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Don’t Race This Long Travel 2012 Toyota Tacoma to Camp. You Will Lose!

TacOverlander

In the past, desert racers and prerunners added long-travel suspension and bypass shocks to conquer whoops and silt beds but typically returned to their hotel or trailer at night. In contrast, overlanders lumber along slowly with their heavy suspension, enjoying the destination more than the journey. Find the spot on the Venn diagram where these two worlds overlap, and you will encounter Jason Berry's Tacoma.

This Double Cab Tacoma has Total Chaos long-travel front suspension, rear Deaver leaf springs, and King bypass shocks. It also has a Vagabond Outdoors Drifter camper and the usual components you would expect to find on an overland rig, such as solar panels, drawers, a fridge, and a headliner covered in patches.

The truck is no slouch in technical terrain either. Jason added a Currie Enterprises F9 rear axle and 4.88 gears with ARB Air Lockers front and rear. The fenders were trimmed 2 inches to allow fitment of 35-inch Cooper Discoverer STT Pros with full suspension travel and a low center of gravity. Relentless Fabrication skidplates, rock sliders, and bumpers fend off hits from rocks and other obstacles on the trail.

Oh, and did we mention that it has a supercharger to offset all that added weight? Jason Berry has built a Tacoma that can go just about anywhere, and get there in a hurry.

Power comes from the original 1GR-FE V-6 engine that has been upgraded with a Magnuson supercharger, URD Y-pipe, and MBRP cat-back exhaust. From there the factory five-speed automatic routes power to the original two-speed, chain-driven transfer case. Jason Berry has considered adding dual transfer cases but hasn't felt the need to do so yet for the type of wheeling he does.
The front suspension uses Total Chaos chromoly control arms that are 2 inches wider per side and use 1-inch uniballs between the factory spindles. The factory CVs are retained, but used with extended chromoly axles and CV boots from SDHQ that allow for increased angularity without tearing. The King coilover shocks are fitted with 700 lb-in coil springs and supplemented by an 8-inch-travel King three-tube bypass shock that Jason tuned himself.
Jason swears that he isn't one of those stereotypical overlanders, but the patches on the headliner suggest otherwise. Functional interior upgrades include the Weathertech floor mats, Wet Okole seat covers, Kenwood ham radio, and OTRATTW switches.
The factory 8-inch rearend was replaced with a 68-inch-wide Currie Enterprises F9 with 3 1/2-inch axletubes. The third member is nodular iron and has 4.86 gears and an ARB Air Locker. The axle uses Toyota outers and bearings and a SOS Performance rear disc kit with StopTech four-piston calipers.
The rear suspension uses custom Deaver leaf springs on BAMF shackle hangers. King air bumps work in conjunction with King 12-inch-travel, three-tube bypass shocks on custom mounts. The truck had a shackle flip with compression shackles when Jason bought it, but he returned to the inverted shackle configuration to improve the ride and allow for more uptravel.
Jason modified a Prinsu CabRac roof rack to fit in front of his Vagabond Outdoors Drifter camper. The rack holds two Pelican Storm cases with all of his recovery gear. This keeps his straps, shackles, and gloves close at hand while also being protected from the elements.
Relentless Fabrication is based out of Reno near Jason's Tahoe home, and he used the company's products on his previous Tacoma as well with great success, so it was a no-brainer when it came time to outfit this truck. Relentless products include the high-clearance rear bumper that features a swing-out tire carrier and side protection for the bed, as well as the rock sliders, front bumper, and skidplates.
Dual Optima YellowTop batteries were relocated to the bed and secured with a Trail-Gear battery tray. Under the hood the original battery location now holds a Blue Sea fuse panel, battery isolator, and 100-amp breaker. Two 100-watt solar panels sit on the roof of the Vagabond camper and charge the batteries through a Renogy Adventurer solar controller.
The headlights are FXR HID retrofits by Ambiguous that use Osram 4,300kw bulbs. Jason also has a host of Rigid Industries LED lights, including D2 Dually driving lights, D2 amber fog lights, D2 reverse lights, a 20-inch combo driving/spot light bar in the front bumper, and a 40-inch Midnight Series light bar on the roof. He has no problem turning night into day on the trail.
Jason's Tacoma has been customized to allow him to enjoy multiple daytrips into the backcountry. The suspension soaks up washboard roads, and the Vagabond camper is a comfortable place to sleep. The bed of the truck has been set up for cooking and camping—the only thing left to do is build a campfire.
The Vagabond Drifter uses a 3-inch-thick memory foam mattress and has enough space to allow pillows and bedding to be left in place. A ceiling fan and zip-out windows provide plenty of ventilation when it is warm but can also be sealed up for adverse weather.
Jason opted to have Front Runner hard side windows on each side of his Vagabond Drifter. These windows provide easy access to the contents of the bed while also being lockable and completely sealed from the elements. They are actually designed for a Land Rover Defender but fit perfectly on the camper.
Jason set up the swing-out for the rear bumper with a folding table that holds a Camp Chef two-burner stove. Between this and the tailgate he is able to easily whip up gourmet meals on the trail. All of the cooking gear goes in the ARB drawer under his 82-quart ARB freezer/fridge.

Tech Specs
2012 Toyota Tacoma
>Drivetrain
Engine: Supercharged 1GR-FE 4.0L V-6
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Transfer Case: Factory chain drive
Front Axle: Toyota 8-inch IFS with 4.88 gears and ARB Air Locker
Rear Axle: Currie 9-inch with 4.86 gears and ARB Air Locker
>Suspension
Springs & Such: Total Chaos +2 suspension with King coilovers and bypass shocks (front); Deaver leaf springs and King bypass shocks and air bumps (rear)
Tires & Wheels: 315/70R17 Cooper Discoverer STT Pros on 17x8.5 Method 105 beadlock wheels
Steering: Stock rack, extended tie rods
Lighting: FXR HID Retrofit headlights, Rigid Industries 40-inch Midnight LED Roof Bar, Rigid Industries SR2 20-inch combo driving and Hyperspot LED bar, Rigid Industries D2 Dually lights
Other Stuff: Vagabond Outdoors Drifter camper; SOS Performance big brake kit (front and rear); MBRP exhaust; Weathertech floormats; Wet Okole seat covers; Kenwood ham radio; Warn Zeon 12-s winch; Prinsu CabRac roof rack; Relentless Fabrication front bumper, sliders, and high clearance rear bumper with swing out tire carrier; two 100-watt solar panels; ARB drawer; Alu-Cab fridge slide; ARB 82-quart fridge; Airflow snorkel; ARB dual air compressor