Toyota Badge of Honor Trails - Part II


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We're creating an unofficial Toyota Trail List - and want your help!

If you're not familiar, Chrysler/Jeep publishes an official list of trails called the Jeep Badge of Honor Trails, and sends Jeep owners a unique badge for each trail they complete from the list. Unfortunately for us Toyota owners, no such program exists for us (Jeep won't even send you the badge if you don't have a Jeep!).

This discussion started here (Link to Part I).

I started this discussion on r/4Runner, however this really applies to all Toyota Off Road vehicles so I'm also posting this on r/Toyota, r/ToyotaTacoma, r/FJCruiser, r/LandCruisers,, and Please feel free to link any of your favorite forums to this thread as well, the more the merrier.

To Do List
  1. Name the Toyota Trail List - this is still ongoing, currently "Toyota Trail Tags" is in the lead, please continue to throw out suggestions. We are moving forward to the next item though:
  2. Develop Trail Criteria - This is the subject of this post, please see below!
  3. Field Trail Submissions
  4. Vote on Trails
  5. Develop Badge Graphics
  6. Publish Official List
Trail Criteria

The goal is to create a trail list that specifically speaks to Toyota's. This doesn't mean that we're excluding Jeeps etc., but that we should strive to select trails that would be best tackled in a Toyota. The question then becomes:

What makes Toyota's unique?
What advantages do Toyota's have vs. Jeeps?

Below are a list of characteristics I think are advantage Toyota, and my thoughts on how that should inform our trail selection. Once we decide which criteria are most important, we will evaluate all the trails submitted and award points based on the criteria. The trails with the most points will make the final list.
  • Endurance/Reliability
    • Toyota's have legendary reliability, trails selected should test that reliability
    • Implication: Trails that test build quality (extreme conditions), trails with no repair options so you better not break down, trails where the vehicle takes a slow protracted beating (vs. short/intense stints). Note: There are two aspects to this - lasting a long time without breaking and also being able to take on extremes without breaking. For example, the Baja 1000 or Dakar Rally speaks to endurance, whereas Top Gear's trip to the North Pole in a Hilux speaks to Toyota's reliability in crazy conditions (while not that far a distance traveled comparatively).
  • Comfort
    • Toyota's are generally more comfortable for the passengers than Jeeps, trails selected could test that comfort
    • Implication: Trails that require many hours in the vehicle per day, trails where you need to cover a long distance in a short amount of time, trails with long stretches of rock gardens and/or washboards
  • Cargo Space
    • Toyota's generally have more cargo space than their Jeep equivalents, trails selected could require more cargo space
    • Implication: Trails where you need to bring a lot of gear that you might not bring otherwise (chainsaws, water purification, specialty recovery gear, bigger cooler etc.) Quote: "I hate unpacking nearly everything just to get to my cooler or snacks. And speaking of coolers, I like to bring a big one. There has to be plenty of room for frosty beverages and food. Big coolers don’t fit well in small vehicles". Again, you can do these trails in a Jeep, but ideally we're selecting trails that are more suited for a Toyota.
PAUSE - Is there a way to work "Multiple People in a Single Vehicle" into this equation? For example, if you were off-roading with 4 adults in a single vehicle, or taking your family w/kids off-roading, you would definitely prefer the space and comfort of a Toyota vs. a cramped Jeep. Where I'm hung up is how to capture that in the criteria for a Trail Tag... "must complete trail with (2) people in the back seat?" This seems like a Toyota characteristic that we should try to capture but I'm not sure how to do so practically speaking. Suggestions? What about trails where you are operating as a support vehicle for mountain bikers who can't bring all their own gear?
  • Sleeping Inside
    • This speaks more to 4Runners and Land Cruisers than other Toyota's, but nevertheless sleeping inside your vehicle is an option for Toyota's in a way that it is not for Jeeps.
    • Implication: Trails with extreme weather where the added protection of sleeping inside the vehicle is helpful. Trails with high winds, ultra-cold temps, high rainfall/snowfall. Sure you can do it in an RTT or ground tent, but you'd prefer the protection of sleeping in the vehicle.
  • Towing Capability
    • Toyota's have a better towing capacity in general than Jeeps
    • Implication: Trails where bringing an off-road trailer would be very helpful, maybe trails where you have to bring a lot of extra water/fuel to make it through, or trails where you are operating as a support vehicle. Also maybe trails that are "biathlon-esque" where part of the trail is done in the vehicle and other parts require towing a boat/bringing a canoe etc. Crazy I know, just throwing ideas out there to try to capture the do-everything nature of Toyota's
  • Engine Size
    • Toyota's in general have bigger engines than Jeeps, not necessarily more BHP but usually more liters/torque
    • Implication: Trails where torque matters, trails that test engine size such as high-altitude trails
  • Weight
    • Typically more weight is a negative when off-roading, however there are circumstances where it might be desired
    • Implication: Trails where you have to cross high-flow water obstacles and don't want to get pushed downstream (this is the only scenario I could think of where more weight is better)
  • Long Wheelbase
    • Typically longer wheelbase is a negative when off-roading, however there are circumstances where it might be desired
    • Implication: Trails with long stretches of moguls where you are best served hitting the crests of the moguls with your long wheelbase, thereby staying level vs. pitching up and down on each mogul as you might have to with a shorter wheelbase. Similarly, trails with deep washouts where it's important to get your front wheels over the top lip to provide traction as you climb out
  • History
    • Jeeps have their storied history, Toyota has it's own legends as well (see below)
    • Implication: Trails that somehow reference the historical importance of specific Toyota's. I apologize for the style of the videos linked below if it's not your thing. They are good summaries though.
      • History of the 4Runner - first vehicle to ever be called an SUV, started that class of vehicles. Maybe a trail that goes from Iowa to Wisconsin? Watch the video to understand why I suggest that
      • History of the Land Cruiser - Defined versatility in the automobile industry, set the global standard for reliability, defined Toyota's reputation in dependability and reliability on the global stage
      • History of the FJ Cruiser - Same history as the Land Cruiser with a modern twist
      • History of the Tacoma - Since we can't buy Hilux's here in the US, the Tacoma is Toyota's light truck for the American market.
  • Off-Road Electronics
    • Toyota's have Crawl Control, A-Trak, Electronic Locking Differentials. Through 2014, Land Cruisers have infrared Night View heads-up display
    • Implication: Trails that put the electronics to the test, trails that are more easily done if you have these electronic assist features
  • Stock Vehicle
    • Folks have raised the question of whether the trails should all be doable in a stock vehicle
    • Implication: Trails would have to be less extreme, but would be more accessible to more Toyota owners, I see benefits and drawbacks to both - what is your opinion?
With all that said, what other characteristics specific to Toyota's should be evaluated when selecting trails?

Tacoma and FJ Cruiser Owners - what features of your vehicles do you love that differentiate them from a Jeep or other off-road vehicles?

Feedback on the criteria I've mentioned above?

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