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Adventure, Alpine / November 6, 2016

How we built the ultimate mobile base camp

Written by: Kevin Linderman

Creating the perfect mobile base camp is an adventure in itself, and is fraught with expensive decisions. So, like any adventure, it’s important to start with an end goal.

When we designed the Shoulders of Giants base camp, we wanted it to be built around an all-around adventure truck. We didn’t want anything too big, but did want to carry around the people and the gear we’d need at our event appearances. Considering the activities we promote on the site, we needed a versatile setup.

Judging by the response you’ve given us at various events, we got it right. So in this piece, I’ve rounded up the core elements of SoG’s now semi-famous base camp system.

Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Inferno

The Toyota Tundra is built to handle terrain of all kinds... and it comes in our color.

We chose the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro as the vehicle of choice. It comes in the color Inferno, which matches well with the Shoulders of Giants brand. Toyota is obviously well known in the overland world for durability, and the Tundra is big enough to haul the gear and people we need to haul.

The trick is powered by a 5.7L V8 that produces over 400 lb.-ft. of torque. An aggressive 4.30 differential ratio allows it to tow up to 9,700 pounds with ease. It can also carry a payload of up to 1,630 lbs., and is fitted with a 38-gallon fuel tank.

Toyo A/T II Tires

The Tundra comes stock with everything needed to go off road, but tires are a bit undersized. Still, our end goal was to drive an adventure truck, not a monster truck. So we kept the tires at a reasonable size that would not require an upgrade to the suspension. We chose the Toyo A/T II tires for their aggressive tread and known durability.

They’re also a pretty safe buy. The tires are backed by a treadwear warranty of up to 65,000 miles, and come with a 45-day, 500-mile trial offer.

Road Armor Bumper

Road Armor has led the aftermarket bumper industry since 2002.

Their products look amazing, and they make us sure that we’ll be protected in a collision and can move something out of the way necessary. They’re also better for getting out of situations where you may need a winch or a jack to get unstuck.

Rigid Industries Lighting System

It’s dark in the woods.

Having more light than you need can really come in handy when you are navigating rough terrain. With the Road Armor bumper we were able to add three different sets of lights manufactured by Rigid Industries, including their 10,000-lumen RDS bar light. This lighting system provides us the illumination we need to reach our destination.

Yakima Base Rack System

In the rack systems business, Yakima is king.

We mounted two of the company’s front loader bike racks onto a base rack system and added a luggage cage. That cage is great for strapping down a Yeti cooler, an extra tire, or any extra stuff that can stand to weather the elements.

Rhino Rack roof system and awning

The end vision of the Shoulders of Giants basecamp was to mount a tent to the roof of the truck. Rooftop tents are quite heavy and adding potentially two people inside, you need some pretty significant load-bearing racks. The rack provides a very stable and strong platform to mount your tent and didn’t require any drilling into the roof in order to mount it.

The rack can also be fitted with Rhino’s 2.5-meter Sunseeker Awning, which extends to offer a five square meter shaded area. That one piece of fabric converts the area around the truck into a comfortable chill-out zone.

Tepui Tent System

Rooftop tents were first designed in places like Australia and South Africa, where dangerous critters make it unwise to sleep on the ground. Even in the relative safety of Texas, they offer a good night’s sleep without the need to clear a campsite.

Based in Santa Cruz, Tepui Tents are probably the best rooftop tent systems on the market. They’re durable, comfortable, and relatively easy to set up—just check out the video below to see.

about the author

Kevin Linderman

Kevin Linderman is the founder and Chief Adventure Officer for Shoulders of Giants. Kevin has spent his entire professional career in and around the field of information technology, but has always been an avid outdoor enthusiast and a seeker of knowledge.

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