2021 Tacoma Access Cab Off Road (MT) - MTB/Ski Build

Because I’ve taken so much inspiration from this forum over the past two years I figured I would add my own build thread and thank those who’ve made my life easier. The main focus of this build was to keep things super simple and modular so I could still use my truck as a truck, while really maximizing the fairly limited space of the access cab. My core use cases for the GFC are skiing and mountain biking.

Current Mods:

  • Hest mattresses w/ passthrough
  • Dual battery with under hood lithium
  • Hard korr lights
  • Iceco fridge
  • MTB mounts

Future Projects:

  • Espar B2l AS3 gas heater
  • Swing-out bike stand
  • Lower sleeping platform
  • New C5 locks or covers
  • Rear bedding catch
  • New AT tires.

August 2021 - Truck Purchase

Purchased my first-ever truck in August of 2021 - I’ve only ever owned Subarus and live in the city so I wanted to keep things as compact as possible but needed a 6ft bed for skis. I ended up in a 2021 offroad access cab with a manual transmission. I was very excited the day I drove it off the lot.

January 2022 - GFC Pickup

Placed a deposit shortly after purchasing my truck and in January ’22 made the trek from Calgary to Belgrade to pick up my camper. The team at GFC knocked out the install efficiently and I was on my way.

January 2022 - Test Run

9 days later I was taking the camper for its first test run in Golden, BC. Needless to say, we were a little cold and found the mattress kinda firm so this trip sparked a few ideas for future mods down the road…

April 2022 - Bed Stiffeners, Bed Mat, Molle Panel (fork mount)

Throughout the winter I picked up a few initial accessories to start the buildout. Total Chaos Bed Stiffeners because the internet said I should, a Cali Raised Molle Panel for internal MTB fork mounting along with mounting other accessories, and a Black Armour Bed Mat all added some nice touches to the downstairs area.

July 2022 - Summer Adventures (Whistler, Squamish, Revelstoke etc)

Once summer hit I got to really test things out on a bunch of camping trips to Whistler, Squamish, Golden, Revelstoke, and Invermere.

February 2023 - Dakota Lithium Under Hood Battery Install

Took a deep dive down the rabbit hole on battery setups and thanks to @Takethetruck and their blog on the Dakota Lithium DL+ 135ah. I ended up settling on a dual under-the-hood setup with the second battery being lithium. Dakotas temperature ratings seemed to best fit the harsh temperatures we see up in Canada and I wanted something that could live in the truck and not need constant tweaking.

The folks at Krave Automotive in Calgary did the installation and made things super clean with a Victron DC to DC Orion 30, 2x 12v Blue sea accessory ports in the cab and in the bed, and a Victron Smart shunt. They also fabricated a nice little 2nd battery bracket for the DL+ 135.

The way I camp these days I’m not in places for long so I decided to opt out of solar and just go bigger on the battery. The Victron DC to DC charges the battery extremely fast and most days I move the truck so the system stays fairly topped up.

Feb 2023 - Drip Rails and Zipper Pull Delete

I got sick of the constant drips from the camper in Whistler the previous summer and ended up pulling the trigger on some @jedgar drip rails. Game changers - I should have bought these when I first bought the camper.

I also took the opportunity to get rid of the jingle bells and replace them with some Amazon cord zipper pulls.

April 2023 - Iceco Fridge

Once I had the battery installed it was time to start taking advantage of all the power I had access to. Purchased an Iceco JP50 and tucked it in the back corner behind the wheel well. Cold beers all summer long!

July 2023 - Hest Mattresses + Hest Panel™

I purchased two Hest Foamies the previous summer and had been using them non-stop after my first few trips. But since they kind of ruined my transform-a-floor, I’d been looking for ways to still access the upper sleeping area easily. I ended up purchasing another rectangular panel from GFC and cutting it to about half the width. Now it’s not a Super Pacific sized passthrough, but it works for me and will allow hot air to flow upwards once the heater is installed.

July 2023 - More Summer Adventures (Swansea, Revy, Montana etc)

Spent the summer travelling and camping fairly close to home with trips to Montana, Revy, Invermere, Oregon etc. Lots of mountain biking and fun was had.

August 2023- Hard Korr Lights

I finally got around to permanently installing the lower Hard Korr lights and still have plans to install the final strip in the tent portion. Took a little bit of cutting and a few butt connectors but overall I’ve been happy with the installation and the quality of the lights.

September 2023 - L-track and Fork Mount

Added some L-track to the rear of the bed and picked up a Freedom Coast fork mount so both bikes can live on one side when they are stashed in the truck.

That’s all for now… will add more updates and photos as the build moves further along.


Dang, im rocking the jl42 fridge but i like the form factor of your jp50, i might sell mine and swap, its a much smaller footprint, but im thinking it is around the same capacity. Nice build out! Im also digging. Your double bike rack interior, for hiding bikes when in the city or away from the truck. The beveled t track is slick

Question, i really like your front molle bike mount, im thinking of doing the same in my rig when i am stepping away and dont want to leave my bike on the one up exposed.
Also, where do you stash your front wheels and how do you keep them from scratching/ banging into the bikes while traveling?
Thanks dude

@Medicfung I just tuck both front wheels in front of the driver-side wheel well and bungee them to the molle panel. Both are 29" wheels and with the rubber mat flooring + bungee, they don’t seem to move around at all in that spot.

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Have you seen this one? Price tag is not nice but interesting to see…

I appreciate the concern, I’m definitely not trying to take the risks lightly! I spent a lot of time going back and forth with Dakota Lithium and the employees I spoke with seemed very certain that this battery could work for my application (I’ve seen them using a photo of a similar setup in their advertising lately).

This setup ran this past summer without any power interruption but I plan to install a temperature sensor for the Smartshunt to better track the battery temps. The max optimal operating temp for this battery is +150°F with a +167°F cutoff so there is a chance my engine bay has reached those temps but it’s yet to trigger the BMS shutoff.

There are definitely more risks placing the battery under the hood and the marginal gains in extra space are probably not worth it for most people. A bit of this project was me wanting to try to do something different than I’ve seen before, so hopefully it doesn’t end up biting me in the ass :crossed_fingers:

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Yep that’s the one I am running. Was able to find a deal on mine at TecVan a while back but still very expensive for an 135-ah battery.