Grandpas Tundra - 2008 Tundra DC/GFC

Decided to put together a build thread for my truck/GFC.

This is my 2008 Toyota Tundra double cab with the GFC Platform Camper. I call it “Grandpas Tundra” because I bought it from my grandpa. I helped him pick it off the lot in 2008. He used the truck sparingly, but hard, mostly for towing his boat or his tractor.

Tundra and my first car, a 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit, circa 2012

In late 2020, my dad had a massive stroke and was permanently disabled. At the time, I was driving a very unreliable 1980 Volvo 242, and was having to rely on using my girlfriends car when I needed to come back to see him. My grandpa very graciously sold me his Tundra so I had something reliable, and to this day I cannot thank him enough. It allowed me to visit my dad easily and helped create some incredible memories.

The day I brought it home. Pawpaw’d out with the canopy, front hitch, and chrome sidesteps

With that being said, I couldn’t leave it stock. Within the first few days I removed the steps and ordered a set of Method MR701s and BFG KO2s. This helped change the look massively

I started to plan a buildout using the existing canopy. I knew I wanted this to be a adventure truck and it felt like the perfect base - low miles, family history, and low likelihood of me ever selling (I have an issue… ~30 cars since I was 16?)

My buddy and I picked up materials to build a basic platform in the rear, circa 2021

Unfortunately, in February of 2022 my dad passed away. His life after the stroke was never the same, it entirely robbed him of his independence. Pictured below is him with his Honda Element, he built it out and drove around the country four times, trying to visit every National Park, successfully visiting every MLB stadium, and a trip to experience famous blues and jazz destinations.

You’re probably wondering how this is all relevant to a truck build, but we’re getting there.

My dads passing was difficult on our family and is still difficult to this day. Much of what I do, I do to try and honor his spirit and character. He loved to travel, meet new people, see new places, take the slow road.

And this is where the GFC comes in.

I had pined for a GFC for years, but didn’t expect to buy one until later in my career. With my dads passing, I received some life insurance and was torn with what to do with it. I planned to invest a portion and save a portion, but my mom said “use it for something he’d love”.

I hemmed and hawed for a few months, before putting in my order with GFC in November of 2022.

My dad was born and raised in Butte, MT, an hour or so west of Belgrade. I planned my pickup on St Patricks Day of 2023 and began waiting

Sold the ARE canopy in preparation

Finally the day came. My two buddies tagged along and we headed towards Montana

Sunrise in Spokane

Deer Lodge, MT

Pickup was flawless, cool seeing the GFC shop. We made our way back to Butte and enjoyed the festivities.

I might not look happy in the pic, but it was 10deg

Pekin Noodle Parlor, the longest operating Chinese restaurant in America

To be entirely honest, my dad would have laughed at the idea of a GFC. “You can just sleep in the back of the truck!”. But if I liked it, he would love it.

We made it home in one piece. It was cool showing my friends Butte and revisiting some of the places I had gone with my dad.

First thing I bought/installed was the Overland Vehicle Systems 270LTE awning. This was the budget/lightweight option. It does its job, total coverage isn’t excellent but its better than what I had before! (nothing)

Our first camping trip, March 24th, Seaquest State Park. This was mostly a shakedown run with the dog, see how he liked it. He was part of the reason I went with the GFC vs a traditional tent/rack setup. I figured he could sleep downstairs and I could access him easily (how foolish I was. He’s spent one night in the downstairs and the rest with me in the penthouse)


I had zero issues with the actual GFC. Mine was the first round of updated weatherization upgrades and I live in a very moist area. To this day, zero issues with water intrusion.

However, Smokey had some major issues with the truck bed. The bare metal did not make him happy.

This was easily fixed by some 3/4" plywood

Sheet cut

Kilz anti-mold primer with help from my buddy Gary

Indoor/outdoor carpet cut n glued

And Mr. Smokey, who does not look thrilled, but thats mostly because his nuts had gone MIA

I started to plan/prepare for my first major roadtrip in the GFC. A few years prior, I had driven Highway 101 from San Francisco north to Oregon with eight of my college buddies. Have you ever traveled with eight 21 year old men? If not, I’m sure you can immediately think “man that sounds terrible”. It was. So this was going to be my redemption trip, just me and the dog.

Road trip preparation, making the backseat into a throne for Smokey

Happy dog

The day before I left, my buddy Gary washed and detailed my truck. The cleanest I had seen it in a while!

And we’re off! Vancouver, WA > Cape Perpetua, OR > Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, CA > Petrolia, CA > Trinity Lake, CA > Bend, OR

Within 100mi, one of my front caliper bolts backed out and locked the front wheel. Insurance towed me and Les Schwab had me back on the road in an hour. Guess who did the brakes?

Headed up to dispersed camp near Petrolia

Windows screen saver?

This was the perfect shakedown trip, and honestly one of my favorite roadtrips I’ve ever been on. My dog did a good job (his first big trip in general), we hiked and explored quite a bit, dispersed camped for the first time, and got out on a few unmaintained roads.

Got myself stuck, could have been a medium-hairy situation but got out with some thinking. Not pictured, a very large black bear about 100yds up the road that had been poached :confused:

I got home and immediately started planning my next trip. During my California roadtrip, I enjoyed true dispersed camping and knew I had the setup to do it efficiently. I had 9 days off at the beginning of July and decided to tackle the Washington Backroad Discovery Route.

In-between, I did a few quick trips with friends.

Free camping on the Klickitat River. Super cool spot, one of the largest remaining natural stands of Oak in Washington

Camping near Mt Hood for a friends birthday

Streamlined my camping gear into a few boxes. All I need is my toiletries and some fresh underwear and I’m about ready to go with this

Did some light maintenance on the truck (new water pump, radiator, thermostat, etc. God willing I did a better job than the brakes) and then got everything organized for WABDR. I left July 1st.

Bethel Ridge, day 2

Begging, pleading for a belly rub at 6:00am

Enloe Dam on the Similkameen River

Bethel Ridge

Perhaps the best photo I have ever taken of a vehicle I own. Steliko Lookout near Ardenvoir, WA

This trip was incredible. It was a different kind of fulfilling compared to my California trip, which was relatively structured and not very remote. This put me into parts of Washington I had never seen before, never had a way to see before. I dispersed camped every night, cooked every single meal. First real taste of “overlanding”

I polished off the trip with a trip to Spokane to see my mom and grandparents for a few days. They’re all happy to see me enjoying the truck and taking adventures (albeit, a different flavor) that my dad would have loved.

So, thats about where we’re at. If it was clear enough, I love my GFC. It has done everything I’ve asked of it and opened doors to new places that I hadn’t imagined going. When I bought my GFC, I probably had camped less than a dozen times my entire life. I made a promise that I’d camp in it 12 nights this year (1 day per month average). I believe I just hit 16 nights in it after this last weekend. Rookie numbers compared to some, but it excites me. I have a 10 day vacation in September where I am planning a trip down the ORBDR with a loop to Steens and Alvord, as well as any opportunity between then to get out for a weekend!

This has been a long-winded post, so I’m gonna wrap here. I have a lot of plans for this truck and look forward to having a place to keep track of them as well as my travels!


Awesome! Thanks for the sharing the pictures and the story. Love it man.


The stoke is high! And I’m sure dad would be mighty proud. Extra bonus points for the built out element. One of my favorite all time sleeper adventure platforms. 🫶🏻🍻


He absolutely loved that thing, it really is a great platform for camping and exploring. After he passed, I inherited his Honda and half considered keeping the truck stock and getting one of those pop-tops for the Element, but knew I wanted to go further off-grid than he ever wanted to.

Appreciate the kind words!


Have posted most of these in other threads but I want to keep track of stuff in this thread.

Added anchor points to the shock mounts on the panels. Only using them for a bungee cord across, so shouldn’t be much force on them

Added a few stickers to the ceiling. Trying to get one for every place I stay the night at.

Added an external ladder! A forum member hooked me up with the mantis claw kit, and I found a ladder from a notable e-commerce company.


Great story. Thank you for sharing. #letsgoplaces. You did a great job honoring him, in the right way.


Quick weekend getaway to the Ochoco National Forest. Once again, thankful I had my GFC because we ended up spending 8+ hours cooped up in the back due to thunder, lightning, and heavy rain. A lot easier to be stuck inside when you can stand up, cook, and move around a bit.

If you are in the area and have not visited Ochoco, I highly suggest it. Super cool place to explore.


JE Design 10Rack + bolt-on ratchet straps, this has made carrying my SUP a lot easier! Picked up a set of Dakine 34" aero pads at REI today and got the board up there, all good. Camper still opens no issue and the board feels nice and solid up there. A little nervous to get out on the freeway but I guess you gotta do it eventually

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This is about to be a long post… We finished our last major roadtrip for the summer, heading down to the Sierra Nevadas to explore for a few days. My first two trips this summer were great, but both could use improvement. The first was too much major highway, and staying in big campgrounds. That was my first major trip in the GFC so I wasn’t sure what I could do yet. My second trip was the WABDR and honestly, I didn’t enjoy it a ton. It felt like a task. Doing it just to do it. Too much offroading for me truthfully. So this trip, I went at it with no end destination every day, just floating wherever I wanted. If I saw a dirt road, I took it. I did some OHV trails. I spent a lot of time on tiny 2 lane highways. It was incredible.

The first day we headed south-east from Vancouver, WA towards central Oregon. I grew up on the eastern side of Washington so the “dry sides” appeal to me. Hopped on the ORBDR for a couple dozen miles

We found this neat crag near Christmas Valley, way up on a hill. Added a waypoint because it would be a cool camp spot

Found some solid BLM dirt roads within the first few hours

First campsite, Green Mountain Campground. Solid free BLM campsite on top of a butte. No one there!

My first destination, Crack-In-The-Ground Oregon. A volcanic fissure with a hiking trail through the bottom. Absolutely incredible

The next day was pretty lackluster. We were really just trying to get some distance this day. Christmas Valley, OR to Adin, CA. I wasn’t stoked about the rain and clouds, but we got a really beautiful display as we passed by Summer Lake, OR. Across the lake you could see rain but the road we were on was dry. That area is somewhere I want to explore further.

I am a nerd for western history, so running across this section of the Oregon Trail in the middle of nowhere tickled my pickle

We got out and walked up it for a bit. Can’t imagine trying to navigate this in a wagon with all of your worldly possessions

Upper Rush Creek Campground, Adin, CA. Nothing special, a place to lay your head for the night. Another free campground, and totally solo

Smokey is still a pup, so sometimes he gets banished to the truck bed to take an enforced nap. He was ready to get out and explore

The next day was one of my big ticket days. As I parsed through my maps, I found a neat looking lake near a hike I had planned. Then on google, there was a location called “Gold Lake 4x4 Campground”. I did a little research and made that my destination for the day.

Still cloudy and rainy, but it was complimentary to the scenery

A large slash pile. Turns out that these trees were removed to help native aspens regrow

The start of the OHV trail into the campground. Always difficult to get a good picture showing conditions, but this was the toughest trail I have conquered in my truck. Some very large rocks, it took some careful planning in a stock Tundra

Little Gold Lake, behind my camp spot. Clouds cleared out for a minute and I soaked up the sun, but rain came back shortly


So here’s where I made a mistake… OnX showed a trail running north out of the campsite, then west, then hopping on a FS road that ran south to a hike I had planned. I woke up early in the morning on Tuesday, loaded up, and hit the trail… It was a far tougher trail than imagined. We push our way up further and further, with it getting more and more difficult. We come out onto a ridge and in the far distance, I can see the mountain we plan on climbing (Sierra Buttes). I push further along the trail and come across a sign… “Beyond this point is Hiking, Horse, Motorcycle only”. F*ck. It had already taken longer than expected because of trail conditions, so at this point I decided “Shit, I don’t need to do the hike today”. Weather was clearing up, so we turned back to camp and decided to relax for a day. Great idea, something I don’t do often and made the best of it!

Early morning, ready to hit the trail

Big girl eats. I was sweating a little

Ridge mentioned above, with Sierra Buttes in the background. Good view at least

Back to Gold Lake. Started to warm up so we got out on the paddleboard while it was glass

No better way to experience Jurassic Park than with aggressive Blue Jays making some primeval noises

The next day, we tried again. We took the traditional trail out, hit the highway, and then ran up to the hike. We actually took another OHV trail up that made me a bit nervous. I’m not usually afraid of heights, but this was a goat trail on the side of a very, very large cliff. Once again, my own stupidity running that trail, trusting what I plotted in OnX.

Someone did not want to climb the stairs up to the fire lookout. Hint, it wasn’t me

30lb dog rucked up 178 stairs after ~1500ft of elevation gain

This hike was another big ticket item on my list and I am super glad I did it. Tough, but very rewarding views. We met two guys up at the lookout, I heard them mention a small town in Washington I had lived in. Turns out they both went to school there. One of them gave me a suggestion for a dispersed spot down south so we got back to the truck and started that way

“Pioneers used to ride these babies for miles!”

His spot, did not disappoint

Like a painting

The next day was decision day. I wanted to make it down to Inyo NF but knew if I did that, I’d have at least one day where I had to do a real long jog to get home. I woke up early and decided fuck it, you gotta drive if you want to see cool stuff. We started heading south again.

Bishop, CA artesian wells. One of the coolest things I’ve done on my trip. Felt great to take a dip in cold, pure water

Smokey agrees

We had some plans for campsites but Hurricane Hillary changed those. Most of the places I wanted to go were washed out. The rangers in Bishop gave me some pointers up in the mountains so we headed that way

Campsite was right by this mine shaft. Super cool, found a ton of artifacts. Also found an incredible crystal that I assume was washed out by all the recent rains, no way it would have been left if others had seen it

Campsite for the night. No great view tbh

This was the only time during the trip that I was scared. Smokey had his nose pointed out the window and all of a sudden went hair up, growling. Never saw anything. Skinwalker? Wendingo?

The next day, we woke up and were very close to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Stopped by and did a little walk and called support back home (mom). I had noticed a trail that would allow me to loop back down to Bishop instead of backtracking, but due to weather I wasn’t sure if it was open. Mom did some research and gave me a green light. It was a super cool switchback trail that ran down a valley from roughly 11k feet to 4k feet. Crossed over streams multiple times. When we got down to Bishop, my Orca cooler had vacuum sealed itself shut. Had to get a crowbar out.

Start of the trail and your view the whole way down

We decided we’d take Hwy 120 (Tioga Pass) through Yosemite, just cause. I’m gonna be 100% honest, it was a skip for me. I knew going in I couldn’t do much because I had my mutt with me, but man the views didn’t really even pay off. And it was a $35 toll. I saw as great of views on free highways! Maybe I’ll try again in the future when I can get out and hike.

Headed up to Yosemite

Dawg got moved to first class seating, then fell asleep

Took a lunch break at the South Fork of the Tuolumne. Beautiful, clear and cold

Stopped at the Stanislaus ranger station and the very, very kind lady gave me a huge tip. Old NF campground on the river, super close to Yosemite. Little private beach. Free. No one there!

And so we made it to Friday. I knew I needed to start heading north, so we loaded up and got to it. I like to cosplay as a cowboy and I wanted my own adventure hat, so I made it my goal to get one. I stopped in at Handleys Western Wear in Folsom, CA and they helped me pick out a sweet Stetson. Judge me, I don’t care. Yeehaw.

My goal was to make it to Oregon, but after being on the road for 6 hours I decided that a few extra hours up the road wouldn’t help my case. We found some dispersed camping at Lake Shasta and got the board out. I am so glad we stopped. The water was incredible, we talked with a really nice couple, and we were able to sit out and look at the stars.

Water dog and I

I’m like a lizard, I need my time in the sun. Old man said I was gonna burn but I absolutely loved this spot. Stayed warm until probably 10pm, so I could sit outside and look at the stars comfortably


Saturday morning, up at 5:30am and on the road by 6. I had seen the GFC post about the open house in Scappoose and decided it would be fun to drop in. So we set that as the end destination for this little trip.

As we took the turn off of Hwy30 into Flatline Van Co, we rolled over 2000 miles on this trip. No better way to end a trip than a shrimp boil and some GFC swag! Good times.

Back to the grind at work tomorrow, planning my next trip. Dogs happy, I’m happy, once again my truck and GFC are making the dream work


Weekend trip with the girlfriend and dogs last weekend. Deschutes river the first night and up near Paulina Lake the second. Second night there were some nasty winds most of the night, got pretty noisy in the tent. Not much to do there other than pick a better spot.

Headed out again today towards the coast. My girlfriend really wanted to stay at this specific campground so we’re there tomorrow, dispersed camping somewhere in Tillamook State Forest tonight. Haven’t paid for a full campground in a long time now, forgot how much they were lol

Also, washed the old girl for the first time in a while. I’ve never hand washed my rigs so this was a fun learning experience. Got the grit guards for the buckets and a sponge, mitt, etc. Truck could use a full detail at some point, it’s got some gnarly pinstripes now


Nice! We were up at Paulina last weekend too. Great area.

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Paulina was super cool! You’re over in Bend, right? Next spring I’m looking to explore more out in Central OR, reminds me of home but a little easier to access

Yeah in Bend @pat_man Hit me up for sure if you are ever coming through and want to meet up to camp or just talk campers. :+1:

Would love to! I’ll keep that in mind next trip down

Im in shock you got the tent up with a surfboard still strapped to the roof, how much does the board weigh? I think my tent would def close on me if i tried that with mine. Rad, that makes camping even easier!

I have no clue how much it weighs, it’s a dinosaur of a SUP (probably 13+ years old) so no lightweight. But the GFC had no issue popping up with it, and survived a very windy night with the board up there

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Looks like a solid adventure. :ok_hand:

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Glad this trip worked out. Great seeing you at the Scapoose event!

Cool opportunity this fall to interview with GFC after one of my roadtrips. Definitely a longer video, but I ended up watching it all last night (hate listening to myself talk tbh) and still stand by everything I said lol