In the latest instalment of RUX Rides, we sit down with Braeden from Overland Outfitters, THE Off Road Toyota Specialists (also a RUX Retailer). Braeden and his wife Jenna, have a fleet of some of the most capable Toyota trucks you’ve ever laid eyes on.
Who are you? What do you do? Where do you live? What makes you happiest?
My name is Braeden, and I'm the founder of Overland Outfitters, along with my wife, Jenna. We started Overland Outfitters because we loved exploring the back country and building cool trucks, so decided to turn it into a business. It's been our craziest adventure yet! We sell all sorts of off-road and camping gear, but our main passion is building Toyota's to be able to go anywhere. Our shop is located in Surrey, BC, so we are pretty central in the lower mainland, right off the highway.
Describe your vehicle: make, model, etc.
My main adventure truck is a 2006 Toyota Tacoma, but we are fortunate enough to have a couple different trucks including a SAS'd 1988 4Runner for local rock crawling, and a 2022 Toyota Tundra.
The Tacoma is what I've done the most in and spent the most time working on. It was fully long travelled front and rear, with 37" tires, lockers front and back, with all the usual armour and sliders etc. But for some silly reason I decided to completely tear it apart down to a bare cab and frame, so I am currently rebuilding it from scratch with a 500hp LS3 motor, custom long travel and 4-link rear, 9" full float rear end, lockers, fuel cell, 40" tires, internal cage, race seats, etc etc. It's been a lot of learning and fabrication work, but by the end the only thing left from the original truck will be the cab, dash, and 3 doors. Everything else including the frame will be new or custom. The goal is to be able to crawl gnarly rock trails, hit whoops at 70kmh, and then camp out of it for a week plus.
Describe your favourite feature of your vehicle.
Before ripping it apart, my favourite part of the tacoma was the suspension, I had it pretty dialled and could rip pretty hard. But never being satisfied, the next suspension setup should completely blow it out of the water!
Best location/adventure you've ever had with your vehicle?
We've been on so many amazing trips in our Tacoma. One of my most memorable trips was our first time to Mexico when we drove from Canada to Baja and back over a few weeks, camping on beaches, exploring all over, and eating a ton of tacos. On the way back we did lots of cool wheeling and mountain biking in the US as well! But man we've done a lot of cool trips and spend thousands of hours in our truck and have camped hundreds of nights. We always try to camp somewhere new. Sometimes it's a bust and we camp somewhere lame, but othertimes we end up in the most beautiful zones with nobody around for hundreds of kilometers.
Most epic stuck/breakdown/wrong turn?
I get stuck a lot because I like to push the truck, and myself to the limit. We end up pulling winch line a lot to get up obstacles. The time the comes to mind the quickest though is when my wife and I were exploring a particularly sketchy high altitude road in the BC Chilcotins by ourselves. The road was barely wide enough for the truck with a 2000' drop on the driver side. We were pushing to try and get to a lake we saw on our map book. There were a few small washouts and slides that I managed to get over, but when I rounded the next corner, the road was completely gone.
Since the road was so narrow, my only option was to back up, but reversing over some of the washouts was very sketchy, and the truck started to slide off the edge. The ground was all just rock with nowhere to winch from. I spent a solid couple of hours digging with the shovel to try and build a bench cut so I could reverse over the washout without sliding down the side of the mountain! Pretty spooky!
Any advice to someone thinking of getting into a custom adventure vehicle?
For me, the biggest thing is getting out and having a good time exploring, wheeling, camping, whatever you're into. Building the truck comes second. As you go more places and get more experience, you'll find what your vehicle's limitations are, and you can build from there. It's easy to get distracted by all the flashy instagram builds, but as long as you're getting out and using your truck, you're doing it right! But when you find that you need to take your Toyota to the next level to go more cool places more comfortably, definitely hit us up! We're happy to help!