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Are Toyota Tacomas Really as Good at Overlanding as They Say?

Are Toyota Tacomas Really as Good at Overlanding as They Say?

There’s a small truck on the market that has an enthusiastic off-road following: the Toyota Tacoma. Overland enthusiasts and off-road trail lovers alike adore this truck for its budget price, reliability, and off-road capabilities. But is it really as good as they say? Let’s take a closer look. 

What Is Overlanding?

Overlanding is a method of long-term off-road travel to remote destinations with a robust and self-reliant camping setup. Overlanding is more about the journey than the destination, and it’s becoming increasingly more popular these days. 

You can overland with many types of off-road capable vehicles. Overlanders typically have some type of sleeping system — rooftop tents are popular — and a vehicle to use for off-roading and carrying gear.

Toyota Tacomas are an incredibly popular option for overlanding. There are numerous options for aftermarket off-road and overlanding upgrades, making the Tacoma a totally customizable truck for virtually anyone. 

tacoma towing overland setup
While not the highest towing capacity, a Tacoma is great for towing a small overland trailer.

About the Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma truck is a popular off-road truck and well-loved by many overland travelers. The TRD Pro is touted as one of the “most capable off-road vehicles on the planet” due to its excellent suspension, extremely capable four-wheel drive, and great approach and departure angles. 

The Tacoma TRD Pro trim option comes with tons of off-roading gear like 16-inch all-terrain tires, Fox internal bypass shocks, front and rear lift, and skid plates all the way around. This trim version comes with LED fog lights for lighting up even the most remote areas. 

toyota tacoma overland rooftop temt

The TRD Off-Road trim kit has features that make it great for overlanding, too. This truck has an electronically locking rear differential, Crawl Control to automatically modulate throttling and braking, and a multi-terrain monitor and select system. All these features combined with a 6,800-pound towing capacity make a rugged and capable truck that can handle pretty much anything. 

Pro Tip: New to overlanding? Discover What Is Overlanding All About? Why People Do It, and How.

 Toyota Tacoma parked in desert.
Take your Toyota Tacoma to new heights while overlanding.

The Advantages of Using a Toyota Tacoma for Overlanding

The Toyota Tacoma is a solid off-roading and overlanding vehicle. The advantages of hitting the trails in a Tacoma include the small size of the truck. However, it still comes stock with a lot of capable off-road equipment from the manufacturer.

Owners love this truck for the ability to reach the places that bigger vehicles can’t while still having the experience of driving a truck. There are tons of aftermarket modifications available, too. And you just can’t beat the reliability that the Toyota brand is known for worldwide. 

off road tacoma parking lot
Toyota Tacomas are smaller, making them excellent for off-roading and maneuvering around town

The Disadvantages of Using a Toyota Tacoma for Overlanding

The main disadvantage of using the Tacoma for overlanding is the low mpg, especially with extra weight. But the mpg isn’t too far off from other off-roading vehicles. It’s really only a disadvantage when it’s also your daily driver. 

There aren’t a lot of complaints about using a Tacoma for overlanding other than the mpg. That just goes to show what a great overlanding vehicle it truly is. Some owners dislike how small the cab is, saying it’s really only best for one or two people. But if you’re solo or a traveling couple, this truck should pose no problems for you. 

toyota tacoma overland bumper

Which Model Is Better for Overlanding: TRD Off-Road or TRD Pro?

The TRD Pro and TRD Off-Road are two trims available for the Toyota Tacoma that are both great for off-roading and overlanding. So which one is ultimately better? 

The TRD Pro stands out with versatility and capability when it comes to off-roading. It has better approach and departure angles and a more robust suspension system. But the Pro has slightly less towing capacity than the Off-Road. Both options are great and capable trim levels for off-roading, but the Pro is a little more capable and comes with more luxury features, like leather seating instead of fabric. 

Pro Tip: Before you hitch up and hit the road, find out What Is the Toyota Tacoma Towing Capacity?

Toyota Tacoma driving in forest with snow.
Hit up tight turns and trails while overlanding in a Toyota Tacoma.

How Much Does It Cost to Build Out an Overland Toyota Tacoma?

The price of an overlanding setup on a Toyota Tacoma ultimately comes down to the budget and needs of the owner. An overland build-out on a Tacoma can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to upwards of $100,000.

If you get a professional to build out your Tacoma, you can expect to pay the most money toward labor. But if you build it out yourself, you won’t have to pay any labor costs. Some folks have built out their used Toyota Tacomas for just over $1,000 by being resourceful and finding secondhand and budget products. 

Pro Tip: For Toyota fans, you’ll want to know Is the Toyota 4Runner Good for Towing?

We Build an Overland Toyota Tacoma in 4 days | Price Breakdown

Is a Toyota Tacoma Overland as Good as They Say?

If a Toyota Tacoma is on your “maybe” list, consider it a great and capable option for an overlanding truck and daily driver, if that’s what you want to use it for. The small size of the Tacoma makes it excellent for hitting tight turns and trails, and the number of aftermarket modifications available is endless. There’s a reason this truck is well-loved by the off-roading community, and yes, it is as good as they say.

What kind of vehicle do you use for overlanding? Drop a comment below!

We're Building An Overland Truck Camper Rig! - A Happy And Sad Update From The Mortons On The Move
While not a Tacoma, we have been dabbling in overlapping ourselves

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
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