EP07 | Building Our Trucks for Overlanding in Alaska

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Episode Description

X Overland team member Tanner Johnson joins Clay and Jimmy to have a discussion about the build process behind the trucks used on the expedition to film our most recent series, Alaska: The Last Frontier. Learn about Clays’s strategy behind these truck builds and the roles fulfilled on the expedition by “Atigun,” “Raven,” and “Clone.” Also join in while we explore 33 vs 35” tires for overlanding, overlanding suspension systems, along with approaches to overlanding in Alaska. This episode is brimming with information and insight about overland truck builds, overlanding in Alaska, and how we manage our vehicles here at X Overland!

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Detailed Episode Summary

Part 1 (1:30-8:00 ) Why these Particular Trucks for Alaska? Our partnership with Toyota, full-sized vs. mid-sized trucks–pros and cons. How did the Tacomas do in Alaska? Description of trails in Alaska. Navigating tight trails. The effect of SXS on trails. The 4Runner and Tacomas in Central America.

Part 2 (8:30-12:25 ) Truck and Build Strategy for Alaskan Expedition: 33 or 35” inch tires? Why we chose 35s. What are the benefits of larger tires on an overlanding vehicle? How did our Tacoma and 4Runner perform on 35” tires?

Part 3 (12:30-16:55 ) Evaluation of Truck Performance After Alaska Expedition: How did Tanner and Clay feel about the builds after the expedition? Did they perform well? Yes! Stock vs. Modified. Breaking in the modifications on a vehicle and how to maintain a modified vehicle on the trail.

Part 4 (17:00-23:00) Building Vehicles the “XO Way”: The need for expertise and careful engineering in building an overlanding vehicle. The XO Way as a philosophy, a level of professionalism. The XO standard of being ready for expedition. X Overland aesthetics. Building 4Runners and Tacomas.

Part 5 (23:00- 27:00) What is the “Clone”? Tanner explains everything about the XO 2015 5th Gen 4Runner “Clone.” Where it came from, why it’s called “Clone,” roll on the Alaska Expedition. Clone as a “Press Vehicle” for Toyota. The benefits of the Goose Gear Sleeping Platform; Patriot X3 Trailer.

Part 6 (27:00-33:30) The XO Approach to Convoy, Camping, and Expedition Dymanics: The convoy system and the need for an “escape vehicle”; packing and individual parameters; convoy dynamics; planning for expedition social dynamics; seating arrangements per truck.

Part 7 (33:35-34:40) Atigun as “The Ultimate Production Vehicle” for XO: How Atigun, the team’s 2021 Toyota Tacoma, functions on the expedition as the team’s “production vehicle” for filming the series.

Part 8 (34:45- 42:20) How Film Production is Powered on Expedition: The evolution of XO overlanding electrical power systems; how to provide power for a film production while overlanding explained; solar power for overlanding; all about the Redarc Power Managment System; lithium batteries for overlanding. Overview of our the system that currently powers our X Overland productions.

Part 9 (42:30- 45:30) High Performance Lithium Battery Systems for Overlanding: Pros and cons of lithium batteries; cold weather issues with lithium batteries; benefits of Battle Born heated lithium batteries.

Part 10 (45:35- 50:00) Building an Overlanding Vehicle for Alaska: Rain, mosquitos, fuel concerns; the need for well-made tires; mud terrain vs. all terrain tires for overlanding in Alaska; paved vs. dirt roads in Alaska; the need for well-built, high capacity electrical systems.

Part 11 (50:00- 52:40) Taking the Ferry to Alaska: The “Alaska-Maritime Highway” and the concept of using ferries and boat transport for overlanding; risk-assessment and journey priorities.

Part 12 (52:45-55:20) Setting Up Your Suspension for Overlanding in Alaska: Suspension as foundational and why it makes sense to spend money on a well designed and well built suspension; ICON Vehicle Dynamics EV system explained.

Part 13 (55:30-58:10) What Have We Leared from Our Trip to Alaska? The “Formula One” approach to building XO trucks; The X Overland philosophy of building the very best trucks we can; pushing the boundaries of vehicle technology; maintaining high-performance vehicles.

Part 14 (58:10-58:10) What’s Next for Our Alaska Trucks? Putting an Alu-Cab Canopy on a Toyota Tacoma (Raven); Preparing to build a new 2022 Tundra; how we are refining our truck building processes at X Overland; how our X Overland truck builds will evolve in the future.

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