by Matthew Scott

 

When people think of overland vehicles, American manufacturers often aren’t the first to come to mind. For years, the vehicles most commonly associated with overlanding have been the Land Rover Defender, and the Toyota Land Cruiser. Granted there’s a reason why, those vehicles are known for their stout construction, reliability, and parts availability in the middle of Botswana. But it doesn’t mean they’re the only choice on the market anymore. With more and more companies creating bespoke expedition platforms based off American pick-up trucks, we thought we better take a bit closer look at what is being offered for 2012.

 

2012 Ford F-250 Super Duty 

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Let’s not beat around the bush – Ford is known for it’s trucks, they’re the preferred platform for several ‘heavy-hitting’ expedition vehicles from companies such as EarthRoamer [link] and Global Expedition Vehicles [link]. The large Super Duty platform includes the F-250, 350, 450, 550, 650 and 750 models! Giving you a wide range of choices for your intended use. We’re interested in the F-250 with the FX4 4×4 Off-Road Package, it adds several notable features such as a electronic locking rear differential, upgraded Rancho Shocks [link] and additional skid plates.

Positives:
  • Payload of over 4,000 LBS.
  • HUGE GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)
  • Maximum Towing capacity of 16,500 (depending on configuration)
Negatives:
  • Without the diesel option, fuel economy is poor.
  • It’s large size, can be restrictive off-highway
More information is available on the Super Duty website. [link]

2012 Dodge RAM 2500/3500 Diesel

800 LB/FT of torque will always raise an eyebrow when you’re looking through a manufacturers catalog, especially when it’s paired with the legendary Cummins name. It’s unfortunate that the Power Wagon, with all of it’s technical goodies such as locking differentials and sway-bar disconnects, was never offered with a diesel engine. If you’re looking to stick with the Dodge brand, while adding a heavy camper or looking to have a multi-purpose vehicle – perhaps looking towards a diesel isn’t a bad idea. Did I mention people report a real world MPG of around 20?
Positives:
  • Legendary, powerful Cummins engine with 350,000 mile major service interval.
  • Many configurations are available
  • Vehicle capacity is more than doubled from the Power Wagon to just over 4,000 LBS. (Depending on model)
Negatives:
  • While a 6 speed manual transmission is available, the engine will only produce just over 600 FT/LBS vs 800 with an automatic.
  • Where is our diesel power wagon?
You can check out the 2500 and 3500 in more detail on the Ram Trucks website. [link]

2012 Ford Raptor

The Raptor is a completely new direction for Ford, it’s a loud, in-your-face pre-runner inspired version of the F150. It features a monster 6.2 liter V8 engine, long travel fox suspension, and 35 inch BFG All-Terrain tires straight from the factory. The Raptor is a perfect truck for someone who wants to get out and explore, perhaps just a little faster than most!
Positives:
  • The Fox Suspension is great off road.
  • Large All-Terrain tires have already been fitted
  • Ford has a variety of 4×4 oriented features such as an auxiliary switch panel that comes standard.
Negatives:
  • The 6.2 Liter V8 has poor fuel economy.
  • For a large truck with a large engine, the payload is under 1000 LBS.

2012 Dodge Power Wagon

The Power Wagon is a great choice for the overlander looking for an out-of-the-box capable vehicle that can serve more than one purpose. It’s similar in ways to the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon as it features locking differentials, and an electronic swaybar disconnect; However, it’s the only vehicle of the group to come standard with a 12,000 LB Warn winch [link]. With a large payload and towing capacity, it makes the great vehicle slide a Four Wheel Camper into, as the vehicle we featured this week had done [link].

Positives:

  • 12,000 LB Warn winch states that this vehicle is here for business.
  • A payload of over 1,800 LBS, and a towing capacity of over 10,000 LBS.
  • All-Terrain Tires come standard.
Negatives:
  • Being part of the Dodge 2500 series – it’s massive to say the least.
  • Don’t expect great fuel economy.

2012 Chevy Colorado

The Chevy Colorado has shown itself to be a capable platform, and represents the only non full sized American truck currently still in production for 2012. It’s available in several different configurations to suit your exact taste, and offers an economical option for those who are in the market for a new truck. There is an active accessory aftermarket to ensure you can modify the vehicle to better suit your needs.

 

Positives:

  • Available in an I-4, I-5, and V-8.
  • Available in a variety of cab and bed configurations.
      Negatives:
  • Depending on configuration, it can be affordable, or very expensive – (nearly $30,000)

More information is available on Chevy’s website [link]

 

 

So how do you take advantage of these trucks?

The great thing about American trucks is that most of them are seriously overbuilt for our intended overlanding use.  With some of these vehicles having the ability to tow upwards of 20,000 LBS, you’ll have no problem towing a small trailer on the trail. Perhaps even while having a drop-in camper in the bed. Here’s some ideas for what you can do with the capability of these trucks.

Coyote R.V – Phoenix Camper for the Ford Raptor [link]

Four Wheel Campers – Manufacturer of drop-in camping solutions for Overlanding. [link]

Adventure Trailers Flip-pac [link]

 

5 New Interesting American Trucks for Overlanding

About the Author: Matthew Scott

Matthew Scott is a dedicated photographer, vintage car enthusiast, and regular contributor to Overland Journal. Growing up in Chicago in a family that valued “all things automotive” as much as exploring the region’s back roads, provided a solid platform for a career as an automotive journalist. He departed the Windy City in lieu of Prescott, Arizona, and the great open spaces and adventure opportunities of America’s Southwest. @matthewexplore