N38° 35’ 10” W109° 32’ 21”
I SAVED UP SOME MONEY TO GET A ROOFTOP TENT, A BEDRACK AND A FEW OTHER ESSENTIALS AND BEGAN MY JOURNEY.
– MATT GIRGIS
Overlanding became more of an interest to me as I began to get older and started building my own off-road build. As a kid, my family would always go camping with our trailer to RV parks. I loved it, but I didn’t like how crowded spots were and that we were stuck in one spot. It didn’t necessarily feel like camping to me, since we could shower, watch TV, and pretty much have everything we had at home with us. When I was first introduced to overlanding, I had just started college and had the bug to travel. I saved up some money to get a rooftop tent, a bedrack and a few other essentials and began my journey.
I’m from Orange County, CA. I am a mechanical engineer throughout the week, and a videographer/photographer on the weekends for weddings, events, off-road magazines and individual bookings. I got exposed to off-roading as a kid with my dad. He would take me out with his truck and would take me out to the desert or the dunes to explore. I even learned how to drive as a kid when we’d go off-roading.
RUNS IN THE FAMILY
I grew up always working on my dad’s truck and always camping with family who’d build custom off-road rigs to take out to the dunes and the desert. I’ve always been a truck guy, and I love the way they sit higher in traffic, tackle the dirt off-road, and their ability to store and hold a variety of gear in the bed. The very first off-road vehicle I owned/built was a 2003 Chevy Avalanche that I got off my dad. My favorite thing about the truck was the suspension and engine. The dual reservoir 5160 Bilstein shocks were so smooth and the rear coils were so much more comfortable than rear leafs. The engine was a 5.3L V8 with a race cam, push rods and a custom tune. That, paired with its exhaust, made it a beast.
ROAM, ADVENTURE, DISCOVER – RAD
Many don’t know that the “rad” in RAD_Z71 stands for Roam, Adventure, Discover. It’s been a rad truck for sure. I’ve always been a fan of Chevy, but I also do love other vehicles from other brands. My dream has always been to build a long travel Chevy truck. My first love of Chevy was the Kibbetech long travel Duramax Silverado build that got me hooked.
I first was looking at the Tacoma, but the power output was a little concerning as I knew I’d be loading the truck down with larger tires and a bunch of gear. As I passed by the Chevy dealership, I saw a pretty good-looking Midnight Edition Colorado Z71 displayed on the corner. I took it out for a test drive and was extremely impressed by the power, the material inside and the front and rear seat comfort.
When it comes to picking parts for the build, I follow the philosophy of “you get what you pay for.” A lot of the parts such as suspension, tires, wheels, bed racks, roof racks, etc. can be expensive, but in my last build, I dealt with the repercussions of cheapening out and regretting not going with the quality product in the long run.
I try to do most of the work, such as the roof rack, bed rack, wiring and lights. However, for wheels, tires, and suspension I’ve been using DNA Wheels Of OC to install my parts and align the truck. I currently have a custom bracket to hold my KC Pro6 lights on my Prinsu Designs rack. I did design a bracket in CAD in order to be produced and will be coming out with that soon. I love my KC lights! Rolling into camp late has never been so much fun!
My favorite mod of the truck is the suspension. I do like going fast, and having the suspension to handle the abuse I put it through has been a blast. Another fun mod was the wrap done by Daley Visuals. I love their unique flair to make the truck look aggressive, yet fun for someone to see that I have a passion for adventure.
Armor has been a great feature since I often take the truck where most wouldn’t take it. Having CBI skids all under the vehicle has really saved me from getting through some crazy obstacles. Also, I recently have gotten DV8 front and rear bumpers for the added protection.
The biggest challenge is time and money, but also the limited aftermarket support. As I mentioned, you get what you pay for, so it’s taken a lot of hard work and patience to get the build where it is today. It’s still changing and has a few big changes, but it really has been a great vehicle where it stands.
The truck is currently in its next phase for Baja Kit’s Prerunner kit and custom-spec Kings, rear Deavers, and Fiberwerx widebody glass. I have some new ground and rooftop tents coming in with my company at Overland(ish) and will be running that on my new Leitner Designs rack. It will also be getting new Fuel wheels and 35” Maxxis RZR ATs.
PASSION FUELED ADVENTURES
My biggest passion is photography and videography. The whole reason I was drawn to overlanding was due to it fueling my passion for landscape photography. It then evolved my photography towards overland/off-road photography, which is what I’ve been doing most lately. I love nature, the outdoors and off- roading. It’s been a great way to recharge/reset with the everyday chaos and non-stop work. It really has been great therapy for me.
The most challenging trail I’ve taken the truck on so far was Gold Mountain trail in Big Bear, CA. The skids and rock sliders were lifesavers in protecting all the vitals on the trip. With a lot of meticulous spotting and tire placement, we were able to enjoy the ride up while many of the other vehicles in the group suffered from body damage and broken axle shafts.
One of my favorite local trails is Santiago Canyon. I love being able to take a quick drive up the mountain to overlook the city below. It’s so peaceful being able to be up in the clouds up and away from the busyness of the valley below.
The most memorable trip was exploring the 395, with the drive breathtaking along the whole route. The drive breathtaking along the whole route. We set forth and started our first night in Trona pinnacles, which was amazing. Seeing the unique formations really had us thinking we were on another planet, especially when the stars that night were so bright and clear. The following day we set forth to Coyote Flats. This day was especially important since my best friend was proposing during sunset, so we needed to make sure we got there early enough for a prime location for photos. The journey started off with missing a turn onto the trailhead and needing to backtrack a few miles. We started ascending very quickly on steep switchbacks, which resulted in my friend’s soon-to-be fiancé getting altitude sickness.
As we pushed along we finally made it to the top. The scenery with green meadows, white- capped mountains, a flowing creek through the center really was something else. As we crossed the valley, we got to our destination at Funnel Lake. It really was a surreal location to be at. We thankfully got there with time to spare in order to set up camp and for my friend to propose. She said yes! It definitely was a great place to be to enjoy the beauty as well as enjoy the time with friends and loved ones.
2017 CHEVROLET COLORADO Z71
3.6L V6 Engine, S&B Cold air intake, Trifecta Performance Tune, 8speed transmission, 4.56 Nitro Gears
DV8 12,000lb winch Maxtrax, Deadman Offroad kinetic strap Deadman offroad
ARMOR, BUMPERS, SLIDERS:
Front and Rear DV8 bumpers, CBI front, oil, transfer case, transmission skid plates, Rocky Road Outfitter sliders EXTERIOR: Daley Visual wrapped my overland wrap
GEAR STORAGE, ORGANIZATION, ROOF RACK, BED RACK:
Decked Drawer system, Roam Adventure Co storage boxes, Prinsu Roof Rack, Wilco ADV rack (in some other pictures), Leitner Designs Bed Rack (in recent pictures)
WHEELS / TIRES:
Fuel, Rebel 6, 17×9” in Anthracite with Maxxis, RZR AT, 285/70/17
Peak Suspension, the Summit Kit set at 3” `of lift, R1 Concepts OE performance rotors and pads, Timbren Industries Active Bump Stops
Midland MXT275 GMRS radio, 67 Designs rail and phone mount, SPOD 8 Circuit SE System with HD Switch Pane, switch system, All my camera gear (Sony full frames, drones, gimbals, and MacBook Pro), Blackfire USA 500W Lithium Portable Power Station
All black Roam adventure Co tent, Roam Adventure Co Awning, MrBuddy Heater REI 0 degree bag, EZ-Sink portable wash and shower station, Blackstone Griddle, Moutain Hatch cutting board, GSI outdoors utensil kit
Smittybuilt Air compressor, Morrflate multi tire inflation deflation kit
KC Pro6 Gravity lightbar, KC C2 perimeter lighting on the Prinsu roof rack, KC Dual amber flex’s for my ditch lights, KC G4 DOT amber fogs
PREP & PLAN:
When I first look into different trails and campsites, I’ll review the trails on the OnX offroad map and markdown many of the potential campsites and waypoints along the route. One of the most important pieces of emergency equipment I always keep in the truck is a Garmin inReach satellite phone that I can use to share my location and communicate with friends or family. I also always bring extra food and water, first aid, and fuel.