2012 Toyota Tacoma. Built for long term travel

BajaSurfRig

Active member
@paddlequest, since your rig weighs similar to mine I would recommend adding two OME AAL's in. I found that one wasn't enough and am really happy now that I added a second one. Just my two cents...
 

Kiriesh

Adventurer
Just found this thread, looks like a great truck! I have a couple burning questions if you dont mind:

1) Do you have any bed stiffeners? I see a lot of guys over on tacomaworld complain about their beds not holding up to just a fiberglass topper, which would be way lighter than your setup.

2) Any tips on getting kayaks down? I thought I had it rough trying to get my SOT off a J-hook setup on a stock tacoma, I can't imagine having it sitting that high is easy.
 

paddlequest

Adventurer
Thanks for the questions and comment folks.

@BajaSurfRig thanks so much for the advice on the add a leaf. That is exactly want I am looking to have done to my truck. Just figuring out import time at the moment.

@Kiriesh
1) Nope no bed stiffeners. I wasn't really aware of people having problems so thanks for the heads up. There really isn't that much weight on it now though as it only supports the cap, which is quite light really. The kayaks and rack system all attach to the frame (in one shape or another) so the bed is actually carrying alot less weight now then before when the racks were attached to the cap. I will check my bed though...thanks for the idea.

2) no great ideas for getting kayaks up and down no. I just attach a strap to them, throw the strap up top and drag the kayaks up, once I am stable on the roof rack. Not ideal...
 

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Kiriesh

Adventurer
Thanks for the questions and comment folks.

@BajaSurfRig thanks so much for the advice on the add a leaf. That is exactly want I am looking to have done to my truck. Just figuring out import time at the moment.

@Kiriesh
1) Nope no bed stiffeners. I wasn't really aware of people having problems so thanks for the heads up. There really isn't that much weight on it now though as it only supports the cap, which is quite light really. The kayaks and rack system all attach to the frame (in one shape or another) so the bed is actually carrying alot less weight now then before when the racks were attached to the cap. I will check my bed though...thanks for the idea.

2) no great ideas for getting kayaks up and down no. I just attach a strap to them, throw the strap up top and drag the kayaks up, once I am stable on the roof rack. Not ideal...
You may not have issues but its something to keep in mind. Here's a link to some on TW:

https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/tacoma-bed-channel-stiffeners-you-might-need-them.450912/

Damn I was hoping you might have come up with some good tricks. I'm on the brink of getting some saddles of some sort so I can just shove my kayak up from the back of my truck. I haven't even tried to load it since I got a lift, that's not going to be fun.
 

paddlequest

Adventurer
Thanks so much @Kiriesh for the link to forum discussion on this bed tweaking issue. Really surprising that this is happening...and seemingly often! Come on Toyota!!

I may have just committed to another teardrop trailer! I have just joined the cue for a Lead Dog Extreme Off-Road trailer, which I am pretty excited about! If/when I do commit to the trailer, which I am obviously strongly leaning towards, then I may completely redesign the back of my truck. I am finding the crawling into and out of bed a serious pain with my disability and as much as I love the rack I had created recently, it does present challeges to me with loading and unloading kayaks and gear. I think I would look at putting a flatbed tray on the back of my truck to carry a quad.

Here are some of my thoughts and justifications:
- I have always wanted a quad and this set up would allow me to transport all my toys together and tow the teardrop for my permanent kitchen, sleeping and base camping...even indoor work space during inclement weather
- Most of my travels are longer term in Latin America & the quad could function as a run around vehicle for me and help getting my surf kayak much closer to the water. I am a wheelchair user so that would be awesome.
- I am thinking that a flatbed truck, with a ladder rack over the bed for kayaks and awnings, etc in combination with a teardrop trailer for base-camping and mobile living.....I could well have the ideal adventure mobile(s) combination sorted out!!
- My job has me travelling so much that it really does make sense to rent my house out long term and take to mobile living while I am in North America or vacationing. I could save alot of money that way and make up for the complete lack of pension in my line of work
- It would make a great base camp set up with two options for run around vehicles and adventure mobiles!
- It would make accessing kitchens (always set up in the trailer), sleeping and kayak loading and unloading much MUCH easier for me

I am going to find out about my fate for working with the NGO I am with currently in the next week (our project down here in Central America ends June 30th) and that will largely dictate where I go with all this. I know...I just got this new rack, etc all figured out and complete....I am thinking of it as a prototype at this point for future rack development! haha. Besides it was super cheap and I learned alot in the process so all good!

Here's what I am thinking with the new possibility of a teardrop trailer:

trailer 3.jpg I am stealing this photo from another member here who purchased this trailer and perfectly represents what I have on order. Its a Lead Dog Motorsports Extreme Offroad. i like that its designed for DIY types to do alot of the work on.

flatbed.jpeg This is the flatbed I imagine for the truck. I would get the storage boxes that form the wheel wells as well.

ladder rack on flatbed.jpeg I see this style of ladder rack with a basket on top, like I had created for my truck recently. The hoops just have to be tall enough to drive a quad under.

All of this represents a fair outlay of money to set up. I think though that life is short and the time to chase dreams is now. That and as a mobile living set up, it will save me money in the long run! It is also cheaper to buy the teardrop trailer and the flatbed then to put on a Four Wheel pop up camper, which is another option I researched.

Lots to think about! And of course....comments welcome and much appreciated.
 

robert

Expedition Leader
Thanks @Robert. Yeah, it is not going to get highly weighted down...just a spot to carry 3 kayaks (gotta have them!!) and a very little bit of soft goods in paddling gear stuffed in one boat. I have driven it around with the boats up there for a year now throughout Central America on another rack that just wasn't built solidly. I am not into rock crawling, just getting to cool spots to camp and paddle. I totally understand what you are saying though and appreciate the concern.

And...I have wondered what to do with the spot under the rack overhang. Something that doesn't create a full wall effect for aerodyamics...not that the truck has much anyway. By tank...you mean an air tank for running a compressor or....?
"1) a new shower tube with increased capacity and ease of access while kayaks are on the roof...which they almost always are."
I would mount your solar shower thing under the rack part that overhangs the front of your shell (where it slopes for aerodynamics and leaves room between the rack and the shell).

I'm not into rock crawling either so I imagine the weight won't be that bad for your normal use.
 

robert

Expedition Leader
You may not have issues but its something to keep in mind. Here's a link to some on TW:

https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/tacoma-bed-channel-stiffeners-you-might-need-them.450912/

Damn I was hoping you might have come up with some good tricks. I'm on the brink of getting some saddles of some sort so I can just shove my kayak up from the back of my truck. I haven't even tried to load it since I got a lift, that's not going to be fun.
What type of kayak? For my almost 17' touring boat I put a clean towel on the back edge of the shell and usually put the nose of the boat on that then kind of push it onto the rear Hully Rollers. I'm 5'10" and only have 2.5" or lift (OME) and LT265s but it's still tall enough that I keep a milk crate in the back to stand on. I also had my sliders made with kick-outs so that I can stand on them; I added grip tape to the top of the slider and loops otherwise those round tubes are too dangerous to stand on when they're wet.

I can't imagine trying to load and secure boats from a wheelchair- mad props for that.
 

Kiriesh

Adventurer
The trailer idea sounds great! Its a shame that you got such a nice camper shell setup though. FWIW I doubt you'll get a flatbed setup that is lighter than the current bed, and you can fit a quad in the 6ft bed so why go flatbed?

What type of kayak? For my almost 17' touring boat I put a clean towel on the back edge of the shell and usually put the nose of the boat on that then kind of push it onto the rear Hully Rollers. I'm 5'10" and only have 2.5" or lift (OME) and LT265s but it's still tall enough that I keep a milk crate in the back to stand on. I also had my sliders made with kick-outs so that I can stand on them; I added grip tape to the top of the slider and loops otherwise those round tubes are too dangerous to stand on when they're wet.

I can't imagine trying to load and secure boats from a wheelchair- mad props for that.
It's a 12ft Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 SOT. It's not crazy heavy, only like 70lbs but its an awkward balancing game getting it up there alone. I'm probably going to end up with hully rollers or something similar. Here is the rack I use for it (I use J hooks now, the pool noodles did not hold up well at all):

 

paddlequest

Adventurer
Hi @Robert. Thanks for the props. Its a processing of crawling up on top of the roof rack...not at all pretty or graceful getting up or down. Such is the cost of an addiction to kayaks I am afraid! Haha..its a vice thats been a consistent in my life for 25ish years...so I don't see it changing any time real soon. I have included a shot of the truck as she sits in my hotel parking lot right now...and as she is loaded for the majority of her life of late. i really have nowhere to leave kayaks, so I take them with me everywhere! Never know where you might find a deep enough puddle!! Haha.

Bottom boat passenger side: LiquidLogic Remix 79. Its a river kayak and is about 8´9" long I believe
Top boat passenger side: Fluid Element. Its a surf kayak and is approximately 6´3"
Boat over the driver side: P&H Hammer. Its kind of a mix between a sea kayak and a river kayak making it ideal for the rocky/ surfy coast lines of Central America. Its listed at 407 cm...or almost 13 ft. I am getting more use of this one then the other two of late. I hope the rains that have begun will bring rivers back into my reality.

fullsizeoutput_aba.jpg There´s the line up. May seem excessive, and they are definitely gas milage killers...but they make time off fun!
 

paddlequest

Adventurer
@Kiriesh thats a good looking set up. You raise a good point on getting a quad in the back of the truck. Honestly, I assumed it would not fit so there a flatbed would be required. There is an element that I think the flatbeds look super cool...but there has to me more of a reason then that. Haha. I will wait on the flatbed, based on your excellent observations, and do a little more research. It would simplify things, as then a standard ladder rack would fit and not require custom fabrication. Lots to think about.
Thanks
 

paddlequest

Adventurer
So the evolution of TacoSusio continues! I made a whirlwind trip from Central America back up to Canada to visit my family and then drive across Canada. When I eventually got back to Vancouver Island and British Columbia it was getting cold in October so I turned south and ran back down to Central America. While in North America still, I stopped in South Carolina and caught up with an old friend. it also gave me a chance to do a couple of upgrades I had been wanting to do.

First up was having brake and turn indicator lights installed up high on the canopy. At the same time I installed rear back up lights (Rigid reverse lights) up high on the canopy but attached to the roof rack. These are switched on the dash of my truck with a three way switch that can be on or off...or tied into the reverse lights when the reverse gear is engaged. I do not use this function as I don't want to piss off everyone in parking lots everytime I enter or vacate a space!

IMG_9286.jpg

The other thing I have wanted to do with my truck is have a water tank and pump with on demand water. I wanted a shower option and hosing off the salt water from all my paddling gear option. This I also did in South Carolina in the parking lot of my friend's condo....much to the annoyance of other residence during my last night in town and the inevitable last minute push to get all things done! It works like a charm though and i have 75 litre/ 20 gallons of water now under the bed in the back of my truck. It is one of my favorite modifications thus far.

IMG_9287.jpg IMG_9295.jpg

Tried to upload a video, but denied....the video quality was awful anyways, but it was done late at night after successfully hooking up the tank and pump, etc. It just shows my first ever plumbing project and no leaks! I am happy to report that it continues to work, leak free after about 8000 km of Central America and Mexican roads. I am pretty psyched on this! I have hook ups on both sides of the camper top and the fill port is on the driver side. Its awesome...and my personal hygene has improved as well! Bonus!! Haha
 

paddlequest

Adventurer
My travels then took me through Texas and into New Mexico to visit another good friend who is buidling an off grid house in the deserts outside Santa Fe. He is a design guru and helped me with a couple projects I have wanted to do....thanks Jamie!

First, is the addition of exteriod lighting for use in camp for set up, etc. I put one on each side of the camper canopy that is switched inside the camper. They are cheap LED lights but have been working amazing!

IMG_9314.jpg


The third light I mounted on a spring loaded clamp and on 30 feet of extension wire. It is wired just inside the back doors on the camper. That way I can use it anwhere in the camp as well as run it all the way to the engine compartment and clip it the hood if I need to do some emergency repairs after dark. Its been a very very useful light and I am most happy with it.

IMG_9313.jpg IMG_9581.jpg


The other modification was I wanted a shower enclosure for the newly added water system. I wanted something light and easily mountable and removeable. With a bit of brain storming over morning tea we came up with a tent pole bent into an arc off the side of the rack system that will eventually have a shower curtain attached. We butchered a cheap $20 tent to get the pole and the pins. A screaming deal if you ask me....AND...it functions really nicely as a hoop to hang lights from when the kitchen gets set up to one side of the truck. DIY is the way!!

IMG_9318.jpg IMG_9319.jpg IMG_9324.jpg


Much thanks goes to my good friend Jamie for his hospitality, generous help and design ideas. Friends make the world go around!

IMG_9311.jpg IMG_9305.JPG
 

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robert

Expedition Leader
The truck is looking great. Wish I'd known you were in SC, I'm back in SC now and I'd have loved to check out the truck and buy you a drink.
 

paddlequest

Adventurer
@Robert . Yeah I am sorry I missed you in South Carolina. I was based in Charleston with friends and I loved that town! You have a beautiful state. I would have been happy to show you around my truck and even happier to down a couple drinks with you. If I ever drive north again, I will stop in for sure. All the best lad.
 
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