Stepping inside the fifth-generation Toyota 4Runner feels like coming home, whether you’ve ever stepped foot inside a 4Runner before or not. Its friendliness is not the reason we at Overland Expo chose the 2021 4Runner TRD Off-Road as our base for the first-ever Ultimate Overland Build. No, we picked it because of its capability and reliability paired with the virtual ocean of aftermarket parts available for the fifth-gen 4Runner. These parts can quickly turn a bone-stock rig into a trail-taming champion. We’re going to throw tons of amazing aftermarket overlanding gear at this rig, as we transform it into the Ultimate Overland Vehicle this spring. We cannot wait to show you the final result.
Thanks to the rise of overlanding, 4×4 trucks and SUVs are more popular than ever before. The handful of factory overland-ready rigs on the market are supported by hundreds of aftermarket parts makers that can transform a capable stock rig into a trail-conquering overland machine.
However, sifting through the virtual sea of parts to find the best, most solid and reliable pieces of equipment can leave your head spinning. After all, just because something looks cool doesn’t mean it’s tough enough to withstand a hundred thousand miles of overlanding.
To cut through the noise, and further inspire novice overlanders to get outfitted, inspired, and out on their own overland journeys, Overland Expo is building its own Ultimate Overland Vehicle.
THE BUILD STORY
Why we chose the Toyota 4Runner, build gear chronicles and stories from the road.
The gear we chose for the Ultimate Overland Vehicle Build and why. Stay tuned for more gear to come as we continue to build the 4Runner out in the coming months.
We will need to store our gear when we’re on the trail. And since this is the ultimate build, we opted for the ultimate gear storage box: AluBox from Equipt Expedition Outfitters. AluBox specializes in aluminum boxes, cases, and containers, and offers a wide-range of standard box sizes to customers around the world for use in defense, industrial, emergency services, transportation, and recreational use. Their products ensure the safe transportation and storage for valuables, fragile items, and sensitive equipment.
With an SUV, finding a way to secure gear in the cargo area is key. The best solution to this conundrum is with a drawer system. We chose the one from Dobinsons. Specifically, we picked the brand’s dual drawer system for 5th-gen 4runner with top slide and wing kit.
We went to our friends at KC | Adventure Further to provide the lighting kit for the 4Runner because they’re designing some of the highest quality, longest-lasting, and brightest lighting solutions on the market today. Plus, their light products are waterproof, dust proof, and adventure proof – which will come in handy once we put this rig to the test in the field.
We built the Ultimate Overland Vehicle for adventure and needed a durable wheel to keep the 4Runner running on and off-road. We chose the Voyager 8303 in Dark Bronze by Mayhem because the wheels are made of a lightweight aluminum alloy which frees up the 4Runner’s horsepower yet is strong enough to endure the rigors of any trail we choose.
From simply entering and exiting the vehicle safely to protecting the rocker panels in rugged terrain, Westin’s Outlaw Nerf Step Bars bars ensure easy access and superior vehicle protection. As one of the most trusted names in overlanding, Westin is an incredible ally for the Ultimate Overland Vehicle.
Some times on an overland trip, you want to set up camp for a couple days in one spot and explore the region from your new home base. The perfect satellite rig for that duty is an e-bike. And we chose the QuietKat RidgeRunner.
If you plan to outfit a winch to your overland vehicle or simply want more protection from animal strikes, a winch-ready front bumper is an essential piece of kit. The ARB Winch Bumper is an outback-tested design built to protect your front end and provide a seamless integration for your favorite winch.
Reliable and durable suspension is a key component to ride quality and handling when commuting to the office or going off grid. That’s why we chose the bombproof suspension products from Total Chaos Fabrication for our Toyota 4Runner build.
CBI Offroad’s line of off-road body armor, protection, and rack systems match their motto: “Trail Proven – Adventure Ready!”
Whatever type of adventure you pursue, their off-road body armor will get you there with the style, functionality, and protection you need. CBI Offroad is a company that was founded on principles of quality craftsmanship and impeccable design for off-road vehicles.
We’re still looking for build partners offering storage solutions, navigation accessories, outdoor camp furniture, kitchen gear, dual battery trays, batteries, traction boards, shower systems, and a long-range fuel tank.
All 4Runner photography courtesy of Toyota.
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Photo by Brett Willhelm, Willhelmn Visual Works