Toyota Tacoma Off Road Mods That Do Work + Overland Accessories

Toyota tacoma overland roof rack

The Toyota Tacoma is a truck that’s built for adventure, and it’s incredibly capable right out of the box. If you’re looking to take your Tacoma off the beaten path, you may only need a few small modifications to make it go anywhere.

Over the years, we’ve featured various Tacomas on Offroadium, and we’ve seen firsthand which modifications have proven to be the most effective. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the top Toyota Tacoma off-road mods that actually work, based on the experiences of Tacoma owners and accessories that will make your wheeling more safe and comfortable for you.

Affiliate disclosure: we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you buy through some of the product links in this post.

Toyota Tacoma on 33s, 34"s, or 35 Inch Tires – What Lift and Wheels To Pick
2016 Tacoma TRD Pro Prerunner build with Fiberwerx Wide body fenders. Read more about it here.

The Off road Mods

Icon offroad wheels and 33 inch tires

Tires

It really comes down to the question of where you want to go and how much you want to risk (yeah, just like in the Coldplay song). So you may only need bigger off-road tires with extra grip that will improve traction on sand, dirt, snow, or whatever path you choose.

4 out of 4 3rd gen Tacoma trucks we have featured on Offroadium are equipped with oversized All-Terrain or Mud-Terrain tires – so it’s a common practice. For 33″s you may not even need a lift.

We have an article dedicated to Tacoma off-road tires, check it our for more info.

Based on what has been used on the builds that we’ve featured on Offroadium we can recommend the following tires:

Pros:

  • Unquestionably improve the off-road capabilities (traction and additional ground clearance if the size is bigger than factory recommended.
  • Awesome looks

Cons:

  • Bigger tires affect the gas mileage
  • Slower acceleration (unless you regear)
  • May be expensive, especially if bought together with a new set of rims

Alternatives:

  • While nothing really can substitute the off-road tires, you can take advantage of the tire chains in some situations. It’s a shortcut or a cheat that’s often overlooked, but it does work.
  • Traction boards – while they work better with A/T or M/T tires, you can benefit from them even on your stock road tires.
Toyota tacoma on 33" tires and factory suspension
Stock suspension and 32″ BF Goodrich T/A KO2 33” 275/70R17

Lift

If the tires you want to install on your Tacoma wouldn’t fit on the stock suspension, a lift would free up the space in the wheel wells and give a few inches of the ground clearance.

3 out of 4 Tacoma builds we have featured on Offroadium are equipped with a lift.

Based on what has been used on the builds that we’ve featured on Offroadium we can recommend the following suspension lifts:

  • Icon Stage 9 full suspension system with coilovers and leaf springs (Vehicle 2)
  • Long-travel +3.5 race kit from Dirt King with King shocks (Vehicle 3)
  • Total Chaos upper control arms (Vehicle 4)
  • OME HD Dakar leaf pack (Vehicle 3)

Pros:

  • Extra ground clearance
  • More wheel travel
  • Improved suspension damping

Cons:

  • Shifts the center of mass higher, making the truck less stable on the road
  • Affects handling
  • Increased wear on components
  • Price

Alternatives:

  • Choose biggest tire size that doesn’t require a lift and keep the suspension stock(cutting may be required if the wheels rub)

If your truck came with 30″ tires and you install 32″ tires, you gain 1″ of ground clearance improvement on the stock suspension. However, your wheel travel is limited, and rubbing will most likely occur when the suspension is compressed. This issue may be addressed with extensive cutting, as shown in the example of this Chevy Colorado build fitted with 37″ tires on a stock suspension, but that’s not a common practice.

Toyota Tacoma TRD pro with offroad bumper
2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD off road on King shocks and 35″ tires. Find out more about this build here.

Body Armor

When venturing off-road, protecting your Tacoma from rocks, stumps, and other obstacles is crucial. That’s where body armor comes in. Many Tacoma owners opt for skid plates, rock sliders, and bumpers to safeguard their vehicle’s underbody and sides.

Among the featured builds, we’ve seen a variety of armor solutions:


Pros:

  • Protects vulnerable components like the oil pan, transmission, and transfer case
  • Prevents body damage from rocks, trees, and other trail hazards
  • Enhances the truck’s off-road appearance
  • Bumpers can improve approach and departure angles

Cons:

  • Adds weight to the vehicle, potentially affecting performance and fuel economy
  • Can be expensive, especially for comprehensive armor kits
  • May require modifications to the vehicle’s body or frame for installation

Alternatives:

  • For those on a budget, a combination of careful driving and cheaper, universal skid plates can provide some protection
  • Investing in high-quality, durable tires can help prevent punctures and reduce the likelihood of getting stuck, minimizing the need for body armor

Ultimately, the level of protection you choose depends on the type of terrain you plan to tackle and your willingness to accept the risk of damage to your Tacoma.

Maxtrax mounted on the bed rack
Maxtrax traction boards mounted on the bed rack

Recovery

Even the most skilled off-roaders can find themselves in situations where recovery gear is necessary. Winches, air compressors, and traction boards are essential tools that can help you overcome obstacles and get back on the trail.

See Also
Lifted 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD With BFGs and RSI SmartCap with Kitchen

Winches:


Air Compressors:

  • ARB Twin Air Compressor with 1-gallon Tank (Vehicle 4)

Traction Boards:

  • While not specifically mentioned in the featured builds, traction boards are a valuable recovery tool that can provide additional traction in soft or slippery terrain.

Pros:

  • Winches can help pull your vehicle out of mud, sand, or other challenging situations
  • Air compressors allow for quick tire pressure adjustments to suit different terrains and can power air tools for repairs
  • Traction boards can be used to bridge gaps, provide traction on slippery surfaces, and support the vehicle’s weight in soft terrain
  • Having recovery gear can provide peace of mind and self-reliance when off-roading in remote areas

Cons:

  • High-quality winches and air compressors can be expensive
  • Winches add significant weight to the front of the vehicle, and require a special mounting point

Alternatives:

  • Your buddy in a support rig, who can tow you out
  • A high lift jack, tire chains or even a hand winch
  • Portable air compressors that plug into the vehicle’s 12V outlet

When selecting recovery gear for your Tacoma, consider factors such as the weight of your vehicle, the type of terrain you typically encounter, and your budget. Always prioritize safety and proper use of recovery equipment to minimize the risk of injury or damage.

Overland Gear & Accessories

Lifted 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD With BFGs and RSI SmartCap with Kitchen
RSI SmartCap with overland Kitchen

Storage Solutions

When heading out on an off-road adventure, having the right storage solutions can make all the difference in terms of organization, convenience, and maximizing your Tacoma’s cargo capacity. The featured builds showcase a range of storage options to suit different needs and preferences.

Bed Racks:


Roof Racks:

iKamper Skytop Mini toof top tent mounted on a bed rack
iKamper Sky top Mini toof top tent mounted on a bed rack. More about this truck here.

Other:


Pros:

  • Increases storage capacity without sacrificing interior space
  • Allows for easy organization and access to gear
  • Provides a secure platform for mounting accessories like tents, awnings, and recovery gear
  • Can improve the vehicle’s overall functionality and versatility

Cons:

  • Adds weight and potentially affects center of gravity, especially with heavier items stored on the roof
  • May increase wind noise and slightly impact fuel economy
  • Can be costly, particularly for high-end, custom-fitted solutions

Alternatives:

  • For smaller loads, interior storage solutions like seat organizers, center console trays, and rear seat delete kits can be effective
  • Soft-sided storage bags and containers can be a budget-friendly option for organizing gear in the bed or cabin
  • Trailer hitches and tow-behind cargo carriers offer additional storage space without affecting the vehicle’s weight distribution or aerodynamics

Choose the storage solutions that best fit your specific needs, budget, and the type of gear you typically bring on your off-road adventures. There’s no need to even buy a roof rack (like on the Instagram builds) if the stuff you usually carry fits on the rear seats or inside the bed.

Toyota tacoma offroading
LED light bar and bumper lights

Lighting

Upgrading your Tacoma’s lighting is not only beneficial for nighttime off-road adventures but also enhances visibility and safety on the trail. The featured builds incorporate various lighting enhancements to suit different preferences and budgets.

LED Light Bars:


Headlights and Fog Lights:


Other:


Pros:

  • Improves visibility on the trail, especially during nighttime off-roading
  • Enhances safety by increasing the driver’s awareness of obstacles and terrain
  • Can provide a wider and farther-reaching light pattern compared to stock lighting
  • Allows for customization to suit personal preferences and specific off-road needs

Cons:

  • High-output lighting can be expensive, particularly for premium brands and larger light bars
  • Improper installation or aiming can cause glare and reflections, potentially affecting other drivers
  • Increased power draw may require upgrades to the vehicle’s electrical system

Alternatives:

  • Upgrading to high-performance halogen bulbs can be a cost-effective way to improve light output without requiring extensive modifications
  • Auxiliary lighting pods or cubes can provide targeted illumination for specific areas, such as wheel wells or the rear of the vehicle
  • Handheld or mountable spotlights offer flexibility and can be used as needed without permanent installation

When selecting lighting upgrades for your Tacoma, consider factors such as beam pattern, light color temperature, and power consumption to ensure optimal performance and compatibility with your vehicle and off-road needs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Toyota Tacoma is a highly capable off-road vehicle even in the stock form, so you may not need anything but the new tires to go off-roading in it. Yet, to make it more capable and comfortable, consider the mods and accessories we covered above.

From essential upgrades like suspension lifts, and body armor to convenient additions such as storage solutions and lighting improvements, there are numerous ways to customize your Tacoma for your specific off-road needs.

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