Western expedition in a 2wd

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5lugger

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Hello everyone, new member here and very interested in learning about overlanding. Right now I have a 2006 2wd Tacoma work truck with about 8 inches of ground clearance. It’s a great reliable vehicle, obviously not the best off road, but it gets me everywhere I want to go here in FL. I want to road trip from FL out west to Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana and camp out of the truck next summer on BLM/national forest land. I’ve never been out there so I’m looking for some intel. Could I expect to have issues getting to many BLM and forest campsites out there without 4wd? Is it necessary to get around safely in June through August? I want to upgrade to 4wd but the money required would cover the cost of the entire trip, so I’d love to make do with what I’ve got.
 

ThundahBeagle

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5lugger,

My nephew is in the Army down in Georgia. I checked out some trucks with his dad and settled on a single cab, 2wd older Toyota Tacoma. He loves it. Single cab so he doesnt have to bring friends along. He reports the 2wd has been doing him just fine in GA.

Off the bat, I didn't really stay on BLM land, but I did camp out in the Badlands on my way to Montana and eventually to Yellowstone and through Wyoming last spring. Additionally, as a kid/ young man, did a fair amount of firewood work on dirt roads throughout the Adirondacks. Back then, we did that in a 1978 2wd Ford. It was an F100 or Ranger, back when Ranger was full size.

My bet is that your truck should get you to a lot of beautiful places just fine. Just keep it well-maintained and be careful where you are going. When in doubt, dont do anything that makes you think twice
 
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grubworm

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like i always say...the US is very well developed and pretty much anywhere you would want to go, there is a decent road to get there. the wife and i do a good bit of BLM camping and i have a lifted tundra with 4wd that i might have used 2-3 times in the last 4 years. we recently did a trip out west and did some boondocking and had zero problems and never used 4wd. we camped outside of carlsbad caverns in NM and also up around taos. we did some boondocking outside of silverton, CO and had no problems and did some in utah outside of escalante. we also did some BLM camping just north of flagstaff, AZ and it was well maintained dirt roads.

a while back we were heading back home from southwest colorado and went over the continental divide around wolf creek pass. there was a jeep trail just off the highway that cautioned the use of 4wd and high clearance. i went with my tundra and had zero problems and got to the end of the jeep trail on top of the mountain and there were several cars there. low clearance 2wd and they did just fine apparently. i have been on several "jeep trails" that were easily navigated by folk in subaru cars and cross-over vehicles...all fairly low clearance, but yet doing the same trails that were toted as "jeep trails".

if you go slow and think about what youre doing and stop when you are not comfortable with a situation, you should be fine. the more you go, the more you will just naturally get more comfortable and confident and gradually end up going on some more difficult trails.

i met up with some OB members on here out in black gap, tx. the one member was in a low clearance 2wd tahoe that was originally a police vehicle. very low clearance, but yet i was the one following him in my lifted tundra.

its like woodworking....some guys have several different saws they use to make a project and then there is the guy who just has a simple table saw and out performs the guy with multiple different saws. guess when you really know your equipment, the limitations gradually dwindle away...
 
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5lugger

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5lugger,

My nephew is in the Army down in Georgia. I checked out some trucks with his dad and settled on a single cab, 2wd older Toyota Tacoma. He loves it. Single cab so he doesnt have to bring friends along. He reports the 2wd has been doing him just fine in GA.

Off the bat, I didn't really stay on BLM land, but I did camp out in the Badlands on my way to Montana and eventually to Yellowstone and through Wyoming last spring. Additionally, as a kid/ young man, did a fair amount of firewood work on dirt roads throughout the Adirondacks. Back then, we did that in a 1978 2wd Ford. It was an F100 or Ranger, back when Ranger was full size.

My bet is that your truck should get you to a lot of beautiful places just fine. Just keep it well-maintained and be careful where you are going. When in doubt, dont do anything that makes you think twice
Thanks for the input! And yes I love not being the one who’s vehicle is used for group trips simply because I can’t fit anyone, it’s a big perk.
 

5lugger

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like i always say...the US is very well developed and pretty much anywhere you would want to go, there is a decent road to get there. the wife and i do a good bit of BLM camping and i have a lifted tundra with 4wd that i might have used 2-3 times in the last 4 years. we recently did a trip out west and did some boondocking and had zero problems and never used 4wd. we camped outside of carlsbad caverns in NM and also up around taos. we did some boondocking outside of silverton, CO and had no problems and did some in utah outside of escalante. we also did some BLM camping just north of flagstaff, AZ and it was well maintained dirt roads.

a while back we were heading back home from southwest colorado and went over the continental divide around wolf creek pass. there was a jeep trail just off the highway that cautioned the use of 4wd and high clearance. i went with my tundra and had zero problems and got to the end of the jeep trail on top of the mountain and there were several cars there. low clearance 2wd and they did just fine apparently. i have been on several "jeep trails" that were easily navigated by folk in subaru cars and cross-over vehicles...all fairly low clearance, but yet doing the same trails that were toted as "jeep trails".

if you go slow and think about what youre doing and stop when you are not comfortable with a situation, you should be fine. the more you go, the more you will just naturally get more comfortable and confident and gradually end up going on some more difficult trails.

i met up with some OB members on here out in black gap, tx. the one member was in a low clearance 2wd tahoe that was originally a police vehicle. very low clearance, but yet i was the one following him in my lifted tundra.

its like woodworking....some guys have several different saws they use to make a project and then there is the guy who just has a simple table saw and out performs the guy with multiple different saws. guess when you really know your equipment, the limitations gradually dwindle away...
Thanks for the input! I do have a history of such things. I used to have a Corolla which I took all over the forest service roads in north Georgia and through lots of shallow soft sand back here at home. It’s amazing what I could do with a bit of momentum. I always keep a recovery strap just in case I get a bit too confident though. My fear of trying these things out west is how much more remote everything is and not having anyone come along and save me if I need it.
 

MMc

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Sam, welcome and you'll be fine. You can aways turn back if your route looks more than you want. There are plenty dirt roads that that you can enjoy. You can go farther than you think in a 2wd truck, it's not a 4x4 but go forth and have fun.
 

bryceCtravels

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Thanks for the input! I do have a history of such things. I used to have a Corolla which I took all over the forest service roads in north Georgia and through lots of shallow soft sand back here at home. It’s amazing what I could do with a bit of momentum. I always keep a recovery strap just in case I get a bit too confident though. My fear of trying these things out west is how much more remote everything is and not having anyone come along and save me if I need it.
It's not nearly as remote as you think. Nowadays every trail is marked and known about. Most I went in 3mo out west was a few days without seeing someone or having a car drive by where I was. Hard to find any places really far from people.
 

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I would say it is imperative that you pre plan the hell outta this and you can start now!
DO NOT just take off and "wing it"..... You are asking for trouble.

I would start off with a USA map, and maps of each state your visiting (Maps are free with AAA membership, which for $60 is a steal for the services they provide). I would be sure to get familiar with the OB1 app and use it.

How many mpg do you get, round down for safety. Highlight a rough route on the USA map, noting fill up towns, and places of interest you might want to see, Make a list of those attractions. Remember this is a "rough" (not final) route, you will be changing it for sure. Once roughed out, start internet searching for them "Attractions" you listed and investigate do you really want to see that? IF no, cross off, if yes, how long will you be there, say 3 days at the Grand Canyon or maybe 5 hours at the Cumberland Gap museum, whatever you think....Also post here about specific places, contact regional reps and ask questions, get that "local" intel.

All this research will take time and keeps your mind on the trip, which helps get you closer..... And this research can be fun as well.

Think about navigation.... Got an iPad/tablet? Does it have gps? Will you use paper maps only? (That is fine and fun).

Will you need to carry extra fuel or at least a can you can fill at a stop before trekking into an area?

Plan each days food and water, Where will you re-supply? What cooler/s you taking?

What will the truck need mechanically? Are you close to a timing belt change? do it before going, what spare parts will you take? What breakdown items will you take?

Money, how much will will you need for fuel, food/water, entry fees, emergency cash?


Just trying to get you thinking about plans, plan it but do not feel that you are bound by it, you may see a crowd at a place you wanted to see and skip it, you may see something along the way and want to stop. Idea is plan but be flexible, have fun!!! Maybe start a thread about your trip, and you can upload pics of places and write about each day.

2wd is fine, do not go buying a ton of "Stuff" for this trip, you can do so much on very little.

Keep asking questions and enjoy the process, making a bunch of us jealous!

Jim

PS if taking a gun, KNOW each states laws (and some cities)......
 

Apoclapedia

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Ive done a lot of wheeling from the Yukon to Baja. And the area youre talking about checking out is both heavily developed and populated. Bring a winch, a snatch block and some traction boards. And put a locker in the back if you want to get ambitious. And make sure you tell people where you’re going, how long youll be there and when youll check in. I was a firefighter for a long time so anytime im in a new area and want to head off in to the bush. I just go to the first fire department i see and tell them where im going and when ill call to check in. So if i dont. Someone will come looking.
 

MMc

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Jim Sog has great points. I do not plan in great detail or have everyplace to overnight. I research and have destinations planed, I know my budget, I have an emergency money available for those HOSH!T moments. If I detail planed I tend to stress about stay to the plan, I enjoy it better if I feel that I have to be someplace at some time. I spent my work life being 10 min early to 6 to 8 meeting a day. I have a list of things I want to see/do. Everyday I add or delete those things on Post-it notes. I rate the things A B C (A being the most important) and check or do them as I drive through a area.
 
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Hello everyone, new member here and very interested in learning about overlanding. Right now I have a 2006 2wd Tacoma work truck with about 8 inches of ground clearance. It’s a great reliable vehicle, obviously not the best off road, but it gets me everywhere I want to go here in FL. I want to road trip from FL out west to Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana and camp out of the truck next summer on BLM/national forest land. I’ve never been out there so I’m looking for some intel. Could I expect to have issues getting to many BLM and forest campsites out there without 4wd? Is it necessary to get around safely in June through August? I want to upgrade to 4wd but the money required would cover the cost of the entire trip, so I’d love to make do with what I’ve got.
Welcome aboard, from Arizona!
 
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TahoePPV

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Hello everyone, new member here and very interested in learning about overlanding. Right now I have a 2006 2wd Tacoma work truck with about 8 inches of ground clearance. It’s a great reliable vehicle, obviously not the best off road, but it gets me everywhere I want to go here in FL. I want to road trip from FL out west to Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana and camp out of the truck next summer on BLM/national forest land. I’ve never been out there so I’m looking for some intel. Could I expect to have issues getting to many BLM and forest campsites out there without 4wd? Is it necessary to get around safely in June through August? I want to upgrade to 4wd but the money required would cover the cost of the entire trip, so I’d love to make do with what I’ve got.
I tour the west with a lowered 2wd police Tahoe. I’ve not let it hold me back at all.

Pics from the Enchanted Rockies trail, New Mexico BDR, and Big Bend.
 

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ThundahBeagle

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Loving what I’m hearing, worst comes to worst and I bust something, everywhere seems to have someone who can fix old Tacomas.
Take a look at some of the most often broken or expired, consumable parts, and bring backups. Like a set of belts, or maybe a starter. That type of thing. Dont go overboard. But a little prepared
 
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freak4life

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Hello everyone, new member here and very interested in learning about overlanding. Right now I have a 2006 2wd Tacoma work truck with about 8 inches of ground clearance. It’s a great reliable vehicle, obviously not the best off road, but it gets me everywhere I want to go here in FL. I want to road trip from FL out west to Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana and camp out of the truck next summer on BLM/national forest land. I’ve never been out there so I’m looking for some intel. Could I expect to have issues getting to many BLM and forest campsites out there without 4wd? Is it necessary to get around safely in June through August? I want to upgrade to 4wd but the money required would cover the cost of the entire trip, so I’d love to make do with what I’ve got.
Hello Sam
If you have never been to the Grand Canyon that is a must see here in Arizona. North rim is the less traveled portion, nice campgrounds around with no problems for a two wheel drive vehicle. If you do the North rim look up Horseshoe Bend for a visit, it is near Page Az. Also look up Antelope Canyon for a visit. The Vermillion cliffs are also right in that same general area and are beautiful. However in June through August you will catch some heat, that and some afternoon summer storms. But they make for beautiful pictures.
 
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12C20

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You’ll be able to see everything you could want to see in Utah - Arches, Zion, Capitol Reef, etc. in a 2WD Tacoma. Much of Canyonlands will be out of reach to you, with the exception of Island in The Sky. You can easily do the Schaffer Switchbacks in your truck, too.

If you get into the Uinta Mountains, the Forest Service roads are well maintained and very driveable.

You’re going to run into afternoon rain showers in mid-July and August, but I think you’ll be very happy with the weather. In Southern Utah it’ll be hot as sin in the daytime, so you’ll want good AC. But nights generally cool down and are pleasant.

Have a great trip, and reach out if you need anything!
 

RatAssassin

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Nice to see some honest answers.

You can get to some pretty great places with a 2wd.
I followed a Honda Element the entire 20+ miles of Gemini Bridges Road in Utah and he made it just fine. But most people will say you need a high clearance vehicle and 4wd to do it. It really wasn't technical at all.
Its amazing how little I use my 4wd, even out west.

As a kid, my family went everywhere on car camping trips in station wagons and 2wd trucks. Never a problem.