-road capable as possible. My biggest fear is getting the truck stuck out in the middle of nowhere with no way of getting it out. Any suggestions would be really appreciated, thanks.

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ShawnR

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I don't know much about trucks but I can tell you living in a snowy environment, and having owned a 2 wheel drive truck many years ago, tires made a huge difference for me. Knowing how to drive in a given environment helps too. But to me, the right tires is very important. With my vehicles now, a winch is a must have. Also a hi-lift jack and proper recovery gear such as shovel, axe, tire repair kit, air pump, etc. Good solid rock sliders are important to me too as well as under armor. Communication is also important so this winter I'm going to work on getting my HAM license. Another piece of kit I would like but haven't bought yet is Maxtrax or something similar. I know there are a few Tacoma drivers on here now so hopefully they can give you better advice. Good luck with your build.
 

Nick Abdo

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It really depends on how aggressive you want to be and where you want to go. A 2wd truck driven properly will get you to 80% of the places a 4wd vehicle will. You just have to be much more disciplined in selecting your line and managing your throttle control. If you're looking at simply running forestry service roads and exploring back country routes you'll need minimal equipment. I'd suggest as a starting point the following:

- A good jack. Not the stock jack that comes with the 2016, but a good bottle jack with some accessories. I'd suggest the Safe Jack Kit
- A dependable spare tire. Shouldn't be a problem since you have a new vehicle.
- A tool kit that covers the majority of fasteners on the vehicle. With my vehicles as I work on them at home I make notes of the socket sizes I use, specialty tools that might be required, etc and then add those items to a tool roll that's kept in the vehicle. Try not to carry "complete sets" of tools, for example a full socket set, as you're not going to use 90% of it and it's only going to take up space and add weight.
- Tire plug kit and the knowledge of how to use it
- A collection of zip ties, a few high strength ratchet straps, paracord and bailing wire
- Good gloves
- Several flashlights

That kit will help get you out of trouble in a lot of cases. Now if you're looking to modify the vehicle to add capability I'd start with tires. I'm fairly sure the 2016 Tacoma Off Road's come with Goodyear Wranglers. Not a bad tire and if I were you I'd run them until they wore out and then look at upgrading. Keep in mind the tires that are sold to manufacturers are NOT the same tire you'll buy from your local tire shop. Expect to get about 50% of the tread life out of the OEM tires that you will out of tires you buy later. On my 2016 I'm running the BFG KO2s and have been really happy with them so far.

I'd also look at upgrading the recovery points on the Tacoma. The 2016 passenger side recovery point up front is ok, but there are far better options out there that add more strength and attachment options. Look at the BPF Heavy Duty Hook for and upgrade. If you don't have the factory tow package I'd look at adding a receiver to the rear and fitting a recovery hook.

If you want to go the route of adding a winch you'll need to look at changing out the front bumper. Due to the geometry of the front of the 2016's this is no small task and involves quite a bit of cutting in most cases. There are a few quality front bumpers out on the market as of today, but I'd probably give it another 6 months to see what else comes along. Many of the offerings right now change the approach angle of the truck (most decrease it). ARB's bumper is due out any day now and would be one that I would recommend. If you're committed to going this route I'd start researching winches now...the internet will provide you with more information than you want there.

Beyond these things the list of upgrades is almost infinite. Dual batteries, on board air, snorkels, lift kits, auxiliary lighting, fridges, etc. This list goes on and on. I'd recommend not getting caught up in building what you "think" you might need based on what others on forums are doing but instead get out there and use the vehicle as it is. The more you use it the more you'll know what works for you and what the weak points are. Address those items as you come across them and you'll be much happier than if you build your vehicle to the expectations of the internet.
Great information, thanks a lot. I will start looking into the stuff you mention and work my way through the stuff I can afford now. I'm not a huge off-road guy but I do love camping n backpacking so I just want to be able to get to most places without the constant fear of getting my truck stuck somewhere. I feel much better now about not having that 4wd. Thanks again.

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Nick Abdo

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271
Anaheim Hills, CA
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I don't know much about trucks but I can tell you living in a snowy environment, and having owned a 2 wheel drive truck many years ago, tires made a huge difference for me. Knowing how to drive in a given environment helps too. But to me, the right tires is very important. With my vehicles now, a winch is a must have. Also a hi-lift jack and proper recovery gear such as shovel, axe, tire repair kit, air pump, etc. Good solid rock sliders are important to me too as well as under armor. Communication is also important so this winter I'm going to work on getting my HAM license. Another piece of kit I would like but haven't bought yet is Maxtrax or something similar. I know there are a few Tacoma drivers on here now so hopefully they can give you better advice. Good luck with your build.
Thanks for the help Shawn. I definitely want to upgrade the tires to the BF Goodrich at ko2 but seeing as it's a brand new truck I'll wait till I wear these ones out a bit.

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Daniel Etter

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I PMd a link to you to show the capabilities of a stock 2wd taco. As mentioned above, armor should always be the first thing purchased. That will allow you to travel safely down back roads without having to worry about damaging your new truck. Good recovery gear is essential. You can go without a winch for awhile if you plan on traveling with other vehicles, but one is highly recommend for independent adventures. The traction mats are incredible and pretty cheap considering how effective they are. They are the next thing I'm getting for my rig. Seat time will be the biggest thing for you. Driving a 2wd off road wil be a lot different then awd or 4wd because you'll have to pick different lines, etc to maintain traction and momentum.
 

Nick Abdo

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Anaheim Hills, CA
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I PMd a link to you to show the capabilities of a stock 2wd taco. As mentioned above, armor should always be the first thing purchased. That will allow you to travel safely down back roads without having to worry about damaging your new truck. Good recovery gear is essential. You can go without a winch for awhile if you plan on traveling with other vehicles, but one is highly recommend for independent adventures. The traction mats are incredible and pretty cheap considering how effective they are. They are the next thing I'm getting for my rig. Seat time will be the biggest thing for you. Driving a 2wd off road wil be a lot different then awd or 4wd because you'll have to pick different lines, etc to maintain traction and momentum.
Just checked it out, definitely some good info. I just bought some traction mats, a front bumper with a winch and some under body armor are next on the list. I'm not planning on doing any crazy rock crawling or anything like that but I'm a big backcountry camper so just need something that'll handle those adventures. Thanks for that link it helped a lot.

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MidwestOverlanders

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Just remember that armor isn't just for rock crawling. You'd be surprised at the number of rocks and sticks in the woods that can give your truck hell. Tires are key for any rig, 4wd or 2wd. Recovery gear is next. If you can't afford a winch off the bat, go get you a come along.
 
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20DYNAMITE07

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First off, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how capable a 2WD Taco is :blush:
I would echo what other's have said... while I'm no expert, I think basic recovery equipment is first order of the day. Particularly self recovery equipment.

Two affordable items that can get you out of a ton of jams are traction boards and a come along winch, and best of all, neither are likely to break the bank.

TREDS/MAXTRAX go between $160 to 300, with some off brands for as low as $100. And you can get a 4ton come along winch for less than $100. Of course, if you want to go with an electric winch, they work a lot easier, but they cost more too, and a come along can be really handy, especially when removing debris from a trail.

In any case, whatever you do, just get out there.
 
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Nick Abdo

Rank I
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Contributor II

271
Anaheim Hills, CA
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1264

First off, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how capable a 2WD Taco is :blush:
I would echo what other's have said... while I'm no expert, I think basic recovery equipment is first order of the day. Particularly self recovery equipment.

Two affordable items that can get you out of a ton of jams are traction boards and a come along winch, and best of all, neither are likely to break the bank.

TREDS/MAXTRAX go between $160 to 300, with some off brands for as low as $100. And you can get a 4ton come along winch for less than $100. Of course, if you want to go with an electric winch, they work a lot easier, but they cost more too, and a come along can be really handy, especially when removing debris from a trail.

In any case, whatever you do, just get out there.
I did take her out for a little off road adventure and was definitely surprised by how well she did. My friend has a 4wd taco and his actually got stuck in a sand pit I was able to push through with my lockers so I don't feel as bad now having a 2wd. I already got some traction mats, Maxsa $140 on Amazon and have some rock sliders on the way. Thanks for the info.

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Toyotadirtdevil

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4 wheeler did a review on the winches from harbor freight and the performed just as well as some of the more expensive brands.
With your self recovery gear make sure to get a tree strap.
There is also an article in the forum about the needs vs wants for overlanding. It's a pretty good article.