Off-Roading 101: Toyota Tacoma | Off Road Warehouse

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Off-Roading 101: Toyota Tacoma Upgrades

Whether you refer to it by full name or simply the “Taco”, Toyota’s midsize truck has made an indelible mark on the world of off-roading. Over the past 26 years, the Tacoma has become a go-to for off-road builds. It turned into a capable prerunner platform, and more recently, it’s become a proven overlander as well.

Let’s explore the popular ways Tacomas can be modified to serve in these roles. One area that owners can modify is the suspension.

Suspension Upgrades

Several companies offer different stages of suspension upgrades for Tacoma, including ICON and FOX . The higher the stage, the greater the capability (and complexity) of the suspension. Take ICON, for example. Their Stage 1 kits consist of bolt-in struts and shocks, while Stage 10 kits contain adjustable coilovers, high-grade upper control arms with uniball ball joints, remote reservoir rear shocks, new leaf springs, and more.

Out back, if you’re not in the market to go all the way to a linked setup, then you can stick with leaf springs. ICON’s leaf spring kit features tip inserts and leaf separators that reduce friction and improve ride comfort. These leaf springs are a lower spring rate than the factory and can be stiffened with an additional leaf included in the kit to work with kitted-up (read: overlanding) Tacomas.

Bumpers and Rock Sliders

Bumpers and rock sliders will ramp up any Taco build. Both prerunners and overlanders can benefit from installing these upgrades, which will afford their truck better durability in harsh environments. Prerunners will work well with the ADD Pro bumper from Addictive Desert Designs , for example. Bumpers like this reduce the entry angle while providing mounts for aftermarket LED lights. Overlanders, meanwhile, would do well to consider the Pro Series bumper from Body Armor 4x4 , which will fit lights and a winch.

Bed Racks and Overland Systems

The bed, meanwhile, is full of possibilities. Some may choose to keep this space open to store bikes, motorcycles, supplies, and more. Customers may find they prefer a simple tonneau cover from the likes of Bak or Rough Country . But there are more ways to modify the bed for prerunning and overlanding.

For prerunners, customers might like a bed cage setup. This setup affords greater strength to the chassis. It is also essential for hitting high speeds over quickly changing terrain. What’s more, bed cages open the door to high-end coilover and bypass shock absorbers, with mounts that integrate into the cage. If you’re curious about this kind of setup, come to our stores and talk to our staff for guidance, parts, and fabrication assistance.

Overlanders, on the other hand, will make use of the bed in a totally different way. We recommend these owners look at bed racks from companies like All-Pro Off Road and Body Armor 4x4<>. Once installed, these racks support the heavy weight of tools, recovery gear, and yes, rooftop tents. Speaking of which, terrific tents can be found through OVS , Body Armor 4x4 , and more.


The Tacoma will continue to be a common sight in off-roading. But the Tacoma’s reliability and capability in the wilderness will definitely stand the test of time. Here at ORW, we’re ready to take on your Tacoma or other project and raise it to the next level. Find out how by visiting any of our eight branches today!