Quick intro/your overland background/experience
We are @canadian_tacoma, two paramedics who live in southern Ontario that love to overland as much as possible on our days off. We travel everywhere with our dog (Wiley) and cat (Jax). Jae and I (Alex) started overlanding in a stock Tacoma back in 2019. Our first trip was to Colorado where we bought the rack and rooftop tent, and took it from there. That trip brought us to the rockies of Colorado, to the mars like atmosphere of Utah and west to the desert in death valley, California. Along the way we quickly realized that the Taco needed a little help and thus started @canadian_tacoma. Over the next two years we have added many modifications, partnered with some amazing brands (such as RUX, Bluetti and woolove) and at the end of 2022 I bought a 2022 TRD Offroad 4runner which we have started to slowly turn into another overlanding rig. Sometimes we travel with both vehicles as its always best to have a buddy to pull you out of tough situations, other times we only take the Tacoma. Jae and I recently started our own business selling medical trauma kits for overlanders/ campers/ outdoors adventurers (@canadian_medkits) and we teach wilderness first aid sessions at overland events.
Describe your vehicle: make, model, etc.
We started this adventure on Jae’s 2016 short bed, manual Toyota Tacoma.
I purchased the 2022 TRD Offroad Toyota 4Runner, which has started to be slowly modified. Both vehicles are featured and part of @canadian_tacoma.
Describe your favourite feature of your vehicle.
The best features has been the little things, such as the dual zone cooler allowing us to bring real meals out on our adventures. the most used feature has to be the max traxs. these are essential, for us, to be able to stay independent, self recover and level the truck when at camp. If you were to ask our dog (Wiley) and cat (Jax) they would say the best feature is by far the half seat delete we did in the Tacoma. Giving them a full dog bed space to sleep and stretch out on drives.
Best location/adventure you've ever had with your vehicle?
Best trip has to be last summer to the rockies in Alberta, Canada. We drove from southern Ontario to British Columbia and back in July. Along the way we stayed on only crown land, having to do a little research ahead of time and winging a few nights made for some of the best experiences. There was a day in BC while we were in the mountains, a path took us in a direction we didn’t think we were originally planning on going. We ended up finding this valley between two mountains that had a small private beach on the bright blue glacier water. This was by far our favourite spot of the trip.
Most epic stuck/breakdown/wrong turn?
On that trip to the west coast of Canada, we stopped for a night in Saskatchewan. While staying the night at the watch tower, just off the highway we attempted to drive down to the water to camp for the night. Unfortunately, the beach ended up being thick heavy clay. We were stuck good and deep, took almost 4 hours and the help of some good folks to pull/ dig and lift the truck out. That was an eye opening moment since the truck was facing the water with no anchor points our winch was useless. The clay was so heavy and thick it was almost impossible to dig out the tires. Moving forward we make sure to check what type of ground the area we will be driving on and always have our shovel, maxtraqs, and hi-jack available.
Any advice to someone thinking of getting into a custom adventure vehicle?
Our advice would be start small, do your research and reach out to other builds/ instagrams. The overloading community is so friendly. We’re all here to help, give advice and pass on information we have learned along the ways. Jae and I also work for an Ontario company called OverlandNTH, they run overloading events / weekends. It is a great place to come see everyone’s set up and speak with vendors (anything from recovery gear, racks/ tent companies to medical supplies). Check them out on instagram and shoot us a message if you have any questions regarding attending one of their weekend events.
How you've been using RUX/favourite way to use RUX
We flip back and forth with the RUX, sometimes it is used to pack all our clothing. Other times it holds everything that doesn’t have a specific drawer / case in the truck. We love the fact that it is weather proof. Once we set up at camp we normally pull all cases and things we need out of the tailgate and put them under the awning. Its nice to not have to put our RUX away in the truck at night, this gives the dog and cat more space to sleep.