Hooniverse Asks: When is it too much stuff on your vehicle?

I love looking at nicely prepped camping and overland rigs. The variety of the vehicles used for adventure is wonderful. As are the myriad methods that the owners of these machines put to use in making sure they are prepped for anything. But when is it too much? I now see a multitude of Jeeps, Tacomas, 4Runners, and more packed to the limit. Is all of this necessary? What percentage of the “upgrades” are purely for aesthetics and style points?

You should always be prepared when you head off down a trail. It’s great to know you have everything you need. But there has to be a tipping point. I think people are tossing too much crap on their trucks. These rigs look ready for the rebirth of the Camel Trophy with nary a need for a support vehicle. Yet I’m also sure that the KOA in which they’re staying has enough Pinot Noir left in the main shop. That’s not a dig on KOAs or Pinot Noir, by the way, I’m a fan of both.

But I worry that a fair number of modified vehicles have their owners tossing money at things they’ll never use. In a quest to have “the baddest rig out there”. This is certainly a case of “it’s your truck, so have fun with it”. But there’s definitely a point where too much is too much. Where does that line fall for you?


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15 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: When is it too much stuff on your vehicle?”

  1. outback_ute Avatar

    Many overland rigs would be in danger of being over GVM when fully packed and ready to go. I’m sure many are posers too with offroad accessories that will never be in danger of being needed. Keep the camping setup simple, and be realistic about what terrain you are going on.

    It’s worth considering that driving on mud tyres 24/7 is adding 20-25% to your emergency stopping distance and going oversize will make that worse.

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      I read somewhere that 1/2 ton Blazer Chalets were overweight fresh off the assembly lines, and so GM revised them to 3/4 ton suspension as a running change.


  2. nanoop Avatar

    When stowing away takes as long as searching.

  3. Neight428 Avatar

    The thing about camping is, the more stuff you bring, the nicer it is. I solve that problem by not camping at all, but unless you’re embracing the minimalism of it all, the answer will be the GVWR of your rig.

  4. 16vPete Avatar

    Recovery boards

    1. 16vPete Avatar

      As in, people who roll around with them mounted to the rack, but barely ever go off-road. I see ’em on spotless 4Runners and Tacomas all the time in LA/OC

      1. nanoop Avatar

        Those come in bright orange, too, so they’ll pop out better in your ‘gram….

      2. Slow Joe Crow Avatar
        Slow Joe Crow

        Bend Oregon to a T , also every other Tacoma has a roof tent as does every third Subaru Crosstrek

  5. Sjaloffmylawn Avatar

    Bringing a time-honoured get-off-my-lawn-attitude to this discussion, I consider a vehicle to have “too much stuff” on it once a person puts a sticker with some kind of opinion on it. The “#overlanding”-trend, meant to make environmentally desastrous and painstakingly ugly RVs palatable to millennials, makes me shake mye head time and time again. I pack my lightweight tent, a plastic bag full of gear, and food, and just disappear into the mountains, not understanding what an overlanding rig with insta-friendly expensive dingdongs hanging everywhere is meant to convey.

    embarrassed cough

  6. Batshitbox Avatar

    Well, 15 pieces of flair is the minimum. Brian, for example, has 37 pieces of flair.

    When your truck looks like Brian from Chotchkie’s that’s probably too much. Even if it does have a great smile.

  7. Slow Joe Crow Avatar
    Slow Joe Crow

    The Outside article you referenced was actually my first reaction. Since I live in the middle of “overlander” and #vanlife territory I see lots of vehicles decked out to cross the Mojave parked outside of Whole Foods or the brew pub. Most of these don’t have OHV stickers, make of that what you will.
    In terms of kit, I think off roading at more than 2/3 of your rated payload is a mistake and the less you carry the better. Since it’s psychologically easier to add kit than to remove stuff you paid for, start with the minimum and add stuff as you find the need. A lot of serious long distance travelers have near stock vehicles and modest equipment not fully built rigs with lift kits, winches, lights roof tents and so on.
    The other point is that bolting that rad looking expedition rack and roof tent into the back of a pickup greatly reduces its utility for other things. The same with that big electric winch out front destroying your approach angle and compressing the front springs. A hand winch is lighter, cheaper, has less effect on vehicle dynamics and can be left in the garage when you are driving to the lumber yard. I see the same sort of thing with motorcycles. Lots of adventure touring rigs with lots of gear on them.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      I wonder if there isn’t something in the fine print to the effect of reducing payload when offroading. The manual for my ute stated that 750kg max (3/4 of rated) should be carried in hard offroad situations (I’d need to look up the exact phrasing), and I have no issue with that being a good idea.

      There has been some exposure recently of some roof rack systems having static, onroad & offroad ratings but only mentioning the first two in advertising.

  8. Troggy Avatar

    When the complexity of the gear outweighs your ability to fix it when it malfunctions or breaks. Maintenance on overland gear begins almost the day you bought it, and will still fail.

    There’s a line somewhere between ‘stock vehicle’, and ‘collection of off the shelf parts, loosely bolted together, travelling in close formation and not known how they will interact with each other’.

    Stock as possible means that if you’re out of your depth, a decent mechanic/auto electrician can still either A: take a look and understand what’s going on, or B: get a service manual that makes some sense.

    If, say, X brand DC-DC converter isn’t charging Y brand batteries through Z brand controller (which is supposed to automate the switchover) on mains, and the water pump isn’t working to the shower BUT only when on tank water and mains power, it’s not easy to diagnose the problem because the manual doesn’t explain how anything was actually hooked up, and manufacturers won’t honour warranty claims because it’s too easy to blame another component for the failure.

    Keep it simple and as stock as possible is my advice. Start with shorter trips. Add what you need, and dump what you don’t. Rinse, repeat.

  9. Rory Carroll Avatar
    Rory Carroll

    I probably have 50-100lbs of stuff I’m unlikely to use in the GX at any given moment, but a lot of the overland stuff seems like overkill for a truck you’re not living out of.

  10. doyall Avatar

    Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have t.

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