We have had the good fortune of rolling down the trail and across several states with Overland Bound Member #0364 Mason North. We’ve seen Mason’s 2010 FJ Cruiser up close and personal, and we are big fans of this overlanding rig and its capabilities (and its owners)! Read more about the modifications and outfitting of #0364 in Mason’s own words.
What’s the Year, Make, Model, Mileage of Your Rig?
2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser, 102,500 miles complete with A-track and rear locker.
What Overlanding Modifications Have You Made so Far?
Rocky Road Outfitters Rock sliders, ARB full skids, ARB aluminum roof rack (full)
Metal Tech front and rear tube bumpers. EBC brakes. TRD cold air intake and TRD stainless exhaust custom tucked for clearance.
Toytec 3″ with Bilstein 5100 , Camburg Racing UCA, Metal Tech rear lower control arms.
Goodyear Duratracs 265-75-16 stock size.
We will be moving up to 285-75-16. The current set isn’t wearing out fast enough!
ARB Awning for relaxing. Oz tent RV-3 for sleeping.
Dirty Parts dual battery kit with Optimas.
1200 W inverter.
Roof LED light bar, Bumper LED light bar, Hella 500 converted to HID
Dust/fog LED lights and forward LED rock lights. Auxiliary LED backup lights.
Military surplus canvas A-bag’s, soft bedding and such on roof (they are water proof).
Clear stack-able storage containers for food prep, dry goods.
Whynter 45 Quart fridge/freezer
Superwinch Tigershark 9500 with synthetic, and a Factor 55 ProLink thimble.
Two straps and ARB Snatch Block with several clevis for many configurations.
TRED 800 set, Viair portable air with deflation valve.
Metric & standard tool set, Duct tape, electrical tape and zip ties. Bailing wire. OHM meter and test light. Jack platforms (X 4) and Gloves.
Toyota OEM with glass breakage.
iPhone Motion GPS and Follow the Leader App.
I like and use available maps (I’m old school) and guide books.
CB Midland 75 822 with Fire Stick and a Bandi antenna mount for the FJ.
On going. Do your own maintenance, modification and repair if possible! Learn your rig. The best preparation for an adventure is to know your vehicle and be able to fix it on the trail!
ARB camp chairs, portable fire place, fridge freezer, Byer of Main Easy Cot, warm and cold weather sleeping bags, small table with cooking grate on one side and a prep area on the other. And the most important… a manual drip cone coffee maker that we have used for 20 years.
What Process Did You Go Through Selecting Your Rig?
I love Toyota reliability and the FJ just hit me. Fourth model year and they had it right. The engineering is amazing.
What Influenced Your Overlanding Vehicle Choice?
Read about reliability, pros and cons of any rig and cost of ownership reviews.
Toyota sales were bad in 2010, so I got a really good deal. It’s worth more now than what I paid for it.
What Are 3 Things That You *Really* Like About Your Rig?
It looks different than anything out there. A-trac is awesome and the seat of the pants feel when you drive it on or off-road is great. It’s such a capable vehicle.
As they would say down under, it’s well sorted out.
What Would You Add or Improve?
Fuel economy. But then again, I didn’t buy it for the mileage!
A diesel option like they have in the Prado. A solid front axle!!
Rooftop or Ground Tent?
My wife and I went around about this for a bit and decided on a ground tent. We chose the OZ tent RV-3 and this is why… we are not kids and the idea of climbing down a ladder at 2AM did not sound good or as safe, and we aren’t getting younger. We also considered the idea of packing the RTT when you want to leave a base camp, how long do you leave it on your roof when not on a trip, what does it do to the weight up high while off-road,etc. The OZ works great for us!
When Did You First Hear the Term Overlanding?
When planning our trip to Ouray Co for the 2013 FJ summit.
What is it About Overlanding You Enjoy Most?
Visual inputs! I love to get out and see things and explore new places. The camaraderie in the overland community is amazing, and overlanding is an outlet to be less confined between walls. My wife and I love traveling together!
Longest Trip Completed/Planned?
14 days 3200mi. We made the 2013 trip to the FJ cruiser summit in Ouray, Co. We saw the Great Basin, Grand Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches, Moab, San Juan’s, Gunnison, and the Rockies. We made special stops in Leadville and the surrounding areas – My father (WWII vet) did his winter survival training at Camp Hale prior to shipping off to Germany.
What are Some of Your Trail – Travel Repairs?
Not on my rig (knock on wood)! It’s not a matter of ‘if’. It’s ‘when’. A buddy in an FJ lost a rear lower control arm bolt on a trail in Co. This is normally a show-stopper and calls for a flat bed tow-truck; however, several wraps of bailing wire and a tie down strap, and we were able to secure it enough to get to a hardware store and replace the bolt (no damage).
I believe in good preparation. Inspect it, touch everything and make sure it’s tight and everything is lubed well. I do have a spare serpentine belt in the box.
Tell Us One Time When Your Rig Saved You
Imogene Pass, CO. We were on a very narrow off-camber shelf road obstacle that was wet. The right rear tire slipped of the edge about 2 inches (vertical drop off, long way down). Engaged the rear locker and had a spotter front and back with a winch line keeping tension from the front. Very slowly got back up and good to go.
Just a side note, if the wife and I had wanted to get out of the FJ? Passenger side cliff, Driver side vertical wall. We would have had to climb out the back.
What Else Should We Know About Your Rig?
All modifications and maintenance are done by me.