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Preparing for an Off-Road Adventure in Your Tacoma

Written By: Connor MC

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Having a duffle bag full of your camping gear is a great way to always stay prepared before venturing off the beaten path with your Tacoma. Items like spare recover tools (tree protectors, extra winch lines, tow hooks, etc.), drink coolers, and a basic set of hand tools can prove invaluable while out on the trail. Don't let yourself get caught unawares; always have a pack ready.

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The soothing call of the wild outdoors is hard to ignore. Nothing beats getting some fresh mountain air to forget about the hustle and bustle of the daily grind. This is the reason why the Toyota Tacoma is a great vehicle. It rides comfortably over paved roads with enough space to stash all your gear and is unhindered when faced with trekking off-road. Even though your Tacoma is perfectly capable of tracking treacherous and tricky trails, there are certain things you can do to better prepare your Truck for the demanding task at hand.

The Vital Tools for Off-Roading

Whether camping or playing with the big boys, here are the vital tools your Tacoma needs before planning your next big off-road adventure.

First Aid Kit

This is a no-brainer. Even conventional sedans should be equipped with a first aid kit. You’ll never know when a simple Band-Aid, gauze pad, or bandage might come handy. You can prepare your very own first aid kit or you can simply buy online. Whatever the case, make sure the first aid kit contains basic necessities such as:

  • Hot/cold pack
  • Antiseptic cleaners or ointments
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Medicine (epinephrine, ibuprofen, anti-diarrhea meds, etc.)
  • Disposable gloves

Recovery Kit

If you’re bashing in the boondocks, chances are your Tacoma will get stuck in one way or another. Make sure to bring along a high-quality recovery kit that contains a snatch ‚Äčtrap, a jack with base plates, a long-handled shovel, D-ring shackles, recovery straps, gloves, and recovery dampers. Make sure the recovery kit is durable enough to withstand the weight of your Tacoma. As a simple guide, a Toyota Tacoma with a 4-cylinder motor will tip the scales at around 4095 lbs. The V6 Tacoma is portlier at 4,400 to 4,500 lbs. Recovery straps and ropes should be purchased with a rating of at least double the weight of your Tacoma.

Basic Tool Kit

It wouldn’t hurt to bring along a ratchet, a basic socket set, pliers, screwdrivers, electrical tape, and other handheld tools. These could prove handy if your Tacoma breaks down in the wilderness.

Tire Repair Kit

Of course, your Tacoma will be equipped with a spare tire. But what if you get multiple punctures in your off-road adventures? Sharp rocks and foreign objects can easily spoil the fun. Get yourself back on the trails in no time with a simple tire repair kit. You can also purchase a spare tire bracket in the bed or tailgate so you can bring along an extra set of wheels and tires.

Air Compressor

If you brought along a tire repair kit, you should naturally have an air compressor. Often, owners will drop the tire pressure on purpose when circumnavigating the trails. This will add traction over muddy roads, snow, or soft sand. But once back on the road, having an on-board air compressor is the easiest way to inflate the tires. Look for an air compressor equipped with alligator clips, which connects effortlessly into the vehicle battery. Certain models that draw power from the cigarette socket are unreliable and can generally blow a fuse in the electricals. The compressor should also come with extended-length air hoses.

Vehicle Jump Starter

There is no electricity in the deep wilderness. It used to be that jump cables were the norm when faced with a weak or dead battery. But now, jump starters are equipped with powerful lithium-ion or lithium-polymer battery packs that provide enough juice to start your truck. It also comes with USB ports and a standard 110/220-volt socket to power your handheld devices and laptop computers. If you have one of these, make sure to check the charge at least once a month. If you don't, you should consider keeping one in the glove compartment of your Tacoma.

Fuel Cans

There are no filling stations in the forest, either. However, there’s a lot of controversy surrounding jerry cans. Metal fuel cans are fine but you need to protect the container from heat exposure. Modern fuel cans like the RotopaX are manufactured from roto-molded plastic. They are slimmer and lighter than an ordinary jerry can. Best of all, the RotopaX is stackable and can be mounted in the bed or tailgate in a multitude of ways. Whichever you choose, having a few gallons of extra fuel wouldn’t hurt when off-roading for an extended period of time.

Fire Extinguisher

Depending on existing laws in your locale, a fire extinguisher should be mounted within arm’s reach in your Tacoma. It is preferably mounted inside the cab rather than in the bed of your truck, especially if you’re carrying a ton of gear. You can buy a fire extinguisher bracket or you can fabricate your own. The best places to mount a fire extinguisher is in the driver side B-pillar or under the front seats of your truck. Remember, the fire extinguisher should be mounted in place. Don’t leave it rolling around inside the cabin, or worse, in the truck bed.

Personal Essentials

Don’t forget to bring along extra food and water. The general guideline is to bring at least a gallon of clean drinking water per person for every single day you’re out in the woods. It is also ideal to bring twice the amount of food depending on how long you’ll be camping outside. Having an extra set of blankets, tents, rain jackets, trash bags, and clean clothing is essential as well.

Other Essential Off-Road Accessories

Whether it be rifles, bicycles, or kayaks, the important thing to remember is to mount all your gear securely. Rifle mounts are essential if you’re planning to go hunting. The Tacoma can be equipped with rifle mounts and gun racks depending on the type of firearm. You should also consider a bed storage case that can essentially transform into a neat gun rack for your hunting gear and ammunition. 

The best place to mount a bicycle rack is in the bed of your Tacoma. If you’re looking to save a bit of cash, installing a tailgate pad is a more economical option. Bicycle racks or bed racks come in a wide array of shapes and sizes. Some mods will even allow you to mount up to four bicycles in the bed!

However, there’s a catch. Not all truck bed mounts/racks are made the same. Some will require drilling holes in the bed of your Tacoma, while there are those with lightweight and modular designs that can be installed with no drilling required. 

The standard bed length in a Tacoma double cab is 60.5-inches. The Tacoma access cab has 73.7-inches of bed space. With a bed height of approximately 19.1-inches and 41.5-inches of width, it is safe to assume you’ll have plenty of options in choosing the best racks, mounts, and storage cases for your Toyota Tacoma.

Fitment includes: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Pre-Runner, X-Runner, SR, SR-5, TRD-Sport, TRD-Off-Road, Limited, TRD-Pro