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Outbound Intent – Overlanding West Virginia :: Video of the Week

Toyota Fj Cruiser

It’s no secret that I’m a Land Cruiser fanatic, but interestingly, one of my favorite iterations is arguably one of the most impractical, the FJ Cruiser. It’s one of those vehicles that I sincerely lust after, and to this day, I’m still totally enamored. Despite being unveiled two decades ago, the FJ’s styling remains futuristic, and as an overland platform, it offers the perfect confluence of power, interior refinement, and backcountry performance. It’s perhaps no surprise that when I discovered the adventures of Outbound Intent in his highly modified FJ on YouTube I couldn’t subscribe fast enough.

Toyota Fj Cruiser

In this week’s installment, Brenton, aka Outbound Intent, heads out on a father-son overlanding adventure in the mountains of West Virginia. The primary objective was to explore areas of the Monongahela National Forest they’d not explored before and to catch the last of the snow. However, the weather had different ideas and on the first day, they woke to heavy rain. Undeterred, they hit the Canaan Loop Road, navigating fallen trees and bogs and working together to traverse technical sections. Brenton explains that this particular route is generally maintained and has a 3/10 difficulty rating but due to bad weather, some sections had suffered (highlighting the importance of being prepared for the worst). One washout proved especially tricky as the FJ’s rear locker was out of action. Fortunately, with some rock stacking, forward momentum, and A-Trac engaged the Toyota makes it over the obstacle and continues towards the breath-taking Spruce Knob (the highest point in West Virginia – 4,863 feet).

After another fun-packed day, the duo finishes late and huddles around a campfire before retreating to the tent. Outbound Intent has always been quick to highlight the FJ’s positives but also weaknesses (reference Why the FJ Cruiser is Legendary and FJ Cruisers are Trash) and it’s clear that camping in inclement weather isn’t ideal with limited space to shelter from the elements. The following morning cooking scenes are beautifully shot and accompanied by an ambient soundtrack that gives strong ASMR vibes (a key theme throughout many of Brenton’s videos). After inspecting a power steering issue, they join a 35-mile trail towards Bald Knob summit. On the final morning, they join the Highland Scenic Highway but conclude the episode as fog rolls in and the scenery soon disappears.

The videos produced by Outbound Intent just get better and better and once again fuel my desire to build an FJ. However, for me, the most meaningful takeaway from this episode was the importance of spending time with loved ones. As I prepare for another 8 months away from family and friends, watching Brenton spend quality time with his dad, hit me pretty hard (something echoed in the YouTube comments). This is a reminder that it’s all too easy to become fixated on the vehicle and gear when, in reality, overlanding is, first and foremost, about meaningful experiences in beautiful locations with loved ones. Keep up to date with Outbound Intent’s trips on YouTube and Instagram.

Outbound Intent

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No money in the bank, but gas in the tank. Our resident Bikepacking Editor Jack Mac is an exploration photographer and writer living full-time in his 1986 Vanagon Syncro but spends most days at the garage pondering why he didn’t buy a Land Cruiser Troopy. If he’s not watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, he can be found mountaineering for Berghaus, sea kayaking for Prijon, or bikepacking for Surly Bikes. Jack most recently spent two years on various assignments in the Arctic Circle but is now back in the UK preparing for his upcoming expeditions—looking at Land Cruisers. Find him on his website, Instagram, or on Facebook under Bicycle Touring Apocalypse.