Adventure ("Overland") Vehicles and Payload Capacity

J!m

Active member
Something I don’t see mentioned is, not only is the total weight something to keep under control, but also where it’s packed.

The drawers and custom cubbies are super cool and convenient, but the guys who are off grid for a good stretch (months) eventually, if they don’t get or accept the advice up front, adjust the pack so that the heaviest things are on the bottom, and lightest are on top. They might replace their springs too...

Two identical trucks, with different packs, will handle completely differently. This is of prime concern alone, 200 miles from the nearest “pavement ends” sign, off camber.

There’s a picture around somewhere of my 110 on two wheels, (up in Canada I think) going uphill. Mike was riding with me and he did the 90 degree turn with his back to the door- he thought we were going to roll down the side of the hill on the left of the trail. I just pressed the clutch and turned the wheel and we were fine. If I had heavy stuff on top of my already heavy truck, it would have gone quite differently...

Maybe I should search or start a new thread on ways to pack heavy stuff low, while still having reasonable access. I spent a couple weeks (nights and weekends) getting my pack worked out in my 88 that went to Africa. And it paid off for sure.
 

Chorky

Observer
Something I don’t see mentioned is, not only is the total weight something to keep under control, but also where it’s packed.

Maybe I should search or start a new thread on ways to pack heavy stuff low, while still having reasonable access. I spent a couple weeks (nights and weekends) getting my pack worked out in my 88 that went to Africa. And it paid off for sure.

This would actually be a very good thread for some great discussions and a good resource based on other experiences. You are totally correct in considering packing. I am currently working on a load plan for my truck so as the build continues things can be in the right place. I think a lot of people do already consider overall weight and keeping things low (well, the people that go on a lot of off highway trips anyway), but one thing I think most don't consider is physically where things are even when low. For example, some people put all of the weight low and up against the front of the bed, while others use bumper extensions, etc.. So not only is low weight important, but where in the truck. Having everything on one side would be just as bad as everything up high.

Similar to how we used our backpack packing diagrams in B.S. way back in the day (before B.S. got weird), load plans should also be considered and designed for our rigs based on individual pieces of gear. To me this not only includes just deciding where to put something, but physically weighing each item to calculate an even load as much as possible.
 

Bravo1782

Adventurer
@Jnich77 I totally agree, and I am working on trimming some weight in the cook set and in a few other places.

I do some backpacking, and i agree wholeheartedly that the backpacking mindset IS a great way to go into this. One thing that I found really helped me was making a list of everything I packed at the front of a trip, and then reviewing the list and seeing what I actually used at the end. It's helped me trim a lot of fat so far. If I consistently don't use a given piece of gear, I really probably don't need it, and it gets stripped from the rig.

The idea of "loading a truck like a backpack" is super interesting...this might have to be one of those "back to the drawingboard" ideas that might make me re-think how I load this truck up. A lot of the weight on my truck (skidplates, hiddenwinch, etc) are all basically as low on the truck as they can be (a good place for weight). But in my bed, I put my heaviest stuff (fridge, goal zero) on top of the decked drawers and some of the smaller stuff (dog supplies, headlamps, etc) in the drawers. hmmm....

The one thing that blows my mind is the sorts of weight some people are willing to load on a roof rack...I try to avoid running things on my roof AT ALL COSTS. There are two notable exceptions: My kayak (which weighs about 40-50lbs and basically has to go on the roof) and my off-brand max tracks (Maxsa Escaper Buddies). Most of the time I have my traction mats in the bed of my truck for security, but on trip where I go out and end up actually using them, I love having them on the roof because then they don't track mud and filth into the bed where I have all my "clean" stuff. For the backpackerrs, it's almost like tent etiquette (don't wear your boots into your tent). I see people loading up fuel, water, gravity showers, tool boxes, EVEN SPARE TIRES on a roof rack. Seems sketchy at best. With a roof top tent it's bad enough, but by necessity you HAVE to put that up high (on account of it being a ROOF TOP tent).
 

tatanka48

Active member
Something I don’t see mentioned is, not only is the total weight something to keep under control, but also where it’s packed.

The drawers and custom cubbies are super cool and convenient, but the guys who are off grid for a good stretch (months) eventually, if they don’t get or accept the advice up front, adjust the pack so that the heaviest things are on the bottom, and lightest are on top. They might replace their springs too...

Two identical trucks, with different packs, will handle completely differently. This is of prime concern alone, 200 miles from the nearest “pavement ends” sign, off camber.

There’s a picture around somewhere of my 110 on two wheels, (up in Canada I think) going uphill. Mike was riding with me and he did the 90 degree turn with his back to the door- he thought we were going to roll down the side of the hill on the left of the trail. I just pressed the clutch and turned the wheel and we were fine. If I had heavy stuff on top of my already heavy truck, it would have gone quite differently...

Maybe I should search or start a new thread on ways to pack heavy stuff low, while still having reasonable access. I spent a couple weeks (nights and weekends) getting my pack worked out in my 88 that went to Africa. And it paid off for sure.
¿ as in loading a canoe ?

the lower the CG the less apt one is togo downsideupwards :-O

that may be why the Boss Of All Creation made the giraffe's head so small ;-)

T
 

J!m

Active member
I don’t think it should be a “name n shame” exercise, but I think some don’t think that deep into it.

Heavy stuff is in this box, on the bottom. But what about the specific pack within that box? Full optimization.

And I love the pre and post trip list! That is an excellent way to pare down what you carry.

I guess I’ll get a new thread going now.
 

Chorky

Observer
e tent etiquette (don't wear your boots into your tent). I see people loading up fuel, water, gravity showers, tool boxes, EVEN SPARE TIRES on a roof rack. Seems sketchy at best. With a roof top tent it's bad enough, but by necessity you HAVE to
I think there's a few more things to consider here seeing as how it would appear you are starting to go down the same road I began a long time ago.

The items that are specific to your truck, such as a winch/skid plates, are more or less permanent. whereas the items you use to go camping are removable. So for me, while analyzing and adding up weights as true as possible, physically weighing items where possible, I add the permanently mounted items to the truck itself as curb weight. For example, if a bumper weighs in at 300#'s, then the front axle curb weight is 300#'s more, and you have 300#'s less of payload. So later down the line, after the truck is fully built, then I will have calculated and now that the truck can haul XX pounds due to the permanent additions, whatever they may be. This requires careful consideration of what you imagine to be permanent or not. For me, something like a chainsaw and gear is permanent every single day carry item due to the nature of how and where I operate. Other people I know only have their chainsaw with them when they go camping. So there should be a separation of items there. Would you always have your cook stove and fuel with you? If so, that's fine, but if not, then that should be factored in for the case you may need to pick up some things at a hardware store that could prove to be quite heavy. Also, if you really want to get advanced, it would be good to physically weigh the truck before and after modification, then from there additionally factor the other 'camping' related specifics. You could even make it proportional to where, say, a 50# 12v fridge sitting at the front of the bed puts x% of weight on the rear axle, and x% on the front therefore you know how much your passenger's can weigh without overloading the front axles. The opportunities are endless...just always be cautious of the weakest link.

This is something I have seriously been working on for almost 2 years now, and have questioned plenty of folks on this forum about, probably to a level of annoyance to them haha. Fortunately, they all entertained my many questions.... A fine balance between a 'build' that is appropriate for my particular use (or desire of use) and the engineered capabilities of the truck (weight ratings). To me, every aspect of your vehicle being other than stock is important, and thus, a consideration - in other words, a total weight of xx pounds of this and xx pounds of that means you have only xx pounds left for a particular tent which very well might be the deciding factor between tent a or tent b. Why is this important? Well if said weights 'force' you to choose tent b, but if you really really want tent a for whatever reason, then you may need to look at other aspects of your build/gear to see what can be shed to allow for tent a. As some very wise people reminded me recently, it's all about what compromises you need to make to do what you want to do and be happy.

But I think it is also very important to note and consider that obviously we all see so many vehicles out there daily that are very overloaded. Many of those severely overloaded people I am willing to bet also are a little more careless in how they treat their rigs (in the sense of going too fast over specific types of terrain to cause excess strain and jarring on components). So if they, who are way overloaded, and hard on vehicles, have not flipped or split a frame in half, then I think the sheer consideration of current weights, and careful driving, in all reality, would be more than sufficient. Naturally, I like to know every possible detail and scenario. Just who I am, but is that truly necessary? Probably not....

What does this mean? Well, to me it means at the end of the day, do what I want, within reason, be careful and cautious and just enjoy the day. Of course do due diligence in roughly checking weights, to make sure your not 2x's the weight ratings. But if your a few hundred pounds over, under, or on the money, that's fine. If you like details (like I do) then by all means get as detailed as you want and make a highly specific build and loadout. In the end it means do what you need to be comfortable driving your rig in the type of terrain you plan to use it on most often, and forget the rest, because eventually, something will brake. Maybe it's too heavy, maybe it's an engineer flaw. But after seeing how other people treat their vehicles year after year, and relatively few major problems, then maybe its not worth worrying about so long as you are comfortable with it.
 
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Bravo1782

Adventurer
@Chorky I like the wya you think. This makes a ton of sense to me...I'm an overthinker by nature and I can't help but consider these things. These considerations are all super important but you're right in that you don't want to over think it. I feel like I need to do the best I can, reinforce where I can, but not mindless load up. I'm a major gearhead and I love my toys and I can see how easy it would be to load up on all the coolest bumpers, racks, etc. Every now and again I need to check in and make sure I'm not losing sight of the adventure through the gear. At the end of the day, the point is waking up somewhere remote and beautiful with people I love, and how you go about doing that is almost irrelevant. The gear you bring are all tools to accomplish that goal, but the toys are not, themselves, the adventure.

@Shovel I think you're right...I sometimes wonder how many of these guys are doing damage or have already damaged their rig with the shear weight they're trying to push around. That stuff isn't very good for the 'gram is it? lol

@J!m that's amazing! lol
 

TCICapn

Member
This got the gears turning in my head so I went off and did a quick estimate of my typical load-out for a 4x4/camping trip. Including winch, armor, spares/recovery gear, camping equipment, and meat bags in the cab I’m right at or slightly above my rated payload of 1500lbs!

That is without any of the high-speed overlandy gear like bumpers, RTT, drawer system, etc. Damn it adds up fast!
 

Ducky's Dad

Explorer
If you are "stuck" with a half-ton, there are plenty of ways to improve it for more capacity. Wheels, tires, 3/4-ton brakes (rotors, calipers, master cylinder, proportioning valve), hydro booster (from a 1-ton in my case), spring packs, etc. I did most of that to my K1500 over the years and it can safely haul a lot more than it could when stock. My serious truck is now a 3G Power Wagon with upgraded wheels, tires, spring packs, air bags, Boogie Bumps, etc. Lots of futzing around to get there, but they both do what I need them to do. I also think the PW is significantly under-rated by the factory. I wouldn't do most of this stuff to my 2G Tundra, but the Tundra's brakes are huge for a half-ton, despite the fact that the truck is, overall, pretty light duty. If it had to haul more, it could be done,
 

ExplorerTom

Explorer
Slowly step away from youtube and instagram.

Sounds like you’ve got everything (and more) to do plenty of trips. Get out and get more experience. Figure out what you need and what you don’t.
 

TCICapn

Member
Oh I agree @ExplorerTom. My take-away was that I simply carry too much "extra" stuff that weighs my vehicle down unnecessarily. A good set of tires, some basic recovery gear, simple camping gear, and a cooler are all you really need to go a lot of great places.
 
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