On a recent October weekend, a group of Toyota owners and enthusiasts from New England and New York met in Woodstock, Vermont for a bit of camping and off-road driving. This trip was organized by Roko Vehicles – a company that specializes in the construction of purpose-built overland vehicles suited for all types of adventure. In this case, the primary intention of the outing was to gather a group of Landcruiser 200 Series owners and test some of the recent vehicle modifications in a real-world, albeit controlled environment. As a result, the convoy was made up of three Toyota Landcruiser drivers as well as two Roko Vehicle trucks build on the Toyota Tacoma platform.
I feel extremely fortunate to have been included in this group of road-roading enthusiasts for this outing. A wide range of off-road setups was represented between the three Landcruiser builds – ranging from my “little” one with factory suspension and OEM sized A/T tires to Joshua’s fully built 2018 example. This made the adventure really enjoyable. It was fascinating to see how a more factory-spec Landcruiser performed in comparison to two others that had BP51 suspension, larger tires, armor, etc. Having conquered some of the trails that we did, I can see now how the Landcruiser has earned the solid reputation that it has. It was great to see a brand-new, 2020 Heritage Edition Landcruiser out on the trails, I am not sure if that car has even had its first oil change yet –that is how these cars were meant to be used!
We explored Class IV roads in Barnard, Bethel, and Woodstock, Vermont. Covering over 150 miles of backroads, trails, gravel, mud, slippery rocks, and scenic farmland, we tested the vehicles in a wide range of scenarios and conditions. For those of us that were less experienced, having a well-equipped, seasoned group to tag along with made all the difference. There was always a spotter available if necessary, and while we never needed them, it was nice to know we had three high powered winches at the ready if it came to it. We also carried several pairs of traction boards, high clearance jacks, shovels, and GMRS radios. Again, through a combination of careful preparation and well-reasoned driving lines, much of our recovery gear went unused. Don’t tell the others, but that was totally fine by me!
At the end of each day, we retreated back to a beautiful farm in Woodstock where we sat around a roaring campfire, reminisced on the day’s accomplishments, and camped under the stars. We had everything we could need and then some. It was a great reminder that our daily lives have become so complex. Out on the farm, there was no cell coverage, no WiFi, and no E-mails or social media notifications. We had a daily schedule that included navigating up rocky Class IV roads, exploring rural Vermont villages, and eating sandwiches by a rolling river. In 2020, a year that has come to be defined by loss, stress, and anxiety, a weekend in Vermont was the perfect time to recharge with friends, new and old, and get back to basics.
2020 Toyota Landcruiser Heritage Edition “Mega”
Modifications: BP51 suspension, Toyo AT III tires
Owner: Andy L. | Instagram: @Andylittlehale
2015 Toyota Landcruiser
Modifications: BFG KO2 tire, Slee sliders, Slee skid plates, Prinsu rack, Safari snorkel, ARB awning, Factor55 hitch link, Baja Designs SAE fog lights, Black Oak light bar, ARB recovery points.
Owner: Charlie Tango | Instagram: @Charlie.dont.dance.tango
2018 Toyota Landcruiser
Modifications: BP51 suspension, BFG KO2 tires, ARB Summit front bumper, ARB Summit side rails, ARB Summit sliders, Safari snorkel, Long Range America auxiliary fuel tank, Kaymar rear bumper, Warn XP-S 9.5K winch, dual battery system, ARB dual compressor, Trekboxx Alpha system, iKamper Skycamp 2.0 RTT, Baja Designs lighting
Owner: Joshua L. | Instagram: @LC200ER
2019 Toyota Tacoma “Yeti” Double Cab 5’ TRD Off Road
Modifications: BP51 suspension, ARB Summit front bumper, ARB Summit side rails, ARB Summit Sliders, ARB Summit rear bumper, ARB dual compressor, Off Grid dual battery system, Comeup Winch, ARB Intensity LED lights, Safari snorkel, Alucab Canopy Camper, Alucab Shadow Awning, Goosegear drawers CBI Skid Plates, ARB Classic II Refrigerator
Owner: Roko Vehicles | Instagram: @RokoVehicles
2014 Toyota Tacoma “Grey” Double Cab 5’ TRD Off Road
Modifications: BP51 suspension, ARB Summit front bumper, Pelfry Built Sliders, Pelfry Built rear bumper, ARB dual compressor, ARB air locker (Front and Rear), Nitrogear & Axle (4.88), Off Grid dual battery system, ARB Classic Refrigerator, ARB Drawer System, ComeUp Winch, ARB Intensity LED lights, Baja Designs fog lights, Safari snorkel, Alucab Explorer Canopy, and Alucab Gen3 RTT
Owner: Jon R. | Instagram: @Rutherfoto