Looking for truck advice

Greetings, y’all!

First post so if this would better fit in another category, please correct me :pray:

So I put a deposit on a GFC a few weeks ago and I’m looking at a ~July build date…which is perfect, because I don’t have a truck yet!

I’m trying to decide between:

  • Tacoma TRD Pro or TRD Offroad (seem to be only models that have diff locker)
  • Double cab is a must, but I see you can get them with 5’ or 6’ beds

The goal is to build out a basic camper that I can travel solo or take wife and daughter in comfortably. Wondering if anyone has experience and would recommend one over the other?

Thanks very much in advance!

IMO PRO isn’t worth it. TRD OR comes with everything you need and if you want to upgrade suspension to get PRO level performance it can often be done cheaper than the price market up PRO. The PRO has some flashy cosmetic upgrades but eh.

If you will also use it for a truck (lumber, hauling big things, etc) the 6 ft is a no brainer. I have a 2018 TRD OR DC LB and wouldn’t get a different model.


Thanks for the quick reply! Do you do much heavy offroading with yours? I heard from a few people that the longer bed makes certain trails less accessible, but I don’t plan on doing anything too crazy anyway. Thanks again!

I don’t do anything super crazy that people brag about, but I’ve been down more than my fair share of trails where other 4x4s have got stuck, but I haven’t had a problem. That’s why I went with a Taco instead of a Tundra, because of the narrower size.

Turning around in a small parking lot or find a parking space in a city aren’t the most fun. But I haul enough lumber and outdoor gear that a short bed wouldn’t work for me. Hauling sheets of plywood or long lumber is a pain in smaller beds.

All of my gear for multi week trips would be more than a tight fit in a 5 ft bed.


I appreciate the context. I live in a city with tighter parking spots and don’t haul much lumber nowadays that my house is constructed, though the extra space could come in handy in the future…guess I’ll have to think on it for a bit. Thanks much!

I did the same thing. Ordered GFC then bought my truck. I have the OR. It has been good. Plan to improve the Tacoma. It’s a good truck. Drives like a car, though. Upgraded to Bilstein 5100s up front and OME Dakar medium duty springs in back with OME shocks. 1.25" lift. Same basic stance as Pro for $9000 less. Basically still stock, but can handle the GFC and gear much better. I have the long bed. Plenty of room in the cabana that way. Good luck.



Similar to the folks above, I have the Taco OR and just upgraded. Long bed comes in handy on trips and for when I need my truck to be a truck.

Glad to hear this:

…because I dread parking in the city. I actually have gotten trapped in the ski resort parking lot too, well 52 point turn and 3 mm of clearance shy of being trapped.

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have you checked out the rangers? it doesn’t hurt to do a test drive. I love mine and never going back to an under powered toyota. If you get the fx4 package it sounds like it would check all your boxes for off-road


Jumping on the OR package bandwagon. I really wanted a manual, so paying the mark up to a Pro would’ve only gotten me fox shocks over bilsteins. For me it was a no-brainer. Mine is a double cab, short bed because I wanted a “small truck” and in my mind a long bed would’ve put me into full-size truck territory. I’ve never had space issues with gear, but I come from a heavy backpacking background so I pack super light anyways. The only downside of the short bed for me has been hauling my skis, but they fit in the bed diagonally so it’s not really an issue.
@blackhearse makes a good point with the Rangers. I know Toyota fanboys (guilty) would never dream of getting a Ranger, but I have heard good things about them and at 6’1” the Tacoma cab can be a little cramped sometimes.



Like others have said, TRD off-road is what I’d recommend unless you just really want the Pro badging, etc…

As for long bed vs. short bed. I have the short bed and have been in situations where I almost couldn’t fit, let alone a long bed. However, I’d love to have the long bed for the extra foot of bed space with the camper. At the end of the day I would stick with my short bed, but it just depends on how much off reading you plan to really do with it.

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One thing additional here that I feel compelled to mention… I lurk on another “forum” that is related to tacomas. As mentioned, I own an OR. I’m no fan boy, though. It seems that the 3rd gen 3.5 is beginning to show a weakness in the cylinder heads and exhaust valves on the cylinder 1 side. Don’t know how widespread the issues are, but its beginning now in 17, 18, one 19 that I saw. My 19 truck has been good so far. I have a sneaky feeling its related to a low pressure fuel pump recall that Toyota can’t seem to deliver an actual fix for… Don’t know. I’m no mechanic either. I wouldn’t rule out a ranger test drive. With those you have the turbo wildcard though… Just thought it’d be worth mentioning.
Good luck. You’ll love your GFC no matter what truck you get.



I’ll join the OR bandwagon. I have a '21 DCLB Off Road and love it. I have added an Ironman 3" lift, 33’s, front winch bumper/winch, etc. I went with their heavier springs to haul the weight of the GFC and ice chests/water/fuel, etc. The extra foot of length in the bed makes a huge difference for me and it doesn’t affect the off road ability in all but the most extreme trails. I will be adding sliders very soon as I’m hitting some trails where they are needed. I also like the fact that the sleeping platform overhang is shorter on the long beds so I can put a longer roof rack on. Just my $.02.

Regarding the 3.5, it’s been a great engine so far. I’m a Service Advisor at a Lexus store and we run the same engine in many of our vehicles. The only semi common issue I’ve seen so far is timing cover oil leaks at higher mileage. Buy an extended warranty and drive the crap out of it. I had a 2018 RAM 2500 MegaCab diesel and couldn’t wait to get rid of it. Lots of issues and I just swapped it for the Taco four months ago. I’m so glad to be back in a Toyota product.


Sounds like this is your first truck and you are going to pack your family in it. I say go with a full size truck I love my Tacoma but I think my ideal truck GFC combo would-be be a Dodge Power Wagon 4x4 1500 6.4 ft bed. I am biased but no matter what you go with make it a long bed.


I got 294 k miles out of my dodge truck before the taco. That was a great truck too.


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@Snowbonk, you mentioned you may sometimes travel with the whole family. Does that include camping with the whole family?

If you want to be able to sleep 3 inside the truck, without setting up a separate tent, you’ll want to give some favor to the long-bed. With ours, my wife or I can sleep comfortably downstairs while the other two sleep upstairs in the GFC.


couple more arguments for a ranger-

  1. they can handle 300 pounds of camper and all kinds of gear stock off the lot
    my ranger is 1685lbs cargo capacity stock
  2. more room for the fam
  3. more power
  4. better MPG- been averaging around 21 and I use the skinny pedal ALOT!

but down side- so far tacoma kick it’s ass in the aftermarket department

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what truck just get out there with the family


For what it is worth in the last few years I have had a 2013 DCSB Tacoma, a 4-door Wrangler, and now a RAM 1500. Like people have said it really comes down to your use case.

I bought the taco after having a Jeep and wanting a truck again, but still wanted to do serious off-roading. I quickly realized the Taco was ok at everything but not great at anything. And even at 6’ I was at the upper limit of comfort. The backseat is good for kids or dogs but not adults really. It was too small to be a really useful truck (for my needs: snowmobile, dirt-bikes etc), but couldn’t compare to the jeep off-road. I ended up deciding to go the off road route and ended up with another jeep, which served me well on a ton off offroad trips (moab, Rubicon, Fordyce etc.).

We recently had a kid and even with just 3 of us and all the crap you haul around with a kid, I decided a full-size with the gofast made more sense. You can’t even compare the comfort and usefulness of a fullsize for truck things and family things, but of course it totally sucks off-road even with a locker and lift.

I’d really think about what you are actually going to do with it, go test drive everything including bigger trucks, and go from there. I love tacomas and wish they fit my needs better for sure. The good thing is you can’t really go wrong with any of your choices!


I really appreciate all the great feedback and ideas! This is obviously an awesome community.

So, silly me…I didn’t even realize they were making Ranger again. Based on the advice here, it seems I should at least research other trucks as well, including full size for comparison.

I also come from a minimalist backpacking background and wife and I are only having one kid (currently 2 months old), but I’m 6’ and would need to consider sleeping the three of us comfortably. I def wouldn’t want to have to set up another tent, so that is good advice @techjansen :pray: Luckily, I’ve got some time to test drive things and figure something out.

Thanks again, everyone :slight_smile:


I’ve had an S-10 regular cab, Silverado extended cab, and now a Silverado 2500 crew cab. With family, a crew cab makes a big difference. My opinion is go as big as your budget allows. Extra cubic feet allows for comfortable travel and dry storage. If it’s a daily driver at distance, fuel economy is a consideration. I’m obviously bias to GM products, but I’ve had zero issues with any size, or model for 3 decades. PS, I also own a Jeep TJ for serious off-roading. Good Luck!

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Just to throw you in another loop OP…I have a Gladiator and it is phenomenal. Don’t have my camper yet but it is in curing now so it won’t be long until I do.

I test drove a bunch of mid sized trucks before buying: Taco, Gladiator, Ranger and Colorado. I went with the Gladiator for many reasons:

  • Comes in manual
  • Eco diesel option
  • Crew Cab
  • Aftermarket is insane
  • 1700ish payload (depending on trim)
  • 7650lbs of towing (depending on trim)
  • Easiest to work on IMO. I have had 4 other jeeps and damn they are easy
  • Interior IMO blew away the others. I was all for a Taco, but the interior was not up to date like the Gladiator. Colorado and Ranger seemed too…cheap for the dash and such.
  • Doors off if you want, obviously.

So far, after 15 months and 35,000 miles, I do not regret my decision at all. MPG’s would have been better with the Ranger and Colorado diesel, but the drivability of the Gladiator blew those away to me. No leaf springs is a plus to me, but a con to others.

My GF has some bulging disks in her back and neck issues from breaking it in the past, and she loves the ride of the Gladiator (hates my other jeeps LOL).

This is deff an option to look at as well.

Hope this helps! Or makes it harder. Idk haha. Any questions you might have on the gladiator just hit me up, I’ve been wrenching on them for over 10 years so I know their quirks.

Quick pic of mine. This is prior to getting my rear bumper on, need to take off and sell the Leitner rack soon too.