Blake's Expedition/Surf Rig - 3rd Gen Tacoma

2019 Tacoma DCSB Off Road - Manual Transmission
BF Goodrich KM3 Mud Terrain Tires 285/75/16
Toyota Tacoma 2020 TRD Pro 16in wheels
White Knuckle rock sliders
Icon Tubular upper control arms
Icon Extended Travel 2.5 VS IR Coilover front shocks
Icon 0-1.5" 2.0 VS RR rear shocks
Deaver U402 stage III expedition series leaf pack
GFC black / grey #693
GFC Ladder
2 GFC Beef Racks
Clazzio Leather Seat Covers (black with red stitching)

Hi Lift Jack
Full Size Spare under bed
5 Gallon Jerry fuel can (bolted to bed platform)
7 Gallon Water Can (bolted to bed platform)
Waterport Shower (mounted on the side of the GFC)
Goalzero Yeti 500x Battery and 100w Solar Panel
Half bed platform (3/4" plywood bolted to bed)
Yeti Cooler
Pelian Cases (bolted to bed platform)
Rubbermaid bins for food and camp kitchen
Matt Gecko LED lighting kit for the camper

I bought the tacoma new a year ago and on the same day put down the deposit for the Go Fast Camper. The main thing I wanted to have was a capable rig to travel the Americas. Although the 3rd gen tacoma may not be the best option for Central and South America, it’s reliable enough and will have to do. A van was also considered over a truck camper for living comfort but I’m glad I went with the truck. Maybe one day I’ll get a sprinter when i’m retired and my back hurts. Additionally i’m pretty familiar with South America and usually spend half the year in Patagonia. A truck was really the only option for the places I like to get into. My only complaints would be its flashy, has complicated computer systems and of course the lack of available parts down South. On the other hand it’s safer and being new its more reliable than an older truck. While I would have liked to have an older pickup, i’m pretty happy with my decisions so far.

At the end of May during the midst of Coronavirus I traveled up to Montana to pickup the Go Fast and have been living in it since. The first month I spent photographing the Tetons, and Yellowstone, as well as some of Wyomings wild horse herds. I based near Big Sky where I was also dslr camera trapping and it was close to Bozeman where I could dial in the camper and truck. It was nice having GF so close as well as a town and a friends shop. I found a nice spot in the Gallatin National Forest and would highly recommend anyone going to pickup their camper to camp out on Taylor Creek near Big Sky. I spent a lot of time there and the GFC handled some seriously heavy rain storms and wind here. I felt like it took a month of living in to get everything dialed in, organized and running smoothly. Now i’ve traveled back to California and somewhat settled in here on the Northern coast where i’ve been mostly surfing and enjoying the cold water. Being a photographer I will using this thread to mostly share photos but if anyone has any questions i’m happy to answer or talk about trips. As well as just photos of the truck, i’ll also be sharing photos from the places its taken me.

On the way up to get the GFC:



sweet truck. Really good photos too. How did you get that photo of the bear and your truck in the same shot? Hopefully you weren’t hiding in the bushes or something… Ha!

I was hiding in the bushes… Haha

A couple of recent shots of the truck from here in Northern California.


Figured I’d show how im running the bed and talk about some of the stuff.
I used to have the decked drawers and then a half bed platform that I mounted stuff too (plywood), but ended up wanting more of an open layout. So I tore everything out again and started new a few times and came up with this which has been working for a while. The obvious thing about it is I never have to worry about gas or water and it really comes in handy and helps me get out there further and further. Its also great to not stop so often with covid… Just yesterday while putting out some camera traps the dog and I went through a bunch of poison oak. I’m shooting now in a remote part of Norcal and I was able to thoroughly shower us both off right there and i’m still gonna have enough water for more mistakes like that and another week of camping at least. I also carry plenty of non perishable food in the frontrunner bins and only need to walk in to a store once or twice a month. I just ratchet the gas cans with the 2nd frontrunner bin and they fit together so well that they dont fall, even with four stacked. I cant get into the bottom two without undoing the strap and use that for extra canned food and gear I dont need often. My stove setup is super small, just two small camping stovetops that are reliable and screw to the small propane cans (which I keep a bunch of). Two for redundancy as they take up no space + a pot, pan and a jetboil too. Super simple, I dont need a whole cutlery set like all the overlander videos. Now that its winter I bought one of those little mr buddy heaters. When it came it was pretty big and i’d also have to start carrying the green gas cans for it. After thinking about it taking up my oxygen in such an inclosed space, releasing excess condensation and being so close to gasoline, I decided i’m not that much of a pussy and returned it. In its place I carry nice sleeping bags. In the winter I have all three (a -20, 11, and 19deg). They go in the mesh against the back window with a couple of pillows in compression sacks. Also I dont mess around with sheets and blankets as I found they take up too much time, space and get dirty fast.

The power setup is a goalzero 500x and a 100watt goalzero panel on the roof. Im switching it out next week with two renogy 100watt flexible panels on the roof to get more power and save roof weight for more boards. The battery is mounted sideways to the bed rails with gfc’s bed rail nuts. When I spray out the bed I make sure to cover it with a trash bag. I do wish though that I had a bigger battery and it’s almost enough if I really conserve power. I have a lot to charge between my computer, camera traps, everyday gear, the inreach gps and especially running the lights at night. The dog also has a shock collar that takes up a bit of AC charge everyday, but it helps a lot to keep her safe as she likes to chase elk, bears, etc. The hope most days is that I drive enough or get enough solar to get the battery to 100%. A full charge goes about 2-3 days for me but a day or two without sun becomes a problem. As for the bed I like it nice and open without anything permanently mounted in the middle. Its nice to keep a walkway, especially in bad weather to get in/out and room to hang. I use a yeti cooler which is almost always out of ice but since its is nice and cold outside this time of the year, I don’t worry too much; the yetis also makes a good step into the bed. I have a bunch of nicely sized duffel bags (Patagonia 90L duffel) that are grab and go, each dedicated to a specific activity or sport (surf, snow, climb, backpacking, and one for all my clothes). Ive been living out of these duffels for a long time now traveling internationally before I had the truck and it was best for me to keep it like that rather than drawers or something. One plus with that is its really easy to switch and go international when your already living out of bags. Too bad about covid right now though. The virus has definitely had a big impact recently on the truck setup though, mostly making it more self sufficient and that helps getting out to further places for longer. The whole truck really is a major luxury for me after years of hitchiking and super low budget photography projects around Patagonia. I was scared when I bought it as it costs so much and seemed like such a commitment when I didnt want any commitments. Now every aspect of it is just so helpful for me and I’m glad ive kept the build relatively simple.


I have 2 questions. 1. Do the gas cans release any odors? 2. How is the inreach?


Hey! I dont notice any odor from the gas cans at all. I guess in California it’s hard to find good gas cans. Im really not sure what the reasoning would be for the ones that vent but just seems dangerous to me. These ones are completely sealed. I stay away from the ones where the spout fits back into the tank in reverse too; the one on the left was like that but I got a better cap for it. I keep the spouts with my recovery stuff since they dont fit on the cans and dont get used often.

The InReach is brand new to me but I think its great. Theres no service where I am in Norcal and I used it tonight as I was working on trail cams until after dark and family was worried. I was in the forest so it was tough to get messages to send but it was better than nothing and was able to get the point across. I guess its some peace of mind for me but more so for family. When I send a message they get all my gps info and were able to see where I was if I dont show up. Very useful especially being in remote areas where you would otherwise have zero contact. Also its worth mentioning that I got rid of my smartphone this year for personal reasons. Mostly I didn’t need that much technology in my pocket everywhere I went and it was distracting and addicting for me personally. A friend just gave me an ipad that I mount on the dash and use gaia gps offline with the inreach connected via bluetooth. I also like the ipad because it doesnt fit in my pocket and either use that or my computer to get online. As for using the InReach-Ipad combination I dont have a phone for navigation anymore so theres that obvious benefit, but mostly its really nice for offroad trails. I can get a pretty good idea of where any trail goes before I take it and follow along as I drive it. No more following a trail for an hour to find out where it goes. I also have been using the inreach to pin locations of my camera traps or equipment I sometimes stash on trails. I always remember the general area but after they have been out there for a month sometimes i’ll forget how high on a hillside or exactly where in a forest I left them. It will definitely save me some wandering. The InReach stays charged a very long time but I especially hate charging the ipad and its always dead at the slightest bit of cold weather-or just dies for no reason at all. Kinda sucks since I use them together. Yesterday I was driving some trails and had a specific idea for my destination but couldn’t get the ipad to turn on to follow the right track. I went with the big InReach so I can use it as a standalone device but If I still had an iphone maybe I would get the mini to save weight in my pack and have it more mountable in the truck.
Hope that helps!

1 Like

Super cool build man, I love the whole surf expedition “load n go” setup. How are you running the solar wires to the battery? And how is your fire extinguisher mounted? I just bought some more Toyota bed rail T-nuts for cool projects like yours with the current gear I have in the rear. Cheers brotha

Thought I’d give a winter update. I’ve been living in my camper in Montana since the new year and doing wildlife photography in Yellowstone. Its gone well but being that its -5 to 20 deg every night i’ve had to change a lot to make things work coming from coastal California. Even during the day time it hasnt gone over freezing in two weeks although the next few days are going to be snowing and warmer. Which is why my apple laptop is now working with less problems from the cold.

Battery: My camper battery (yeti 500x) is no longer stored in the bed because as soon as I got here it stopped taking input because of the cold. For a short period of time I moved my battery to my yeti cooler wired through the drain hole and kept a heated nalgene water bottle in it to keep it warm. That became a problem with wires getting wear and frozen food so I found it fits well and stays warm behind the back seats of my tacoma and makes a good charging area. I had to wire my camper lights and solar with 40ft of wire each all the way under the truck and into the cab. I drive a lot in Yellowstone every day so my solar has been unnecessary as it charges while I drive. If I didnt drive as much for a couple of days the solar would for sure come in handy.

Water: My 5 gallon jerry cans of water are usually frozen solid. I keep one in the cab now and that keeps it from freezing. But it depends on how much I’m in there and driving / keeping it warm. Its a lot easier to keep the cab warm than the bed obviously. On the really cold nights i may only be able to keep a few 32oz nalgene’s from freezing in my sleeping bag but as soon as they start freezing they are tough to open… but its enough water until the next day usually.

Food: Basically everything is frozen. Canned food, Juice/Milk, Beer… I’ve pretty much just gotten used to it but have been getting better about not leaving the cooler open and sometimes putting a nalgene water bottle with hot water in there. I havent used ice since I left California and the cooler is just keeping things from freezing. The thing that is the most annoying is when the eggs freeze…

Winter Camping: I was having and enjoying fires at night but haven’t in a few weeks. Have just stopped putting time into finding wood and wont buy it. I camp in free places every night so am saving money. I hang out in the cab at night if I’m not with friends just because its easy to keep warm. I had been idling my engine constantly day in and out for comfort and warmth but have recently stopped to put less wear on the engine. I cook on the tailgate in any temp unless its too windy then I’ll go into the camper. Otherwise I dont really hang out in the camper ever and only go in it to sleep.

Sleeping and Condensation: I have no heater because I dont want more condensation from propane and dont want a diesel heater taking up space since space is so prescious and I have a lot of gear for a lot of the things im into. But the tent is totally fine in any temp with a dog, good sleeping bag and merino wool clothing with down jackets. I actually unnecessarily have 3 sleeping bags with me (-20, 11, and 19) and rotate between two of them because one gets too wet from the night before with condensation. Some nights friends might camp with me so the extra bags also come in handy then. But if I was completely alone every night I could get by with one good sleeping bag as long as I dry it out for an hour or so with the heat on in the backseat of the cab each day.

Latches and closing the tent: This definitely can be a problem and ice can build up literally anywhere and cause issues everywhere. The best thing is to just keep them all oiled and then I break away ice with my knife if theres ever a lot of it. Used to be a much bigger problem but now i’m just used to keeping an eye on it. I also stopped worrying about trying to dry out the tent sides during the day since it rarely ever goes above freezing. The way I see it is as long as the water is frozen the tent sides are fine and you can just knock the ice off. If ice gets on the latches that open/shut the tent it gets annoying but ive gotten better at being aware of that happening and preventing it.



The fire extinguished is mounted with hose clamps and this quick release bracket from amazon. Pretty sure the hose clamps came with it too. I used heat shrink on the clamps to prevent scratching on the powdercoat.

1 Like

Nice build and great pics! Just curious, what’s in the coyote’s mouth? It looks like a fox’s head. Yellowstone is amazing, I’m looking forward to hitting it again on my trip back from picking up my GFC in a couple of months.

1 Like

Looks like you were just south of the Mattole Campground? If so, I was just at that spot a couple weeks ago, escaping the smoke (I’m in Weaverville).

1 Like

Yup! I found the campground was pretty busy so I stayed South and up the hill. Couldn’t stay in the open because of strong wind, but there were a few incredible campsites under the trees nearby.

Extreme wind when I was up there! Very nice rig, and I enjoyed checking out your website. Nice to have a GFC “neighbor”!

How has your Boulder 100 held up? I pick up our camper end of July and can’t wait. I am trying to make the entire camper modular and autonomous from the rest of the truck? We live in Colorado so I am not too worried about sun.

1 Like

Any insight into how you mounted the goal zero to the plywood? Also, any issues with keeping the battery on its side when you had it in the back of the truck?

1 Like

Beautiful truck porn…<3

nature is metal