Nick Brooks: Overlanding in a Toyota Tundra SR5 TRD Off-Road

Nick Brooks is passing down a legacy of loving the outdoors, one trip (and one sip) at a time.

Though you’d never guess it today, looking through these pages or scrolling through his Instagram feed, this 2018 Toyota Tundra SR5 TRD Off Road is the rig that catapulted Nick Brooks into the overlanding community. Although a lifelong avid camper and outdoorsman, the only vehicles he owned before the Tundra were sedans. Bulking up into something more capable was the key to unlocking some serious adventure.

Though he initially wanted a Tacoma, the Tundra quickly became the more obvious choice. “I was hesitant to buy a Tundra as it was the biggest vehicle I had ever driven,” Brooks explained. He had some concerns about driving it in the city, but now thankfully, he says, “We’re used to it now. We actually love the space we have inside the cab and couldn’t imagine having something with less space.”

It’s a good thing he’s gotten used to the size, as it seems their kids and adventures are only getting bigger. Brooks also jokes, while they’re “a relatively short family,” their oldest has been doing a lot of growing recently and now stands at about 6’2”. Having the extra room in the back seat for long legs has become an unexpected necessity.

Suspension upgrades and 33-inch tires give the Tundra a high stance with a moderate lift, perfect for Brooks.

Traveling with Family

“Our family has always been into backpacking and camping but up until we had this truck, we only camped in the Southeast. Overlanding allows us to see more of our country and makes camping outside of the South more accessible,” Brooks tells us. With his two sons along for the ride, they’ve explored much of the Southeast to find the best fly-fishing spots and have taken quite a few trips beyond, too.

“Beyond sharing killer camping gear with the crew, Brooks has a bevy of sweet rig accessories from Leitner Designs, Decked, and iKamper mounted on his Tundra.”

Recently, the Brooks crew, including wife Amanda, made the trek out to Utah to enjoy the sun and sand. Amanda planned the trip, start to finish, including off-grid camping spots, hikes, and all the food. She has a method to her madness and plans all meals according to location; sometimes it’s simple and other times it’s fancier, like the Olive Garden kale potato sausage soup recipe.

A glimpse into the bed of the truck will reveal a well-organized gear setup.

Up next for the guys is the Scout-renowned Philmont Scout Ranch High Adventure Trek, a 12-day, 65-mile high-elevation hike through the New Mexican wilderness. According to the Boy Scouts of America pamphlet about the event, “Each participant must be able to carry a 35- to 50-pound pack while hiking 5 to 12 miles per day in an isolated mountain wilderness ranging from 6,500 to 12,500 feet in elevation… Activities include horseback riding, rock climbing and rappelling, challenge events, pole climbing, muzzle loading shooting, 12-gauge trap shooting, .30-06 shooting, trail building, mountain biking, and other activities that have potential for injury.” You might be thinking, “Kids are doing this? Geez, I need to get into better shape.” And you’d be completely right, as the youngest adventurers on the trip will be just 13 and 14 years old.

For a full-size truck carrying this much gear, the Tundra’s profile remains streamlined and uncomplicated.

Scouting Legacy

“My father is an Eagle Scout and when we were kids, he kept us engaged in outdoor activities. We would hike, fish, go biking, fishing, canoeing, and even go sailing,” Brooks told brand sponsor Gossamer Gear in a recent interview. Now, his two sons are upholding a three-generation tradition of Scouting started by their grandfather. As Scoutmaster of Atlanta troop 1906, Brooks isn’t only instilling the Scouting values in his own sons, he’s doing more than his part to uplift and support other kids in the area, too.

“His expertise, perspective, and relentlessly positive attitude make him an incredible role model for not just that group of boys, but for the whole community.”

Beyond advocating for improved access to the outdoors for all, Brooks takes pride in representing BIPOC adventurers. Using his social platforms as a jumping point, Brooks attends and hosts events in collaboration with the Scouts, HBCUs, local breweries and restaurants, and most of all, the overlanding community, to share his love for the outdoors and to get people out there.

“…It has become a passion of mine to expose youth, as well as my adult friends, to the outdoors,” he explained to Gossamer. “I want to create a counter-narrative that people of color do, in fact, also enjoy the outdoors and all it offers.”

The dash is kept simple, with phone mounts and Midland Radios as the main accessories.

Outdoor Gear and Beer

The best way to keep up with the entire Brooks family’s adventures, as well as Troop 1906, is on Instagram, @outdoorgearandbeer, where Brooks chronicles not only his family and troop’s outdoor excursions but events around the Southeast as well. A firm proponent of outdoor accessibility for city dwellers, he often attends and hosts events around the Atlanta, Georgia, area.

“As Scoutmaster of Atlanta troop 1906, Brooks isn’t only instilling the Scouting values in his own sons – he’s doing more than his part to uplift and support other kids in the area, too.”

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when asked, What’s the thing you want most at the end of a long day on the trail? For many of you, we bet the answer is a nice, cold beer. Sure, your soft bed at home or a spa day might be nice, but we all know there’s something gratifying about sitting down by the fire, pulling off your boots, propping your feet up, and cracking a cold one, especially with good friends.

A Dometic fridge and 20L water jug are the first thing at hand when the bed is open.

Brooks is certainly familiar with that feeling, and particularly enjoys local craft beverages to elevate his relaxation time. He can often be spotted on Insta testing out the latest offerings from ATL-based breweries, and has a particular love for well-known Sweetwater, whose brews you can find at just about any grocery store or gas station in America.  (Pro tip: Any of their IPAs are a delicious bet, even if you’re not an IPA lover.)

Partnerships

The Scouts of Troop 1906 are some lucky kids to have Brooks as their leader. His expertise, perspective, and relentlessly positive attitude make him an incredible role model for not just that group of boys, but for the whole community.

“…we all know there’s something gratifying about sitting down by the fire, pulling off your boots, propping your feet up, and cracking a cold one, especially with good friends.”

As an extra bonus, Brooks’ platform has given him the opportunity to partner with some incredible brands that support the troop. Brooks recognizes how important access to quality gear is to someone’s ability to get outdoors, so he ensures that his troop is well-prepared. With gear from Gossamer Gear, water filtration and insect repellent from Sawyer Products, the Brooks family and Troop 1906 are just about stacked.

Decked drawers store smaller items.

Adventure Tundra

There’s no shortage of lighting available on Brooks’ Tundra. A LightForce Nightfall Single row 20-inch rear light bar illuminates from the rear, and up front, there’s much more where that came from. Also by LightForce are eight Rok 9 Rock Lights and six Rok 40 Spot LED lights, four of which are secured to the Leitner rack and two of which are employed as ditch lights.

Method Race Wheels 701 Bead Grip in Method Bronze stand out against the Tundra’s gray paint job. Wrapped in capable 33-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Trail Boss M/Ts, they provide enough stability and traction to conquer any obstacles Brooks may encounter behind the wheel. To that end, he’s bolstered the suspension with front and rear Old Man Emu BP-51 shocks. Icon Delta Joint Billet Upper Control Arms add extra strength and support to the front end, as well.

The 33-inch Mickey Thompsons wrap Method Race wheels.
C4 Fabrication rock sliders protect the body of this rig.
Icon Delta Upper Control Arms pair with Old Man Emu shocks to give the Tundra a smoother ride and a bit of extra clearance.
The food-safe Mountain Hatch tailgate table provides extra flat workspace..

Exterior Accessories

Beyond sharing killer camping gear with the crew, Brooks has a bevy of sweet rig accessories from Leitner Designs, Decked, and iKamper mounted on his Tundra.

His Leitner ACS Forged Bed Rack System hosts their proprietary GearPod XL, GearPOD, and HydroPOD shower kit. It’s also the home of the iKamper SkyCamp 2.0 and ExoShell 270 Awning. Also mounted to the exterior of the Tundra is a Riversmith ShortCut River Quiver for any fishing equipment as well as MaxTrax Traction boards and RotoPax Fuel Tanks.

In the bed of the truck is a Decked Drawer System that secures and organizes Brooks’ camp kitchen and other gear. On the tailgate is a Mountain Hatch food-safe Tailgate Table that provides a secure flat surface for cooking, eating, and more.

LightForce LEDs are ready to light the way from the hood.
Nick Brooks is a proud advocate for outdoors access for both BIPOC young people and adults alike.

Interior Accessories

The interior of the 2018 Tundra must work well for the Brooks crew, as the interior of the rig hasn’t been modified. On the dash, Brooks employs a Midland MXT500 Micromobile 2-way GMRS radio and a Switch Pro SP9100 Switch Panel Power System keeps the family charged no matter where the adventure takes them.

Be sure to follow Nick Brooks’ adventures with his familly and Troop 1906 on Instagram @outdoorgearandbeer.

UPGRADES

 2018 Toyota Tundra sr5 TRD Off-Road

Engine: 5.7L V8

Suspension: (front) Old Man Emu BP-51s; Icon Delta Joint Billet Upper Control arms (rear) Old Man Emu BP-51s

Wheels & Tires: Method Race Wheels 701 Bead Grip in Method Bronze; 33-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Trail Boss M/Ts

Interior Accessories: Midland Radio MXT500 Micromobile 2-way radio; Switch Pro SP9100 Switch Panel Power System

Exterior Accessories: LightForce Nightfall Single row 20-inch rear light bar; LightForce Rok 9 Rock Lights (8 total); LightForce Rok 40 Spot LED Lights 4 on Leitner Rack and 2 as Ditch Lights; Riversmith ShortCut River Quiver; iKamper ExoShell 270 Awning; MaxTrax Traction boards; RotoPax Fuel Tanks

Additional Modifications: Leitner ACS Forged Bed Rack System (GearPod XL, GearPOD, HydroPOD shower kit); iKamper SkyCamp 2.0 with Conversion kit; Decked Drawer System; Mountain Hatch Tailgate Table; C4 Fabrication Rock Sliders

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